Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Wonderful World of Vocabulary

Recently I have been studying to take the GRE. The GRE is composed of three parts. Quantitative, Verbal, and an Essay. When I started studying for the test I knew that I would need work on my math skills. However, being an English major I thought that I had quite a large vocabulary. In order to double check my vocabulary skills I purchased two sets of flashcards to study from. I started by dividing them into two piles. One pile are the cards I do know. The other pile are the cards that I do not know. Once I had all of the cards divided I realized that the pile that I did not know was a lot larger than the pile I did know. This took me back a couple steps. It was humbling to realize that my fantastic vocabulary skills were not up to par with a college graduate.

Here are a few of the words I don't know:

Impecunious - poor; having no money
Imprecation - a curse
Lachrymose - tearful
Legerdemain - trickery
Mendacious - dishonest
Numismatics - coin collecting
Pugilism - boxing
Pastiche - piece of literature or music imitating other works
Salubrious - healthful
Unconscionable - unscrupulous; shockingly unfair or unjust

Here are some of the words I do know:

Inexorable - inflexible; unyielding
Lament - to express sorrow; to grieve
Metaphor - figure of speech comparing two different things
Mollify - to calm or make less severe
Molt - to shed hair; or an outer layer periodically
Pragmatic - practical, as opposed to idealistic
Unequivocal - absolute; certain
Variegated - varied; marked with different colors
Wanton - undisciplined; unrestrained; reckless
Zealot - someone passionately devoted to a cause

Having a large vocabulary is extremely important, not only for taking standardized tests but in order to better oneself within the English language. After I realized that I needed to better my vocabulary I started studying my cards with zeal. I even talked to my coworkers about taking the GRE. They really liked my cards and expressed an interest in knowing new words every day. I also realized in the process of studying, that booksellers really enjoy learning new words. That is half the joy in reading any book. Danine told us that she is signed up for word of the day online and tries to use each word in a poem. This is a great resource for anyone trying to improve their vocabulary. My suggestion is to read as many books as you can. The more you read the better your vocabulary becomes. Plus, reading is fun!

If you too would like to expand your vocabulary here are a few resources: (Sign up for word of the day and do your own creative writing!)

Exam Busters New GRE Study Cards : 9781881374800

Kaplan GRE Exam Vocabulary in a Box : 9781607140528

Happy reading and vocabulary building!

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