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silverangel's avatar

How to use the English vocabulary words that you already have? (Details inside)

Asked by silverangel (939points) September 26th, 2011

I always wanted to write novels, I read a lot by the way, I have a great deal of sophisticated vocabulary, I don’t find a problem in understanding it when reading but when I try to write a narrative, for example, I don’t remember using it. So, is there a technique that I can use to force myself to remember the words I have in that narrative?

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11 Answers

jsc3791's avatar

Maybe it would help to try and use the words in conversation, even just saying them in sentences to yourself, for practice. Repetition helps with retaining information so verbally repeating words you’d like to remember to use could help. It may seem forced at first, but I think it’s worth a shot.

augustlan's avatar

When writing, I think it’s probably very common to write in the “voice” you use while speaking. Using the words in your daily speech probably would help, as would making an ongoing list of words you’d like to use in your writing. That said, is it necessary? Sometimes simpler really is better.

silverangel's avatar

@augustlan I do agree that simpler is better but sometimes something like writing a formal letter or speech requires a large amount of sophisticated vocabulary.

Meego's avatar

A thesaurus.

smilingheart1's avatar

@silverangel, one suggestion is familiarizing yourself with a memory program. A couple of the memory gurus with programs are Kevin Trudeau and Also Dave Farrow. One of the techniques that might be useful is the “silly story” that you could make up using these words and just keep building on the story with new words. This is can be quite effective because the very silliness of the story you create for yourself with all its goofy imagery will help you to retain the words in your memory with the help of your own imagination. This stuff really does work and you can perhaps get a program at a second hand book store if financial resources are an issue. The other thing is that you may be able to do sufficient internet research that gives away how to do this in detail or you could pose the question to Fluther for some “free advice” on how this memory detailing through association works!

gailcalled's avatar

@silverangel: Simply write. Forget the novel for now; draft an elegant sentence and then a paragraph.

When you reread it, think about inserting one or two new words. Expanding your active vocabulary is a life- time project. I would also, respectfully, forget about formalized memory programs.

Yesterday, I had to look up “labile.” I will try to use in sometime today.

“Liable to change; easily altered.

• of or characterized by emotions that are easily aroused or freely expressed, and that tend to alter quickly and spontaneously; emotionally unstable.

• Chemistry easily broken down or displaced.”

wundayatta's avatar

@gailcalled Emotionally labile. That’s what the shrink wrote down in his notes the first time he saw me. I will never forget what labile means! I have been so ever since.

MagsRags's avatar

I find if I set my writing aside and come back to it a few weeks later and reread, I am more likely to notice if I am being repetitive or too basic in my vocabulary. Then I can use my word processing program’s Thesaurus tool to remind me of other options to add variety and/or depth.

silverangel's avatar

@smilingheart1 I like the idea of the “silly story”, I will think about it
@gailcalled thanks for the advice
@MagsRags That’s a good plan too :)
Thank you all for your help =D

Aethelflaed's avatar

I have a document (on my computer, so I can search it) with words I find to be really good, but will forget, as well as my own definition. That way I be all “what’s that one word meaning really greedy for money and material things? Ctl+f, greedy…. ah, yes, avaricious, very good.”

silverangel's avatar

@Aethelflaed That’s a nice idea, I will keep it in mind too :)

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