Proven ways to boost your vocabulary. Reading is key

Sharing is caring!

Welcome to the second article in my four-step series, where we explore proven ways to boost your vocabulary through reading!! In this series, we uncover effective strategies to expand your word knowledge and improve your language skills.

As a language learner, writer, and staunch advocate for the power of words, I have personally experienced the incredible benefits that reading can bring to vocabulary development.

Engaging with books not only transports us to new realms but also expands our linguistic capabilities in ways we never thought possible.

Today, I am thrilled to share my insights on how reading can serve as a valuable tool for enhancing your vocabulary.

In this blog post, we will continue reading chapter 1 of “Harsh Affairs.”

Together, we will explore the text, and learn new words, phrases, and idioms.

Did you find a comfortable spot?

Now relax and enjoy the moment of reading a nice book to boost your vocabulary.

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

collage boost your vocabulary

Elliott was working on his computer with a look of concentration, but when I came closer, I saw that he was playing one of his favorite games. The game’s rules allow players to run it endlessly,

and only the destruction of a rival player will end the game.

He always played this game when facing a serious problem. I

knew how ambitious he was and instinctively shuddered at the

thought that today, I might completely replace his computer rival

but in real life.

Elliott is a good-looking man in his late forties. He has a 

well-built body and a sophisticated sharp face. He has a typical

Gerald’s look: blond hair, gray eyes, and very light skin. Every

family member is blonde except my father – Ted, and myself. We both

have very dark hair and eyes. Our skin color is also much darker

in comparison to the others. We’re like two black swans in a flock

of white ones.

“Take a seat, Robert,” he said with his head still down, gazing

at the screen.

I almost collapsed on one of the chairs in the meeting room.

Oh yes, I was so frustrated.

We stayed silent as Elliott kept moving his mouse on the pad. Ten minutes passed, and I was still waiting, more and more nervous. Tell me honestly: Is this guy crazy?  

Elliott was well-known in our field for his high intelligence, as well as his extreme eccentricity. 

Ok, enough is enough!  I lost my patience and decided to break the silence when Elliott stopped clicking and sharply pushed his chair away from the computer desk.

Likenaughty child, he rolled into the conference room on his chair with his legs raised in the air. 

I was already waiting for him like a cat on hot bricks. In the end,

we were already facing each other, and he was staring at me with

a cold glare that made me feel like he was cutting me apart.

“May I ask where you were last night?”

It didn’t make any sense to hide. The real question I was being

asked, was: “Where did you go to get drunk?”

“At Marco’s club. Well, I usually meet my former classmates there. It’s not about the drinking. It’s mostly, you know, networking, friendship, and sharing ideas.”

“Sure. Especially when you know I’m out of town? You were planning

on taking a day off, weren’t you?”

It was stupid to deny it.

“I want you to stop partying and drinking during the week

and to be here on time every morning. You know the unofficial

company policy regarding sick days, days off, and delays,


“Yes, sir.”

There wasn’t any trust in his voice when he continued:

“The rules are for all employees and especially for the company

owners who must be good role models for the others

to follow. Do you have anything to say?”

“No, sir.”

“No? Are you sure? I’m assuming no alcohol abuse problems


“You know the reason for that, but I overcame it, Elliott.”

“Yeah, this bitch. I know. Alright. Let’s get to the topic at hand


I froze.

He started talking quietly and slowly:

“I had a meeting with one special client.”

I heaved a sigh of relief. It wasn’t the usual setup that bustard

ruthlessly used to provoke me.

I felt like a fool. I thought something horrible had happened to the business, as he mentioned serious, urgent problems, but guess what? It was a “potential client” bullshit. Congrats, Boss! You outsmarted me again.

Yes, he was playing the “big boss” prank to keep me on my toes. 

I hated him because of those little, dirty games and lousy

tricks that he played with the greatest of pleasure.

“Yes?” I immediately put on an interested expression, trying to

hide the relief that I still couldn’t quickly conceal.

“I want you to make a small investigation before I give a copy

of this brilliant offer to the shareholders.”

“Which company are you talking about?”

“These are the papers. Take a look,” Elliott handed me a binder

without any sign that has noticed my nervousness. Maybe I was

being too touchy.

“The company management is very close to the government of

one Middle Eastern country.”

“Don’t say that…the Middle East? Right now, they are undergoing

much turmoil.”

“Yes, exactly. It is the Middle Eastern country,” he stressed.

“You must be crazy. It is a war all the time, don’t you know

that? Every day they fight – with us, the Palestinians, and then

with the Jews. Nobody knows when exactly the country will start

another war.”

I opened the binder and took a glance at the first page.

“War? So what?”

