Vocabulary

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Vocabulary

  1. 1. VOCABULARY INTRODUCTION A wide-ranging word-power is the key to do away with umpteen number of hurdles in the way of any competitive exam. As you are perhaps aware the English section of the Entrance Tests, question paper contains questions pertaining to practical vocabulary in all its variants—such as synonyms, antonyms, one-word substitutions, idioms, phrases, nibbled letters and words analogies reverse analogies, closest in meaning, farthest in meaning etc. In addition a sound vocabulary is ‘indispensable’ for tackling comprehension passages, cloze passages and questions pertaining to logical reasoning. In the light of the above it is absolutely essential for the students to work diligently for building a sound and varied bank of word power. In the chapters that follow a sincere and concerted effort attempt has been made to deal with all the verbal aspect of the Entrance exam in as lucid a manner as possible. Students are advised to assiduously follow what has been discussed in the vocabulary chapters. We are sure that constant practice awareness and its use in the correct context in this regard will be of immense help in tackling any type of vocabulary related questions in the entrance exam. VOCABULARY FOR THE ENTRANCE EXAM The Entrance Exam is a rigorous evaluation, not of the academic proficiency of a candidate in the conventional sense, but of his mental faculties, such as the skills of analysis and comprehension, powers of logic, deduction and capacity to arrive at a correct decision under servere time constraints and the resultant mental tension. A harmonious blend of speed, accuracy and precision is required to meet this formidable challenge. VERBAL SKILLS The knowledge of words in their isolated identity, without overlooking their connotative significance is tested in verbal skills in the form of synonyms, antonyms and one-word substitutes. The choice provided may be easily narrowed down to two; but to choose the correct one from the two will require a real feel for words. The choice of the correct alternative depends as much on the meaning of the words as on the appropriate part of speech. A synonym or an antonym of a word should be of the same part of speech as the given word. Example: Intrepid (a) brave (b) valorous (c) indefatigable (d) strong Intrepid means “brave” or “fearless” (a) Brave the adjective shows ability to face and endure danger or pain (b) Valorous implies ability to display personal courage (c) Indefatigable would mean unwearing or tireless. (d) Strong however, indicates having power of resistance. Of the four alternatives provided ‘brave’ is identical in meaning with ‘intrepid’. So the answer is (a). Antonyms Antonyms are words contrary in meaning to one another as ‘bad’ to ‘good’. Example: Grave, the headword, means solemn, needing serious thought, sombre (a) Simple is consisting of one element, not complex (b) Nonchalant is unexcited, unmoved or cool (c) Frivolous is paltry or trifling, not serious (d) Indifferent is having no partiality for or against, neither good nor bad. The alternative that is opposite in meaning is (c) ‘frivolous’ – not serious. In recent Entrance Examinations, there has been a variation in the instructions given for the synonyms/antonym section. The students were asked to choose the alternative closest in meaning to the given word (like the synonyms), or the word farthest in meaning to the given word (like the antonyms). One should be cautious in making the choice, for the alternatives given are shades of meaning of one word and all the four alternatives may seem appropriate to the headword. It may not be a simple process of narrowing down your choice to two alternatives and then choosing one from the rest but eliminating three, each after judicious examination. Closest in Meaning Aptitude (a) talent (b) instinct (c) gift (d) bent Aptitude, the headword, is a natural or acquired ability to learn and become proficient in a sphere of activity. (a) Talent is an uncommon aptitude for some special work or activity. (b) Instinct is a natural aptitude, an extension of the basic innate tendency or response essential for development or preservation.
  2. 2. (c) Gift is a specific natural endowment (d) Bent is a personal inclination and does not necessarily imply an accompanying aptitude. But aptitude and bent often coexist in the same person, as it is natural to like doing what one does well. So the word that is closest in meaning is ‘bent’. The answer should be marked (d). Farthest in Meaning This section tests the student’s ability to distinguish between the various shades of meaning of the given word/words. Nominal (a) serious (b) fantastic (c) essential (d) substantial Nominal means existing in name only. (a) Serious means thoughful, earnest, sober (b) Fantastic means extravagantly fanciful, cap (c) Essential has the connotation of something fundamental, indispensable (d) Substantial means having substance, actually existing, of real importance or value. Although essential which is indispensable seems to be the answer, substantial gives the connotation of having substance actually existing and therefore not nominal or merely in name and is the farthest in meaning. Hence (d) is the answer. One-word substitutes In the choice of the one word substitute the choice must both semantically and syntactically replace the underlined expression. Jumbled Letters, Words and Sentences Giving letters of a word in a jumbled form (Letter Jumble) and asking the student to choose the alternative that can make a word is another test. The letters in the spelling of the word are numbered and alternatives formed by different arrangements of the numbers are given. Example: L R G O Y 1 2 3 4 5 (a) 2, 4, 