Reading the journals for yesterday's class was fun, as much as any sort of grading can be fun. One of the things that made it interesting was seeing how a few students chose words, and how the connotations of those words did or didn't fit.
For example, there are words in English that we use almost exclusively in certain circumstances. When we use them outside those circumstances, then they carry the overtones of those circumstances with them, and make us think. Or they seem awkward and out of place. Without using the example my student used, the best I can come up with is "denizen." A denizen is an inhabitant. But we'd rarely use denizen, UNLESS we either using archaic language for a reason, or working with fantasy or something, because it's pretty much used for that. So if you used "denizen" to talk about the cat lying on your sofa, you'd get all sorts of overtones, archaic, high-falutin', whatever. And that could be effective, or funny, or fall flat.
So one of my students used a word like that, except it's a word that has connections to death and such, and so tends to feel negative to most native English speakers. But it wasn't WRONG to use, per se, just not what a native speaker would use unless s/he were making a special point.
And it was interesting and fun to try to explain that to the student after class.
I'm pretty sure she found the work in her electronic dictionary, but still, she's advanced enough that she's choosing interesting words.
I'm sure T/ESL folks are really familiar with this, and have effective ways to help students learn well, but for me, it's a bit different, and so interesting.