Monday, January 5, 2009


I use big words. Having taken advanced English classes throughout my school career, I learned big words and, being a writer, I like them! I love the English language and love learning new words - especially when they are useful. But I have noticed with increasing frequency that I have developed some bad vocabulary habits - notably using words that don't mean precisely what I think they do or don't mean what I thought they did.

For the most part, they work well enough for my purposes, but they are either "creative uses," "accepted use" (meaning they have been incorrectly used similarly so often that they have come to be accepted for use in like fashion), or they are simply incorrect. Case in point: i.e. is often used to mean "in other words" - if you are a roleplayer, you know what I'm talking about - but the correct abbreviation in this case is actually e.g. I have been using i.e. incorrectly since I was a child!

Now there is a website which lets you practice or brush-up on your vocabulary for free. VerbaLearn is really developed more for students than writers, but anyone can benefit from it. And seeing as how English is expected to get its one millionth word this year, we all could probably use the help!

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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