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Importance of Vocabulary in Commercial Writing

improve your vocabularyThis is a guest post by Neeraj.

Non-native writers such as me find lack of vocabulary to be a major hindrance for exceptional writing. Anyone can learn to write, and if you put your mind to it, you can make money writing. When writing, knowing and using strong vocabulary will double the amount you will earn in an hour.

Vocabulary adds glamour and panache to a well structured article. Consider these two examples:

Example 1: When I first started working, we didn’t have all the fresh technological services that make today’s business world move at such a fast pace.

Example 2: When I first entered the workforce, we didn’t have all the modern technological conveniences that assist rapid evolution within today’s business world.

As you may notice, these two passages have minor differences, but the second sounds more concise, concrete and succinct. Examples such as these highlight the importance of good vocabulary, which is an essential part of good writing – technical or non-technical. Many employers prefer freelancers that have a strong command of their language, and good vocabulary is an essential filtering criterion. Research has shown that people are more likely to be judged as competent and smart if they possess and use good vocabulary.

Mastering a language can be difficult and time-intensive process. The process requires constant practice and devotion to learning, speaking and writing in the language you wish to master. It would be misleading to suggest that you could expert any language within certain time-frame. Vocabulary can be difficult to master, but it can be done and it has been done. When I first got interested in checking the extent of my knowledge, I looked for approximate number of words I knew (Test Your Vocabulary) , which turned out to be approximately 23,500 words. (You can check yours too; feel free to share it in comments section below!). 3 months on, as I prepare for my GRE exam, my vocabulary stands at 33,000 words. This is a dramatic yet expected increase.
These 5 tips will help you achieve high vocabulary, as they helped me:

1. Read

The first and most important step towards stronger vocabulary – Read. You can start by reading a book a week. This can be tough challenge if you have little free time, but try and capitalize on any travel time you may have. It is recommended to carry a book with you at all times, and read it while you are on a bus, in a train or simply waiting to meet someone. A couple of pages here and there can really add new words to your vocabulary. For example, if you read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, you can easily pick up more than 20 unique words in 2 pages.

2. Comprehend What You Read

Do you ever eat food just to fill your stomach? Would it be better to eat something if it tastes good as well as fills you up? Reading is similar to eating. You should understand and comprehend what you read, allowing you to appreciate the words and overall message of the text.  Try and picture the word in your mind, create a story around it, and let the word sink in deep in your psyche.

3. Focused Learning

Many people disagree with the notion of ‘learning a language’, as it suffocates its true appreciation. Like me, many of you didn’t speak your first words in English. So focused learning becomes important. Follow this simple tip: Open a random page in the dictionary, and note down a word and its meaning. Do this process 5 times, and do this every day. Within 3 months, you will know over 400 new words, and if you are curious enough, you could double up your vocabulary arsenal in time.

4. Don’t Know a Word? Figure It Out

This is an excellent way to ‘attack’ new text without dictionary. Understanding a word in context, and if necessary, breaking it down makes reading fun. Consider this example:

He ceased his impersonation and permitted himself something nearly approaching a grin.

If you don’t know the meaning of the word impersonation, look around it, and break the word down. Im-person-ation. Person refers to something personal in nature; -ation is usually sign of an action, and Im- suggests opposite of something. So impersonation refers to an action suggesting taking something personal and using it, opposite to original intention. In actual, impersonation is defined as ‘pretending to be another person’, which contains all 3 aspects described above.

If the word is still confusing, you can use the context surrounding the word to comprehend it.

5. Read Some More

This step cannot be emphasized enough. Improving vocabulary rests entirely on the extent to which you are willing to work and the extent to which you are willing to read. If you see an excellently written blog post, bookmark it and read the whole blog. Read dailies and anything that improves your vocabulary. This is a never-ending process, so buckle down and pick up some text to read.

Hopefully, these tips will prove instrumental in enhancing an important part of your writing. Remember, you are judged by the quality of your writing, so why not improve it?

