To be an effective writer, a person must have a strong vocabulary to make his or her ideas clear to the reader. Students often try to fake a strong vocabulary and end up making fools of themselves by misusing a word. Here are some tips to build your vocabulary:
Read, read, read!
The best way to build a vocabulary is to read as much as possible. It doesn't have to be a 17th century novel, though that kind of reading will effectively build your vocabulary. When you come across a word you don't know, look it up right then and there. To help you remember it, pay attention to how it's used in the sentence and make up a couple sentences of your own using it. Although this may seem troublesome, you won't have to do it forever. Eventually, your vocabulary will be built up and you will know the words when you're reading.
Avoid vague language in your writing
Learn roots, prefixes, and suffixes
Words in English often have a root, a prefix, and/or a suffix. If you know the meanings of these parts, you will know more words when you're reading. For example words starting with bio- have something to do with life, and words ending with -ology mean the study of something. Therefore, the word biology means the study of life. This is a simple example, but this trick can help you know the meaning of words such as misanthrope, bibliophile, and veracity without having to look them up.
Pages 389-393 of The St. Martin's Handbook - 8th edition provide a list of common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
If you stop swearing, you'll find that the number of words you use will greatly increase. It's easy to say "&*#$ mad." It takes a strong vocabulary to use words such as furious, enraged, and violently angry. It will be difficult at first, but like anything else, you'll improve with practice. A fifth grader can swear; an adult goes beyond that.