top of page

Obstacles to Good Writing #3: Vocabulary

There’s another potential obstacle that arises between the writer and the reader which is occasionally so obvious that it is overlooked, and that is vocabulary.

The word ‘vocabulary’ stems from a late Middle English word which traces back to the Latin vocabulum, from vocare ‘call’, perhaps indicating a teaching method whereby students had to call out words and their meanings in order to learn them. General vocabulary has declined over recent decades, most would agree, but it might take a couple of examples to make sure that we can see the difference. Though both of these examples are from chidlren’s literature, the fact that they are aimed at children is perhaps as insightful as their content.