The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important characteristics a person must have to succeed, be it to land a job or to climb the corporate ladder. Intelligence or academic prowess has little value without the ability to express your ideas in a lucid manner. Good communication skills require confidence, presence of mind and perhaps most importantly, a good vocabulary. Here are 20 words you should add to your vocabulary, using which a plain sentence can turn into a captivating description which will keep your listeners waiting to hear more from you and your readers glued to your writing.

1. Elucidate

It is a verb which means to explain something or make something clear.
Example– People have been trying to elucidate the Vedas for eons.

2. Callow

It is an adjective, usually used to describe young people, meaning inexperienced and immature.
Example– The state-appointed lawyer was a callow youth, fresh out of law school.

3. Scintillating

It is an adjective, which refers to something which shines brightly. It can also mean fascinating or brilliantly clever.
Example– The politician’s speech was surprisingly scintillating and received a standing ovation.

4. Quintessential

It means, ‘a typical or perfect example of a particular person, thing or quality.’
Example– He is the quintessential villain as he is bulky, ugly and has a mean look about him.

5. Soporific

It is an adjective meaning inducing drowsiness or sleep.
Example– The professor’s lecture on Nuclear Physics was soporific and had every student yawning.

6. Collywobbles

It means stomach pain with severe nausea and can also mean intense anxiety or nervousness.
Example – The haunted house gives everyone in the neighbourhood the collywobbles.

7. Vitriol

It is a noun which means bitter criticism or malice expressed in writing or speaking.
Example – The journalist’s criticism of the company was pure vitriol.

8. Sanguine

It’s an adjective which means optimistic or positive, particularly in a bad situation.
Example– Despite all her struggles, Anne Frank had a sanguine outlook on life and people.

9. Sycophant

It is a noun which is used for people who try to gain favour among influential people by flattery.
Example – The CEO’s secretary is a simpering sycophant who does nothing but compliments him all day.

10. Belligerent

It is an adjective which means hostile or aggressive.
Example – Labradors are very friendly dogs; far from belligerent.

11. Cerulean

It’s a shade of blue, which is deep blue like a clear sky.
Example – Her cerulean blouse complemented her eyes perfectly.

12. Didactic

It means intended to teach a lesson. It can also have a negative connotation, meaning someone who is preachy or patronizing.
Example – Although the Harry Potter series is not meant to be didactic, it is quite enlightening.

13. Colloquial

It is usually used to describe elements of a spoken language. The word can be used to describe something that is informal or used in familiar conversation.
Example – Colloquial language should not be used in a formal meeting.

14. Paradigm

It is a noun. It means a typical example or pattern of something.
Example – The topper is considered as a paradigm of virtue by all his teachers.

15. Egregious

It is an adjective used to describe something which is outstandingly bad or shocking.
Example – The spokesperson committed an egregious breach of protocol.

16. Fastidious

It is used to describe someone who is very concerned about accuracy and detail.
Example – Mothers are fastidious about the state of their children’s rooms and clothing.

17. Magnanimous

It is an adjective which means generous or forgiving, especially towards the less fortunate.
Example – He was a magnanimous ruler who was loved by all his subjects.

18. Conundrum

It is a noun which means a confusing or difficult puzzle or problem.
Example – The conundrum of the difficult sudoku made the math whiz restless.

19. Obsequious

It is an adjective describing a person who is too eager to praise or obey a superior.
Example – An obsequious waiter who caters to every need of the guests always receives the highest tips.

20. Pedantic

It means a person who pays too much attention to small details or unimportant rules.
Example – A book editor or critic must be pedantic when it comes to grammatical errors.