A friend of mine grew up speaking basic English at home (living in a foreign country), but it was not more than that: basic. There are many words that he hears people say that he knows are not among the most common words, but are common enough that if he were to say them, they would be understood. Some examples that came to mind: consensus, contribute, distribute, perimeter, etc. I suggested to him to look at dictionary.com's word-of-the-day, but we looked through a few, and they were quite florid words (one of my favorite autologs). I do not think they would have "consensus" on that list. What is a resource that he can study from that will help him build his vocabulary beyond a basic-level English? The larger the word-bank the better.

  • [correction, just for you: I suggested he look up//suggested does not take an indirect object :)]
    – Lambie
    Jun 11 '21 at 1:13
  • speaking basic English at home, so we do not know what his academic English level is. In which case I would suggest watching English language documentaries etc. There is a lot available on The Web. The added bonus being that when you hear new words and you also have a visual compliment, then understanding the meaning and or grasping the context is usually easier. After all that's how we all learn our mother tongue. He will also learn lots of interesting stuff.
    – Brad
    Jun 11 '21 at 1:28

Just read. Read a lot. Read about a wide variety of topics. Thinking about what qualifies here, I'd start with periodicals. Newspapers and magazines are released regularly and often have diverse topics to cover. If you're looking for a completely free answer, try a news site online. NPR and AP are both factual sources. The more you read, the more likely you are to come across a word you haven't seen before.

Also, there's nothing wrong with just looking through the dictionary.

  • Good suggestions. His concern with looking through the dictionary is not knowing how formal a word is or in what contexts it is commonly used, and therefore sounding weird when using the word.
    – Sam
    Jun 11 '21 at 4:52

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