Neeraj Sachdeva is a blogger who uses psychology to write about Freelancing and Self-Improvement, often together. You can find his take on The Art of Persuasion as well as his latest post on The Essence of Friendship over at The Next Goal, part of WBB Survivor contest.

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Category: writing

29 Comments on "Importance of Vocabulary in Commercial Writing"

  1. Lekan Esan says:

    In fact, many a times when I write articles, I keep reading over many times to correct my vocabulary. Your article has lighted a path that i would always follow. Thanks.

    • Hey Lekan. That is the best way to ‘improve’ what you write. I often find myself editing the article, looking for ways in which I can improve the sentence flow and highlight extenuating sentences. It can be time consuming, but trust me, its worth the effort!

  2. Anwar says:

    Hi Onibalusi, Thanks for the another Great Post

    i am also trying to improve my Vocabulary, Now am daily spending few hours for reading at http://wordzo.com, It was an awesome tool for improving the vocabulary

  3. Harry Sehgal says:

    Nicely Explained Oni. I will try to Improve my Vocabulary by following your Post Points.

  4. Shamelle says:

    Hi,
    It can be even more difficult when the language you blog in, is not your first language. I am from Sri Lanka, and when I started blogging, about 8 years ago! it was really difficult weave all those words together.
    Good points. I think I improved a lot by reading more than anything else. Writing also helps too. The longer you are at it, the better it would be.

    What’s important is that you make it a priority and focus as an area to improve.

    regards
    Shamelle

    • Shamelle, you are quite right. Reading makes a lot of difference. I remember trying to read ‘The Antichrist’ but Nietzsche, and it was very difficult to read. Usually, I can read at over 400 words a minute, but I could only get as far as 200 words a minute, there was so much interesting and incomprehensible matter in the book.

      Yes, when you write in your non-native language, it can be difficult, but here’s a shortcut: Concentrate reading a few blogs that are in your niche, you will pick up related words from those very quickly. Good luck 🙂

  5. Mark Aylward says:

    Oni
    At the top of this post you have your name listed, yet at the bottom you cite Neeraj? Who wrote this? Just curious.
    Also, I happen to have been raised in a family where reading and writing were highly respected and, as such, have a strong command of the English language.
    My challenge is that many of the online marketing pundits will tell you NOT to use big words because your audience may be confused or alienated by them.
    I personally like and respect those that have a strong command of any language, but I think attention needs to be paid to the make-up of ones audience and the ease with which people can read and comprehend your content.
    Having said all that, I really enjoyed the post!
    Cheers
    Mark

    • Onibalusi says:

      That sucks! Now fixed 🙂

    • I missed that too! Glad we have that sorted now!

      I agree with your point. Blog posts are often directed towards those whom you are trying to ‘educate’. So choppy sentences with emphasized and capitalized words work wonders, unlike strong vocabulary.

      However, you will often find that the strategy of using ‘common’ language fails in academic, business and technical pieces, which demand a strong command on the base language along with aptitude to pick out related words.

      Most importantly, thanks for your kind words 🙂

  6. Hello Neeraj,thanks for this insightful article,truly the largest room is the room for improvement.I believe improvement in every area of life should be continuous.Somebody said, the day we stop learning, we begin to die. All it takes to really improve on anything is a strong desire.

  7. I agree with some of this. However, speaking from an editor’s POV, I have to say that your second sentence (in the first section) makes your writing sound like someone whose first language isn’t English. One thing to remember about online writing, is that you have to be clear and write in simple (not dumb or affected) language.

    Affected language can be equally destructible. Thankfully, today all PCs have good writing tools. Synonyms are just a right click away.

  8. Trung Nguy?n says:

    Yeah, I’m a non-native writer and I find that these tips really useful to me. Thanks so much, Neeraj Sachdeva.

