Campus Recruitment – Verbal Ability – Vocabulary
There is no exaggeration in saying that ‘English is a Passport to Success’, especially for the students that are preparing for competitive exams – may it be national level or international level exams. When it comes to campus recruitment tests, the role of English language is very significant. For the companies are very particular about the language skills of the students rather than the subject expertise as the former cannot be taught in the companies. Companies can train the students in regard to their projects, but not in regard to language skills, hence the emphasis. It is said that once an employee of a big company sent a following leave letter to his manager- “sir, as 1 need to go to my native place to dispose of the ancestral property along with my wife, I may kindly be granted four days leave.” (both are the employees of the same company) Meaning-wise the above sentence is a blunder which is created due to a simple change of structure. Just a slight change in the sentence structure will give the desired meaning- the phrase ‘along with’ should be placed after ’native place’- “sir, as I ….my native place along with my wife to …” would be an appropriate sentence. Simple mistakes may mar the entire meaning and create many problems.
Then the question is how to develop English language skills? Knowledge of a language implies-the knowledge of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. It is only through Listening, the other skills will develop; a child learns the language through listening only. Now-a-days, there are ample opportunities to enhance one’s listening skills through watching different news channels. Listening and Speaking are two sides of the same coin and these will pave way to Reading and Writing.
For all the four skills that we have discussed, two most important ingredients are Vocabulary and Grammar. Indeed, vocabulary is like ‘bricks’ and Grammar is like ‘cement’- the more number of bricks you have, the larger will be the building. And it is the ‘grammar’ that keeps the bricks in a beautiful manner. If a student has only a limited range of vocabulary, he will not have greater fluency and variety. Since language is ‘a dress of thought’ to express one’s thoughts, one requires variety of expressions, based on the situations. For example, to express one’s feeling of happiness, there are a bunch of words – joy, blithe, cheerful, elated, glad, delightful, hilarious, exultant, ecstatic and blissfid – all these indicates one’s happy state of
mind only. But certainly, these are not the ‘same’ words, but only ‘similar’ words. No two words in the above bunch of words give same level of meaning. They are used at different degrees of intensity of feeling. So also, to express the feeling of unhappiness, there are a bunch of words -miserable, depressed, distressed, gloomy, dejected, wretched, despondent, forlorn, sorrowful, melancholy, poignant and heart breaking. If a student can understand the ‘weight’ of a word, then he will be able to use it in accordance with the situation. If a student is selected for an MNC, with a very attractive package, to express his feelings, he just can’t say – 7 am very happy’ but he must say 7 am ecstatic or blissful’ since that is one of the most joyful moments of life. It is only through an appropriate usage of words, a speaker can convey his feelings effectively.
Most students have a strong feeling of fear that ‘developing vocabulary’ or ‘word power’ is a very difficult task. In fact, it is certainly difficult, if a student tries to learn it in a monotonous manner of mugging words. It would be interesting and entertaining if vocabulary is developed in a systematic manner, i.e. through ‘Root words’, ‘Prefixes’ and ‘Suffixes’. Every language has its roots. If we can understand at least a few root words, we can not only remember the words easily, but also guess the meaning of some unknown words also.
In this chapter, let us learn a few Root Words-For example- the word ‘Dictionary’ is a combination of two words- (diction + ary)- ‘Diction’ means – choice of words; – Dictionary is a book of words. The root word ‘die’ or ’did’ means to say, to speak; from this only the words- ’dictate’, ’predict’, ‘verdict’, ‘contradict’, ‘benediction’, ‘malediction’- have been derived
- The prefix ‘pre’ means – before and the root word,’dict’ means to say; Predict is to say before something happens; the root word ‘ver’ means – true (veracity is reality, accuracy; verify = to confirm ; verity = truth) ‘verdict’ is a judgment, a result, a decree. The prefix ‘contra’ is opposite or against; hence contradict means- disagree with what someone says. So also the words – contravene and controversy. Ben/ Bon means – good or kind, (example: benefit, benign, bonafide). The word, ‘Benediction’, indeed, means a good word; hence the meaning – blessing.
- The opposite of Benediction is – Malediction which means – a Curse (a bad word). The root word – ‘mal’ means bad; malevolent (mal + vol + ent) is spiteful;(malnutrition; malefactor (an evil doer); malignant (disposed to do harm). The root word ‘vol’ is wish or thinking; example: ‘voluntary’ work is one’s own wish – no compulsion; ‘malodorous’ is smelling bad (‘odour’ is smell).
- ‘Anthrop’ is mankind, humanity; Anthropology is a study of mankind (logy is study). Philanthropic is charitable, considerate, generous, liberal and compassionate. In this word, two root words are hidden – ‘Phil’ means Love and ‘anthrop’ is mankind. Philosopher is a lover of knowledge. How? For, ’sophy’ is knowledge. Theosophy is the knowledge about God. (The root word ‘thee’ means God). Theology is the study about God. ‘Misanthrope’ is a person that hates mankind, (mis + anthrop).
