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Posts Tagged ‘Vocabulary


A world memory champion and a neuroscientist have joined forces to create a language-learning website called Memrise, which combines mnemonic tricks with a game to help users learn quickly and efficiently. Memrise makes learning a game with virtual gardens that users must tend. As they do, they also earn points and thereby fight their way up a community-wide leaderboard. Read more


Lately my game fever is back. It is that phase carrying on in which I feel like getting hooked to playing word games – my favourite brain booster.

I think they are a brilliant change from the usual learning tips to improve our vocabulary. Word games such as crosswords, quizzes, puzzles, or text twist are interesting, different and enjoyable. Not only do these games provide entertainment, they help us apply what we have learnt thus far. And playing these games is not restricted to computer or Internet. 

Reader’s Digest’s Word Power section is one of the best vocabulary builder exercises I have read so far. It is a monthly bite. For each answer they provide detailed meaning, origin, and explanation, and that’s their unique style. In fact now there are millions of books and ways in which you can access such games. On Internet, my favourite is East of the Web website’s Eight Letter word game. Wanna play? Visit: http://www.eastoftheweb.com/games/Eight1.html

The Eight Letter game helps you build as many words as you can out of a set of letters, precisely out of eight letters. The sets keep changing as you proceed through different levels. This is exciting! Scrabble just goes a little further by helping you form words by connecting them with each other. If you play it with ‘only dictionary words allowed’ rule, it is a great brain booster.

Another fascinating game is the Text Twister, which makes you race against time, play with a set of letters, shuffle them, and guess more, more, and more.

Some of my friends agree that word games are vocabulary builders. “Of course word games help, how could they not? Crossword puzzles are a favorite of mine. Try easy ones first,” advises Bob, a friend in an online forum of English language, adding, “Read a lot and you’ll eventually pick it up. More important are vocabulary, grammar, and idioms. Read, read, read. Listen, listen, listen. And talk to native speakers as much as you can.”

Another member of the forum says, “Scrabble would probably be most helpful when played with others with a similar command of the language (and skill level). In cryptic crosswords the answers are usually pretty commonplace, obscurity being confined to the clues, but a solver without large knowledge of idioms and phrases will be rather handicapped.”

That is right. But that’s what adds to your knowledge when you try and find out more about what you don’t know. Solving crosswords, puzzles and quizzes with people who have better vocabulary than yours is especially helpful because that is when you get to learn the most. Next time using the newly learnt words in their correct places helps in remembering them forever.

Considering this, social networking websites such as Facebook and Orkut are popular platforms for people from all over the globe to play word games together and learn together. And having played many such, I can say – it is really helpful and loads of fun.

Try some and gain score – in life and in game.

My pick

Crosswords: BBC English Language Quizzes

Text Twist: Yahoo! Text Twist, Eight Letters


For a minute, just try and recollect when you heard proper, formal, nice English sentences in your conversation? I doubt it was recent. There is nothing like “proper” English these days. We hardly think about our usage of words or pick them consciously. Gone are the days when people used to pay attention to using strictly formal or proper English and grammar for writing letters and in official communication. Nowadays sms English is in and slang fill the mailbox.

 

Even when some of us do stick to speaking good English, we tend to get superfluous and use too many words in place of one. And that has a place in dictionary:

 

Tautology: a statement in which you say the same thing twice in different words, when this is unnecessary, for example ‘They spoke in turn, one after the other.’ 

Pleonasm: (technical) the use of more words than are necessary to express a meaning. For example, ‘see with your eyes’ is a pleonasm because the same meaning can be expressed using ‘see’.

 

We are so used to pleonasm that we don’t even realize using or listening to it. We often use extra vocabulary either to emphasize our point or to show good communication skills, whereas it reflects the opposite. 

Following are some common groups of words which can be replaced by a single word in our speech as well as writings.

 

A large proportion of

many

Absolutely essential 

essential

Added bonus

bonus

Advance warning 

warning

At this moment

now

Attach together

attach

By virtue of the fact that

because

Close proximity

close

Close scrutiny

scrutiny

Collaborate together

collaborate

Combine together

combine

Consensus of opinion

consensus

Exact replica

replica

Exactly the same

the same

Free gift

gift

Future plans

plans

In conjunction with

and

In order to

to

In the absence of

without

In the event that

if

In the field of biology

in biology

Minute detail

detail

Most unique

unique

New innovation

innovation

Oblong in shape

oblong

Patently obvious

obvious

Personal opinion

opinion

Placed under arrest

arrested

Prior experience

experience

Prior to

before

Razed to the ground

razed

Red in colour

red

Revert back

revert

Shorter in length

shorter

Subsequent to

after

Successful achievement

achievement

Sum total

sum

Surrounded on all sides

surrounded

Temporary reprieve

reprieve

Tiny speck 

speck

Unexpected surprise

surprise

Very urgent

urgent

Was of the opinion that

thought

With the exception of

except

 

If you wish, you can add your examples in comment.


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