What makes for effective writing is the combination of a well thought out point with an attention-grabbing delivery. Sentence variety plays a major role in that and one of the many ways to create a variety of sentences is to include a broad sampling of vocabulary. The best way to obtain the knowledge of a broad sampling of vocabulary is to make a conscience effort to learn and incorporate new words into your daily speech. There are several strategies to go about accomplishing this:
- Start with what you know. Find synonyms to replace words you already use on a daily basis. To do this for free, simply go to thesaurus.com and search for words you use regularly. For example, I looked up the word “argue” and found this list: http://thesaurus.com/browse/argue Now instead of saying, “Kids, don’t argue with each other.” I am going to say , “Kids don’t contend with each other.” I feel smarter already. For those with a little to “invest” in vocabulary expansion, there is software available and rated on toptenreviews.com: http://vocabulary-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ultimate-vocabulary-review.html
- Be proactive when you don’t understand. When you are reading or listening to something new and you see or hear a word you don’t understand, be sure to make a note of it in your journal or reading log. Before looking up the word, try to figure out what the word is referring to in the way it is used in the sentence. Once you have meditated on the possible meaning, look it up and compare how close or far off you were from figuring it out.
- Compare word meanings. Sometimes the same word can be used to mean different things. Familiarize yourself with all of the definitions of a particular word and be sure to use them in speech or writing.
All of this may seem very time consuming, but the truth of the matter is activities like this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes a day and should be incorporated into any time you set aside for yourself to read and write.