Why Vocabulary is important?

Learning vocabulary is an essential part of language acquisition and is crucial for effective communication, both in written and oral forms. In this essay, we will explore the importance of learning vocabulary and the many benefits it provides.

Learning vocabulary allows us to express ourselves more clearly and effectively. A robust vocabulary gives us the ability to choose the right word for the situation, making it easier to communicate our thoughts and ideas. Additionally, having a wide range of words at our disposal helps us to express complex ideas and concepts, making our communication more sophisticated and nuanced.

A strong vocabulary is essential for academic success. In school, we are often required to read and comprehend complex texts, and a robust vocabulary is necessary to fully understand the material. Similarly, a comprehensive vocabulary is essential for success on standardized tests such as the PSLE, GCE O/A levels, IGCSE, SAT, ACT, and GRE, which include vocabulary sections that test a student’s ability to understand and use a wide range of words.

Vocabulary development is critical for critical thinking and problem-solving skills. A strong vocabulary enables us to analyze and evaluate information more effectively, which leads to better decision-making skills. Additionally, a robust vocabulary provides us with a more extensive toolset to express our ideas and solve problems creatively.

Moreover, learning vocabulary has social benefits. It allows us to engage in conversations with a wide range of people, including those who may speak different languages or have different backgrounds. A robust vocabulary also allows us to understand and appreciate different cultures, as we can understand the nuances of different languages and their associated cultures. Below are how students should know why they should learn vocabulary.

For more Vocabulary Practices, Check out our full Vocabulary Lists.

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So how much words do we need learn?

The number of words a primary school, secondary school, university, and working adult need to master in vocabulary can vary depending on the individual’s education level, profession, and personal interests. Here is a general idea of the average number of words each level should know:

  1. Primary school: By the end of primary school, a student is expected to have a vocabulary of approximately 10,000 to 15,000 words. This includes basic vocabulary related to daily life, reading, and writing.
  2. Secondary school: In secondary school, students are expected to have a larger vocabulary of around 20,000 to 25,000 words. This includes more advanced vocabulary related to various academic subjects and topics.
  3. University: At the university level, students are expected to have a higher level of vocabulary mastery of around 30,000 to 40,000 words. This includes specialized vocabulary related to their field of study and more complex vocabulary used in academic and professional settings.
  4. Working adult: The number of words a working adult should master in vocabulary can vary depending on their profession and job requirements. However, it is generally expected that a working adult has a vocabulary of at least 40,000 to 50,000 words to effectively communicate and succeed in their job.

It is important to note that these numbers are approximate and may vary depending on the individual’s personal circumstances. Additionally, vocabulary mastery is not a fixed number, and individuals can continue to improve their vocabulary skills throughout their lives.

Correlation of vocabulary mastery of a student to AL1 scores in Primary School

Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between a student’s grasp of vocabulary mastery and their academic performance. Students who have a strong command of vocabulary tend to perform better in school and achieve higher grades than those with weaker vocabulary skills.

One reason for this correlation is that vocabulary mastery is closely related to reading comprehension. A strong vocabulary allows students to understand and interpret complex texts more effectively, enabling them to comprehend the material better and perform better on reading comprehension assessments. Additionally, students with a larger vocabulary are better able to identify and understand unfamiliar words and concepts, making it easier for them to learn new information and apply it in their coursework.

Moreover, a strong vocabulary also supports critical thinking skills. Students with a larger vocabulary have more tools at their disposal to analyze and evaluate information, enabling them to think more critically and deeply about academic content. This leads to better academic performance as they can better understand and analyze complex concepts, and apply these skills in their coursework.

Finally, a strong vocabulary is essential for effective communication skills, both in writing and speaking. Students who have a larger vocabulary can express themselves more clearly and persuasively, which is important for success in academic writing assignments and presentations.

In conclusion, the correlation between vocabulary mastery and academic performance is clear. Students who have a strong command of vocabulary tend to perform better in school, achieve higher grades, and develop important critical thinking and communication skills. Therefore, it is essential for educators and parents to support and encourage students in developing their vocabulary skills, both inside and outside the classroom.

