3 Simple Steps to Improve Your Vocabulary for Better Essay Writing

When youΓÇÖre writing your essays, have you found yourself struggling to think of the right word to convey an idea, concept, or sentiment? All writers come to the point where we wish we had a better command of the English language, whether itΓÇÖs for essay writing, writing a letter, or an email. The breadth and depth of your vocabulary play an important part in your ability to communicate clearly and concisely. Otherwise, you may include words or phrases in your writing that donΓÇÖt quite have the same impact.

Here are three tips on how to improve your vocabulary as a means for improving your essay writing abilities.

1. Learn a new word each day.

There are various sources you can use to expand your vocabulary, from thesauruses to online word-of-the-day services like Dictionary.com. Crossword puzzles, word games such as Scrabble and just merely reading more are other methods for coming into contact with new words. By keeping to one new word a day, you wonΓÇÖt become overwhelmed. YouΓÇÖll be more likely to learn and remember a single word than a list.

When youΓÇÖre learning a new word, make sure you learn the definition and the appropriate usage in the context of a sentence. Say it out loud and incorporate it in a conversation with someone. Keep a list of your new words so you can refer to them from time to time to brush up on your retention.

2. Find the right new word for you.

Be practical when you’re choosing your word of the day. Use words that are of use to you in your daily life and in the courses you are studying. Go beyond the everyday jargon and clichés to find better and more precise ways to express the topics of your day or the subjects you’re studying. This will give you words that you can incorporate into your conversations and writing immediately. Make sure that when you use these words, you use them in the proper context, so your communications flow.

3. Learn the word as soon as you see it.

Quite often, the first thing we do when we see a new word is to skip over it and try to understand it just as a matter of context instead of learning the real meaning of the word. As soon as you come across a new word, whether you are reading or playing a game, write it down, look it up, and say the word and the definition out loud. Make a point to circle any new words you encounter within the text of another paper or book you may be reading. Here is a word to get you started. Look up neologism right now!

An expanded vocabulary will help you adhere to the guidelines of your essay writing for aspects like word count and formatting style. Your professor will assign you a specific word count range as well as the MLA, APA, or some other format. With a varied vocabulary, you can often find words that will help you hammer a point home without going through a lengthy, descriptive explanation of multiple words. This helps not only with your overall word count but also with the truncated word count for things like a running head for your specific formatting style.

For more information about APA or MLA formats, contact us today.


David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. 

Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).

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