build/develop/enrich/expand/improve vocabulary

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Senior Member
(1) You need to build your vocabulary.

(2) You need to develop your vocabulary.

(3) You need to enrich your vocabulary.

(4) You need to expand your vocabulary.

(5) you need to improve your vocabulary.

[Q1] Do #1 and #2 both mean "You need to expand your active vocabulary"?

[Q2] What is the difference in meaning between #3 and #4?

[Q3] Do #4 and #5 have the same meaning?
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not sure what #1 means. #2 could mean the same as #4, but #4 is better. #3 means something like 'add some more interesting words, make your vocabulary somehow richer/better', #4 means to make your vocabulary bigger, and #5 has a similar meaning to #3.

    Apart from #1, there is a lot of overlap in the meanings. Context would help decide which verb is the most appropriate in a sentence.


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    There's definitely some nuance in the meanings, but at the end of the day they all result in the same thing, which is learning new words. I'm not a smart man, but here's what I think, for whatever that's worth.

    (1) build your vocabulary. - Increase the amount of words you know (same as 4)

    (2) develop your vocabulary. - Learn more advanced words for the concepts you already know (basically the same as 2)

    (3) enrich your vocabulary. - Learn new words of higher quality than what you already know (basically the same as 2)

    (4) expand your vocabulary. - Increase the amount of words you know (same as 1)

    (5) improve your vocabulary. - General; includes all the above meanings. Both increasing the number words you know and the quality of those words would count as "improving" them, as improve simply means "to make better"

    This is splitting hairs though. I know many people are aware of differences, but in an everyday conversation I think these are pretty near synonymous.
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