Sunday, June 24, 2007

Vocabulary Isn't Just for 5th Graders


I was reading a promotion from a master marketer by the name of Michael Masterson -- his emails are tomes of information and it takes time to digest them. Lately I haven't had much time to do that.

Today, his missive was about vocabulary and the benefits of having a good base vocabulary of your own. Of course, I jumped on it with both feet since words - the love of words - is one of my hobbies. When you are a writer, finding the exact right word is paramount to getting your thought across precisely and perfectly. But, what else does a good vocabulary do for you? In a recent study here is part of what Masterson found out:
"...In fact, it doesn't matter how sophisticated you look, how stylish you dress, how elegant you appear. Without a polished vocabulary, the doors to success are shut tighter than Scrooge's cash box.

Think I'm exaggerating? Not in the slightest. Here's why...

The esteemed Stevens Institute of Technology ran studies on what made someone successful. What they found surprised even them. It wasn't physical appearance, it wasn't family connections or even financial backing.
It was how a person spoke - and the words they used. Simply put, it was their vocabulary"

So you see it isn't just writer's that need a strong vocabulary. He did go on to say you don't need to use 25 thousand dollar words where a nickel one will work - you just need to be able to understand what someone is saying to you so that you respond appropriately. Doing that ensures your success, relieves you from the fear of embarrassment. Using a word for which you don't understand the meaning is failure waiting to happen.

I guess that's why I love daily new word - they aren't always words I want to memorize, but some seem to stick in my head when I'm writing and pop into my writing. I always check their meaning with my MSWord thesaurus as I edit--but generally they are right on or a better word is supplied because I put the first one into the thesaurus.

I have made a habit of writing down the words in a notebook kept on a shelf by my computer that I may use sometime in my writing -- every once in a while I go through the notebook just to see what I have. It sparks my muse if nothing else.

Studying words, doing crosswords--even if you look up the answers--is a great way to increase your vocabulary. As writers, WORDS are our stock in trade, after all.

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