3 Steps to a Cultivated Vocabulary

A large part of our vocabulary comes from our environment; from the people we socialize with, to the books we read, to the films we watch.

Most people don’t actively think about the exact words they are using and why, yet the words we choose help shape our identity.

Be picky with your words.

Words are a powerful thing so it’s important to be conscious of what you’re saying and take the time to cultivate a certain vocabulary that properly expresses who you are.

What I like to do is create a list of words and phrases that I find appealing. They are words I find best help me express my feelings in my own personal voice.

Try making a list of your own. Keep an open mind, pull out a thesaurus; choose words or phrases that you can actually imagine using. However, be a little open. It may take some practice before new words start to feel natural on your lips but after awhile they will become second nature.

The important thing is to choose words that feel authentic and truly represent how you want to come across.

Another important thing is to weed out the words you want to stop using. Perhaps you swear too often or are always saying “fantastic.”

Not that “fantastic” is a bad word but sometimes we constantly repeat certain words if only for the lack of not knowing an alternative in the moment.

In this case think of words that have the same meaning as fantastic and add them to your list. This way the next time you want to say fantastic you’ll have an alternative ready at hand. I have a tendency to overuse the words “beastly” and “insipid twit.”


When you know which words you want to add and which to take away then focus on a few at a time. You can keep a running list but don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to use all the new words at once or you’ll come across as pretentious or disingenuous.

So to cultivate and implement new vocabulary follow these 3 steps:

  1. Surround yourself with the type of language you want to use. Be mindful of friends, books, films, events; your environment has a big impact.
  2. Create a list of words and phrases that appeal to you and infuse them into you vocabulary by consciously using them whenever appropriate until they’re second nature.
  3. Weed out your “unfavorable words.” Words you use too often, don’t like, or appear unladylike such as vulgarities.

HOMEWORK:  Pick 1 new word to use everyday for the next week and share it in the comments below.

P.S. Check out my list!



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