“So what? If a new war comes up? This part of the world had

always been a dormant volcano ready to explode. Do you remember

the Balkans? What happened with our transactions during the

war in Afghanistan?”

“I don’t care about the war. Our dilemma is whether the company

we are considering partnering with is conducting a legitimate

business or operating in the grey economy.”


“All its activities and transactions look fine at first glance. But

I’m suspicious about how they win all those tenders organized by

the government authorities. Corruption? Bribes? I want to know

every detail about those tenders – participants, offers, subcontractors,

and best bidders. Understand? Everything.”

“You have never objected to the origin of the money so far, have


“No, I didn’t. I don’t care now, either. I need to get the clear picture

of how the company management, in case we go further with

these guys and enter into business with them.”

He jumped up and approached the window. Something

grabbed his attention outside, and it seemed as if he had forgotten about

me and our conversation.

Just as I thought our conversation was over and I could take a

breath Elliott spoke:

“Are you going out with my daughter?”

Indeed, he said that he wanted to talk about two serious problems. We

had finished with the first less important one, now he turned his

attention to the main issue.

I jumped from the chair and instantly found myself in front of


I stood nearly two heads taller than him.

Although he wasn’t physically imposing, with his slender frame, from behind, he almost resembled a young boy.

I looked directly at his delicate face

and the coldest grey eyes that I have ever seen.

“With Lucy? Yeah. We are just hanging out, you know.”

“No dating?”

“Dating? But she’s a kid, man. You must be kidding me.”

“Not at all. I’m completely serious. My bodyguards are telling

me a different story, and let me tell you, Lucy is not a kid anymore.

The only problem here is that she’s your cousin.”

“I don’t understand. There is nothing between us, just…”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to continue going out with her.

You know that I don’t like dirty, stupid games.”

“What do you mean by “dirty games”?”

“Trying to seduce Lucy. She’s not an ordinary girl. Never forget


“I know, but…”

“So, you want her money? You need to stop this game right now.”

“I’m not playing any games, and I’m not seducing her. You cannot

stop us from seeing each other.”

“I’m her father, so I know what’s best for her. And

what’s best for her is for you two to stop seeing each other. Did I

make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir.”

He looked at me, and his eyes seemed to scan my soul.

“You can go now. And keep me posted on the deal.”

I wish I had punched him in the face and slammed the door behind me, but instead, I stepped back and left silently.

Mrs. Florence Mason saw my face, and even though she certainly

didn’t know about the second part of our conversation, her face

seemed sympathetic. Her eyes followed me as I left the


“Have a nice day,” she said quietly, but I didn’t answer.

I wanted to go to my office upstairs.

I was walking as if I was in a dream and didn’t take the stairs

as usual. I stood in front of the elevators looking like a zombie. The

 door opened, I got in and looked at the mirror on the wall.

What did I see? I saw a man in his late twenties, dressed in an expensive

suit and elegant tie. I looked into the eyes of this prosperous,

successful businessman, and what I saw was enormous

anger and disgust.

I got off the elevator to realize I was on the wrong floor.

Mark, the manager of the tellers, greeted me:

“Hi, Robert,” he said.

As he was coming towards me to talk business, he gave orders

to someone on his phone.

“Anthony, do not buy more yen. For God’s sake, man, don’t

purchase yet.”

I could not concentrate on business.

I needed to speak to Lucy.

Before he could stop me, I waived him away and headed

towards the stairs.

* * *

I needed to hear Lucy’s voice.

How could Elliott say that I’m seducing her because of his

money? I still couldn’t believe he’d said that.

He was right about one thing: I like Lucy.

I don’t care about Elliott’s plans and dirty games. I don’t want

his money.

I only want his daughter.

My cousin!

I am the only one in this world who knows that she is not my cousin, she is not my blood. But I made a promise not to reveal the truth. I can imagine the scandal in the family if we were to start dating.

God, help me!

( To be continued in the next blog post)

Build and Develop Vocabulary

I have carefully chosen nine words and phrases from the text to emphasize their importance in vocabulary development.

By beginning with their definitions, my goal is to offer you a strong basis for integrating these terms into your everyday language.

Why does vocabulary development matter?

The words we employ greatly influence our communication and comprehension of the world.

With a broader vocabulary, our expressions become more precise and nuanced. When we actively immerse ourselves in literature, we encounter unfamiliar words, idioms, and phrases, facilitating the ongoing expansion of our linguistic skills.

