How to Enhance and Develop Your Vocabulary Through Reading

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As a language learner, avid reader, and a firm believer in the power of words, I have experienced firsthand the remarkable benefits of reading when you want to develop your vocabulary.

The pleasure of delving into books has not only transported me to different worlds but has also expanded my linguistic repertoire in ways I could have never imagined.

In this blog post, I am excited to share my insights on how reading can be a valuable tool for enhancing vocabulary, focusing specifically on a captivating novel chapter.

We will explore together the text and I will provide a curated dictionary of words, phrases, and idioms, so you can learn in a funny and pleasant way. It will be an enlightening adventure of language discovery. I promise.

So, grab a cup of tea, settle into the comfort of words, and join me on this exploration of vocabulary enrichment through the art of reading.

Text for Exploration: Chapter 1 Of The Novel “Harsh affairs”(Extract)

bank image develop your vocabulay

The ruthless buzz of my new cell phone woke me up this

morning. It’s a new model. The latest to hit the market

is no bigger than a child’s palm. Fancy. Exquisite. A real gem of

contemporary technology. The display said it was 10:30, but there

was no caller ID.

“Hello!” I said, trying to sound brisk. I didn’t get the desired

effect. No matter how hard I tried, my voice sounded like a

husky barking dog.

“Robert? I’m in the office. Are you still in bed? For God’s sake!

Don’t you think you should be in the office by now?”

I hoped to hear my girlfriend’s sweet and seductive voice, but to my great disappointment, it was my bossy boss, Elliott.

His voice is everything else but not seductive.

How on earth!

He wasn’t due back from a conference in Chicago until tomorrow.

So, what was he doing in the office?

I had never succeeded in outsmarting him in any way during the years we had known each other. Well, I needed a good excuse.

But what? If I told him I was dopey,

which exactly was the case, then I won’t gain his sympathy for sure.

So, I faked exhaustion and said:

“Sorry, Elliott, I’ve got a bit of a frog in my throat. I think I’ve

got a nasty virus. But, whatever. I’ll be on my way in a couple of


My excuse didn’t impress him at all, at least not in the way I

anticipated. He obviously could tell, without a doubt, the exact

reason for my infection. I bet he already knew the name of “the virus” that had “invited” the frog into my throat.

What followed next was Elliott’s chilly discontent. He said:

“Come straight to my office. We just got two serious problems. It’s urgent.”

Then the line went dead.

The effect on me was immediate. I was fully awake as

his ice-cold voice was a substitute for my morning ritual of cold


Shaving on the fly and skipping my daily workout,

I dashed into my favorite Porsche and practically flew to the Gerald

Bank, located on Wall Street in downtown New York.

I do stupid things when I’m drunk. When in an alcoholic bliss,

I become overly generous to my staff. Last night, just before dawn,

when my driver brought me up to my room, instead of hitting the

bed right away, in an outburst of drunkard’s enthusiasm, I released

him for the whole day. Now, he’s most likely lying in the arms of

his mistress, without the slightest intention to work today, unlike


I definitely needed some rest myself after such a crazy night.

It would’ve been a beautiful day off with my boss out of town. But no

way. He had to show up two days earlier. And now the shitty city

traffic was making my head spin. I somehow made my way to the

bank safe and sound. I stopped my car in front of the main


The building looked almost the same as it did when the original

owner, our great-grandfather, Daniel Gerald, died and left it to

his heirs. The facade got a few renovations through the

years, and some of the old stylish furniture, the original decoration in the lobby, was restored or moved elsewhere. The changes made to the floors and offices were mainly cosmetic. Instead of modernizing the interior of the building, the Management decided to spend a fortune on highly sophisticated office and bank equipment.

                                           * * *

Our great-grandfather found his initial fortune in real estate.

Then he invested the money into a couple of high-profile civil engineering

projects. When things finally went well, he married a wealthy heiress for convenience, and ultimately opened a bank.

But the bank really went big when my grandfather, Robert Gerald, led

the company. He paved the way for the bank’s present prosperity.

The bank now provides a full range of financial and investment management services and has branches in 50 states and a worldwide presence.

Gerald Bank has consistently been ranked by Fortune magazine as

one of America’s 50 Most Admired Companies.

