It is important to have a very good knowledge of English language, if you wish to excel in your academic assessments. Even though the main criteria is to be good at what you choose to pursue as your main subject, you will need excellent language knowledge to be able to prove that you are good at your subject. A good vocabulary is essential, while you are working on writing assignments.

Many students put a lot of effort into their studies and researches. But when it comes to writing a research paper or essay, they never seem to manage even a reasonably good paper. When they start putting their research into words, they realize that they don’t know the right words to use, to convey what they wish to express.

English has a vast and rather complex vocabulary. When you start adding words to your vocabulary, you will find that the same words can mean different things when put in different contexts. A good example of such a word would be ‘state’. This one word can be put to so many different uses.

• The state of affairs is rather bad right now.
Here ‘state’ means situation or condition.

• Kashmir is a state in India.
Here ‘state’ stands for a particular territory.

• You should state the cause of your absence in your letter.
Here ‘state’ means declare or explain.

There are also words, which, when put along with a certain conjunction, has a completely different meaning. If you take the word ‘give’, it can be used with conjunctions for different purposes.

• Give in: surrender or succumb. E. g: You should not ‘give in’ so fast.
• Give up: admit defeat or lose hope. E. g: I have given up on him.
• Give out: distribute. E. g: She is giving out clothes to the poor.
• Give away: Give to someone for no price. E. g: I am planning to give away my school books.

So, knowing a lot of words will not qualify as a good vocabulary. You should also know how and where to use them before you are able to successfully apply it. A word used in the wrong place or with the wrong conjunction could end up sounding totally meaningless. It can also prove misleading and leave a chance for your paper to get misinterpreted.

The best way to get a good vocabulary is to read as many books as you can. Watching movies and listening to songs will help you to a certain extent. But the trouble is, in movies and songs, you just hear the word. You do not see it. In English language, there are a lot of words which are not pronounced the way it is written. Hence, to know how to spell a word, you will have to see the word and learn the spelling. That is where books will be of help.

Extensive reading will help you remember the words, their spellings and give you a very good idea of the usages which are related to certain words. It would also help you understand where and how to use the words you know. The efforts you put into expanding your vocabulary will pay off when you are working on your research papers, term papers and other writing assignments.