Everyone—from beginning learners in English to veterans in journalism—knows the frustration of not having the right word immediately available in that lexicon one carries between one’s ears. Sometimes it’s a matter of not being able to recall the right word; sometimes we never knew it. It is also frustrating to read a newspaper or homework assignment and run across words whose meanings elude us. Language, after all, is power. When your children get in trouble fighting with the neighbors’ children, and your neighbors call your children little twerps and you call their children nefarious miscreants—well, the battle is over and they didn’t stand a chance. Building a vocabulary that is adequate to the needs of one’s reading and self-expression has to be a personal goal for every writer and speaker.
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