Years of vocabulary lessons have given us a chance to develop very refined methods of communication in the spoken and written word. But most of us choose to forget those lessons because, well, why should we remember all those fancy words when we have the miraculous and wonderful Synonym Tab? Why should we stuff our brains with knowledge of how to say the word “hate” a million different ways when we can just right click and get abhor, detest, loathe, dislike, and despise? Why bother being refined when we could instead refine our skills in Super Smash Bros. (or whatever other “useless” skill suits your fancy)?
The answer: we really, really don’t have to. Of course, our teachers would insist it is very important to master these skills, but when have we really listened to our teachers?
Unfortunately, the people who grade our AP Exams are all teachers. Every last one of them wants to be blown away by our amazing use of diction and syntax in addition to our awesome analysis. So, my fellow procrastinators, I offer you this solution:
Memorize a few standbys for the words you find yourself using constantly. Just a few. Nothing too fancy, just a way to get around that whole “repetition” pitfall teachers love to throw at us. And you can even just use the actual Synonym Tab to come up with your own. I’d recommend three or four synonyms for the three or four words you use most often.
My personal synonym tab is:
Shows – highlights, illustrates, exemplifies, demonstrates
For example – for instance, such as, this is shown when
Book – novel, work, story
Uses – utilizes, employs
Notice how my tab is full of non-vocabulary words? That’s because I rely a lot on varying my syntax (sentence structure) to show that my writing has the required formality expected of someone in AP. A warning: don’t just throw your vocabulary lessons into your paper unless you actually know how to use the words! Just remembering that your class copied the word “acquiesce” doesn’t mean that you know what it is! And even if you know the definition, if you can’t use it in a sentence correctly (using the proper part of speech and following all other grammar rules), leave it out! It does not make you sound smarter. It makes your paper lose a lot of its potential if you have random smartical words thrown in without knowing how to use them!!