Saturday, March 22, 2003
W O R D   P O W E R

Discover your vocabulary quotient
Brinder Aulakh

THE magical splendour of words is irresistible. As language development tools, as vehicles for personal expression their power is undeniable. Crucial for effective communication, it is usually at the level of words themselves that the first barriers are generally set up. In the three stages of reaching out to others, conversation gets grounded when words are used unskillfully or imprecisely or lack delicacy and subtlety. The later stages of communication and communion are not even reached. The importance of words as messengers for creating rapport and building bridges over the turbulence of misunderstanding and resultant confusion should not be underestimated.

Use words precisely and powerfully to empower yourself and others. Increase your range of vocabulary and reinvent yourself and your universe through a skilful use of words. Increase your vocabulary by learning new words. Do a hop, skip and jump through the following exercises and discover your vocabulary quotient.


1. Match the adjective in column A with the animal it describes in column B.

Column A Column B

1. anserine a) donkey

2. ursine b) fish

3. porcine c) eagle

4. feline d) cow

5. passerine e) bull

6. bovine f) horse

7. ovine g) goat

8. aquiline h) wolf

9. canine i) cat

10. equine j) goose

11. hircine k) sparrow

12. leonine l) sheep

13. asinine m) lion

14. piscinine n) pig

15. taurine o) dog

16. lupine p) bear

II Write the plural of the following words. Some have two plurals.

1. passer-by

2. criterion

3. bandit

4. hypothesis

5. formula

6. onlooker

7. poet laureate

8. lady-in-waiting

9. mongoose

10. father-in-law

11. phenomenon

12. commander-in-chief

13. cactus

14. automaton

III Fill in the blanks with the following words.

practice, principal, imminent, practise, principle, eminent,

1. To be successful an athlete must _______ regularly.

2. Some people make a _______ of giving money to beggars.

3. It is a sound ______________ that practice makes perfect.

4. Rohan said that the __________ of his school was very strict.

5. The child walking in the middle of the road was in ___________ danger of being run down.

6. The Minister for Education was the _______ speaker at the international seminar on primary education.

Answer Key
1 1-j, 2-p, 3-n, 4-i, 5-k, 6-d, 7-1, 8-c, 8-0,10-f, 11-g, 12-m, 13-a, 14-b, 15-e, 16-h.

II 1. passers-by

2. criteria

3. banditti, bandits

4. hypotheses

5. formulae, formulas

6. onlookers

7. poets laureate

8. ladies-in-waiting

9. mongooses

10. fathers-in-law

11. phenomena

12. commanders-in-chief

13. cacti, cactuses

14. automata, automatons

III 1 - practise

2 - practice

3 - principle

4 - principal

5 - imminent

6 - eminent