When you’re told that your resume has gaps, when your argument isn’t at all persuasive, or when your sandcastle is falling down, what do you need to do?

“Shore up” or “sure up?”

Perhaps you think to say “sure up” because you seek more assurance or certainty, but you would surely be wrong. 

First appearing around 1400 AD, the word “shore” was not only where land meets water, it meant “a support beam, prop, or buttress.” It comes from Middle Low German “schore.” 

The incorrect use of “sure up” instead of “shore up” is common. I’ve heard it by pundits on TV and radio as well as seen it written in articles and books. 

Using “sure” might have logic, but since when has logic steered the English language? “Sure up” is an impostor. Check your trusted dictionary.com. There is no entry for “sure up,” but for “shore up” we find: ”Support, prop, as in The new law was designed to shore up banks in danger of failure.”

Now you can forever avoid this mistake. Those who make it should shore up their vocabulary. (Fair or not, you are judged by your vocabulary.) 

To shore up the merits of my entreaty to bolster your word power, consider that reading and writing are integral parts of our lives. We read online for daily deposits to our knowledge bank. We read for stimulation and entertainment, some of us with an insatiable appetite for books. A good vocabulary helps one to appreciate the written word and to read between the lines. Reading becomes richer with the understanding of the literal and metaphorical implications of words. In fact, reading, in turn, also adds to your word power.  

Vocabulary is the content in your tool chest when you set out to construct a letter, a best-selling book, a plea for help…how wonderful it is that there is no limit to the size of your tool chest. The better your vocabulary, the more equipped you are to write anything and everything. 

And then there is the spoken language. Possessing an excellent vocabulary does not mean you use “big words.” It means you use the right word to express yourself in the right manner. Communication becomes your super power! People flock to hear what you have to say. You will increase your sphere of influence by being more clear, precise, and persuasive. What a confidence-builder having word power can be! 

Head to the shore, take a vocabulary builder (a thesaurus is a good example), and study it as a sure means of shoring up your word power. 

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