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.
Essays that use incorrect or inappropriate language frustrate me because:
- you’re using the wrong word,
- I don’t understand what you’re trying to say,
- 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.
- 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!