Lesson #109: Steps for Enriching Your Writing with the Right Vocabulary


Seeing this rose in my garden reminds me of the process of learning and improving our competence in any language.

We learn one language word by word, step by step, layer by layer, just like these rose petals overlay each other.

Another point of similarity: as these petals are relatively small, the slow progress of adding to our vocabulary may seem limited and insignificant in the bigger picture.

But a good, enriching vocabulary is what really gives a good writing its colour and tone.

When a word is placed in the right place in a sentence, it immediately becomes more memorable and meaningful.

Consider this line from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847):

📙 “I am no bird; and no net ensnared me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”

Compare those stirring words with a simpler, bland phrasing: “I will leave you. No one can stop me.”

Besides the obvious fact that Charlotte Bronte used vivid as a metaphor, what words do you think added to her turning a bland statement just like my example in an eloquent, moving sentence?

Words like ‘ensnared’, ‘net’, ‘independent’, ‘will’ and ‘exert’.

They all have a common tone: one of force.

Their imagery is consistent: it always portrays strength and control.

✍️ Now it’s your turn: which words (no matter how seemingly simple they appear initially) can you employ this week to enhance your writing? Keep in mind that a few well-chosen words can make a significant difference!

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me (via the contact form). I look forward to reading them!

by J. E. Gibbons

English language tutor and researcher at 'Learn English Through Literature' (2024)