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The Importance of Vocabulary in Writing

Every good mechanic has a toolbox full of tools. Some tools are used more than others, but every one has
a specific purpose. In much the same way, writers have a “toolbox.” This “toolbox” is constantly growing
and is filled with items like grammar, punctuation, and capitalization rules; figurative language; rhyme;
rhythm; and…vocabulary. Just as really good mechanics can pull out the right tools to make a good engine
even more powerful, good writers can pull out the right tools at the right time to make good writing even
more powerful. One tool that can “power up” your writing is a strong vocabulary.

Why is a Strong Vocabulary Important?

We use spoken and written words every single day to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions to
those around

us. Sometimes we communicate successfully, and sometimes we’re not quite so successful. “That’s not
what I meant!” becomes our mantra (an often repeated word or phrase). However, a good vocabulary
can help us say what we mean.

Let’s say that you are outside in your yard and see a large black car stop in the road. You can see four
tinted windows on one side of the car, and you assume there are four tinted windows on the other side,
too. Just then, the driver’s door opens, and a man wearing white gloves steps out. He walks to the back
of the car and looks underneath. He shrugs his shoulders, climbs back into the car, and drives away.

After you remember to close your mouth, which has been hanging open, you run next door to tell your
friend what you saw. What do you say? If you know a couple of key words, you can quickly explain to this
person what you saw. Instead of describing the number of windows and the length of the car, you could
simply say that you saw a black limousine (a long, luxurious car). Then, instead of describing the man with
the white gloves, you could say you saw the chauffeur (someone paid to drive a car or limousine) walk to
the back of the car. Knowing these key words can help you quickly and effectively communicate your
meaning.

More info on Descriptive Writing

When you’re faced with a writing assignment, a good vocabulary is an indispensable (very important or
necessary) tool. If you have several synonyms (words with similar meanings) in your repertoire

For example. the first way you can develop one is with a couple of tools: a thesaurus and a dictionary. is for me to look the words up in a dictionary to be certain of their meanings. A thesaurus (a resource that lists synonyms and antonyms of words) is a helpful tool. Ways that having a strong vocabulary helps when writing include: being able to choose more descriptive words to help your reader envision what you are describing. being able to adapt your writing for your audience (e. BETTER: People perform a lot of tasks. creating more variety in paragraphs and sentences with vocabulary words which keep your reader interested in what you have to say. tricky. analyze. use strong verbs that give the reader good information. but it is essential (very important and necessary) that you use a dictionary along with it. I want a more descriptive word than “difficult. Also.g.. The next step.sense of the meanings of each word. intricate.” What other word could I use? A thesaurus might give me choices like these: complex. These words do not give the reader a good sense of your meaning. imagine that I want to say that putting an engine together is difficult. simpler words for children and more complex words for college students). More info on Sentence Variety Increasing Your Vocabulary If you don’t have a strong vocabulary yet. and thorny. or solve . Here’s an example: POOR: People do a lot of things. The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary gives these definitions (among others): complex: hard to separate. However. though? That’s where a dictionary comes in. then.(“toolbox”). you’ll be able to choose the best word for the job. Do I know what those words mean. Avoid vague words like “stuff” or “things” when you write. Outer Space Vocabulary Writing Prompt Writing prompts that include specific vocabulary words can be powerful skill boosters.

Listen for them in the world around you. Try to incorporate interesting words into your journal entry for the day (or week). and keep your writer’s “toolbox” full! The Importance Of Teaching And Learning Vocabulary English Language Essay . Write down the sentences that you hear. a teacher. the word “intricate” seems to be a great choice.intricate: having many complexly interrelating parts or elements tricky: requiring skill. Who doesn’t love playing games? And these games have the added benefit of helping you add to your writer’s “toolbox. And working one-on-one with a Time4Writing teacher is a great way to get feedback on your writing. The context can help you guess the meanings of the words and can give you a good sense of how they’re used. If you’re not sure if you’re using the word correctly. Work on developing and strengthening your vocabulary. The thesaurus and dictionary have saved the day and have helped me develop my vocabulary! Another way to develop a strong vocabulary is to read books with rich vocabulary.” Do you have difficulty with homophones (words that sound alike)? Then try these homophone games. and write down the sentences you find. These books will help you see the words in context (in their natural settings). Write down words that you don’t know and look them up. knack. and try to use them in your speaking and writing. Be sure to pay attention to vocabulary words as you read. Learning the meanings of root words is another way you can strengthen your vocabulary skills. Study these words when you can. so try these games and see what you know. ask a parent. Putting an engine together can definitely be intricate work. Another good idea is to keep a word journal. including your vocabulary. or a brainy friend. You can even bone up on synonyms (words with similar meanings). You can find hundreds of ways to build your vocabulary. or caution thorny: full of difficulties or controversial points Notice that each word has a slightly different meaning. Which meaning seems to work best when talking about an engine? Since an engine has many complexly interrelating (connected together like a puzzle) parts. Try to find them elsewhere. Vocabulary games are another great way to develop your vocabulary. These games will help you practice new concepts in a fun and lasting way. My choice is made. Strengthening your vocabulary doesn’t have to be boring! Time4Writing can Help Online courses like Time4Writing’s mechanics and writing courses have interactive games like the vocabulary ones in the above links.

