Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridian’s play The Rivals tells Lydia to forget her lover in these words,
“But the point we would request of you is, that you will promise to forget this fellow—to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory”
And the effect is hilarious! And when Shakespeare continued the tradition through Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, it became a trend we remember to this day. The memorable characters who provided comic relief through their mix-up of similar words also have a serious message for us. Getting your words wrong in real life can lead to just the opposite effect – tragic and disastrous.
It’s not just about not confusing similar words. It is also about knowing the right words to be used in the right contexts in the right form. Confusing? Not quite. Bear with me and I shall take you through the amazing journey of becoming a wizard with words.
In this post, we will talk about how useful vocabulary can be in so many aspects of your life.
1. To score high in entrance exams
No matter what stream you study in, entrance exams are a norm for higher studies. Word power is one of the essential skills tested in all such exams. This is because your vocabulary indicates how well you can communicate in different situations and people. A good vocabulary is necessary to not just crack the written exams but also to score well in sections like reading comprehension and writing essays. The sense you make out of written material is greatly dependent on your understanding of the words in it.
Apart from this, most foreign universities require a statement of purpose where the applicant has to explain his reasons for applying to a particular course in the university. And justify your candidature. A decent word power assists in putting together an impressive write up about oneself. The lack of vocabulary and language skills of students leaves students confused. Worse still, they outsource it and get someone else to write flowery prose for them which may not all be true in spirit.
If the foundation of basic skills as a student is weak, it’s twice as hard to make up for it as a professional. Hence, it’s a good time to start working on these basic skills even as a student.
2. To comprehend what you read
“There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy
Reading is an integral part of our lives. Whether or not we like it. Reading online for our daily dose of knowledge is equally important. A good word power can help appreciate the written word better and read between the lines, understand the literal and metaphorical implications of words. In fact, reading, in turn, also adds to your word power. So it a win-win two way street.
3. To be able to write well
A stockpile of words at your disposal could help you write better in any context. As a student, you will be better equipped to write your assignments, exam essays and admission SOPs. Emails with the right words can help you communicate more effectively. No matter what you are profession is, you can use your writing skills to share your knowledge and experiences together. You could write for magazines, blogs etc. In fact, you can be a homemaker and start a blog of your own to tell everyone about your passions and interests.
4. To generally articulate well
Ever found yourself using the word ‘awesome’ to describe anything that’s great. Or the word ‘hate’ for everything you dislike? Wouldn’t it be great of you could choose among, say excellent, superb, magnificent, outstanding, astounding, stunning, breathtaking, to suit the right context in which you mean it! I also often notice that people just add the word ‘very’ to express the intensity of an emotion – “I am very very happy”. How about getting to express the right degree of happiness – delighted, thrilled, overjoyed, ecstatic, exhilarated, euphoric! That’s the power of a strong vocabulary! You can use the right word to express your feelings in the right manner.
5. To persuade others
Personal life or professional, it’s the power of your words that will help you persuade and get things done your way. The art of persuasion is to be able to present your argument clearly and logically. And this becomes easier when you are able to express yourself better and present your ideas eloquently.
6. To increase level of confidence
Communication skills is one of the core skills to succeed in personal and professional life. And being proficient in it definitely boosts one’s confidence and personality. Coherent articulation helps confidently put forth our ideas and views. You will be confident going up to people with your proposals or stand up in a meeting and explain your objections.
I am sure you can think of many situations and experiences in your life where a good vocabulary helped you. I’d love to hear from you and add to this list of reasons for developing word power. Drop in a line below.
The other posts in the series are:
1. How to build your vocabulary in 4 steps – the next post in the series takes you through the step wise process. Starting from the basics of learning the meaning of each word to how you could pile on synonyms to multiply your word power. These are steps that I used to build my own word power and wanted to share this with everyone who wants to build their command over words.
2. Learn new words – the third post in the series goes on discuss step one in detail illustrating how to start the process of learning words one step at a time. It shows a sample illustration of how your vocabulary book should have words, meanings, word forms and examples to every new word you come across. And I hope that 2 weeks after the post, you are well on your way to continuing addition to your wordpower.
3. The next post deals with making connections between words. Words that have similar meanings can be grouped together to make it easier to remember them.
4. The third post is taking step 2 a little further and develop word networks to make your learning more dynamic.
5. The final post talks about understanding nuances and connotations of words. This post talks about learning to use words in different contexts even if it means using them metaphorically and in different intensity of emotions.
Follow these steps one by one and you’ll have a strong vocabulary to reckon with. IT can help you speak better, write better and communicate better.