  9. sam @ goa carnival says:

    Hi,

    Nice Info to follow in blogger profile these are the very true points to apply whenever any blogger doing blog post or commenting on blog because all things are depend on originality and point #4 and #5 are very accurate for improve our “Vocabulary” skills.

  10. santhosh says:

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing this info. I will visit your blog again to check your new articles.

  11. Mart says:

    Vocabulary is important for any language. If you have good vocabulary then only you can write great articles.

  12. Ryan Sprout says:

    Hi Oni,
    These are great points.
    Some great resources for vocabulary are elements of style by Strunk and E.B. White and Spunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik. Both shows you writing strategies to lift words out of the writing to come to life.

    • Neeraj Sachdeva says:

      Hey Ryan, Thanks for the kind words. The Elements of style is old, but still very relevant and interesting! Thank you for bringing it up!

    • Onibalusi says:

      Funny since I just purchased The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I’ll try giving some time to read it when I’m less busy 🙂

    • CFA says:

      Thanks Ryan for sharing this…

      Great job also Oni and Neeraj

      • Ryan Sprout says:

        Anytime, Spunk & Bite has a very non-conventional style to writing, geared towards the Y-generation!

  13. Hey Neeraz,,thanks for the great guest post. Really fully support you on this topic. Writing is just decorated if we use vocabulary.

  14. Atish says:

    Great post Oni. Loved it

  15. Ardorm says:

    Hey, this was a great post!

    But why would I enjoy the second sentence more? o_O

    Give me a blog written in the second way and I will un-subscribe in a minute (unless it has a good content). 🙂

    I never read every word of the blog post (this doesn’t go the same with the books, though). I glance at some of the words, scroll down, glance again and get the “message”. It surely won’t be that easy when I have to read “Smart” words. In fact, it will be the same as sitting in the literature class and listening to another boring poem…

    But I agree that Vocabulary is necessary, because you have to possess a wide range of words with the similar meaning in order to make your post diversive and more interesting to read.

    • Neeraj Sachdeva says:

      Hey Ardorm, thanks for the feedback!

      The second line sounds more succinct and appeals to the business-side of our customers. Remember, I did not restrict this article for blog posts only, it applies to all forms of writing. If you try and write a 1000 word article, you cannot keep using ‘also’ in every paragraph, you have to structure it so that it can hold a reader’s interest.

      Remember, vocabulary is not just about using big words, its also about using ‘different’ smaller words.

      • Ardorm says:

        Well, you got the point. 🙂

        In business you always have to talk and write using strictly intelligent language. I guess I don’t like that and prefer “Simple” version just because I was born this way 😀

  16. Hey Neeraj,
    I really admire and appreciate your firm and well fabricated tips on how to improve your vocabulary,that was really profound.I am still working on it and this is my daily basis task,because i think that increasing your vocabulary is not a time bound thing,it is really a vast subject and it needs your complete determination,continue practice and ease to learn.

    Thank you for sharing such a great,valuable,important and considerable content with us.

    Good Luck and God Bless!!
    Best Regards!
    Samuel Joshua

    • Neeraj Sachdeva says:

      Thank you Samuel, its my pleasure to post here. Thank to Oni for giving me the opportunity to share my opinions on writing!

  17. David Frankk says:

    I think proper English (including grammar and vocab) is very important for good blogging.. If not followed it gives a bad impression of the writer..!

  18. Sunil says:

    Your self-opinionated suggestion about mastering with strong, powerful vocabulary doesn’t rule out the proximity of (creating) grandiloquence to (an oddly esoteric, vague) sentence, much to the annoyance of readers. To me, essence of best and most readable writing lies in the beauty of its simplification, much agreeable to the comprehension quotient of readers. In a nutshell, simple and easy writing always trumps readership influx. That’s why; sites like HowStuffWorks, Copyblogger, Meshable exist with flying colors. More than vocabulary, its choice of words that determine creativity of your writing. For me, it’s way too easier to type a vocabulary-ridden article than writing a meaningful, easy-to-understand piece of write-up.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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