Improve Your Writing With These 25 Words That Are Sure to Impress Your Readers (and Your Professors)

For students, good writing skills are one of the easiest ways to improve your grades. Find 25 words to build your vocabulary and impress your professors. 

As a college professor and a lifelong writer, I can assure you that good writing skills are one of the easiest ways to impress your professors and almost assure that you receive better grades, whether on term papers, group projects, essay exams, or any other writing assignment. 

Of course, good writing starts with understanding the fundamentals of writing and the importance of editing, proofreading, and rewriting. Better writing is aided by quality words that express the same meaning as other, simpler words, but provide your writing with a touch of elegance and style. 

Some final bits of advice before we get to the words. First, make certain you know the meaning of every word you use -- and that you use the words properly and in the right context. Second, be sure you can spell the word correctly. (For example, I had a student spell paradigm as pare-a-dime.) Third, don't overdo the use of these words in your writing; the trick is to sprinkle a few of these words into your writing. 

My 25 Words to Improve Your Writing 

  • Anomaly (noun): out of the ordinary; irregular; something different from the norm 

  • Circumscript (adjective): limited; confined 

  • Cogent (adjective): convincing; compelling; relevant 

  • Conundrum (noun): a riddle or puzzle, typically involving a pun or play on words; a difficult problem or decision 

  • Dichotomy (noun): a division into two groups; two-sided; two things or conditions that are complete opposites 

  • Disparate (adjective): containing different, incongruous, or distinct elements 

  • Dogmatic (adjective): inflexible or rigid; stubbornly holding strong opinions 

  • Equivalent (adjective): equal; similar in value or meaning 

  • Expiate (verb): to make a reparation or atonement; to make amends 

  • Euphemism (noun): a word or phrase used to place something that is more offensive or tasteless 

  • Expedient (adjective): fast; simple; convenient 

  • Facet (noun): piece or component of something larger; aspect of something bigger 

  • Germane (adjective): relevant; appropriate 

  • Gestalt (noun): an integrated collection of phenomena that creates a unified concept or theory that is greater than the sum of its individual parts 

  • Maven (noun): someone who is experienced, knowledgeable; a self-styled expert 

  • Nuance (noun): minor or subtle distinction; fine detail 

  • Paradigm (noun): broadly accepted way of thinking or framework; system of assumptions 

  • Paradox (noun): a theory that is contrary to popular opinion or common sense, and yet may be true; an idea that can only be true if it is false -- and vice versa 

  • Plethora (noun): an abundance; wide variety; excess 

  • Postulate (verb): to theorize; claim as true; to assert as reality 

  • Recapitulate (verb): to summarize; restate concisely 

  • Superfluous (adjective): excessive; more than what is required 

  • Tacit (adjective): consent by silence; implied, but not expressed in words 

  • Tenuous (adjective): having little substance or strength; lacking in importance 

  • Ubiquitous (adjective): omnipresent; widespread; everywhere at once 

Final Thoughts on Improving Your Vocabulary

After you learn these words and how to best use them in your writing, you'll also want to be sure you are pronouncing them correctly in speech so you can also improve your oral conversations and discussions. 

More vocabulary tools and resources can be found in our sister site,

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key academic terms by going to our College Success Glossary

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