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Did you know? University students need a higher mastery of vocabulary.

The amount of vocabulary a student needs to learn to reach university is significant compared to one who does not pursue higher education. While both types of students require a certain level of vocabulary to effectively communicate and navigate the world around them, the vocabulary needs of university-bound students are much greater.

For students who do not go to university, their vocabulary needs are primarily focused on functional communication in daily life. This includes a basic understanding of words and phrases used in everyday conversations, as well as specialized vocabulary related to their chosen profession or trade. While they may need to learn new words and concepts as they progress in their career, their vocabulary needs are relatively limited and focused.

In contrast, students who pursue higher education require a much broader and more sophisticated vocabulary. University-level coursework often involves reading and understanding complex texts, as well as participating in academic discussions and writing research papers. To be successful in these endeavors, students need to have a strong command of academic vocabulary, including specialized terminology and jargon related to their field of study. They also need a broad and varied vocabulary to effectively analyze and interpret complex concepts, as well as express their ideas clearly and persuasively in written and oral communication.

Furthermore, university-bound students need to prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and GRE, which include vocabulary sections that test their understanding and use of a wide range of words. The ability to effectively comprehend and use a large vocabulary is essential for success on these exams, which can have a significant impact on a student’s university admission and scholarship opportunities.

In conclusion, the amount of vocabulary a student needs to learn to reach university is much greater compared to one who does not pursue higher education. University-bound students require a much broader and more sophisticated vocabulary to succeed academically and professionally, including specialized academic vocabulary and a varied vocabulary for effective communication. While vocabulary development is important for all students, those who pursue higher education must devote significant time and effort to build a strong vocabulary foundation to achieve academic success.


One of the main reasons university students require a higher command of vocabulary is their ability to digest information quickly. University-level coursework requires students to read and comprehend a significant amount of complex material. A strong vocabulary allows students to understand and interpret complex texts more effectively, enabling them to keep up with the fast pace of academic coursework. Without a strong vocabulary, students may struggle to understand and engage with the academic material, leading to a slower pace of learning and lower academic achievement.

In addition to the ability to digest information quickly, a higher command of vocabulary is also essential for understanding lectures and course materials. University-level courses are often taught using technical terms, academic jargon, and specialized language. A strong vocabulary allows students to understand and engage with these specialized terms, enhancing their ability to participate in class discussions, write essays and research papers, and understand the course material. With a strong command of vocabulary, students can better comprehend and engage with the subject matter and increase their understanding of complex concepts.

Furthermore, a higher command of vocabulary is necessary for effective communication in writing and discussions. University-level writing requires a higher level of precision and sophistication than at lower levels of education, with more complex sentence structures and a greater use of technical terms and academic jargon. A strong vocabulary allows students to use language more effectively, expressing their ideas more precisely and persuasively in academic writing assignments and discussions. Effective communication is key to academic success, as it allows students to convey their ideas and arguments more clearly and convincingly to their professors and peers.

In conclusion, a higher command of vocabulary is essential for university students for several reasons, including the ability to digest information quickly, understand lectures and course materials, and effectively communicate their ideas in writing and discussions. To succeed academically and professionally, it is important for university students to actively work on improving their vocabulary, engaging in activities that promote vocabulary acquisition and retention. By doing so, they can develop the language skills they need to succeed in university and beyond, enhancing their academic and professional opportunities.

To ensure that students progress in vocabulary from primary school onto university, it is important to have a comprehensive vocabulary program that spans the entire educational journey. Here are some ways to connect the dots for vocabulary progress:

