In high school, one of my English teachers told the class that we should always read a book with a dictionary and notepad nearby so we could look up the words we didn’t know. Sage advice that went unheeded. I could tell well enough what it meant from context … right?
I was 15, and despite my obsession with grades and extra credit, I wasn’t as thorough as I should have been. I’ve already mentioned my strategy for vocabulary tests (cramming). Come to think of it, most of my poor study habits applied only to English classes. Hmmmm, weird. But I digress.
All of this has a point: I’m now keeping a list of new-to-me, really cool words in a notebook. I don’t often use my hard copy of the awesome Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, except for when I need to look up the order of preferred definitions and pronunciations, but their internet version is on my frequently used sites on my Google homepage.
I’ve had starts and stops with this habit in the past, but I’m hoping this time will stick. I hope to be able to incorporate some of these into my writing. It seems like more fun to play with the language now than I found it in the past. I’m going with it.
One of the big instigators in trying to develop the habit this go round was a news article about Merriam Webster trolling the president on Twitter. When there was the dust up about “alt-facts”, they tweeted out what “fact” meant. As a result, I’m now following them on Twitter. By doing so, I now get to see their word of the day. This is good stuff, people!
There have been a couple times where either Google ads has a sense of humor, or Merriam Webster did. I was looking up “mendacity,” and there was an inset ad that featured our president. Well played, internet, well played.
Is anyone else using the internet’s quick access to look things up as they are reading?Am I the only one keeping a running vocabulary list for myself?