I have to confess, I’m guilty. It doesn’t matter whether I’m working on a blog post, email, web page or even just a phone conversation, I seriously overuse the word “awesome”. It’s my go-to descriptive word for everything! But when I began freelance writing, I started paying much closer attention to what was going out and I realized I needed to extend my vocabulary if I wanted my writing to succeed.
There are a variety of sites, apps or email groups where you can pick up a new word a day, but how do you start incorporating that new vocabulary into your writing? This will cover a few techniques to incorporate new vocabulary into your writing, as well as a few mistakes to avoid while doing so.
Carry a list
At the beginning of the week, pick out a few words you want to learn and put them in a list, with their definitions. Put the list in your wallet and when you have a few spare minutes, review the words. Make sure you’ve got a good grasp of their meaning before using them in your professional writing.
Guard against overuse
It is really easy to fall into the habit of using a few dozen words to describe something, but much like Christian’s gasping in 50 Shades of Grey making me wonder if he had an undiagnosed case of asthma, failing to vary your words limits your reach as a professional writer. Invest in your career and take a few minutes to explore different terms for your go-to words.
Use a thesaurus
I have a decent vocabulary, but while working on a luxury vehicle post, I knew I needed options beyond luxurious, rich and wealthy. I opened a browser to theasaurus.com and incorporated elite, opulent and affluent, as well as adding half a dozen more words I hadn’t realized I was missing and are so fun to roll off your tongue.
Back to the roots
Pay close attention to the words you use daily for their Latin and Greek roots, which will help you define other words you are less familiar with that share the same roots. This doesn’t just apply to the roots, but also to suffixes and prefixes such as kilo-, sub- and -able.
Put them to good use
Whether it’s in a conversation, blog post, journal entry or just an email to a friend, try to use a new word every day. This helps you remember to use it.
I confess, I have a weakness for word searches. Gamefication is still a relatively new concept that when learning and working is made more fun, it sticks better. So dig out your Scrabble set, dust off your crosswords and have fun with it!
Remember your audience
Though you may want to show off your new vocabulary the first chance you get, save it for a professional paper or academic piece where it will be appreciated.
Cathleen V is a multi-talented writer with experience in many different fields. She focuses on tutorial, content, blog and article writing for small and medium business management and development, content optimization and marketing, arts businesses, crafts, agriculture, science, construction and home improvement, homesteading arts, food, nutrition and natural health. She is a top 1% content writer out of over 22,000.