  1. Start early: Vocabulary development should begin at a young age, with exposure to a rich and varied language environment. Teachers and parents can introduce new words to students through books, conversations, and activities that promote vocabulary development.
  2. Build on prior knowledge: As students progress through their education, it is important to build on their prior knowledge of vocabulary. Teachers can use instructional strategies that connect new vocabulary words to students’ prior knowledge and experiences, helping them to retain and use new words more effectively.
  3. Incorporate explicit vocabulary instruction: In addition to incidental vocabulary learning, teachers should also provide explicit instruction on vocabulary words and their meanings. This can be done through activities such as word walls, vocabulary journals, and word games.
  4. Practice and repetition: To solidify vocabulary knowledge, students should engage in regular practice and repetition of new vocabulary words. Teachers can incorporate vocabulary activities into classroom routines, homework assignments, and assessments.
  5. Use technology and multimedia resources: In today’s digital age, there are many multimedia resources available to support vocabulary development, such as online dictionaries, flashcards, and interactive vocabulary games.
  6. Encourage reading: Reading is one of the most effective ways to develop vocabulary, as it exposes students to a wide range of words and contexts. Teachers and parents should encourage students to read widely and regularly, providing support and guidance as needed.
  7. Support vocabulary transfer: To ensure that students can transfer their vocabulary knowledge to new contexts, teachers should provide opportunities for vocabulary use in various subjects and contexts. This helps students to see the relevance of vocabulary knowledge beyond the classroom.

By following these strategies, students can build a strong foundation of vocabulary knowledge that progresses from primary school onto university. A comprehensive vocabulary program that spans the educational journey can help students to develop the language skills they need to succeed academically and professionally.

What careers require a higher command of vocabulary?

Several careers require a higher command of English vocabulary than normal, as they involve extensive communication, writing, or analysis of complex texts. Some of these careers include:

  1. Writer/Author: Writers and authors need a strong command of vocabulary to create compelling, engaging, and well-crafted stories, articles, or books. A rich vocabulary enables them to convey their thoughts and ideas effectively, evoke emotions, and create vivid imagery in the reader’s mind.
  2. Editor: Editors need an exceptional command of vocabulary to review, proofread, and refine written materials. They must have a deep understanding of language and its nuances to ensure that the final content is clear, concise, and accurate.
  3. Translator/Interpreter: Translators and interpreters must have a comprehensive knowledge of vocabulary in both their source and target languages to accurately convey the meaning, tone, and cultural context of the original material.
  4. Journalist: Journalists need a strong vocabulary to report news and write articles that are clear, engaging, and informative. A broad vocabulary allows them to cover a wide range of topics and communicate complex ideas effectively.
  5. Public Relations Specialist: PR specialists must have an excellent command of vocabulary to create persuasive and captivating press releases, speeches, and other communications materials that represent their clients effectively.
  6. Lawyer: Lawyers need a strong command of vocabulary to understand and analyze legal documents, draft contracts, and present compelling arguments in court. A thorough understanding of legal terminology and its nuances is critical to their success.
  7. Educator: Teachers and professors must have a solid vocabulary to clearly explain concepts, engage students in discussions, and communicate effectively with colleagues and parents.
  8. Advertising Copywriter: Copywriters in advertising need a strong command of vocabulary to create persuasive and memorable marketing materials, such as slogans, taglines, and product descriptions.
  9. Speech-Language Pathologist: These professionals require a deep understanding of vocabulary to diagnose and treat speech, language, and communication disorders. They must be well-versed in language development and language-related issues to provide appropriate therapy and support.
  10. Linguist: Linguists study language structure, history, and usage. They require an extensive vocabulary and a deep understanding of language nuances to conduct research, analyze texts, and develop theories about language.

These careers are just a few examples of professions that demand a higher command of English vocabulary. In many cases, strong language skills can contribute to overall success and growth in various fields.

Negatives of not learning Vocabulary

Having a poor vocabulary can have several negative effects on an individual’s personal and professional life. Here are some of the main negatives of not being good at vocabulary:

  1. Difficulty expressing oneself: Limited vocabulary skills can make it challenging to express oneself effectively, leading to frustration and the inability to communicate ideas and thoughts.
  2. Limited communication skills: A poor vocabulary limits communication skills and can make it challenging to engage in conversations with others.
  3. Limited academic and professional success: A poor vocabulary can hinder academic success as it can make it difficult to comprehend complex academic materials and perform well on exams. In the professional world, it can limit job opportunities and promotion prospects.
  4. Social isolation: A poor vocabulary can lead to social isolation as it may be difficult to engage in conversations and connect with others.
  5. Reduced confidence and self-esteem: A limited vocabulary can lead to reduced confidence and self-esteem as individuals may feel inadequate in their ability to communicate and express themselves.
  6. Impacts critical thinking and problem-solving: A poor vocabulary can impact critical thinking and problem-solving skills, limiting one’s ability to analyze and evaluate information effectively.
  7. Misunderstandings and miscommunications: A limited vocabulary can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications, causing confusion and frustration in personal and professional relationships.

