More than awesome: 4 Easy ways to improve your vocabulary

 

A few Wednesdays ago at the #IFBchat we had the pleasure of having Ann from Holier than Now and Sharon  Graubard from Stylesight. It was such an informative chat and I absolutely learned from it. One thing Sharon  mentioned that she looked for in a blog is good vocabulary. Bloggers that stray away from calling everything “awesome” and “amazing”. I admit, I might be one of those individuals more often than I’d like to. Not because I don’t have good vocabulary, but because I subconsciously write in the same style I talk to my friends and well truth be told… Everything is usually “awesome” and “amazing”. It’s a hard habit to break but I suggest we all go out of our way and do it. Not only because it will be better for our articles, But to be professionals we should get use to good vocabulary in our everyday conversations. Believe me, people notice small details like that more than you think. For that reason it’s imperative to build up your vocabulary.  It truly is a syndrome, I’d like to call it the

 

“Awesome Syndrome”

It’s hard to shake, and I can tell you from personal experience it’s contagious sort of like “Potty Mouth” syndrome. But back to the topic, here are 3 ways you can slowly but surely improve your vocabulary.

 

4 easy ways to improve your vocabulary

  • Post-it’s: Hang post it’s on your computer or around your desk with words you heard that sounded appealing to you. Try neon ones! This will definitely stand out every time you sit down and blog.
  • Read your favorite fashion publications: Whether it be an novel or an issue of vogue, these are ideal places to find adjective hunting!
  • Thesaurus: This is a quick fixer-upper and probably the resource I use the most because it’s so quick and easy. My only tip regarding this is try to remember the new words you use to replace others.
  • Word of the day calendar or app: I know it sounds cheesy but it works! If you take 1 minute out of your day to look at the word on the calender and try to use it through out the day… SUCCESS! Also I have this app on my  iphone so it’s very convenient.

 

Put this to work on your blog! You will be happy you did. Do you have any tips or tricks to improve your vocabulary? What are some of your over used words and what do you replace them with?

 

 

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26 Responses

  1. Ashe Mischief

    Such a good point! I love seeing things described–truly described, and not just called “beautiful, gorgeous, amazing…”

    It really helps you talk about a piece if you can get away from the common words you use!

    Reply
    • Nubia Mejia

      Yes I agree. I have to force myself out of the habit but it’s one of those things where I’ve learned not to mind going out of my way. It’s for the greater good.

      Reply
  2. Tricia

    I highly recommend the “Vocab Junkie” app! The developers presented at a NY Tech Meetup a few months ago and I’ve been hooked since. Runs on the subway, great for commuting, and has made me realize I don’t really know the definition of a lot of words I thought I knew! Sad 🙂

    Reply
  3. TheStylishButterfly

    It’s true what you said about using “amazing” and “awesome”–sometimes they just roll off your tongue mindlessly. I personally found those words to be annoyingly overused so I try to avoid using them 99% of the time. I actually told my bf not to use “AWESOME” around me.lol. I love using the thesaurus for poetry writing…easier to rhyme!

    Reply
    • Nubia Mejia

      They roll out of my mouth all the time! With my close friends I don’t mind as much but for some reason but when it comes to describing garments or anything fashion related it’s upsetting.

      Reply
  4. Melissa

    Exactly!! And is it just me, or does every Cali girl use “dope” all the time… I get it, I get it, but it sometimes just seems a little off to refer to Chanel’s couture as “dope”. How about “elegant”, “ravishing”, or “exquisite”?

    Sometimes, it’s not even about the same words getting recycled until they’re trite, but it’s also that the connotations of the adjectives we use don’t really correspond well with the subject…

    Okay, rant over!! Love you all!!

    xxMelissa

    Reply
  5. blahblahbecky.co.uk

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    It’s so easy to say something is “cute/pretty/fierce/[insert generic blogging word here]” but I bore myself with those, never mind anyone else!

    Reply
  6. Madeleine Gallay

    The classic requirement for journalism is show don’t tell and language is everything.

    I think that falling into vernacular is a fatal flaw. Some magazine tweeters have fallen into the colloquial “kinds” “coulda” and it’s terrible. Maybe it’s lovely dialogue in a book but it doesn’t indicate someone who can actually play with language.

    And apart from the ironical posts, the simple “hate it” “love it” “swoon” do little to tell the story.

