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Why you should expand your vocabulary

Updated: Aug 27, 2023


It was a weekly affair in secondary school - after getting our composition scripts back, we would exchange and read, bouncing words and ideas off one another. That was one of the words I fondly recall. Sepulchral.

My upper secondary life was a contrast to the fictional worlds I inhabit; I loved writing stories with dark tones and the word was perfect. It's also a word I would use to describe students' willingness to explore and create. Other than the very practical chasing of grades, there are other reasons why you should not neglect your words.


Vocabulary increases critical thinking skills

“A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one’s vocabulary and the greater one’s awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one’s thinking.”

―Henry Hazlitt

"The powerful intellect leashed by an impoverished vocabulary is a myth. Without a vocabulary, a language, the intellect cannot develop.”

―T. Geronimo Johnson


Vocabulary increases knowledge

The limits of my language are the limits of my universe.”


“Knowledge of things and knowledge of words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.”

—Henry Hazlitt


Of course, no one is asking for archaic or obscure words like peregrinate or octogenarian. However, arming yourself with just a small list of synonyms for basic verbs is essential. I've put some practical suggestions up on my Instagram.

I'll end off with some words from Christopher Hitchens who succinctly captures my pet peeve.

Many parents and teachers have become irritated to the point of distraction at the way the weed-style growth of 'like' has spread through the idiom of the young. And it's true that in some cases the term has become simultaneously a crutch and a tic, driving out the rest of the vocabulary as candy expels vegetables.

—Christopher Hitchens

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