People often think that the key to sounding intelligent and articulate is using as many impressive vocabulary words as possible. However this can be risky; if you use words incorrectly, it can significantly undermine your credibility. Before adding a new word to your vocabulary, don’t just guess at its meaning from context. Actually take the time to look the word up and find out exactly what it means. Take a look at these commonly misused words and see if you’re using them the right way:
Disinterested: Often confused with “uninterested”, this word actually means “unbiased”.
Example: “The dispute should be resolved by a disinterested third party.”
Odious: This word is often used incorrectly to mean something that smells bad since it sounds like “odorous”. “Odious” actually means to cause feelings of hate.
Example: “The villain was a truly odious character.”
Enormity: Although they sound similar, “enormity” is not the quality of being “enormous”. Rather, it means being monstrous or immoral.
Example: “The enormity of the crimes committed during the war was truly disturbing.”
Nonplussed: People often mistakenly think that this word means calm or not flustered. However, it actually means, “confused” or “bewildered”.
Example: “I was completely nonplussed by the client’s negative reaction. I had no idea that they were unhappy.”
Bemused: Because this word sounds like amused, the two are often confused. Bemused actually has a similar meaning to nonplussed: “perplexed” or “confused”.
Example: “He was bemused by the overly complicated instructions.”
Remember: It’s much more important to speak with clarity and confidence than use a large vocabulary! Go beyond focusing on the words you use, and put effort into speaking in a clear, confident manner that lets the world see you for the accomplished professional you are.
Need more help? You may benefit from professional accent reduction training! Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!