My #1 English vocabulary rule

As students move up the years in high school, they are expected to use more and more complex vocabulary, but this leads to a pet peeve of mine: inappropriate/incorrect vocabulary. 

Frustrated Cat

Essays that use incorrect or inappropriate language frustrate me because: 

  1. you’re using the wrong word,
  2. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say,
  3. I think you can write it in a simpler, clearer way.

This leads me to my #1 rule when it comes to English vocabulary: 

Only use words you understand completely.

This means: 

  • don’t use a word you only think you know
  • don’t use a word because you think it looks/sounds impressive
  • don’t use a word just because you found it in a thesaurus 

So, how can you make sure you understand a word completely? You need to: 

  • look it up in a (proper) dictionary and read all the definitions, 
  • know what kind of word it is (noun/verb/adjective/adverb),
  • try and find examples of it in use, 
  • ask someone who would know the word

Remember: frustrated teachers are harsh markers! 

~Shirlaine

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