and teachers have not recognized the tremendous importance of helping their students to develop an extensive vocabulary. speaking. listening comprehension. we discover that for a long time. English used teaching approaches such as Direct Method and Audiolingualism which emphasized the primary importance of teaching grammatical structures. The teacher has an essential role in helping students to improve their vocabulary. The more words students learn. 2015 Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. Vocabulary is the main tool for the students in their attempt to use English effectively. on the main reasons for which students often forget the words they learn and on some techniques which help them remember the vocabulary. Unfortunately. Any opinions. on what makes words difficult.PRINT REFERENCE THIS Published: 23rd March. conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays. they were limited and related to the grammar structures taught. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. If we look back in the past. . when watching a movie without subtitle or when listening to a favorite English song. They usually consider speaking and writing activities exhausting because they keep on using the same expressions and words and very soon their conversation is abruptly interrupted due to missing words. vocabulary teaching has not been enough responsive to such problems. Why is Vocabulary Important? Talking about the importance of vocabulary. I noticed the fact that students usually find it difficult to speak English fluently. writing. Vocabulary represents one of most important skills necessary for teaching and learning a foreign language. Most learners. acknowledge the importance of vocabulary acquisition. the linguist David Wilkins argued that: "without grammar little can be conveyed." Indeed. And the main reason for such communication problems is the lack of vocabulary. when reading a text or when writing a letter to a friend. Other students are confronted with the problem of forgetting the words immediately after the teacher has elicited their meaning or after they have looked them in the dictionary. too. the easier they memorize them. In what follows. findings. spelling and pronunciation. and this also a cause of the lack of vocabulary. When confronted with a native English speaker. the focus of this introductory chapter will be on why vocabulary is important. Since the accent was on grammar. people need to use words in order to express themselves in any language. without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed. students will always need to operate with words. few words were introduced in such courses and most often. It is the basis for the development of all the other skills: reading comprehension. In my experience as a teacher.

An example of this would be "sensible. What Makes English Vocabulary Difficult In English. but are used in different expressions. The English syllabus is organized around both vocabulary and grammar structures. variable stress of words such as "necessary" and "necessity" can add to their difficulty. for instance. there was a major change in teaching English. An example in this case would be the difference between "make" and "do. but completely different in meaning. Main Reasons Why Students Forget the Vocabulary Acquired ." while the English equivalent for "sensibil" is "sensitive. teachers usually have the necessary time to insist on teaching and practising vocabulary. to collocations and to word frequency. Many learners find that words with clusters of consonants such as "health" or "crisps" are problematic. The meaning of the words is another controversial feature of the English vocabulary." This demonstrates the crucial importance of allotting a special lesson for these false friends and of encouraging students to practise them as often as possible. Students were exposed to diverse vocabulary and speaking activities. The focus turned from the Direct Method and Audiolingualism to the Communicative Approach which emphasized the importance of teaching vocabulary. called "false friends". the Romanian equivalent for "sensible" is in fact "rational. Nevertheless." they will be astonished to find out that. A long word will be more difficult to memorize than a short one. Since there is a certain number of classes allotted for each item in the syllabus.By the beginning of 1970s. Easiest of all are the words more or less identical to the students' native language. Many words began being introduced during such courses and students were encouraged to express themselves as much as possible. like. You "make a decision"." Students might find the use of these two words confusing. Also. Another aspect that makes English vocabulary difficult is the pronunciation of certain words." While many students might confidently translate this word simply "sensibil." These words have the same meaning. since English has a list of some problematic words. like in any other foreign language. When two words overlap in meaning. Length or complexity of the words is another characteristic of the difficulty of English vocabulary. Vocabulary is no longer treated as an add-on and teachers become more aware of the importance of vocabulary and attention is paid to the grammar of words. Research shows that words that are difficult to pronounce are more difficult to learn." However. students still have difficulties in expressing themselves fluently and still consider speaking tasks exhausting. Nowadays. some words are easier to learn than others. These false friends are words identical in form to certain Romanian words. the word "vocabulary. students are likely to confuse them. students might be trapped in their confidence with which they memorize such identical words. but you "do homework. there is more freedom in choosing the methods to be used during English classes.

then better learning is likely to be achieved. This is the reason why teachers should avoid teaching lexical sets containing words that have similar meanings to the previously ones. Jeremy Harmer identifies two main reasons that cause forgetting: interference from subsequent learning and insufficient recycling. for example. Students might also try to apply the new words to their real life events or activities. Thus. The second cause that triggers forgetting is insufficient recycling of the vocabulary acquired. This happens most frequently when words are taught that are very similar to the ones recently acquired because. the fact that students forget vocabulary from one lesson to another. Unlike grammar learning which is based on a system of rules. because successful vocabulary learning involves something more than just holding words in your memory for some seconds. The working memory focuses on holding words long enough in your memory so that to be able to operate with them. However. It is a learning process that relies primarily on memory. it is not enough to simply repeat words and to reencounter them in their original context. What really helps is to recycle the words in different ways and at equal levels of depth. vocabulary knowledge implies accumulating individual items. demonstrates the fact that it is not enough to have a long-term memory. Research shows that frequent review of learnt material can dramatically reduce the rate of forgetting." Using such an association will certainly help students keeping words in their memory for longer periods of time. The short-term store is "the brain's capacity to hold a limited number of information items for periods of time up to a few seconds" (Harmer 23). the new words have the effect of "overwriting" the previously learnt material. not only do students need to learn as many words as possible. he will be able to easily memorize it by comparing it with another word from his long-term memory. Most teachers are aware of the fact that introducing a new vocabulary may imply forgetting the old one. Nevertheless. Techniques for Memorizing Vocabulary In order to be able to have a rich vocabulary. "knowledge" meaning "cunoastere. Thus. if a student comes across a new word such as "to acknowledge" which means "a recunoaste meritul cuiva". Learners are different in terms of how easily they memorize vocabulary. Finally.It is important that teachers insist on the practice of vocabulary because with all their best will. Unlike the working memory which has a limited capacity of holding words in the brain. but they also need to remember them because. researchers into the domain of memory distinguish three types of memory: short-term store. in fact. According to Jeremy Harmer. according to Harmer. It implies students' efforts and teachers' witty techniques when learning and . learning is remembering. the long-term memory has a tremendous capacity and its contents are durable over time. It is the kind of memory that relies on reasoning and logic. working memory. and long-term memory. Research argues that if learners use or encounter the words in a different way from that in which they first met them. students forget the words they learn. the long-term store is the most trustworthy kind of memory. Another important aspect when recycling certain words is for students to make sure that they really understand the meaning and the use of those words. it is the kind of memory that does not help students too much in their attempt to learn vocabulary items.

Considering that students are presented a new word list related to the topic entitled "travelling. they are likely to keep that word in their mind for longer time. This can be done in classroom as well as at home and will certainly entertain students and have positive results. Thus. repetition alone will not be effective. . The great challenge for language learners and teachers is to transform the material from quickly forgotten to the never forgotten. Repetition is an important technique in learning vocabulary. it is necessary that they be repeated at frequent periods of time. it has suggested methods and techniques that help to understand the new vocabulary by using the working memory and to transfer it in the long-term memory. It must be accompanied by the understanding of the meaning of those particular words and by correlation with other similar already learnt words. It is on vocabulary that all the other skills. the teachers' role is also valuable. Learners will acquire vocabulary easily if they practise it by associating words with events from their daily life.teaching vocabulary. And finally. Practising vocabulary is strongly connected to applying vocabulary to students' real life events. In the classroom." Learners will successfully memorize the word list by creating a real life event. speaking. This will help the learning process and will keep the words in the long-term memory. students need to be motivated to individually keep on using the new words until they are stored in the long-term memory. and listening are based and developed. students associate "travel agency" with the image of the particular building where we go to ask information about travelling. Another witty technique to be taken into consideration when both learning and teaching vocabulary is imaging. This chapter has shown why it is important to learn new words and why English vocabulary is difficult to memorize. it dealt with two main reasons for which most of the students permanently forget the words acquired. it is extremely important for the students to visualize the words they must learn. reading. At home. It has been designed a number of techniques meant to help learners efficiently memorize words and to help teachers make the process of learning easier for their students. In order for the words to be kept as long as possible in the memory. Students will easily learn new words if they are taught to associate them with their picture. for instance "going to Italy" and then performing a situation in which all the words can be included. However. vocabulary is the most required skill when learning a foreign language. In this case. Another important technique is using the newly learn words. writing. If. teachers should insist on pracising the news vocabulary by encouraging students to speak as much as possible and by designing vocabulary-centered activities and games. In conclusion. Moreover. for example.