Grandpa Robert had five children – my father, Ted, my uncle and

current President, Elliott; two other uncles – Ben and Oliver; and my

aunt, Melanie. I was the first of the youngest generation to work for the

family business right after obtaining my MBA from Harvard three years

ago. Of course, I started at the entry level. But when you’re family, one gets

promoted quite quickly. So here I am, three years later, a VP of Gerald

Bank. It’s a beautiful, cushy life with many perks and privileges – a secretary, driver, company car, and personal assistant, not to mention stock incentives.

Not bad for a 29-year-old, huh?

                                            * * *

I threw the keys to the doorkeeper to park my car, nodded

to the security guards, and dashed through the lobby straight to the

elevators. The CEO’s office was on the third floor.

Mrs. Florence Mason, Elliott’s secretary, welcomed me with a

smile as I rushed in. She was in her late thirties but looked

younger. When she returned from Elliott’s office and approached

me, I could smell her seductive perfume which could inspire passion and desire in men, but for me, this scent was just a pricey fragrance and nothing more than that. I’m not a great fan of brunettes. So even

though I recognized the charm and charisma of this stylish

woman, I thought of her only as a professional, one to whom I could

only show respect.

I made my way to the door to meet with my “favorite” uncle,

who I was sure was waiting for me impatiently. The moment I

entered the room and saw him, I again felt shivers of mortal fear

creeping up my spine. Nobody would know that being around

him gives me a weird feeling. I’m his “right hand” – everyone in

the banking business knows it.

* * *

The office of the CEO did not change much since my Grandfather’s time: The pictures on the walls had remained the same since the first day Daniel Gerald moved in, and the books in the enormous bookcase had looked as if the old banker had just set them up – his favorite hobby at the end of the heavy working week. The things that

Elliott dared to change in the office was changed out of necessity –

ergonomic furniture in the meeting room and up-to-date office

equipment to suit the most senior position in the firm.

( To be continued in the next blog post)

Build and Develop Vocabulary

I highlight nine carefully selected words and phrases from the text. By starting with their definitions, I aim to provide you with a solid foundation for incorporating these terms into your everyday vocabulary.

Why is vocabulary development important? Well, the words we use shape our communication and understanding of the world. The more extensive our vocabulary, the more precise and nuanced our expressions become. By actively engaging with literature, we expose ourselves to new words, idioms, and phrases, fostering continuous growth in our linguistic abilities.

Hey, dear readers! How is your day going? I would love to have you on my website. It’s called English Study Helper and is where you can find tips, strategies, and resources on improving your English faster and more effectively. Hope to see you there!

Now, let’s continue!

Below, I present the nine bolded words and phrases from Chapter 1 of “Harsh Affairs” along with their respective definitions. Familiarize yourself with these terms and prepare to incorporate them into your own lexicon.

Husky voice




/ˈhʌs.ki/ uk


husky adjective (VOICE)

A voice that is husky is low and rough, often in an attractive way, or because of illness:

She has a nice husky voice – very sexy.

You sound husky – do you have a cold?

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. The husky voice of the narrator added a mysterious and captivating tone to the audiobook, drawing listeners into the story from the very first sentence.
  2. With a husky voice, the singer crooned a soulful ballad, evoking raw emotions and creating a heartfelt connection with the audience.
  3. The actor’s husky voice lent a sense of authority and gravitas to the character, making every line deliver a memorable moment on the stage.

How on earth!

The phrase “How on earth!” is indeed an idiom. It is an exclamation used to express extreme surprise, disbelief, or astonishment. It is a colloquial expression that emphasizes the speaker’s doubt.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. How on earth did the cat manage to reach the top shelf? It must have leaped from the nearby furniture with incredible agility.
  2. How on earth did she memorize all the names and faces of the entire company’s employees? It’s like she has a photographic memory!
  3. How on earth did they finish the construction project ahead of schedule? They must have had an incredibly efficient and skilled team working day and night to accomplish that feat.


Person A: “I managed to finish the marathon in under three hours.”

