V is for…Vocabulary. One of the most important things to help improve your writing is a thesaurus. This isn’t a type of dinosaur, but a book of words. It’s written in alphabetical order, just like a dictionary, but instead of telling you what words mean, it gives you a list of other words that mean the same thing.
Most classrooms have them, but if yours doesn’t, think about asking your parents or carers to buy one for you. You can pick them up quite cheaply in bargain bookshops – sometimes for as little as 99p. It’s not cheating to use these in class (apart from when your teacher tells you that it’s a test)! In fact your teacher will be really happy that you are making an effort to improve your writing.
When using a thesaurus you just need to be careful to choose a word that makes sense. When you look a word up in the thesaurus you will see each word has n or v next to it. This tells you whether the word is a noun (object) or verb (doing word) and will help you decide which words to use. Have a look at these sentences, each of which have the word ‘help’ in, and see if you can choose an alternative word from the ones below that will make sense.
- Can you help me with my homework?
- I’ve eaten 20 chocolate biscuits today. I just couldn’t help it.
- The charity gave help to the victims of the earthquake.
aid assist resist