March Vocabulary Challenge: Write a Story Using Our Words of the Day

How many recent Words of the Day can you use correctly in a 50-word story?

Send us yours by March 31. This Lesson plan is from The New York Times


Do you use your vocabulary to impart wisdom, broach difficult subjects or offer coherent explanations of the world around you? These three vocabulary words are among our Words of the Day for February, which we hope you will use to inspire a short story of your own.

In this challenge, middle and high school students are invited to use four or more vocabulary words in a 50-word story. We will publish a few of our favorite submissions as examples for the May challenge.

Find more opportunities to practice vocabulary in our calendar of Vocabulary Challenges, and share any questions or feedback with us at

  • Submit your entry as a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on March 31.

Start by getting familiar with the vocabulary words published in February. It may help to read the linked definitions and examples of how the words have been used in The New York Times.

Then, create a 50-word piece of writing in which you correctly and creatively use at least four of the words. Submit your story (or poem, or song) by commenting on this post between now and March 31.

Here is what we are looking for:

  • It is most important that you use each vocabulary word correctly — according to its definition. We will not consider any entries in which a word is used incorrectly.

  • Use as many vocabulary words as you can, but without crossing a line into gibberish or inanity. Do not simply list the words; we are looking for entries that demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary.

  • Finally, we are looking for pieces of writing that are creative, original and make sense. Your comment can be fact or fiction, silly or serious; we care most that you learn new vocabulary and have fun.

And here are a few more rules:

  • Your story must be 50 words or fewer and use at least four of the listed vocabulary words.

  • Identify your vocabulary words by writing them in ALL CAPS (see the bottom of this post for examples).

  • Submit your entry as a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on March 31.

  • It is acceptable to use a word in a different tense or to use the plural of a word that is listed in the singular.

  • However, you cannot change a word’s part of speech. For example, since the word “ignominious” is listed as an adjective, you cannot substitute the noun “ignominy.”

  • Minimum Age Requirements: Middle and high school students ages 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, can submit by commenting on this post. Teachers and parents can submit on behalf of students in middle or high school who do not meet these age requirements. If you are submitting on behalf of a student, please include the student’s name at the bottom of the comment.

  • Please submit only one story per student. You cannot edit your comment once it has been submitted.

Your piece of writing should draw from the words below. Each links to a Word of the Day post with the word’s definition and an example of how it has been used in The New York Times. To find more usage examples, consult the online dictionary.

pro bono
vice versa

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