Be careful to choose a world that is appropriate for the context in which you use it, including being in common current use and not being specialized to a specific field or obscure. English has an enormous amount of words compared to many languages. This provides opportunities to improve your writing, but it also presents challenges.

Many students who learn English focus on increasing the breadth of their vocabulary – learning as many words as possible, and learning one definition each for each word. However, many words have several definitions, and in almost every case there are two or more synonyms or near-synonyms for a writer to choose between. It is as important to improve the depth of your vocabulary as it is to improve the breadth of it. This includes choosing words that are used frequently and currently. Many English language dictionaries include a number of words that are not used frequently or have become less popular over time. These words are often marked “rare,” “archaic,” or “obsolete.”

Improving the depth of your vocabulary also includes choosing words that are used in the style, level of formality, and academic or professional field in which you are writing. There are specialized dictionaries for many fields, and some general-purpose dictionaries will identify the technical fields in which words are used. In addition to this, an excellent resource to use it a corpus, such as the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA Corpus) maintained by BYU. This can help you discover the fields and specific contexts in which words are used. Similarly, the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA Corpus), available from the same institution, can be useful for discovering which words are contemporary and which are obsolete or gradually falling out of use.