    I know many bloggers have tremendously interesting posts and do it their way. They may even be right but I think that stretching language and grammar you gain a lot of credibility.

    Reply
    • Nubia Mejia

      I agree. I’m not trying to say that vocabulary is absolutely EVERYTHING. However, I do think it’s essential to give a garment the credit it deserves and calling everything “awesome” doesn’t send that message.

      Also, I agree about the credibility.

      Reply
  7. lisa

    These are good tips, but I should point out that writing effectively for the web isn’t just about having an impressive vocabulary. Sure, it’s a step in the right direction to use adjectives other than “awesome” and “dope,” but you shouldn’t be too thesaurus-happy either. Why choose the word “utilize” when “use” works just fine?

    For that matter, I find that even adjectives like “chic,” “elegant,” “sophisticated” and “on-trend” get overused in fashion writing. Here’s a simple trick for getting out of an adjective rut: instead of trying to describe the whole look with one adjective, focus on the details. Why is the dress “beautiful”? Is it because of the waist-cinching silhouette? The bold pattern or high-quality fabrication? The pleats in the skirt? If you write about the details instead of resorting to one adjective, your writing instantly becomes 100x better.

    One final thought for those who’d like to improve their writing: proofread, proofread, proofread. By now my comment probably reads like an insufferably elitist rant about bad writing, but nonetheless it drives me nuts when people click Publish without fixing typos, missing words and grammatical errors. I tend to judge a blogger by these things more than by their vocabularies.

    Reply
    • Nubia Mejia

      That’s an excellent tip! Talking about details also gives people a better understanding about the garment you might be talking about. Sending people in the right direction is what I was going for. If we started talking about writing on the web we’d be here for days ha ha.

      I am FAR from being a great writer. My style is more conversational and I have a lot to work on. I do think exploring more adjectives still helps however. Thanks for your input! Great suugestion.

      Reply
  8. Joy

    “Awesome”! Oops..there it goes again 🙂
    Sorry, couldn’t help it.
    Excellent post though, Nubia. A gentle reminder for everyone.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Joy x

    Reply
    • Nubia Mejia

      Thank you lovely lady. Hope it helped some people remember to explore and try to improve their vocabulary more often.

      Reply
  9. HauteWorld

    I agree with Solo Lisa – describing why you like something always goes a long way, compared to merely saying that you like something. I think I’m more guilty of using ‘awesome/gorgeous/amazing’ in comments rather than my blog posts, which is bad as well. I generally keep a thesauraus handy when I’m blogging, but it’s definitely something that should be used in moderation. If it’s a highly technical word that doesn’t mesh at all with the rest of the writing style, you’re better off just using something more generic. I don’t want my posts to start sounding like my thesis!

    Reply
  10. kimmiepooh

    Great post. I’ve started keeping a thesaurus with me when I blog because I don’t want to overuse certain adjectives. It’s hard because of the tone I write in, but one of the things I am going to do is to work on describing an item with a little more detail.

    Valuable tips from both Nubia and in the comments!

    Reply
  11. Isabela Soares

    I always take a look at the Dictionary (the one that comes in Mac computers, haha) for synonyms. It is very useful 🙂

    x
    fusels.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. christina

    I totally agree with you people but what if you have to blog in a language that isnt yours? For example, my Greek (mother tongue)are way better than my English. So it is stressfull enough when i have to write in English, and consequently i often find myself writting in a style that doesnt trully express me 🙁
    VERY upsetting… and i admitt that using words such as chic, lovely or darling to describe an item is quite often the case… I hope i will improve with the time but let me tell you that i dont feel very proud for lowering the standards… 😛
    Thank u all so much for the tips, i ll try to them in mind
    xxx
    christina

    Reply
  13. Stevias

    great tips!
    i do find myself using the same words such as lovely, cute, chic, pretty, over and over again and altho I’m not proud of myself for that, i couldn’t think of better words!

    Reply
  14. Lou Jones

    My tips would be – reading the high-end fashion publications is really important, including the latest runway reports. These describe predicted trends in so many different ways. It will also help if you know about brands and their history, their aesthetic, and just a general knowledge of fashion trends through the ages. This kind of knowledge will give bones to what you write. Try watching a live runway show (use youtube) and write about it afterwards. See how you do. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Kali

    I love this idea. I’ll be the first to admit my vocabulary isn’t the most exciting. I’ll actually have to take these ideas into my daily life. Wish me luck!

    Reply