Why Looking Up New Words Should Matter To A Writer

If You Leave Words Alone, They Will Let You Be.

There were times when while reading a book, I pretended I knew every word that I came across. I glanced at unfamiliar strong words and passed by – completely ignoring them. I didn’t want my reading to be slowed down by stopping to check a word or write a note. It happened to the extent that I had words I was very familiar with at a glance but did not know their meaning. It’s funny.

Ignoring New Words While Reading Is Wrong.

When I became serious with my writing – that was about four years ago, I realized how much I needed these strong words to come into my work.

Presently, I have a jotter which I carry about for reading periods and also a big static notebook where I record the details of every damn strong word, with the origin and application in place. That’s just by the way.

What About You? Do you glance at and pass new words too because you think looking up words is unprofessional?

The thing is, we all need this continual vocabulary building.

Whether you’re an English words hotshot, a perfect Native English Speaker, have mastered or still mastering the English Language,  we all need to study each new word we come across including those we think we know but don’t – ‘I know it but can’t explain it’ words.

What Are You Suppose To Know About Words You Come Across?

It’s not enough to know the meaning of a word. It’s important that you know everything that surrounds the word. For that’s the only way you can be able to use the word properly.

Some words have a history – how they came to be, when and where they were first spoken and by whom.

Check if it’s a borrowed word and know the origin. Is it a Greek, Latin or French word?

Know the application– how the word, should appear in a sentence and when.

Strong Words Play Great Roles In Writing

In communication, listening, speaking, reading and writing are all involved and when we talk about good communication, we talk about robust – strong vocabulary. No communication can be good enough without well-developed strong vocabulary.

Writers communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings through speaking and writing, to listeners and readers. During this process, writers are supposed to achieve a smooth, successful speech and work – clearly explained and understood by listeners or readers.

But when the communication path is bumpy and full of potholes due to lack of good vocabulary, you find it hard to say what you mean.

You will definitely write one thing and mean another. When confronted might say, “oh no, that’s not what I meant” or “sorry, that didn’t come out right”

√ A good vocabulary will help you say or write what you truly mean. It helps you with the keywords to clearly and effectively communicate your idea.

√ A good vocabulary gives you the ability to use descriptive words that give the readers and listeners the opportunity to use their imagination to get to what you’re describing.

√ It gives you the ability to speak or write for any kind of audience; children, college students, Professors, etcetera, without much difficulty.

√ Listeners and readers are interested in what you do with words, the way you use good vocabulary to create more variety in paragraphs and sentences captivates them.

Keep Building Good Vocabulary

In case you do not know the tools for building up your vocabulary yet, here they are:

  • Standard English Dictionary And Thesaurus
  • Strong Vocabulary Books to ead
  • Vocabulary Notebook to note down new words.
  • Vocabulary games; check google play for a good game for this.


You might be tempted to ignore strange words while reading, because you won’t want to be slowed down or because the book is so captivating that you won’t want to do any other thing than read.

Do not ignore unfamiliar words you come across, note them down and look them up later paying attention to spellings, phonics, origin, meaning, part of speech it belongs to and application.

Be careful with using just the thesaurus for words because sometimes the synonymous words are slightly different from each other and may not sit well in the position of its synonym. Check the meaning in the dictionary before use.

In Conclusion

What makes the difference between you and another writer is how you use words to make your readers picture your idea and captivate their interest. Your good vocabulary helps you to achieve this target.

Don’t give up on building your vocabulary each day.

© Florence Ezekafor

10 thoughts on “Why Looking Up New Words Should Matter To A Writer”

  1. very interesting and insightful post… I never expected to come across a post in which someone would refer to an experience i have every day as a writer… most times i feel reluctant checking new or uncertain words… but I’m happy I end up searching them anyway, and learning something new.. its interesting, and should be developed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your closing lines says it all. I find the post really informative and helpful…and true.
    Personally, I consider it a slap on the face when I come across an English word I don’t know (maybe it’s my discipline as a student of English). There are two apps on all my gadgets that I can’t do without: my bible and a standard offline dictionary. Each time I come across a strange word, I don’t feel good until I check up the meaning. I then make conscious effort to use them in my expressions, and in the right context.
    Even a language that doesn’t accommodate new expressions (stagnant) is bound to die a certain death.

    Liked by 2 people

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