“Research and write a biography of a person you admire.” Unintimidated, my fourth-grade classmates and I named and studied our heroes, both living and long-gone. One picked Muhammad Ali. Another wrote about Florence Nightingale. Quite a few boys fixated on Walter Payton.
I chose Noah Webster. Word teacher. Language lover. Dictionary creator.
So, ask me if I value vocabulary. I do.
Now, ask me if you should build your vocabulary.
I’ll hesitate. I’ll question your motives.
A bigger vocabulary is not necessarily better.
If your goal is to become a better communicator, learning more words may not be your best bet. Instead, invest time and energy in using plain, ordinary words for greatest impact. That means:
Good communication is not about knowing a lot of words. It’s about knowing the right words—and using them well.
But what if you do need more words?
All that said, you still may want to expand your vocabulary. Here are five good reasons to learn new words: