The Significance of a Good Vocabulary for Professionals

Words are pervasive in our lives. Words are powerful because they are the building blocks of Language. The words that we use express and shape our identity. They are the fundamental components of both oral and written communication. The letters of words used in a particular Language are known as “Vocabulary”. A person with adequate knowledge of vocabulary can understand the exact meaning of what he hears and reads.

Adequate knowledge of vocabulary allows a person to speak and write easily and fluently. It makes his or her speech and writing more effective, interesting, exact, and vivid. It enables the adoption of the correct tone to suit the audience and the purpose. It gives the speaker a range of precise words to use in formal writing for example: letters, summaries, essays, and reports. It enables us to impart shades of meaning and colour, which are particularly useful in creative writing. It is a matter of great importance to our nation that some of the best private engineering colleges in Maharashtra are focusing on developing their students’ linguistic skills as a part of the curriculum.

Our vocabulary gives away our social and educational backgrounds. It is a major factor in determining what we understand. The English language has a vast vocabulary of millions of words, which keeps growing every day. This offers great opportunities for English language users to delve into the various shades of meanings and diverse usages of words and offers them a great choice of words to be used for different purposes and situations. Most of the top professional courses include these language skills as a part of the syllabus which focuses on improving their students’ speaking skills for their effective growth.

Language vocabulary skills occupy a central position in any language. It is impossible to learn a language without learning the vocabulary of that language. Wilkins (1972) asserts that “Without grammar, very little can be conveyed. Without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”.  Most of the learners spend many years studying the grammar of English but still, they cannot speak English fluently and naturally.

Grammar is one of the aspects of language. Knowing grammar, no doubt, can help us to speak and write correctly but it is also important to have an adequate vocabulary in order to speak and write naturally and effectively. As well said by M.L Tickoo (2003),” True mastery of a language lies as much in knowing and appropriately using its vocabulary as in being able to use its system and its grammatical and discourse patterns”.

Tips for Building Vocabulary

Vocabulary building is a key to professional and academic success, for confidence and excellence in all aspects of oral and written communication. Although, it does not mean learning new words. It comprised the ability to understand the exact meaning of words and their proper usage in contexts to convey ideas most efficiently.

Use of Dictionary and Thesaurus:

It is one of the most vital and powerful tools to build a strong vocabulary. A good dictionary lists words in alphabetical order and provides main and allied meaning, etymology (origin), pronunciation, grammatical category, and examples of their usage in varied contexts. On the other hand, Thesaurus provides a host of synonyms and antonyms for each word. This extends a great resource for speakers and writers to use the exact word in a particular context, to avoid being repetitive and thereby make communication effective. If we wish to build our vocabulary vigorously we must make a habit of referring to standard English Dictionaries and Thesauruses.

Word-building Tips Strategies

  1. Always pick up the meanings of new or difficult words that you came across.
  2. Learn at least a few words (their origins, pronunciations. Its various shades of meanings) spell the word aloud, write it down, and use it while speaking according to the situation or context.
  3. Memorise regular use of idioms, phrases, proverbs, and tongue twisters.
  4. Use word games (Crossword puzzles, word search games, word connect games, dumb charades improve or enhance vocabulary skills.
  5. Use audiovisual media such as movies, play songs to learn how language uses words across socio-cultural situations.

Word Families

A word family has a common base word, also known as the headword/base/root or stem. Each word belongs to a family of words that are similar in meaning, sound, and appearance but have their unique roles and applications. Word families are created by adding prefixes and suffixes before and after the base/root word. For example, in the word ‘work’, the members of its word family include: worker, worked, working, workman, and workmanship. workshop, rework, etc.

Use of Synonyms and Antonyms and Collocations

Each word has several synonyms which convey a similar meaning. Synonyms convey different shades of meaning according to the contexts of their use. For instance, “happiness” can mean contentment, joy, bliss, satisfaction, fulfilment, glee, or cheerfulness, each of which is used in different situations. Antonyms too have their subtle differences in meaning and their usage. Collocations means two or more words usually occur or are used together. These words always occur in combination with each other. For example, take advice, break up, time table, fast food. These sets of words are closely related to each other due to the common context in which they are used.

Cultivating the Reading Habit

It is essential for vocabulary building. All rich sources of interesting reading material can enrich vocabulary skills and make us understand how words are used in context such as novels, magazines, story books, websites, comic stripes, etc. A well-built reading habit ensures that we will be able to correctly guess the meaning of words from the context, even though we might not know the exact meaning of every word. Reading habit nurtures the imagination and craves for adventure. Reading comprehension involves understanding, analysing, and synthesising words, sentences, and ideas. Which ultimately improves our vocabulary levels.


Vocabulary learning skills must be more active at the stage of getting a professional degree or learning some professional skills. It is remembered that words are learned by using four skills -listening, speaking, reading, and writing together. Vocabulary development is concept development and the greater the number of concepts we acquire, the greater the variety of ideas we can understand and express. Vocabulary building is a gingerly process and requires deep interest, active participation, genuine efforts, and efficient practice.

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