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Section: 2 Word Families

Section 2: Word Families

Section 2 of Vocabulary Basics groups words into families, words that are related because they express related ideas. While you continue to build familiarity with a set of words for future understanding and use, you will examine relationships among words, using techniques that can be applied to many concepts and word families as you continue to develop your verbal abilities.

Three ways to think about words are covered in these lessons:

  • contrasts

  • categories

  • shades of meaning

In Lesson 7, you will contrast words and groups of words about communicating. Words about sending and receiving, positive and negative communications, and asking and answering are among those covered. The importance of communications in today's society cannot be overemphasized. Technological developments have made the communication of messages faster and wider-reaching than ever before.

In Lesson 8, you will examine relationships among words that describe size and amount, categorize them, and put them “in order.” You will learn that some words meaning “big,” “small,” “many,” or “few” are usually used in specific situations. We call a small sum of money paltry, but we wouldn't call a small animal or person or house paltry.

In Lesson 9, you will compare words that describe importance, which are not easily put in order and are often used only in certain contexts. Importance is not a concrete entity that can be weighed and measured. Consequently, words related to this concept must express the “weight” of importance through differences in meaning that may be subtle or slight, but significant. You will examine words related to degrees of importance and understand differences in shades of meaning.



Circle T or F to indicate whether each of the following statements is true or false. On a separate sheet of paper, state why you chose that answer.


TFAll words are neutral. They become positive or negative only by virtue of the way they are used.

A1: F

TFImply refers to what a speaker does. Infer refers to what a listener does.

A2: T

TFExcessive, exorbitant, extravagant, and immoderate all mean “too many” or “too much.”

A3: T

TFThe words some, several, and numerous are in order of quantity, from fewest to most.

A4: F


Circle the letter next to the answer that best completes the sentence.

1:Because the speaker ________________ from his topic, the audience had difficulty following his logic.

(a) delineated

(b) digressed

(c) revealed

(d) dictated

A1: b
2:The ________________ child was smaller than his playmates, but was healthy and happy.

(a) miniature

(b) heavy

(c) diminutive

(d) puny

A2: c
3:The ________________ feature of the product is its ease of use.

(a) urgent

(b) eminent

(c) salient

(d) imminent

A3: c



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