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June 15, 2016

English Vocabulary in 365 Days - Introduction

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Hello everyone, I am ‎Shraboni. Working as a small teacher in EFLU, Hyderabad. The admin of this website has asked me to share some tips on developing English Vocabulary. So I decided to post some interactive lessons on vocabulary.

How am I going to teach you the Vocabulary ?

My target is to make you an Expert in English Vocabulary in an year. So I have divided my lessons into 365 parts. Every day I will be posting a lesson followed by a practice exercises for which you will be getting answers on the next day.

Let me clarify one more thing before we get dive into more detail. I am not going to give you a bunch of English words along with their meanings and ask you to mug them up. Instead of this, I am going to teach you how to cut the given word and to learn the exact meaning, so that you can understand the meanings of new words in the 1st glance.

What am I going to teach you ?

During these 365 days, I am going to teach you 365 word elements (one element per day). Which includes 75 Prefixes, 60 Suffixes and  230 Roots. With the help of these, you can recognize the meanings of almost all words in English. I am also going to give some home work with random elements, which helps you in guessing the meaning of the word.

Note : Please read the below introduction carefully, please re - read it till you get each and every point into your mind. Do ask me in the comments section below, if you have any doubts. Because, this post is the heart of our upcoming lessons. Without understanding this, you may not be understanding the remaining. 


Vocabulary can be built by combinations of word elements, or parts. These word elements have names : they are,
  • Root / Base - This is the basic part of a word.
  • Prefix : This is fixed before a root (first part of the word).
  • Suffix : This is fixed after a root (last part of the word).
Root formation is the creation of new words. Roots come from one of three sources :
  1. They are inherited / derived from Old English. 
  2. They are adopted from other languages. 
  3. They are coined by an individual to express a particular idea. 
A new word can be built by :
  1. Root + Suffix
  2. Prefix + Root
  3. Prefix + Root + Suffix

For example, take the word Autobiography

Ex : autobiography = The story of a person's life written by own

  • auto (autos) - Prefix = self
  • bio (bios) - Root = life
  • graphy (graphia) - Suffix = a form of writing
Let's have a look at another example, take the word  Telephone.
Ex : telephone

Here the root word is phone. It has a prefix tele. Let's have a look at the individual meanings of these words,
  • Tele (telos) - distance
  • Phone - sound / voice
So we can define the telephone as a machine used for talking to over long distances
    Parts of word can often give you clues about the meaning of the word. 

    If you know common elements, they can help you a lot with the identification of new vocabulary. 

    Basic Rules you SHOULD keep in Mind :

    • The vowel o is most commonly used in order to make a root combinable with another word element beginning with a consonant sound. Other vowels are sometimes used. But o is the vowel to think of first. 
      • Ex :
        • graph + o + logy = graphology 
        • verb + i + age = verbiage
        • sex + u + al = sexual 
    • Many English words end with a silent e that means the e is not pronounced. When you add a suffix that begins with a vowel onto these words, you drop the e.
      • Ex :
        • desire + able = desirable
    • Sometimes a prefix and a root together are hard to pronounce, such as in + legal = inlegal. Say inlegal rapidly several times. Hear what happens ? We make it easier to pronounce by spelling inlegal as illegal
      • The process of a letter becoming the same as, or similar to, another letter is called assimilation
      • The n in illegal was assimilated to an l
    • When you add a suffix to a word that ends with a consonant plus y, you change the y to i.
      • Ex :
      • beauty + ful = beautiful (y to i)
        • Note : (Shyly, spryly, wryly are exceptions)
    • When you make an adverb by adding the suffix -ly to an adjective that ends with le, you drop the le from the adjective. 
      • Ex : gentle + ly = gently
    • When adding suffixes to verbs ending in vowel plus l, double the l.
      • Ex : 
        • counsel + or = counsellor
        • excel + ent = excellent
    • When adding the suffixes -ous, -ious, -aty, -ation, -ific, -ise and -ize to a word which ends in -our, you should change the -our to -or before adding the suffix.
      • Ex :
        • humour + ous = humorous
        • glamour + ize = glamorize
    That's all for today guys.  Please use the comments section below, if my way of teaching is confusing to you or if you have any doubts / queries. Good Day all :)

    You can read Regular Lessons of this series from here
      Shraboni Chakraborty
      Asstt. Professor
      English and Foreign Languages University,
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