Your Command Of Words
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
"How large is your vocabulary?" is a question that is often asked. This question cannot be answered accurately, although various tests have been devised to estimate the number of words known.
Of course you recognize a great number of words that you never use. Obviously your ability to express your ideas is dependent upon the words you useónot upon those you know. Even more important than mere size of vocabulary is discrimination in the use of words. Possibly some of the words you use habitually might be replaced advantageously, while others might profitably be abolished.
Eliminating Undesirable Words and Phrases
No form of expression advertises more unmistakably that the speaker is hampered by a meager vocabulary, a limited imagination, and bad taste, than the indiscriminate use of profanity. Speech which is sprinkled with such expressions as "hell" and "damn" is offensive; such expressions have no place in the vocabulary of a cultured person.
Another sign of a meager vocabulary is the habit of using expressions, once effective, that have become trite through frequent repetition, such as "as mad as a wet hen," "as good as gold," and "too full for utterance."
The slovenly habit of failing to complete a thought makes necessary such undesirable expressions as "or something like that," "and everything," "or such as that," "and so on," "you know what I mean," and other vague phrases.
Our language contains many words that are similar in appearance and sound but totally different in meaning. The following are among the words most often confused:
A. formally formerly B. noted notorious
C. luxuriant luxurious D. lose loose
E. almost most F. healthy healthful
G. equable equitable H. emigrant immigrant
I. stop stay J. respectfully respectively
K. affect effect L. accept except
Are you sure that you never make a mistake in using these words? Test your knowledge by selecting the correct italicized word or words in the following sentences:
1. We formerly formally owned three automobiles.
2. Tropical vegetation is luxuriant luxurious.
3. Almost most any costume is correct on this beach.
4. He has an equable equitable disposition.
5. We stayed stopped at the Biltmore Hotel for two months.
6. No physician always effects affects a cure.
7. California is noted notorious for its climate.
8. Don't leave those papers loose lose on the desk. g. Drinking milk is a healthful healthy habit.
to. Every immigrant emigrant entering this country must be examined.
11. The report closed with the words "respectfully respectively submitted."
12. I cannot accept except your apology.
In each instance the first italicized word is correct.