Person B: “How on earth did you accomplish that?!”


verb [ T ]


/ˌaʊtˈsmɑːrt/ uk


Add to the word list

to outwit

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. The cunning fox managed to outsmart the pursuing hounds by leading them on a clever detour through the dense forest.
  2. Through meticulous planning and strategic moves, the chess grandmaster was able to outsmart his opponent and secure a decisive victory.
  3. The quick-thinking detective used her wit and knowledge to outsmart the crafty thief, leading to the successful recovery of the stolen artwork.

On the fly

The phrase “on the fly” is an idiom. It means to do something quickly or spontaneously, without prior planning or preparation. It can also refer to making decisions or solving problems in real time or on the spot.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. During the live broadcast, the host had to come up with responses on the fly to unexpected questions from the audience.
  2. The project manager had to make on-the-fly adjustments to the schedule when a key team member called in sick.
  3. The improvisational comedian entertained the audience with hilarious jokes and witty remarks, all created on the fly without any scripted material.




/ˈdəʊ.pi/ us


dopier | dopiest

dopey adjective (DRUGGED)

Add to the word list

wanting to sleep, because or as if you have taken a drug:

He had taken a sleeping tablet the night before and still felt dopey.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. John stumbled into the office with a dopey expression on his face, still half-asleep from a late night of studying.
  2. The class burst into laughter as the teacher imitated a dopey character from a popular comedy show.
  3. Sarah couldn’t help but feel dopey after taking the strong allergy medication; her mind felt fuzzy and her movements sluggish.



noun [ U ]


/blɪs/ uk


Add to the word list

perfect happiness:

Lying on a sunny beach is my idea of sheer bliss.

wedded/domestic bliss

 Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. As the warm sun dipped below the horizon, the couple stood hand in hand on the sandy beach, basking in the bliss of a breathtaking sunset.
  2. After a long day of hiking, the tired hiker soaked their weary feet in the cool mountain stream, experiencing pure bliss as the cold water refreshed their aching muscles.
  3. Sitting by the fireplace with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa, enveloped in a cozy blanket, brought a sense of bliss and contentment on a chilly winter evening.

Safe and sound.

The phrase “safe and sound” is an idiomatic expression that means being in a state of safety and well-being, without harm or danger. It implies that someone or something has been protected and is free from any harm or damage. It is often used to convey relief or reassurance about someone’s or something’s welfare.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. After hours of worrying, I was relieved to receive a call from my sister, letting me know that she had arrived home safe and sound.
  2. Despite the turbulent flight, the passengers were comforted by the pilot’s announcement that they had landed safely and everyone was now back on the ground, safe and sound.
  3. The emergency response team worked tirelessly to rescue the hiker who had been lost in the wilderness for days. Finally, they found him safe and sound, bringing a sense of relief to his worried loved ones.

Married for convenience

The phrase “married for convenience” is a phrase that refers to a marital union entered into primarily for practical reasons or benefits, rather than for love or romantic connection. It suggests that the marriage serves practical purposes such as financial stability, social status, or fulfilling legal requirements, rather than being based on a deep emotional bond between the partners.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. The couple had little romantic interest in each other. Still, they decided to get married for convenience, as it would help them secure a shared health insurance plan and financial stability.
  2. In order to gain citizenship in a foreign country, he entered into a marriage of convenience with a citizen of that country, with no intention of pursuing a genuine romantic relationship.
  3. They agreed to a marriage of convenience to merge their two struggling businesses, combining their resources and expanding their market reach, despite lacking any romantic connection.

A frog in my throat

The phrase “a frog in my throat” is an idiomatic expression that is used to describe the sensation of having difficulty speaking or clearing one’s throat. It is often used when someone’s voice sounds hoarse or croaky as if there is an obstruction in their throat resembling the sound of a frog croaking. It is not meant to be taken literally but rather as a metaphorical description of temporary vocal discomfort or loss of voice.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. During my presentation, I suddenly had a frog in my throat and struggled to speak clearly, but I managed to clear it and continue with my speech.
  2. Whenever I get nervous before a performance, I tend to have a frog in my throat, making it difficult to sing smoothly. I take a sip of water to soothe my vocal cords and relieve the sensation.
  3. He tried to give his speech confidently, but a frog in his throat caused his voice to crack and falter, creating an awkward moment during the presentation.