Cushy life

“Cushy life” refers to a comfortable and luxurious lifestyle. It typically implies a life of ease, comfort, and minimal stress, where one enjoys various privileges and conveniences. People may use the term “cushy life” to describe a situation or lifestyle that is free from hardships or demanding responsibilities, often associated with financial security, leisure, and indulgence. However, it is important to note that the interpretation of a cushy life may vary depending on individual perspectives and circumstances.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. After years of hard work and dedication, Sarah finally achieved her dream of living a cushy life, complete with a luxurious beachfront villa, a private yacht, and a team of personal staff attending to her every need.
  2. Mark’s sudden inheritance of a large fortune allowed him to leave his mundane job behind and embrace a cushy life filled with exotic travels, extravagant shopping sprees, and indulgent spa retreats.
  3. Despite the challenges of starting a business, John’s perseverance paid off, and he now enjoys the fruits of his labor, leading a cushy life with a sprawling countryside estate, a fleet of luxury cars, and the freedom to pursue his passions without financial worries.

Shivers of mortal fear

“Shivers of mortal fear” refers to the intense and chilling sensations that someone experiences when faced with a life-threatening or deeply terrifying situation. It is a phrase that vividly captures the overwhelming fear and dread that can cause one’s body to shudder or tremble uncontrollably. The use of “mortal” emphasizes the seriousness and potential danger associated with the fear, implying that it is a fear that can threaten one’s very existence.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. As the horror movie reached its climax, Sarah felt shivers of mortal fear creep up her spine, making it difficult for her to even look at the screen.
  2. Standing on the edge of the tall building, Mark felt shivers of mortal fear course through his body, realizing the dangerous position he was in.
  3. When the wild animal suddenly appeared in front of them on the hiking trail, the group felt shivers of mortal fear grip their hearts, knowing they were facing a life-threatening situation.




/ɡeɪz/ us


to look at something or someone for a long time, especially in surprise or admiration, or because you are thinking about something else:

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. Sarah found herself gazing out of the window, captivated by the breathtaking sunset painting the sky in hues of orange and pink.
  2. As the musician played a mesmerizing melody on the piano, the audience sat in awe, gazing at his nimble fingers effortlessly dancing across the keys.
  3. Lost in thought, John sat on the park bench, gazing at the children playing, their laughter filling the air, as memories of his own carefree childhood flooded back.

Enough is enough!

“Enough is enough!” is an idiomatic expression. It is used to convey the sentiment that a situation has reached a point where it is no longer tolerable or acceptable. It suggests that a limit has been reached and further action or endurance is no longer warranted.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. After enduring years of mistreatment, Jane finally stood up for herself and declared, “Enough is enough! I will no longer tolerate this abuse.”
  2. The company had been dealing with continuous delays and broken promises from their supplier. Fed up with the situation, the CEO announced, “Enough is enough! We need to find a more reliable partner.”
  3. As the noise from the construction site persisted day after day, the residents of the neighborhood decided they had had enough. They organized a protest and chanted, “Enough is enough! We deserve peace and quiet in our own homes.”

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!

Naughty child

“Naughty child” is a common expression used to describe a mischievous or disobedient child. It is a straightforward term that refers to a child who often engages in unruly or troublesome behavior.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. Despite repeated warnings, the naughty child continued to scribble on the walls with markers.
  2. The teacher had a hard time controlling the classroom due to a group of naughty children who constantly disrupted the lesson.
  3. The parents were exasperated by their naughty child’s habit of hiding their belongings and playing pranks on their siblings.

Like a cat on hot bricks

“Like a cat on hot bricks” is an idiom. It is used to describe someone who is very restless, anxious, or unable to keep still due to extreme nervousness or anticipation. The phrase conveys a sense of unease and discomfort.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. Sarah was waiting for her interview results, and she was pacing back and forth in the waiting room like a cat on hot bricks.
  2. The students were like cats on hot bricks before the announcement of the exam results, unable to sit still due to their nervousness.
  3. As the deadline for submission approached, the writer became like a cat on hot bricks, constantly checking and revising their manuscript in anticipation of the editor’s feedback.




/ˌəʊ.vəˈkʌm/ us


overcame | overcome

overcome verb (DEAL WITH)

to defeat or succeed in controlling or dealing with something:

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. Despite facing numerous challenges, she managed to overcome all obstacles and achieve her goal.
  2. With determination and perseverance, he was able to overcome his fear of public speaking and deliver a confident presentation.
  3. The team worked together to overcome the setbacks and successfully completed the project ahead of schedule.


The word “setup” can have multiple meanings depending on the context. Here are three different examples:

  1. In technology: A setup refers to the process of configuring or installing hardware or software to make it ready for use. For example, setting up a new computer involves connecting cables, installing software, and configuring settings.
  2. In a social context: A setup can refer to arranging a meeting or introduction between two people with the intention of fostering a relationship or creating an opportunity. For example, “She set up a blind date for her friend.”
  3. In a general sense: A setup can refer to the way something is organized or arranged. For example, “The stage setup for the concert was elaborate, with lights and props.”

