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This exceptional article reveals three important benefits from increasing your vocabulary: It sharpens your communication, opens your mind, and gets you results. He says a person’s vocabulary level is the best single predictor of occupational success. At the bottom of his article is a link to Ten Sure-Fire Strategies to Improve Your Vocabulary. 

There is no greater indictment, in my mind, of the level of intelligence of someone than the language, grammar, and words they use. Sadly, in North America, we find news anchors dropping their G’s – killin’ and likin’ and hopin’ and so on, and the grammar quality continues to sink to ever lower levels. Words are made up on the fly and nobody seems to blink an eye. And if you do happen to correct someone’s pathetic “YOUR going to like this” or “It’s bigger THEN anything I have seen,” you’re instantly attacked and labelled “Grammar Police.” North Americans now use “digged” instead of “dug” and other toddler language to get by.

Here’s how I work on improving my vocabulary. I am voracious reader and I write three articles a week, so I use an online Dictionary and Thesaurus when I write. There are plenty of useful tools online. Also, I read from my Sony eReader, so that by simply touching a word I get instant access to a thesaurus and dictionary in my eReader.

I love reading books by P.G. Wodehouse and (of course) I prefer British writers to American writers. Christopher Hitchens is another author whose excellent prose require access to my lovely eReader’s dictionary and thesaurus. He wrote, “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.”

I challenge you to read “Amsterdam” by Ian McEwan and not check your dictionary every two of three  pages. To me, reading a great author is like eating ice cream. With sprinkles. And chocolate sauce. It is an oasis in a desert of drought and deficiency.

J. K. Rowling wrote, “The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.”

Television shows and movies will also help or hurt your vocabulary – compare Downton Abbey with No Country for Old Men. And of course the people with whom you spend time contribute massively to your vocabulary. Or detract from it. Evelyn Waugh wrote, “One forgets words as one forgets names. One’s vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die.”

They say that first impressions are lasting impressions, and as soon as someone starts talking, we consciously and subconsciously label them.

At the age of 61, I am painfully aware of my own language limitations, and so I deem my continued self-education to be essential and urgent.

Robin Elliott Leverageadvantage.com

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