Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Which Words Does Every Author Need To Know?

What is the greatest tool a writer can possess?

Some might say it is their imagination. Others may point to their computer. Some will say it is their ability to research, question, and explore. All of that may be true, but to be a strong writer you certainly need to have a mastery of a great vocabulary.

1200 Words You Should Know To Sound Smart: Essential Words Every Sophisticated Person Should Be Able To Use, by Robert W. Bly, is a good place to start if you want to build a great command of the English language.

The author of over 70 books and labeled “America’s top copywriter” by McGraw-Hill, Bly was the recipient of the American Writers & Artists Inc’s. 2007 Copywriter of the Year Award.

The book jacket copy promises this:

“Complete with clearly written definitions and examples for using these words in a sentence, 1200 Words You Should Know to Sound Smart is your sublime guide to a superlative vocabulary.”

Who is to say which words are more important or impactful than others? The author believes that those who embrace his book will be seen as smart, perhaps smarter than they really are.

“People who have a good vocabulary come off as confident, intelligent, and motivated,” says Bly.

Here are some words contained in this breezy read:

Amorphous – without definite shape, substance, or form; lacking definition and boundaries

Assiduously – diligent, and persistent, especially in an effort to help others, achieve a goal, or deliver on one’s promises

Beatitude – being is the highest possible state of happiness, good humor, and contentment

Benighted – to be lost, ignorant, or unenlightened

Chimera – an object, place or combination of things so strange, odd, and improbable that it logically should not exist in the real world – and yet it does

Cloying – sickeningly sweet, sappy, or sentimental

Denigrate – insult, put down, demean, belittle

Gamut – the full spectrum of choices

Nettle – to provoke, irritate, or annoy

One thing that I notice about writing is that we tend to return to the same words over and over. Even those with a wider vocabulary, they tend to recycle their favorites, in part because they write for readers who tend to circulate the same few thousand words.

But good writing starts with a diversified vocabulary, one that we all need reminders for. Keep expanding your mind and how you present your thoughts, experience, and emotions. A strong vocabulary contributes to strong writing. A great vocabulary is salubrious to a writer.

Look it up!


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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