What’s Wrong With “Nice”?

Do you find yourself using the same adjectives over and over again? Even when I’m speaking English, I find myself describing experiences as “good”, “nice”, “really good” or “okay” and feeling like a stuck record.

Is it a problem for language learners? I can feel like a bit of an idiot if I describe everything in Spanish as “bueno” or “interesante”, but how much does it matter?

A good narrative does not need a hundred adjectives. Adding concrete detail and your own personality is more important. At the beginner stage it is easier to memorise adjectives than to get the hang of irregular verbs. When you’re at the intermediate stage, a bigger vocabulary is great, but you should take advantage of the fancier sentence structures you’ve learned.

How could it work? You can say the fireworks were astonishing/incredible/breathtaking, or you say they were “great” and then add a few details:

We loved it! I could have watched it for an hour. It was the perfect end to the day.

This example has simple vocabulary, but plays to the strengths of someone with intermediate English. If you don’t know lots of descriptive words, you can still express your reactions.

The best way to improve your vocabulary is by reading and writing as much as you can. You can improve your fluidity by speaking and listening, but your vocab will grow more slowly.

A smaller vocab set does not stop you from expressing yourself: think about your reactions, your opinions and your feelings.