Source: https://dictionary.cambridge.org

By familiarizing yourself with these words and phrases, you are equipping yourself with powerful tools to articulate your thoughts and ideas more effectively. Moreover, as you encounter these terms in “Harsh Affairs” and other literary works, you will develop a richer understanding of the text and its context.

Remember, vocabulary development is an ongoing process, and the more you immerse yourself in reading, the more your linguistic abilities will flourish. Stay tuned for the next blog post, where we will delve deeper into the world of “Harsh Affairs” and explore additional words and phrases to further expand your vocabulary.

Practical Exercises To Develop Your Vocabulary

Let’s engage in interactive exercises that I designed for you to practice and reinforce newly acquired vocabulary skills. These exercises will provide hands-on opportunities for you to actively apply what you have learned from the novel and develop your vocabulary.

Fill in the Blanks:

Test your understanding by completing passages with the appropriate vocabulary words. I created this exercise to challenge your comprehension and reinforce your ability to use the words in context.

  1. I never expected to encounter such a challenging puzzle, but with a bit of clever thinking, I managed to ________ the problem and find the solution.
  2. The moment I saw her smile, I felt a sense of ________ wash over me, as if all the worries and stress of the day had vanished in an instant.
  3. ________ did he manage to escape the clutches of the pursuing wolves? It seemed like an impossible feat, but his quick thinking and agility saved him from danger.
  4. After a long and exhausting journey, we finally arrived at our destination, relieved to be ________ and ________.
  5. Their marriage wasn’t based on love, but rather, it was a ________ arrangement to fulfill their respective needs and secure their social status.
  6. I woke up feeling ________ and groggy as if I hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep. It took me a while to shake off the drowsiness and start my day.
  7. As I stepped on stage to deliver my speech, I suddenly felt like I had ________, struggling to find my voice and speak confidently.
  8. With only a few hours left before the deadline, I had to come up with a presentation ________, improvising my ideas and organizing them on the spot.
  9. The sick person’s voice echoed through the room, resembling the ________ barking of a husky, indicating the severity of their illness.

Matching Game

Let’s play a matching game with the words and their corresponding definitions. Your task is to match each word with its correct definition. Here are the words:

  1. Outsmart
  2. Bliss
  3. How on Earth
  4. Safe and sound
  5. Married for convenience
  6. Dopey
  7. A frog in my throat
  8. On the fly
  9. Husky

Now, here are the definitions:

a. Extreme happiness or joy.

b. To defeat or overcome someone through cleverness or intelligence.

 c. Referring to a deep, rough, or hoarse sound or voice.

d. Free from harm or danger; in a secure and protected state.

e. Having a silly, foolish, or sluggish demeanor.

f. A feeling of hoarseness or difficulty in speaking due to irritation or mild illness.

 g. Doing something quickly or spontaneously, without much preparation or planning.

h. An expression used to convey astonishment or disbelief.

i. A marriage entered into for practical reasons rather than love or genuine affection.

Your task is to match each number with the corresponding letter.

I hope you enjoyed the read and the exercises I created for you. Keep reading, learn, and practice new expressions and by doing this you can enrich your vocabulary, enhance your comprehension, and ultimately strengthen your overall language proficiency.

If you need more resources to develop your vocabulary check my store.

Here is a screenshot from my website and my guides.

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Conclusion: How to Enhance and Develop Your Vocabulary Through Reading

In conclusion, reading has proven to be an incredibly beneficial practice to develop your vocabulary.

Through the exploration of a captivating novel chapter and the accompanying dictionary of words, phrases, and idioms, we have witnessed the power of literature in expanding our language skills.

I think you will agree with me on that.

We learned new words, discover interesting phrases, and delve into the world of idiomatic expressions. This process not only enhances our ability to communicate effectively but also adds depth and nuance to our language usage.

I encourage you to continue embracing literature as a valuable tool for vocabulary development. Keep exploring various genres, challenge yourself with different writing styles, and allow books to be your constant companion in the pursuit of language enrichment.

So, don’t miss my next blog post where we will read the next chapter of the novel and learn new words and phrases and develop your vocabulary. See you next week!

Thanks for reading!

With love and respect,



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