I know lots of words. I know I do because I know so many I have to review at least one hundred every day and it takes ages. I never am able to use these words in conversation though, and I don't understand why.

Why can I not use a great deal of the words I know in conversation?

How can I put more words into my active vocabulary?


3 Answers 3


If you don't have an instant opportunity to practice, it's a dead end you should fix immediately. At this point of time, when your personal vocabulary growing day-by-day, the better solution is to find a person, persons, to talk to. The problem is, you aren't having right circles to find them.

The painstakingly obvious answer is: Internet.

I can tell you this from my personal experience. I've started to learn Korean language a while ago, and as a citizen of small town, there is a zero possibility than I can meet the real Korean in my town, I just opened their "general-destination" website Naver.com, and started to find local forums of interests, blogs, and even started to reply little "good thoughts", "good ideas" etc., to other people comments. Good way to start a conversation.

You could do that too. The interesting part is, there are a huge chance that someone is also learning your native language, and trying to find a person to talk to. That's the deal. While you are learning, someone is learning too - perfect match. You just have to find that person. You have a tool. What are you waiting for?

Forget about books, writing, memorizing and other smelly, boring stuff. If you aren't using on the field what you have just learned - it's literally waste of time. Don't trick yourself into that.

Go to the Internet and find the community of people that learning your language. For that, you can open the website of their foreign language faculty, find the biggest universities, get the links to various social accounts, and write a post on its wall about the situation. It's just one of them.

Another trick is to go twitch.com and find streams on the language you are learning. The good part is you are trying to talk with other native speakers on chat. There are a lot people that bored and just lurking someone playing video games, and they would be glad to talk with someone that learning their language and asking questions.

The first stage, when you aren't comfortable with starting the conversation anywhere, the best possible option is to offer your help no matter what. Good luck!

P.S. By the way, the English is my third language I'd learned along the way. I've yet never been in English speaking country.

  • A great answer!! Thank you so much Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 5:31

Though a little weird, the only way to add them to your active vocab is to use them more.

It doesn't necessarily mean talking to someone else. Borrowing from the top answer and my own answer from How can I expand my active vocabulary? for the following tips:

  • Talk to yourself: Just talk and converse with yourself about something that interests you in some way. Anything works as long you try to incorporate the new words into your conversation.

  • Write a lot: Take some time to write about something you enjoy. If you feel very confident at writing, try following some test topics like those supplied by the GRE.

  • While learning, create example sentences that incorporate the new words.

  • Immerse yourself with a vacation to a country whose main language is the language your are learning. Very costly but you can practice with the natives there, even picking up some tips and maybe an accent while there

  • Make a list of words you will use per day. The list doesn't have to be long: 3 to 5 words really but make sure you use them! At this rate you can learn 1080 to 1800 words a year mathematically.

You could also find online chat rooms that mainly uses the language you are learning and try chatting there. To help this method, read out loud what you have typed and what others have said.


One way i find works well is to write using the new words. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you're using the new words. I usually either write random stories or write diary entries.

If your main problem is not using them in speech you could think of a subject, and write a speech that you will say to someone who understands your target language. If the words you learn are thematic it'll be a lot easier to use them all in one speech.

  • I've already tried the writing thing since I saw @AnthonyPham 's answer earlier. It works really well :). Sadly, I know no one who speaks my target language. What do you suppose I should do? Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 19:05
  • 1
    Record yourself reciting the speech or story like you were saying it to an audience, making sure to enunciate and speak clearly, then upload it to a site like youtube, put the link on italki and people can tell you what you did well and where you need to improve.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 20:30
  • Thanks, this is a really good idea and I'll be sure to try it :) Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 5:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.