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Did you know that the size of a person’s vocabulary is directly related to their professional ranking? One particular study shows that scores on a vocabulary test administered within a corporation of 500+ people directly correlated with their positions within the company. Without a single exception, the higher up the professional ladder, the higher the scores on the vocabulary test. Without a single exception. Isn’t that crazy?

But, a large vocabulary does more than help you land your dream job; it opens up the ability to communicate better with others–and of course, helps you write with more aplomb!

Knowing the correct word to use, how to use it, and when to use it are crucial to the writing process.

It has been said that with every new word you learn, you will understand about 8-10 other words that directly relate to the word that was learned.

Here are a few ways to increase your vocabulary:

1) If you are speaking with someone and they use a word you do not know, ask them what it means.

2) When you are reading and you come across a word you do not know, look it up in the dictionary, write it down, and then use it at least five times that day. Review it the next day. Commit it to memory.

We heard a true story of a cab driver in New York City who started reading the dictionary and teaching himself new words while waiting for his next passenger. This man literally created a larger vocabulary for himself, fifty or a hundred times over. He went on to own the cab company he used to drive for! Don’t underestimate the power of words.

If you learn one new word a day, that’s 365 new ways of understanding the world in one year. If you incorporate the “rule of associated words,” that’s a potential 3,650 new “understandings” a year! Whoa! The writing world is yours!

I have a few handy books for vocabulary: Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder and The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins by Phil Cousineau.

Enjoy becoming a better writer with your new and improved vocabulary!

Happy April,