Whilst studying, my daughter attended an interview for a weekend reception position. The interviewer indicated that she would need to work “alternative” weekends! Of course the word used should have been “alternate”. In conversation, people frequently use similar sounding words in the wrong context. Often, it isn’t poor intelligence that causes word misuse; it is simply that the person never took the time to properly acquaint himself with the English language. Sadly, he may never know the mistakes he makes!!
Do you consider yourself a well-read and well-spoken individual? Does your spoken language convey the complete extent of the ideas and vitality of your mind and allow you to comprehend the spoken and written word fully? In other words, have you enough understanding of the English language to achieve your goals in life?
Contemplate for a moment whether your vocabulary comes up to scratch and ask yourself how many words you skip over when reading a newspaper or book? The test of knowing a word is undoubtedly the confidence to use it.
Knowledge is power and word power shows knowledge.
Why should you improve your vocabulary?
With so much competition out there, finding a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd can make all the difference.
Better work or study opportunities provide just two of the motivators for wanting to improve your vocabulary. The sense of achievement and self worth gained by fully comprehending most of what you read and hear as you progress through your life is a great reward for your hard work. However, on the negative side, a misunderstanding in the context of language is not only frustrating and embarrassing but can also cause errors in judgment, particularly when perusing legal documents.
How to start improving your vocabulary now
We’d all love to wake up one morning with our mind and mouth connecting and producing a rich and expressive vocabulary, when yesterday we were little more than average. It is not easy to move from middling word power to a powerful vocabulary without some preparation and a degree of hard work.
So how does one become more familiar with a language that they have learned from birth? Once you begin this journey it will become a life-long obsession and a very fulfilling pastime. A great start is to improve your basic vocabulary over a 6 week period using one of the many vocabulary improvement programs or books available.
As an adjunct to this I would say read, read, read! Read magazines, books, and the internet. Read widely and keep a small notebook for writing down new words. Better still write the whole sentence. This way you are reminded of the usage of the word.
When using a computer program for your vocabulary improvement, make sure you add newly found words to a word list in the program. This maintains a record for future reference and good vocabulary programs have this facility.
Any time you hear someone say an unfamiliar word, look it up on the internet and remember to keep that notebook handy for new words. Before you know it you will have an impressive command of English as well as a wide general knowledge.
Having a great vocabulary doesn’t mean spouting words that no-one can understand. Good communication is about knowing and using the right word and not necessarily the longest word. As Winston Churchill, a man of many wonderful words said: “Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.” Set yourself free to be more articulate and communicative. Good luck with your journey through our wonderful language!