- The word ‘Circumspection’ can be divided into three root words i.e. Circum is ‘around’ (as in circumference); ‘spec’ is to see; ‘tion’ is a sort of suffix that converts a word into Noun. Circumspection (noun) means caution, prudence and vigilance. Other parts of speech for this word are adjective and adverb forms. Example: He should be more ‘circumspect’ in his dealing, (adjective); He drives very ‘circumspectly’ (adverb);
- A few examples related to the root word ’circum’ – Circumlocution is round about, verbose or evasive expression. ‘Locu/loqu/logue means ‘to speak’ or ‘speech’; So Circumlocution is speaking in an indirect manner; beating round the bush; (elocution, eloquent, dialogue, prologue are a few examples for the root words ’locu/ loqul logue”). ’Circuitous’-is round about, winding, twisty. ‘Circumnavigate’ is to sail around the globe.
‘Am’ and ‘Ami’ indeed means Love.
‘Am ‘iable, Amicable = Friendly.
‘Am ‘ateur = part time, lay person, beginner.
‘Am’orous =Ardent, loving and passionare (ous = full of)
‘Am ‘ity = Frienship.
‘Am ‘eliorate = improve.
The root word ’anim’ means mind, spirit and soul.
Hence ‘Animosity’ means hostility, enmity and animous. (ithout mind)
So also Animal is one without a mind – only physical. ‘Magnanim ‘ous is noble and generous.
Because mag/ magna/ maj/ max means big.
(Example for the above root words are – magnitude, magnum opus, magnificent, magnify and maximum) Animated means lively and vigorous.
‘Alt’ is a root word which means high and tall.
Altitude is height/elevation.
‘Alto’ is the highest male voice; a musical instrument with the second or third highest pitch in its group.
‘Exalt’ somebody is to praise and applaud some one.
The word star has its roots in the Latin word ‘Aster’.
Example: Asteroid = any of the tiny planets revolving round the sun.
Catastrophe or Disaster is a tragedy, a failure, a calamity. How? People in olden days believed that a natural calamity takes place due to the negative and malefic aspects of the stars.
Astronaut is one who swims or floats in the stars. (‘Naut’ is derived from nautical which is related to seafaring, sailors and ships.) So also Cosmonaut is one who swims in the cosmos.
Asterisk is a star shaped symbol.
The root words cap/capt/cept mean to take, hold, seize, receive and catch.
’Cap ’tivate is to enthrall, capture, fascinate.
’Cap ‘tivity is imprisonment, confinement.
Inter’cept’ is to cut off; interrupt, seize.
Re’cept’ion is welcome, response, treatment.
‘Capt’ure is imprison.
En ‘cap ‘sulate is to catch, secure or arrest.
So also capt/capit = head.
Captain is a team leader, boss.
Decapitate is to behead, execute.
Capital = Assets, funds, investment.
Recapitulate is to remember the main points.
Capture is to imprison.
cord/card = heart
Accord is an agreement or a treaty, (agreed by all members)
Discord is a Disagreement (the opposite is concord)
Cordial is warm, friendly and pleasant.
Cardinal (adjective) is basic, fundamental, central. Cardinal as a noun means chief, main, central.
Cardiac arrest=a sudden cessation of the heart’s function
’chron’ is Time.
The adjective ’chronic’ is constant, recurring, unceasing and continual. Chronicle is a record, report, dairy, journal, register and an account. Anachronism is a chronological mistake; representation of somebody or something out of chronological order or in the wrong historical setting. (‘Ana’ means not, without). Synchronism is occurrence at same time; the simultaneous occurrence of two or more things.
The root -word ’cogn’ is to know.
Recognize; Incognito = in disguise, anonymously, undercover. (Opposite openly) .
Cognate = similar, associated,alike; (opp- different)
Cognizance = knowledge, awareness, understanding, (opp-ignorance).
Cognoscente is an expert who has the superior knowledge of a subject, an art.
Prefixes and suffixes are an important part of learning vocabulary. Most standardized tests include words with prefixes and suffixes to test vocabulary. The following is a convenient list of prefixes, roots and suffixes which helps in quickly figuring out many words without having to consult a dictionary.
