Saturday, November 3, 2007

More Words = Less Confusion: Increase Your Vocabulary to Communicate Clearly

You can compose the most complex, grammatically correct sentence known to man and it won't mean that you're a good writer. You must be able to create technically correct sentences, paragraphs, and pieces, but no one is going to want to read them, much less pay you for them, if you readers can't tell what you're trying to say.

Expand your vocabulary so that, instead of noting “big changes coming” you can explain the “fundamental reforms on the horizon” or the fact that “new programs and benefits will become available next week”. There is a big difference between the latter two, and the first version doesn't give readers a hint as to which direction the news will take them. Should they be concerned or excited?

Learn new words so that you can specify. If there are seventeen adjectives with a similar meaning, each of those has a slightly different definition. Using just the one that conveys your meaning allows you to tell your readers precisely what you have in mind.

You can't just throw words at a topic, rearrange them grammatically, and call it an article. With a large arsenal of words at your disposal you can shoot an exact description or explanation into your sentence. The right words can have an explosive impact on your readers. Isn't that why you write in the first place?

Do a web search for "expand your vocabulary" and start stockpiling word weapons. Click "vocabulary" in my tag cloud to the left for some other ways to fill your brain. You never know when you'll be called upon to defend yourself.