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Develop functional vocabulary (Part – 2)

Develop functional vocabulary (Part – 2)

Develop functional vocabulary (Part – 2)

Hello readers, how was your week; I seriously hope it wasn’t as hectic as that of mine.

 In my last article, I tried to provide a hint of “functional vocabulary” & its importance in a very few details, I also discussed about the three steps namely: Read, Realize and Recall, which are very much effective in attainment of functional vocabulary. Today in this article, we are going to dive deep into functional vocabulary. Again, if you really want to do well in VERBAL part of GRE/GMAT, take your patience and read the full article thoroughly, despite this article being tiresomely verbose.

There are two categories of vocabulary sources which are:

  • Contemporary sources; such as: recent news article from various internationally renowned news agencies such as Forbes, New York Times, Newsweek, Bloombergs, Politico, Diplomats etc; or some analytical source such as Valuewalk, Ted Talk etc; or some scientific or knowledge sources such as Smithsonian Magazine, Discovery, National Geography Questions like Reading comprehension, sentence correction and others such as critical reasoning, data analysis etc can be helped greatly by studying them.
  • Middle-English sources; such as: English novels and literatures from Romantic, Victorian, Elizabethan and Renaissance period. These novels and literatures are a very rich sources of Middle-English vocabularies. The test-takers use many incomprehensible Middle-aged English words [such as: odium, benison, cuss, imprecate, paroxysm etc] in order to make the verbal part of the tests more complicated, specially the sentence completion part.

Now let us discuss about some sources that can be used to enrich our vocabulary. First of all, I would like to discuss the major three sources which can be the most effective sources to enrich a candidate’s vocabulary. Just forget about memorizing words blindly and make arrangements like flash-cards and so on. Just read from these three sources of articles and you will be golden, which are:

  1. Project Syndicate ( This is a very much rich source of articles. Project Syndicate itself is not a source of original articles. However, it is a collection of various renowned news articles from various sources such as New York Times, Politico, Washington Post, The Guardian and so on. Reading assorted articles from this website will help a lot to build up functional vocabulary.
  2. Valuewalk ( This website is very much effective for those who wants to be good at data analysis related topics such as integrated reasoning in GMAT, which may carry little marks but their significance is very much high. Also, the way every article is wrote with analytical point of view, by studying them properly one will be stringer in Analytical Writing part for both GRE and GMAT. Please do not forget to go through this as well: Info-Graphs Archives – ValueWalk (
  3. Smithsonian Magazine ( This is a very effective website for those students who want to be better at Reading Comprehension. There are many scientific and archaeological articles here, which are written in a similar way that the question setters of GRE/GMAT choose. Moreover, just like project syndicate, these article are also a sort of gold-mines for picking unknown (but very frequently used) words as well as contemporary sentence structures.

Some more honorable mentions are:

Now let us discuss how to read, realize and recall articles from these sources and change the face of your English language skill forever.

For Middle-English, please focus on writers from Romantic, Elizabethan and Victorian period. Please remember that you MUST read the original version of these books. Otherwise the whole objective of reading middle-aged literature goes in vain.

 There is a book called Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. This book is the best to have a kick-start at functional vocabulary. Those who want a robust and strong vocabulary, must read the book cover-to-cover and work-out all the exercises in it.

READ (both contemporary and middle-english):

Pick an article from any one of these sources above to read. Also pick a book of Charles Dickens or Shakespeare or Wordsworth. You cannot read them all, so, you must choose wisely. One article per day or one book (original version) per week at the initial level is enough. There are some facts here to remember such as:

  • Those who are new to reading or comparatively amateur to the heavy readings like this, will find it very much difficult to read these articles or middle-aged books. No matter how difficult you may find it to read them, you must stick to it, because after a certain time, they will start feeling easier, trust me!!
  • There are many articles and books; anybody will find it difficult, not to mention overwhelming, to choose what to read and where to start. My suggestion is, “don’t think, just start from the first one you get”, since each one of them are full of quality word-treasures and contemporary sentence structures.
  • While reading the articles, please remember that you are NOT reading these articles or books for fun of reading literatures or extracting information from them. The only objective of your reading is to witness the word power that is used by the question setters and enrich your vocabulary accordingly. Deviating from your main objective here may prove to be harmful for your effective preparation.

Please remember that SMART PREPARATION is way more preferable to hard preparation. So be “smart and wise” while choosing what to read.


In this part, one must realize what they are reading. Without realizing or understanding the readings properly, all these readings have no value at all. A word may be used differently under different circumstances. If someone understands what are the alternative uses of a word, then and only then the reading would bring result on the test day.

For instance, the world “pleasure” has different synonyms such as: welter, elation, jubilation, euphoria and so on. Despite them sounding almost similar, one must understand that the usage of these words are different. The word “welter” is used when someone rolls over on the ground with laughter and pleasure. The word “elation” is used when the pleasure is intense, but not worth rolling over. The word “jubilation” is related to the pleasure of celebration. The state of “euphoria” is occurred when there is a mental pleasure in our mind that no other feelings can explain, usually cocaine would do that to you.

Therefore, different synonyms have different interpretations altogether. If someone wants to be test-worthy, that one must realize every single word of these articles and/or books, their meanings, motives, objectives and terms of usage.

Please do not confuse this with grammar. Grammar is absolutely important, but here I am talking about the context of the word and both lexicographic as well as figurative meanings of them.


One must recall what they read. To do this, one must follow these simple steps:

Step: 01 > Pick an article or book to read;

Step: 02 > Read that article thoroughly and then try to realize every word of it;

Step: 03 > Make a note of every single word and/or sentence structure which is/are new to you;

Step: 04 > Read those words repeatedly; this time you will be able to retain these words, since they are extracted from one you your heavy readings.

To learn more about these steps and how they work, please email me at: (

Continue the above mentioned steps for a month or more, regularly on a non-stop way, and I promise you that your English language will go through a revolutionary transformation. Pick one article every day and one book every week, give them an hour of your precious times, and after one month of doing so, even you wouldn’t recognize your own English, speaking from experiences.

Dear readers, functional vocabularies are made by reading habits. It has been scientifically proved that when you read something, and then your brain finds out that you don’t understand a certain word and for that, the whole reading is getting hindered, your brain puts “special importance” to that certain “unknown” word. That way, when you learn the meaning of that word, no matter how difficult that may be, your brain tries to retain that word for the rest of the times so that you never get hindered reading again. So, that’s how functional vocabularies are born. So, if you want to grow functional vocabulary, then: READ, REALIZE & RECALL.

That’s it for today, in my next article, and many more after that, I will be discussing about GRE and its content. I will analyze thoroughly about the course contents and what to read to ace them. I will also make an analytic point of view regarding the Quantitative part.

 Till then, happy reading!!!

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