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Knowing these roots helps us to grasp the meaning of words before we look them up in the dictionary.It also helps us to see how words are often arranged in families with similar characteristics. By permission of Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc.In fact, you might well discover that the words you've written down are rather common.What's happening is not that, all of a sudden, people are using words you never saw before, but that you are now reading and using words that you had previously ignored.If you have a speedy computer processor and a fast hookup to the internet, we recommend the Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus.Once the program is entirely loaded, type in a word that you would like to see "visualized," hit the return key, and a construct of verbal connections will float across the screen.Make reading these articles one of your daily habits, an addiction, even.Play dictionary games with your family in which someone uses the dictionary to find a neat word and writes down the real definition and everyone else writes down a fake (and funny) definition.
Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to recall the right word; sometimes we never knew it.For instance, we know that sophomores are students in their second year of college or high school. The "sopho" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us philosophy, which we know means "love of knowledge." The "ic" ending is sometimes added to adjectival words in English, but the "more" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us moron. By permission of Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc. Suffixes, on the other hand, modify the meaning of a word and frequently determine its function within a sentence. With suffixes, the word becomes the adjective national, the adverb nationally, and the verb nationalize.Thus sophomores are people who think they know a lot but really don't know much about anything, and a sophomoric act is typical of a "wise fool," a "smart-ass"! Going back to philosophy, we know the "sophy" part is related to knowledge and the "phil" part is related to love (because we know that odendron loves shady spots). "Phil" is still love, and "anthropy" comes from the same Greek root that gives us anthropology, which is the study ("logy," we know, means study of any kind) of anthropos, humankind. Knowing the Greek and Latin roots of several prefixes and suffixes (beginning and endings attached to words) can also help us determine the meaning of words. See what words you can come up with that use the following suffixes.Read journals and newspapers that challenge you in terms of vocabulary.
Pursue words actively and become alert to words that you simply overlooked in the past.Click on any of the words within that construct and a new pattern of connections will emerge.Try the Visual Thesaurus with several different kinds of wordsverbs, adverbs, nouns, adjectivesand try adjusting some of the various controls on the bottom of the window.See how many people you can fool with your fake definitions. A thesaurus is like a dictionary except that it groups words within constellations of meaning.