Lower vocabulary can create frustration, confusion and inability to perceive the emotions they are feeling.

Not knowing a word can make a person feel a range of negative emotions, which can include frustration, confusion, and embarrassment. These emotions can be heightened if the person is in a situation where they feel pressure to communicate effectively, such as a job interview or a presentation.

The feeling of frustration often arises because not knowing a word can disrupt the flow of communication and prevent the person from expressing themselves effectively. They may feel like they are not able to fully convey their thoughts or ideas, which can be frustrating, especially if they feel like they are not being understood or are being misunderstood.

Embarrassment is another common emotion that can arise when a person does not know a word. They may feel like they are not as intelligent or knowledgeable as others, and this can be embarrassing, especially if they are in a group setting or in a professional environment.

Having a lower vocabulary mastery can have several psychological effects on a person, including:

  1. Frustration: A limited vocabulary can make it difficult for a person to express themselves effectively, leading to frustration and feelings of inadequacy.
  2. Low self-esteem: If a person feels like they are not able to communicate effectively due to a limited vocabulary, it can lead to a loss of confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Difficulty in academic and professional settings: A lack of vocabulary can make it difficult for a person to understand academic materials and perform well on exams. In the workplace, it can impact communication and performance.
  4. Social isolation: A limited vocabulary can make it challenging for a person to engage in social interactions, leading to feelings of isolation and exclusion.
  5. Reduced critical thinking skills: A comprehensive vocabulary is essential for critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Without a robust vocabulary, a person may struggle to analyze and evaluate information effectively, which can impact decision-making abilities.
  6. Reduced opportunities: A limited vocabulary can limit a person’s opportunities in both academic and professional settings. They may struggle to get into the college of their choice or secure the job they want due to communication difficulties.

These negative emotions can lead to a feeling of helplessness, which can contribute to depression. The person may feel like they are not able to communicate effectively, and this can affect their self-esteem and self-worth. They may also feel like they are not able to keep up with others or meet their own expectations, which can be demotivating and disheartening.

Not knowing a word can make a person feel a range of negative emotions, which can contribute to depression. It is important to approach learning new words with patience and persistence, and to remember that it is a normal part of language acquisition. Seeking out resources such as dictionaries, language learning apps, and language classes can also help to alleviate feelings of frustration and embarrassment.

Thus, having a poor vocabulary can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s personal and professional life. It is important to actively work on improving vocabulary skills through reading, learning new words, and seeking out resources such as vocabulary-building apps and classes to avoid these negative effects.

Dot the dots to successfully progress from primary to university

As children progress through school, their vocabulary skills must also improve to meet the demands of higher education. Developing a strong vocabulary is essential to academic success as it enhances reading comprehension, writing skills, and critical thinking abilities. To ensure that students progress enough in their vocabulary skills from primary school to university, educators and parents must provide a comprehensive approach to learning vocabulary.

Starting in primary school, educators can provide students with vocabulary-building activities that include reading, writing, and speaking opportunities. Classroom activities can include reading comprehension exercises, vocabulary quizzes, and word games. Teachers can also encourage students to read books outside of class and make it a habit to look up words they do not understand. In addition, parents can support their children by reading with them, discussing new words they encounter, and encouraging them to use new words in their everyday conversations.

As students progress to secondary school, they should be provided with more advanced vocabulary-building activities. This can include learning root words, prefixes, and suffixes to help them decipher the meaning of new words. They can also engage in writing assignments that require them to use new vocabulary words, which helps to reinforce their understanding and use of the words. As students progress towards university, the focus should shift to more advanced vocabulary-building activities, such as studying academic texts, reading literary works, and participating in class discussions.

