Word Power

Having a good vocabulary does not necessarily mean using obscure words. All it means is that, you use words to convey meaning in the way you want. Using words in the right way and at the right time, shows that you have a good command of the English language; you speak confidently and competently with the people are with.

The trick is knowing what words are appropriate in certain situations. A good vocabulary strengthens your communication skills; it can help you stay abreast and fit right in. Knowing what type of speech is appropriate in different settings and having the vocabulary you need to speak confidently wherever you are can make you a more assured, comfortable speaker.

However, the English language is complicated and can sometimes become overwhelming in a hurry. This is because English has adopted numerous words from other languages. Garage, for example, is a French word. Many words that sound alike can mean different things, depending on how they are used in a sentence. The same is true with spelling; many words spelled differently do sound the same: write, right, and rite, for example, are all pronounced the same even though they mean different things.

These types of words are called homophones. The English language is full of homonyms. Fortunately, you don’t have to remember the distinction between homophones and homonyms. The only thing you have to remember, however, is that English has a lot of words that sound the same, and sometimes spelled alike but mean different things. Bark, for example, means the outer covering of the trunk, branches, and roots of a tree; bark also means the short, loud noise that dogs make. The only difference between homophones and homonyms is how they are used in a sentence.

Words that sound alike regardless of their spelling and meaning are called homophones. Homonyms on the other hand, are words that are spelled the same and sound alike but with different meanings.

When you are having a conversation, reading a book, or watching a movie, it isn’t unusual to hear words you don’t know. It is well to look it up in a dictionary, which of course, is an excellent strategy. But, unfortunately, you may not always carry one with you, or be willing to take one out in the middle of a conversation. And, it’s not easy to read a dictionary in the dark.

The good news is that you can use context clues to interpret a word’s specific meaning by examining its relationship to surrounding words in a sentence. Although this strategy can sometimes be as unreliable as the weather forecast, it also can come in handy.

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