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The Southwest in-flight magazine has a vocabulary test that transports me back to my college-bound, pre-SAT days in high school. Some of the words in the word bank—fatuous, quotidian, bowdlerize, and hubris—were words I that came across from reading novels and news magazines. True we might still be able to communicate efficiently without these big, obscure words, but a mastery of vocabulary does help understand the varying tones in different forms of writing. My love for reading is rooted in a love of language itself; and loving language means a command of its vocabulary beyond the level of the everyday. The only way to build vocabulary (is not to study the dictionary as some of my high school peers did in preparation for the SAT) is to read—to read as much as I can—and in doing so I gain an understanding of what good writing is as well as building up my vocabulary.


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