In university, students are expected to have a higher level of vocabulary mastery, which is essential to academic success. Professors often use complex language in lectures and readings, and students are expected to understand and use this language in their written assignments. To ensure that students are adequately prepared for the rigors of university-level vocabulary, educators can provide them with resources such as vocabulary-building software, online resources, and vocabulary workshops.

In conclusion, the progress in vocabulary skills from primary school to university is essential to academic success. Teachers and parents must provide a comprehensive approach to learning vocabulary by incorporating reading, writing, and speaking activities. Educators must ensure that students are provided with appropriate vocabulary-building activities that increase in complexity as students progress through school. By providing students with the necessary tools and resources to build their vocabulary skills, they will be better equipped to succeed in their academic and professional endeavors.

What if teachers have a poor command of vocabulary and its impact on students

Teachers who do not have a good command of English can have a significant impact on their students’ learning experience, especially when teaching English or subjects that require strong language skills. Some of the potential consequences for students include:

  1. Hindered language development: When teachers lack proficiency in English, students may not receive the necessary exposure to accurate grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. This may hinder their language development and result in them picking up incorrect language patterns or having a limited vocabulary.
  2. Reduced comprehension: Teachers who struggle with English may have difficulty explaining complex concepts or ideas clearly, leading to confusion and reduced comprehension among students. This can make it challenging for students to grasp new material or understand instructions, negatively affecting their learning and academic performance.
  3. Lack of engagement: If a teacher is unable to communicate effectively, they may struggle to engage and motivate students. This could result in students losing interest in the subject matter and not fully participating in class activities or discussions.
  4. Inadequate feedback: Teachers with a poor command of English may struggle to provide constructive feedback on students’ written or spoken work. This can prevent students from understanding their mistakes and hinder their ability to improve their language skills.
  5. Limited critical thinking: When teachers lack strong language skills, they may struggle to facilitate meaningful discussions or debates in the classroom. This can limit students’ opportunities to develop critical thinking skills, as they may not be challenged to think deeply about the subject matter or articulate their thoughts effectively.
  6. Lower confidence: Students who are taught by teachers with a poor command of English may feel less confident in their language abilities, as they may be unsure whether they are learning the language correctly. This lack of confidence could affect their willingness to participate in class or communicate in English outside of the classroom.

It is essential for educators to have a strong command of English to ensure they can effectively teach and guide their students. Teachers with good language skills can create a positive learning environment, foster better communication, and contribute to their students’ overall language development and academic success.

Always improve, always gain better insights and do our jobs better. Never too old to learn, especially when we are teaching the next generation. The future is in our hands.

Why Vocabulary is important for everyone?

Vocabulary is important for several reasons, as it plays a crucial role in effective communication, comprehension, and self-expression. Here are some key reasons why vocabulary is important:

  1. Communication: A robust vocabulary allows individuals to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and emotions more precisely and effectively. It enables them to choose the right words to convey their intended meaning, reducing misunderstandings and fostering clearer, more meaningful interactions.
  2. Comprehension: A strong vocabulary helps in understanding spoken and written language. When reading or listening, knowing the meanings of words is essential for grasping the overall message or context. A limited vocabulary may lead to difficulties in understanding texts, instructions, or conversations, which can hinder both personal and professional growth.
  3. Self-expression: A rich vocabulary enables people to express themselves more accurately and creatively. It allows them to describe their experiences, feelings, and opinions in more nuanced and engaging ways. This can be particularly important for writers, speakers, and artists who rely on language to create immersive and emotionally resonant works.
  4. Academic and professional success: In both academic and professional settings, a strong vocabulary is often associated with higher levels of achievement. It enables individuals to understand complex texts, engage in discussions, and present their ideas more effectively, which can lead to better academic performance or career advancement.
  5. Cognitive development: Building vocabulary is an essential aspect of cognitive development, as it supports the growth of language, reasoning, and critical thinking skills. Expanding one’s vocabulary also helps improve memory, as learning new words and their meanings involves creating neural connections in the brain.
  6. Cultural understanding: A diverse vocabulary can enhance one’s understanding of different cultures, as language often reflects the values, beliefs, and history of a society. Learning new words and their meanings can provide insights into cultural practices and perspectives, fostering empathy and appreciation for diversity.