|Prefix||Meaning||Example words and meanings|
a, ab, abs
|from, away, away from, apart||absent
|not to be present, away
taking away by force
run away, depart secretly
|strong dislike, disgust
|bi, bis||two, twice||bipolar
|related to two poles
two wheeled cycle
for every two years
|circum, cir||around, on all sides,||circumspect
|being watchful, cautious
|com, con, co, col||with, together||confluence
bring together, meet
a person with whom one works
|de||away from, down, the opposite of||detach
|dis, dif, di||away, not, negative, apart||dismiss
not to like
|epi||upon, over, on top of||epitaph
|writing upon a tombstone
speech at the end, on top of the rest
|equ, equi||equal, same||equivalent
|equal in value
to make equal
|ex, e, ef||out, from, away||exit
|to go out
to breath out
deprived of strength
process of flowing out
|in, il, ir, im, en||in, into, within, inside, toward||inject
|to put into
to force into
to give light to
bring (goods) into a country
|in, il, ig, ir, im||not, without||illegal
lack of knowledge
|inter||between, among, jointly||international
|between two nations
to come between or in opposition
|mal, male, mali||bad, ill, wrong, evil||malpractice
|improper, illegal behaviour
utterance of a curse or an evil spell
|mis||wrong, badly, harsh, hate||misbehave
to put in wrong place
|mono||one, alone, single||monopoly
a speech by one person
|non||no, not, without, the reverse of||nonsense
|not making any sense
|ob, op||in front, against, in the way of||obstacle
|something that stands in the way of against to something|
|omni||everywhere, all||omnipotent omnipresent||all powerful
|per||through, through out||permanent perceive||through out all the time
aware something through senses
|poly||many, more than one, numerous||polygon
|shape with more than three sides
a person fluent in many languages
|post||after, behind, later, subsequent||post graduation
at a later time
|pre||before, earlier than||prepare
|get ready in advance
an introductory statement
|Pro||forward, going ahead of, supporting||Proposal
|a plan put forward for consideration
to go ahead
|sub||under, less than, inferior to||submarine
way to move under ground
|super||over, above, greater, excessive, higher||superior superfluous||higher in rank
more than necessary, excessive
|to carry something across a space across the continent|
|un, uni||one, single||union .
|joining together or one group
the onlv one of its kind
unabridged not shortened
|Root||Meaning||Example words and meanings|
|act, ag||to do, to act, to guide||activity
ability to move quickly
|cap, capt, cept, ceive||to take, to hold, to seize, to catch||capable
|able to achieve
to hold the attention
take or agree to receive
|cede, ceed, cess||to go, to give up||recede
|to go back
to go beyond the limits
means of going in
|cred, credit||to believe, make trust||Credentials
|providing the basis for belief
belief that something is true or valid
|curr, curs, cours||to run||concurrent
flowing easily and smoothly
|die, diet||to say, speak||dictionary
|a book explaining words (sayings)
for telling the future
to point out or say by demonstrating
|due, duct||to lead||induce
|to lead to action
to lead to knowledge
|a statement of equation
evenness of mind, tranquility
|fac, fact,||to make, to do, to produce||factory
|a place where things are made
object made by a person
|fer||to carry, bring, bear||Confer
|to bring honor to
to move to another place
|graph||writing, Recording||autograph monograph||written with one’s own hand
a writing on a particular subject
|mit, miss||to send, to let go.||admit
|to send in
something sent through the air
|pon, posit, pose||to place, to put||deposit||to place something for safekeeping|
|scrib, script||to write||Transcript
|a written copy
to write about or tell about
|sequ, secu||to follow||consequent
|that which follows as a natural effect
in following order
|spec, spect, spic||to appear, to look, to see||specimen
|an example to look at
|one way to see something
|sta, stat, sist, stit, sisto||to stand, or make stand||status
to stand away from
|to touch together
to be able to be touched
|ten, tent, tain||to hold||Tenable
|able to be held, holding
to hold up
|to draw together
an agreement drawn up
|ven, vent,||to come||convene
|to come together
|| ver, vert, vers||to burn||avert
|to turn away
to turn back
to turn around
|Suffix||Meaning||Example words and meanings|
|able, ible, ble||able to||Portable
|able to easily carried
able to be eaten
|cious, cous, al||like, having the quality of, full of||gracious
|having courteousness, kind
having the quality of being lively
|ance, ancy||the act of, a state of being, quality of||brilliance
|quality of exceptional intelligence state of being irritated|
|ant, ent, er, or||one who||vigilant
|one who is very alert
one who efficient and capable
one who teaches
one who creates
|connected with, related to||literary
|related to writing
related to soldiers
|ence||state of, quality of, act of||absence
|the state of being away
the act of existing or being
|full of fear
full of happy
|ic, ac, il, ile||relating to, pertaining to, characterized by||cardiac
|pertaining to the heart
pertaining to citizens
pertaining to change
relating to living matter
|ion||act of, process of, condition of||navigation||the process of following the route|
|ism||state or quality of, the practice of, support of||exorcism
|the act of driving out an evil spirit
support of one’s country
|ist||one who makes, does||humanist||one who is interested in human values|
|ity, ty, y||the state of, condition of, character of||dignity
|the state of being worthy
character of being honest
the state of intense joy
|ive||having the nature of, tending to||active
|having the nature of moving
nature of pushing oneself forward
without a heart
|losy||the study of||biology||the study of life processes|
|ment||the act of, the state of, result of||retirement
|state of being retired
result of setting in line
|ness||the quality of||eagerness||the quality of being eager|
|ory||having the nature of, a place or thing for, relating to||laboratory
|a place where work is done
a place where arms are kept
|ous, ose||full of, having||humorous
|having or showing a sense of humor
full of words, or wordy
|ship||the art or skill of, the ability to||leadership||the ability to lead|
|some||full of, like||troublesome
|full of trouble
characterized by quarreling.
|tude||the state of quality of, the ability to||Aptitude
|the ability to do
state of being grateful; thankfulness
|y||full of, somewhat, somewhat like||chilly
having a stale smell
like a willow