The average American only actively uses about 3,000 words - constantly recirculating these words throughout conversations and emails. However, the dictionary contains 50 times that in words. Why do we not even begin to tap into the gold mine of vocabulary possibilities? One of the main reasons is a lack of understanding in how to effectively memorize vocabulary words - and not just memorize, but put to active use in daily conversations. This article will present some steps to help you better improve your vocabulary word arsenal.

Read with a dictionary. Too often readers - when they come upon an unknown word - simply read over it or assume the meaning based on the context of its use in the sentence. This will only stifle the growth of one's vocabulary.Next time you read through a book or magazine, keep a dictionary at your side. When you run into an unfamiliar word, look it up in the dictionary. Find out what it means right then and there. This may seem like a waste of time or nuisance, but it will definitely and really improve your vocabulary. Also, the more you read with a dictionary, the more you will need to use it less.

Begin a vocabulary notebook. Write your newly learned vocabulary words in there, along with sentences which you made up using those new words. This will not only help you remember what words you are in the process of learning and becoming more familiar with, but you will also be able to track your progress. Writing your own sentences and placing the vocabulary word in there will help to further embed that word into your working vocabulary.

Use newly learned vocabulary words in conversation. If you are chatting with someone, and are about to say something using a weaker word when a more direct or powerful one could be used, use the new vocabulary word. Not only will you sound smarter - which is a cool thing - but you will also be embedding the vocabulary word deeper into your active vocabulary. You will be memorizing it. Try to make a goal of using new vocabulary words throughout the day you have learned them. Don't settle for the same-old ones you have always used, go big!

Keep track of your growth. In the vocabulary notebook, keep a tab of the number of vocabulary words you have implemented into your working vocabulary. Be honest with yourself - don't mark one down if you still can't remember what it means or how to use it. Remember, the key is to become as familiar with these words as with words you learned in third grade.

Never stop learning. Education really never should end. Keep implementing more vocabulary words into your active vocabulary. Don't stop at 500 new words. Don't stop at 2,000. Keep growing and the sky's the limit!