It’s the age of communication, and there seems to be no getting away from it. And with social media being a permanent and inescapable part of our lives, nothing can drive this point home more.
But are we unequipped to deal with the sudden requirement for us to sound intelligent no matter what we do? We have to comment on a friend’s status update. We have to tweet at our favorite celebrity. We have to find that perfect caption for our latest Instagram picture. And what about those lovely people who seem to login to various sites purely to correct other’s mistakes in spelling or grammar? How do we possibly escape them? And let’s not even begin on how we have to reply to our boss’ emails at work in the most diplomatic way possible.
The trick is simple really. We have to do that one thing our English teacher in school kept telling us to do – improve our vocabulary! (And this holds true for all languages by the way, not just English).
So all those years of ignoring our teacher seem to be coming back to bite us in the, err, rear, while our old teachers are sitting at home probably creating fake profiles just so that they can correct us in public domains. (Dear teacher, that was a joke, not an invitation to do so)
So, here’s how you can fight back, and improve that vocabulary!
1. Use the dictionary
Sorry. There’s no getting around this one. Unfortunately, if we don’t understand what a word means, we can’t use it correctly. The good news is that you don’t have to lug around the actual book though. Just download any dictionary app, and use it every time you come across a word you don’t quite understand.
2. Read more
Ok, sure, the last time you were told this, you probably had a mountain of text books in front of you. But here too, there is good news. It doesn’t matter what you read, just that you cultivate reading as a habit. So, cultivate away, but towards your individual tastes and interests, whether that’s the latest automobile magazine, Bollywood gossip column, Harry Potter book, or even an Archies comic, or Tinkle digest! Even newspapers, political blog posts, sports magazines, industry journals, or a self-help book count. Though you should draw the line at Whatsapp forwards. Those don’t count. Just 20 minutes a day is more than enough!
3. Play word games
Yes, you read that correctly. And it works too! It doesn’t matter whether the games are in a newspaper, or puzzle book, or board game, or even on an app on your phone. Crosswords, word jumbles, Scrabble, they all help you keep your word count up!
4. Stop using the word ‘very’
Unfortunately, the word ‘very’ has a tendency to become a bit of a crutch for those suffering from a poor vocabulary. We miss out on using so many alternative ways of expressing things just by hiding behind this one little word. ‘Very angry’ could be ‘furious’, ‘very pretty’ could be ‘gorgeous’, and ‘very bad’ could be ‘atrocious’. Our language tends to become a bit colorless and bland if get used to just using ‘very’ everywhere.
5. Don’t think you’re too old to learn
Just because you’re no longer in school, doesn’t mean you know everything. And it also doesn’t mean that you should. Every situation you face in life will try to teach you something, you just have to be open to it. And even teachers themselves should be constantly learning new things. Don’t use age as an excuse, but rather as an opportunity!
But above all else, never be ashamed for where you stand in terms of your knowledge. As long as you are working to better yourself, you are the master of your fate. Don’t forget, no one out there is perfect, and we are all learning something every day. The power is in realizing this, and staying humble. More power to you!