Keep me posted

“Keep me posted” is an idiom. It is commonly used to request or ask someone to provide regular updates or keep you informed about any new developments or changes regarding a particular situation or topic. It expresses a desire to stay updated and informed about ongoing events or progress. For example, if you’re working on a project with a colleague, you might say, “Please keep me posted on any updates or changes.” It implies the expectation of receiving timely updates to stay informed and involved.

Real-life scenarios where the vocabulary can be used

  1. “I’m excited to hear about your trip! Keep me posted on your adventures and send me photos along the way.”
  2. “The job interview went well, but I’m still waiting for their decision. They promised to keep me posted.”
  3. “Our team is working on a new product launch, and I’ll be the point of contact. Please keep me posted on any issues or concerns that arise during the process.”

Source: https://dictionary.cambridge.org

Practical Exercises To Boost Your Vocabulary

Practical Exercises To Boost Your Vocabulary

Word Scramble: Unscramble the jumbled letters to form vocabulary words from the novel. This fun exercise will help improve your spelling and recognition skills while reinforcing your understanding of the words and idioms we’ve explored. Here are the words to unscramble:

  1. eGza
  2. yhsuC life
  3. ivsehrS fo latrom raef
  4. tpuSe
  5. Emvcoer
  6. hEnoug si hguone!
  7. Kee mep detosp
  8. yghatuN dilhc 
  9. ekiL a tac no toh skcirb

Synonym and Antonym Exploration: Expand your vocabulary range by finding synonyms and antonyms for the words you’ve encountered in the novel. This exercise will deepen your understanding of word relationships and enhance your ability to express yourself more precisely.

Synonym and Antonym Exploration Exercise:

  1. Select three words or phrases from the novel that you find interesting or want to explore further.
  2. Identify the synonyms for each chosen word or phrase. These are words that have similar meanings.
  3. Write down the antonyms for each chosen word or phrase. These are words that have opposite meanings.
  4. Use a dictionary or thesaurus to verify your choices and ensure accuracy.
  5. Create sentences using synonyms and antonyms to demonstrate how the words can be used in different contexts.
  6. Reflect on how understanding synonyms and antonyms can enhance your ability to communicate effectively and add depth to your language usage.
  7. Share your findings and sentences with a language partner or discuss them in a language learning group to exchange ideas and broaden your perspectives.
  8. Repeat this exercise with different words from the novel to continue expanding your vocabulary range.

HEADS UP! Exploring synonyms and antonyms is not only a valuable language exercise but also a fun way to discover new shades of meaning and improve your overall language skills. Enjoy the journey of discovering the richness of words!

Here are some resources that can help you in your synonym and antonym exploration:

  1. Thesaurus: Online thesauruses such as Thesaurus.com, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, and Collins Thesaurus are excellent tools to find synonyms and antonyms for specific words. They provide a wide range of alternatives to help you expand your vocabulary.
  2. Vocabulary.com: This website offers an extensive database of words, along with their synonyms and antonyms. It also provides interactive quizzes and games to test your knowledge and reinforce your understanding of word relationships.
  3. WordReference.com: Apart from being a comprehensive dictionary, WordReference.com also includes a “Synonyms” and “Antonyms” section for each word entry. It can be a helpful resource to explore various synonyms and antonyms in different contexts.
  4. English Language Learning Books: Many language learning books, especially those focusing on vocabulary development, include sections on synonyms and antonyms. These books often provide exercises and examples to help you practice and reinforce your understanding.
  5. Language Learning Apps: Apps like Quizlet, Memrise, and Vocabulary.com offer vocabulary-building exercises, including synonym and antonym-matching games. These apps can be a convenient and interactive way to explore word relationships on your mobile device.

If you need more resources here are some of my guides:

All tips and strategies I recommend are based on experience.

My ebooks are ideal for independent study because of their easy-to-use format of two-page units – the content is on the left side of the page and the vocabulary explanation is on the right.

You don’t need to look for a dictionary or electronic devices because all the information is right in front of you.

dictionary boost your vocabulary

Conclusion: Proven ways to boost your vocabulary. Reading is key

In conclusion, reading is a great way to boost your vocabulary. In this series, we explored a chapter from the novel “Harsh Affairs” to learn new words, expressions, and idioms. I even created practical exercises using these words to help you practice and reinforce your learning. I encourage you to continue reading and practicing with the words we’ve practiced.

Stay tuned for the next blog post where we’ll delve into another chapter and continue our vocabulary journey. See you soon!

Thanks for reading!

With love and respect,


Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts