Importance of Words

When someone asks you what the essential things in life are, what do you answer? Maybe you’re tempted to say family, or money, or love? All of these are right answers, but have you ever thought about the importance of words?

Just like our spoken and written languages are incredibly important, the words that make up those languages are the building blocks that create the overall picture. Without words, we wouldn’t be able to tell someone else that we love them. We wouldn’t be able to introduce our family as our family. We wouldn’t be able to purchase goods and services with our money – money that is printed with words and numbers.

Without words, this article, of course, would not exist. While it’s hard to compare something as simple as words to something unquantifiable like love, words are the precursor to many such things, and thus, they’re just as important. We’ll go over this in more detail in the paragraphs below.


If there was a metaphor to explain how important words are, it would be that words are Legos. Words are building blocks that, when added together, create something much bigger than merely the sum of its parts. Words can do endless things depending on how you use them, but some of the most incredible effects that words can have include:

  • Inspiration
  • Love
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Kinship
  • Excitement
  • And many, many more

Using the building blocks of words, you can create virtually anything. You can write a story that can serve to incite all sorts of emotions in your readers (or listeners). You can recount memories from when you were young, sharing them with the next generation. You can describe ideas and concepts to others, sending them from one person to the next with ease.

Words are to Legos as communication is to a completed model. By swapping just one word with another that’s not quite the right shape, you can throw off the form of the entire model. By misspeaking or using one wrong word, you can completely change the meaning of a sentence, letter, paragraph, or story.

As such, words have an incredible amount of power behind them, but they’re also small and unseemly. Many people don’t put much stock or thought into their words, and this is perfectly okay. However, one should never underestimate the amount of hold one small word change can have on a thought, a conversation, or a story.

Words and Language

Without words, language would not be a concept. After all, words are the building blocks of language. By stringing various words and sounds together, we create something that conveys meaning. In many cases, one word alone can convey significant meaning, even without the help of other sentence structures.

This is the case the world over, too, back to the most ancient languages we’ve managed to learn. Each style is made up of words, or at least, small sound-like units. Languages are modular; they use words with static meanings to convey complex thoughts and ideas.

Primarily, language, as a whole, could be compared to the full range of Lego building blocks in existence today. Some pieces are more common than others, but every part is still a Lego. Depending on which sections you decide to use, you can build vastly different things.

Let’s consider a poem, for example. Usually, a poem is an art form that uses words to create a linguistic piece that goes beyond what the words themselves might suggest. On the other hand, a professional speaker will choose particular words for very different reasons; they might pick out words specifically so they’d have the most impact.

As such, building a poem, for example, is very different than creating, say, a speech out of words. Both things use words, but they have vastly different cadences, meanings, and intentions behind them. While lectures are meant to teach and affect the listener, poems are meant to make the reader feel emotion or curiosity.

Because we have so many pieces at our disposal, creating things that are as different as speeches and poems is relatively easy. However, as we said, it’s all about the pieces you use and the final product you build!

Words and Power

Another way to use words is to use them to invoke power. Depending on the words you choose, it’s possible to make those listening to you feel very different things. Words can feel powerful, sad, happy, or any combination of emotions you could think of.

In a more subtle sense, you can use words every day to change the way you come off to others. By using friendlier words, you can come off to those around you as friendly or bubbly. By using more substantial, powerful words, you can come off to others as intelligent (or, if you go too far, even arrogant).

Words can work against you in this way, too. If you’re not aware of the words you’re using, you could come off differently than you intend. You can end up offending those around you if you use words callously, or if you’re too sensitive with your words, you might not communicate how you feel effectively.

Additionally, words can very quickly put you in a position of power. Think about influential businessmen and women, for example. Businesspeople and other people in similar jobs know how to use the full effect of the words at their disposal.

Think about people in other professions, too. Doctors, for example, know how to speak clearly and concisely to their patients – their time is money. Additionally, they know all sorts of medical words that the average person might not know.

Unfortunately, the power that words hold can be used for evil, too. Powerful words can be used to influence others in negative ways, also, such as:

  • To coerce
  • To lie
  • To manipulate
  • To cause fear

Unfortunately, too many people will use words for evil instead of good. However, that’s part of the double-edged sword that words possess. While their influence is significant and they can be used for great change and great good, they can be used for just as much evil in the wrong hands.

Words can be both beautiful and dangerous. They can be frivolous or important, or they can hold weight or be light as a feather. However, not all of us are always aware of the weight and power behind our words. Experience and education can change that, as well as awareness, but it’s something that we should all work on being more aware of.

Words and Feelings

Powerful words (and uses of words) can make us feel things we might never have thought possible. Think of the best book or story you’ve ever read. What was it about? How did you feel when you read it? Would you reread it if you had the chance? Did the literature change you as a person?

We mentioned above that words are powerful, and part of that power manifests in making us feel things. Words can tell stories and convey information. A single person who lives halfway around the globe from you can write a book, publish it, and make you feel things with their story that never would have reached you by word of mouth.

Words have the power to make you feel happiness and sadness, but they can also make you feel hope, anger, injustice, and much, much more. Words can be used to make you feel virtually any way – even with combinations of feelings. When it comes to words and how you plan to use them, the sky’s the limit.

Words can take you all sorts of places, too. When we’re absorbed in a book or another piece of literature, our brain visualizes the things we’re feeling and experiencing. Good command of the words at your disposal can take others to different worlds, not to mention to the past, the future, to different regions, and even into other people’s minds.

Have you ever had an author describe a character so well – how they were thinking and feeling – that you felt like you had made your way inside their head? How successful this technique is also depends on the writing style and the point of view that the author uses, but their command of words shows through particularly strongly here.

The way the character is built and characterized makes an enormous difference in how expansive their inner mind is, as well. For a character with a deep inner spirit, it might be easy for the writer to bring their readers into the character’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. However, a figure with a shallow mind presents a different set of challenges.

The Danger of Words

We already talked briefly above about how words can be used for evil. Unfortunately, misplaced words – whether intended for good or not – can harm people, and they can also heal. While you may not be able to control how the other person reacts to the words you use, you can do your best to convey your feelings in the most understandable, concise way.

This is where words get complicated. There are millions upon millions of words that exist out there in the world, and you’ll never be able to learn them all in your lifetime. You may not even be able to learn all of the words in your native language before you die!

As such, there’s no limit to how we can build, improvise, and adapt sentences and thoughts to communicate with others. While this gives us infinite freedom so we can get across precisely the message that we need, it can make it more difficult for others to understand our message, too. If they don’t understand the words you’re using, they might miss subtle nuances or even the meaning altogether.

Words can cause us to feel powerful, too. Words can make us feel like we have more control than we really do. Because people with a better command of words tend to have a linguistic advantage over those who don’t, it can put them on uneven ground. Eventually, it can open the way for feelings of superiority if it’s not addressed.

Words and Communication

At the core of it all, more so than anything else we’ve mentioned so far, words make up the very most basic building blocks of communication. We could not communicate as we do without the existence of words. Sure, we might be able to continue with simple communication through gestures, but it’d be near-impossible to form the complex thoughts and stories we create today without the system that we have.

Why do you think speaking is one of the first things we learn to do as young children? T’s likely that one of the first things to come out of your mouth when you were young was a smaller word that you knew well, such as “Mama” or “Daddy.”

The reason why we learn to speak so quickly is simply that we imitate our parents. However, imitating is how we gradually gain access to a bigger supply of words, too. As children, we’ll eventually learn all the words our parents have to teach us, then going off into the world on our own to learn even more.

Nearly all animals on planet Earth (and even some plants) have systems in place that allow them to communicate. Birds sing, for example, and dogs use a combination of barking and body language to learn about their fellows. Humans, on the other hand, are the only creature on Earth that can use such a complex system of descriptive words and statements, and we can do it in multiple languages, too.

No other creature on Earth has the power to communicate with other members as we do. However, as we said, with this power also comes the potential for evil. By removing the body language aspect, humans can lie to other humans by using their words. On the other hand, animals like dogs have no innate desire to lie to their humans, and they’re likely not even aware of the concept.

Of course, we don’t just mean the spoken word here, either. The written word is just as important as the spoken one, and it has different purposes and niches, too. While the written word and the spoken word are generally based on the same functional language, they’re interpreted in two very different ways.

We’ve already talked about how good command of the written language can affect people who live halfway across the world from you. Depending on what you write, you can bring them joy, adventure, surprise, happiness, or even sadness and anger.

How to Make Words Important

Certain words innately have more importance – more impact – to them than others. Consider these two words, for example: pink and magenta. While pink is a relatively common word, you don’t necessarily hear about magenta as much. This is because magenta is a relatively uncommon word, which also happens to be lengthy. However, both terms are referring to the color pink, though the actual color in question might vary slightly.

It’s easy to bring more weight and power to your words, though it’s not something that you can get the hang of entirely overnight. Of course, it very much depends on your starting point, too. If you started out with a good knowledge of, let’s say, English, you should be able to start using the words you know within relatively short order.

However, if you don’t know the English words you’re looking for, the next best thing to do is to look them up! A thesaurus, dictionary, or encyclopedia is a great way to catch up on words that you don’t know. And once you know them, you can start using them against other people, too!

If you’re looking to make your words sound and feel more important, the first thing you should do is to choose to use words with more impact. Which words work best for you and for your environment is entirely up to you, but it’s important that you swap out the weak words you usually use and exchange them for something a bit stronger.

Of course, the next best thing to do is to evaluate how your own words come off to others. If you come off as sensitive and weak, you might find yourself being taken advantage of more often. However, a bit more emphasis on the right words might be just what you need to power through this false idea of you.

A good way to do this is to ask a trusted friend or confidant about how you come across to them (and others). Get their opinion, then try a few scenarios that might help you change your image in the process, too. Ask them questions like:

  • Have I ever come across as mean or conceited?
  • Do I come across as arrogant?
  • Do I come across as a pushover?
  • Do I seem sensitive sometimes?
  • Do I complain too much?

You can ask your confidant virtually any question like those above to figure out what you need to know. A trusted confidant will tell you how you come off to others, how your words are lacking, and even point you in the correct direction to fix it.

Of course, you shouldn’t rely too much on one confidant, either. Everyone is different, so everyone will perceive you in a slightly different way. If you’re looking for a genuinely exhaustive answer, it’s best to ask multiple people what they think.

After all, while choosing the right words is the basis of excellent communication, each person has been exposed to different forms and types of communication throughout their life. As such, the things they perceive could be entirely different from the norm, or they might line up with what others think. This is why gathering information from multiple sources is so important!

Of course, the next step after gathering information is to implement your solution. Do your words not have enough power? Try experimenting with new concepts or tones to see what different kinds of reactions you get. If you can, it’s good to continue asking confidants for information down the road (regardless of whether you use old ones or gain new ones) so that you’ll know just where you’re at in the process.

Words to Share Ideas

One of the principal functions of words is the sharing of ideas. Using words alone, we can share, record, and transfer ideas between individuals for posterity. Because we can write down the ideas that we come up with, we now have decades upon decades of science, history, language, and mathematics to learn from.

Think about it: if we didn’t have words, we couldn’t share complex ideas between one another. We might have gestures, yes, but at some point, those gestures also transition into words. Consider ASL (or Americal Sign Language), for example. Sign language uses mostly hand gestures (and sometimes body gestures) to communicate words or letters. However, most of the gestures used in ASL are closer to words than they are gestures. It’s merely another form of communication.

When we say gestures, we mean something a bit simpler, with less concrete meaning than something like ASL. Shrugging your shoulders is a good example. When you shrug your shoulders, it gives off the effect that you’re uncaring or unbothered about something. While this gesture is well-understood, it’s not necessarily a word, either.

Waving someone down, for example, is a gesture. “Thumbs up” is a gesture. These gestures communicate feelings, but not deep, expressive thoughts. You’d be hard-pressed to form a sentence out of gestures alone, though it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

You could try to use gestures to convey a more complicated idea. However, let’s think of Isaac Newton for a minute. Newton was the one who “discovered” gravity, so to speak. Of course, as any good scholar and researcher does, he recorded his findings for posterity. What if he hadn’t been able to?

Without written or spoken words, the knowledge of gravity (or, at least, its formal definition) would have died with Newton. Sure, someone else probably would have discovered and defined it down the road, but regardless, this relationship defines where we would be without words. Our society would not be able to progress past a particular developmental stage.

Of course, the transfer of scientific and medical ideas is supremely essential here. However, other notes of importance, such as stories, tradition, faith, discoveries, plans, and family lineage, are all passed down through written or spoken words, as well. If we were suddenly to lose all that, we would lose half of our identity along with it.

Think for a minute about what our world might look like if we didn’t have words at all. Instead, let’s consider that human beings were only ever capable of gestures. Maybe we had some sort of communication system in place through simple gestures, but we wouldn’t be able to share news and discoveries as you might with access to words.

Using Our Words

Nearly every human being on the planet is capable of speech. There are many who aren’t, of course, whether by choice or ability, but most of us can speak words, write words, or both. As human beings, this is one of the main things that bands us together.

Like we mentioned before, because we have words, we can form some of the most complex thoughts and ideas out of any creature on Earth. We can share things between two people that are located thousands of miles apart by merely sharing words. Words are an incredibly powerful tool that we often underestimate and underutilize.

We use our words every single day, and yet, unless we have a career in writing (or another job that involves writing or speaking), we seldom think about them. When we’re broaching a touchy or sensitive topic, sometimes we’ll take a second to think about what we have to say. However, typically, the words we use are automatically generated by our brain – we rarely have to go searching for them.

What, then, is the secret of using our words? For most of us, it’s all about the experience. While experience can’t entirely replace knowledge, it’s as good a start you can possibly get without studying language specifically.

The more situations we see where we need to choose our words carefully, the more word-related experience we’ll accrue. The more we generate word-related expertise, the more we’ll grow in our use of words. As such, getting out there and using your words is, unsurprisingly, the best possible way to get better.

Using your words is easier for some people than it is for others. Some of us are more indelicate when speaking, while others choose our words very carefully. Sometimes, too carefully. While your speaking style and the way you use your words is your business and yours alone, you’ll see the best results by straddling the fine line between too aggressive and too sensitive.

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