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More Vocabulary = More Choices

People may debate that those with a more extensive vocabulary are more intelligent. IQ is relative. There are many IQ tests, and results can vary because of how and where they were administrated and who created the test versus who is taking the test. What is undeniable is if you have a more extensive vocabulary, you have more choices with which words you would like to employ.

Having a more extensive vocabulary can be fun. Unfortunately, some people sometimes take your use of "bigger" words as a sign that you are trying to degrade them or "just make yourself look smarter." This idea is not only unfair, but it is also untrue. I enjoy words—some words I enjoy because of their meaning, and some I enjoy simply for the sound they make. I also enjoy learning. So when someone uses a word I am unfamiliar with, if I cannot figure out its meaning through context, I will likely ask them to clarify the word for me. It is okay not to know what a word means. The lack of understanding does not make you inferior. Until that moment, you had not been exposed to the word, and that is okay.

Another interesting thing regarding vocabulary is the words we learn when we read. Especially names of characters or words created by the author, we often pronounce them differently than how they are supposed to sound. So there may be times when you know a particular word. Still, in your head, you have pronounced it wrong. As a result, when someone says it correctly out loud, you do not recognize it is as a word you have read and therefore already know. That is okay too.

What about swear words? They, of course, add to our vocabulary but do they count as making us smarter? I saw a meme that read, "Studies have shown that intelligent people swear more than stupid $%*&!." The meme plays with words, using the swear word with the adjective "stupid" to create a dynamic between what is considered intelligent and not. I have also heard people say, "Cursing is a sign of limited vocabulary and ergo limited intelligence." This statement is as accurate as the meme. If a study has indeed been done, I would love to read it and see how the study was conducted and its actual findings. Swear words can be offensive. Some swear words are only harsh in specific contexts. Some swear words that have been placed strategically and properly land on comedic relief. Knowing swear words adds to your vocabulary, and the choice to use them neither makes you more or less intelligent.

Whether they are considered a swear word or not, the use of any word (or words), if used to hurt someone, is not showing your intelligence; it shows your lack of compassion. If you are using words that you know offend, again, it is not showing your intelligence; it is showing your lack of empathy. Suppose you use a word (or words) and you had no intentions of hurting someone, but you find out or realize that it has hurt someone. In that case, you can have an open conversation to understand why it is hurtful. You will likely learn something. An apology is always welcome in this instance. You can apologize because though you did not intend to offend, you can realize that apologizing is not always about intent you are just being a compassionate and kind person. (How often do we bump into a stranger in public and apologize though we had not intended on bumping them. Apologize for using the wrong words would be along those same lines. I have written about words hurting before; you can read about it here.)

Increasing your vocabulary is a great idea. If for no other reason, to give you choices. Words are fun, but more than that, when conveying an idea having just the right words makes that idea clearer and more effective. One of the very best ways to increase your vocabulary is by reading. Find a genre you enjoy and read voraciously, insatiably, ravenously, rapaciously. Maybe by reading this, you have added a couple of new words to your vocabulary; perhaps you did not. Either way, I certainly appreciate you choosing to read my blog—many thanks.

Love Lots; Smile Often



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