Tag: collocations

May
18
2015

infinite

Posted in Academic Vocabulary of the Day by admin2

In f@ niht

adjective
definition 1:  having no bounds or limits; not measurable; limitless.
example:  Outer space appears infinite to us.
example:  One’s imagination is infinite.

definition 2:  in mathematics, incapable of being completely counted or measured; not finite.
example:  A line consists of an infinite number of points.
(more…)

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May
05
2015

prevalent

Posted in Academic Vocabulary of the Day by admin2

pre v@ l@nt

adjective
definition:  generally accepted; pervasive; widespread.
example:  These surgical techniques were already prevalent at the turn of the century.
example:  That a woman’s proper place was in the home was a prevalent attitude during the 1950s.
(more…)

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May
04
2015

exacerbate

Posted in Academic Vocabulary of the Day by admin2

ihg zae s@r beIt

transitive verb
definition:
 to increase the painfulness or severity of (illness, suffering, hard feelings, or the like); aggravate.
example:  The government’s indecision only exacerbated what was already a bad situation.
example:  Applying heat to the injury at this point will exacerbate the swelling.
example:  Their refusal to speak to each other exacerbated the tension between them.
(more…)

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Apr
15
2015

Building chunks of language with Word Combinations 1

Wordsmyth’s Word Combinations, technically known as “collocations,” provide what is almost like a thesaurus in another dimension. You will find them in most entries in the Advanced Dictionary. Instead of listing synonyms, that is, words you might use instead of the word you are using, Word Combinations provide words to use with the word you are using. In other words, they help you start building a bigger chunk of a sentence.

Compare the thesaurus’s “similar words” for the verb “laugh”:

cackle, chortle, chuckle, giggle, guffaw, howl, snicker, snigger, tee-hee, titter…

…with the Word Combination adverbs for the verb “laugh”:

aloud, appreciatively, bitterly, derisively, good-naturedly, harshly, heartily, hysterically, loud, loudly, maniacally, nervously, outright, raucously, ruefully, scornfully, softly, uncontrollably, uneasily, uproariously 

 

The similar words allow you to choose from among words for more specific kinds of laugh: from a quiet titter to a hearty guffaw. The Word Combinations allow you to choose from among adverbs that writers frequently use to modify the verb “laugh.” “Ashley laughed uneasily at the cruel joke,” you might write. Or, “Ashley laughed good-naturedly when her error was pointed out.” (Ashley’s a likable person, evidently.)

 

Word Combinations are the most frequent companions of the headword in published writing and broadcast speech. Thus, they represent the many ways in which the headword-concept is typically talked about and the words typically used to talk about them.

In the entries, word combinations are organized by part of speech combination. Take, for example, the word ”election.” The word combinations for the noun “election” fall into four kinds:

adjective + (n.) election

verb + (n.) election 

(n.) election + verb   

noun + (n.) election

These formulas show you the kind of word (part of speech) and the position (before or after “election”) in which it appears in the corpus of texts. Notice that “election” has some verbs that appear before it and some that appear after it. Here are the full word combinations entries, with some comments in red:

 

adjective + (n.)election     coming, competitive, congressional, contested, democratic, direct, disputed, fair, federal, forthcoming, fraudulent, free, general, gubernatorial, judicial, legislative, local, mayoral, mid-term, multi-party, multiracial, municipal, nationwide, nonpartisan, off-year, parliamentary, periodic, presidential, primary, provincial, scheduled, statewide, transitional, upcoming

 

verb + (n.)election     boycott, cancel, certify, contest, delay, disrupt, influence, hold, monitor, oversee, overturn, postpone, precede, rig, schedule, steal, supervise  (These verbs that frequently have the word “election” as their object will give you a glimpse at all the things we can do to an election. )

 

(n.)election + verb      loom, near
(Which of these two verbs would you choose to talk about a coming election? It really depends how you feel about it.)

 

noun + (n.)election   ballot, boycott, candidate, eve, fall, financing, landslide, legitimacy, midterm, month, outcome, poll, primary, recall, registration, round, run-up, runoff, turnout, vote, voting

 

If you have read through these words, you may have noticed that some make sense when placed immediately before or after the headword “election”: “a fair election,” “postponed the election,” and “a fall [i.e., autumn] election.” True, you have to insert an article, “the” between “postpone” and “election,” but generally these are recognizable phrases that make sense.

 

Others, especially in the noun+noun category, don’t seem like a chunk of a sentence: “legitimacy election” and “voting election,” for example. Often a preposition will need to be inserted between the words: “the legitimacy of the election,” “voting in this election” are some possible ways the word combinations will work in these cases.
If you don’t know how to fit the two words together, a Google search on the two words will often return a number of similar examples of how they do.

 

You can try this little exercise to get a feel for how to fill out a word combination:

 

Complete these common noun + noun word combinations with the correct prepositions and articles.

1. the eve   ____    ____   election
2. the outcome  ____    ____   election
3. the turnout   ____    ____   election

 

 Word Combinations is a subscription feature, but you can try it by signing up for a 15-day free Trial Subscription, no strings attached. (There is a Trial Subscription button on most pages of the Wordsmyth website.) We also include Word Combinations with many Academic Vocabulary of the Day posts.

 

Read more about collocations here.
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Apr
06
2015

assess

Posted in Academic Vocabulary of the Day by admin2

@ ses

transitive verb
definition 1:  to examine and try to discover the extent, quality, or nature of; evaluate; measure.
example:  He had to assess this new situation carefully.
example:  They assessed the damage to her car.
example:  The teachers discussed a new way to assess students’ progress.

definition 2:  to estimate the value of (something) for tax purposes; value.
example:  Their house was assessed at two hundred thousand dollars.

definition 3:  to establish or set the amount of (a tax, fine, or the like).
example:  The judge assessed a fine of fifty dollars for the parking violation.
(more…)

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