A strong vocabulary is crucial for effective communication, comprehension, self-expression, and overall cognitive development. It contributes to academic and professional success and promotes a deeper understanding of different cultures, making it an invaluable tool for personal growth and connection with others.

Vocabulary is important for travel as well

Developing a strong vocabulary is particularly important for individuals who plan to travel or live overseas, as it can significantly enhance their experience and interactions in a foreign country. When people venture abroad, they may encounter new languages, accents, and dialects, making effective communication a vital skill to navigate various situations.

A robust vocabulary allows travelers to express themselves more clearly and accurately, reducing misunderstandings and fostering better connections with locals. It enables them to participate in conversations on diverse topics, make friends, network, and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and customs of the host country. Furthermore, it helps create a positive impression on others, as individuals with a strong vocabulary are often perceived as educated, articulate, and open-minded.

For those working or studying overseas, a solid vocabulary is crucial for professional and academic success. It enables them to understand and engage with complex materials, instructions, and discussions, ensuring that they can perform their tasks efficiently and contribute to their workplace or institution. A good vocabulary also improves problem-solving and decision-making skills, as individuals can better comprehend information and communicate their ideas.

In addition, learning the vocabulary specific to the local language or industry can be beneficial. Familiarity with common phrases, slang, and jargon can facilitate more natural and nuanced communication with colleagues, peers, and friends. This can lead to a more immersive and authentic experience in the foreign country, allowing travelers to appreciate and adapt to their new environment more effectively.

A strong vocabulary is an invaluable asset for people going overseas, as it enhances communication, fosters personal and professional connections, and contributes to a more immersive and rewarding experience in a foreign country.

English is widely spoken and used across the globe, thanks to its historical, political, and cultural influences. The widespread use of English can be attributed to the British Empire’s expansion, American political and economic dominance, and the global popularity of English-language media and entertainment.

Here are some regions where English is used extensively:

  1. Native English-speaking countries: Countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have English as their primary language. English serves as the official language, and the majority of the population are native English speakers.
  2. Official and second language: In many countries, English serves as an official or second language. Examples include India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Africa. In these countries, English is often used for government administration, education, and business. People speak English alongside their native languages, making them bilingual or multilingual.
  3. Widespread use as a foreign language: In numerous countries, English is taught and spoken as a foreign language. In regions like Europe, East Asia, and Latin America, English is a popular choice for learning as a second language. Many people in countries like Germany, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil can communicate effectively in English, even if it’s not their native language.

These aren’t so English friendly

However, there are regions and countries where English proficiency is relatively low, and people may have difficulty understanding or communicating in English. These areas often include:

  1. Parts of Africa: In countries where French, Portuguese, or local languages are more prevalent, English proficiency may be lower. Examples include Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad.
  2. Parts of Asia: Some countries in Asia, like Afghanistan, Mongolia, and North Korea, have limited English proficiency due to various political, cultural, or educational factors.
  3. Latin America: While some Latin American countries have a growing number of English speakers, there are still areas where proficiency is low, such as in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Honduras.
  4. Eastern Europe: In certain Eastern European countries like Belarus, Ukraine, and Albania, English proficiency may be less widespread than in Western European countries.

It’s essential to note that English proficiency can vary significantly within a country or region, depending on factors such as urbanization, education, and exposure to English-language media. When traveling to areas with lower English proficiency, learning some basic phrases in the local language can be beneficial for more effective communication and cultural immersion.

With that, a strong command of English vocabulary is vital for effective communication, comprehension, and self-expression. Developing a rich vocabulary enables individuals to convey thoughts, ideas, and emotions accurately, fostering clear and meaningful interactions in various settings. Additionally, a robust vocabulary enhances the understanding of spoken and written language, allowing individuals to grasp complex concepts and engage with diverse topics. This skill is crucial for personal and professional success, as it contributes to better decision-making, problem-solving, and relationship-building. Overall, a solid vocabulary command in English is invaluable for navigating a world where English serves as a lingua franca, connecting people across cultures and borders.

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