3, 1, 5 (b) 4, 3, 2, 1, 5 (c) 3, 1, 4, 2, 5 (d) 1, 5, 4, 2, 3 The answer is (c) GLORY. To attempt this, try forming the word with the first three letters as indicated in the first alternative. If this combination seems promising, proceed to form the word. If the combination of the first three letters seems absurd, go on the next alternative. An extension of the letter jumble is found in the Word Jumble. Here, the words of a sentence are jumbled and numbered and alternatives provided. Example: Lushgreen such is vegetation in the tropics only found 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (a) 2, 1, 4, 3, 7, 6, 5 (b) 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 5, 7 (c) 2, 1, 4, 6, 5, 7, 3 (d) 3, 7, 1, 5, 3, 6, 4 The answer is (a) Such lush green vegetation is found only in the tropics. Sentences of a paragraph, in direct or reported speech, are sometimes jumbled (Sentence Jumble) and the most meaningful order is required to be chosen from among the alternatives given. While this is a similar exercise (as in the two cases above), a challenging variation has been introduced in some exams. A paragraph of sentences is given followed by four alternatives, each being a sentence. One of them is the concluding line of the paragraph and it has to be chosen. This can be a logical conclusion, or a deduction, or a summing up. The alternatives have to be weighed carefully before the choice is made. DEFINITIONS Another type of question, testing verbal ability, is the application of the meaning of a word to describe a thing, or a state or a situation. A definition is given and four alternatives are provided. Example: Consultation—taking expert advice (a) Student in a class-room (b) A client at a lawyer’s chamber (c) A visitor at a science exhibition (d) An actor being directed. The answer obviously is (b). (a) : students in a class-room are taught by experts (c) : A visitor may learn about the exhibits from experts but the word given will not fit in there. (d) : An actor performs as directed by an expert. This question may also ask you to pick out that alternative which is not an apt illustration of the given definition.
  3. 3. Example: Consultation – taking expert advice (a) a patient at a physician’s clinic. (b) a business man at the auditor’s office. (c) a client at a lawyer’s chamber. (d) a student taking private tuition. The answer is (d). SPELLING TEST One of the pitfalls in written English is orthography. English spelling is not phonetic. To trace the vagaries of spelling to the etymology of the words may be an academic exercise, but knowing the spelling for correcting a misspelled word calls for an acquaintance with words, especially those that have an unpredictable sequence of double consonants, diphthongs and digraphs. (A digraph is a double symbol used to represent a single sound, for example ‘ae’ in ‘Caesar’ or ‘ph’ in physics.) Example: The questions may be of the following types : 1. The same word spelt correctly in one alternative but incorrectly in the others. (a) dissonance (b) disonance (c) dissonance (d) disonance 2. Four different words one of which alone is spelt correctly. (a) melodious (b) meiosis (c) melancholia (d) mealee 3. Four different words one of which alone is spelt incorrectly. (a) salubrious (b) sibilant (c) souffle (d) somnolent Ans. 1. (a) 2. (c) 3. (b) So read the instructions carefully. Analogies One type of logical reasoning is determining the relationship between pairs of words. Usually two words are capitalised with a colon or a ratio symbol as follows: Example: Pyrogenous : Fire : : (a) oleaginous : oil (b) androgenous : egg (c) homogenous : man (d) nitrogenous : nitrogen The colon symbol indicates that the relationship between Pyragenous––productive of heat and fire is the same as (indicated by double colon : :) oleogenous : oil. You will notice that the adjectival form ‘pyrogeonous’ has the same relationship to ‘fire’ as ‘oleogenous’ has to ‘oil’. ‘Androgenous’ meaning having characteristics of both the male and female forms has no such relationship to ‘egg’. ‘Homogenous’, meaning ‘of the same kind’ does not have the same relationship to ‘man as ‘pyrogenous’ has to ‘fire’ ‘Nitrogenous’ indicates ‘containing nitrogen’ has to ‘fire’ ‘Nitrogenous’ indicates ‘containing nitrogen’ and the relationship nitrogenous : nitrogen is not similar to pyrogenous : fire. The answer is therefore (a). This section tests your ability to see the relationship between two words, distinguish between types of relationships. The questions test your knowledge in various fields, your vocabulary and your ability to think logically. The relationships could be Example: Synonymous, meaning the same as riches : affluence : : tall : high penury : poverty : : niggardliness : miserliness Antonyms, meaning the opposite of fury : tranquillity : misery : happiness garrulity : taciturnity : : hard : soft Adjective and noun relationship canine : dog : : ursine : bear joyous : joy : : illusory : illusion
  4. 4. Part-whole relationship axle : wheel : : pin-head : pin soldier : army : : dial : watch Process changes tadpole : frog : : pupa : butterfly apple : cider : : crude oil : petrol Cause-effect fire : conflagration : : disease : epidemic drought : famine : : waves : erosion Things that go together bread : butter : : button : buttonhole salt : pepper : : horse : carriage Implements or instruments and their users––artisans and professionals saw : carpenter : : wheel : potter lancet : surgeon : : hammer : smith Raw material to the finished product cotton : cloth : : clay : pot wool : tweed : : ore : iron Something that is a larger (smaller) version stream : appland : : irritate : torture joy : rapture : : sadness : melancholia. Degrees of intensity appreciate : river : : sea : ocean book : booklet : : crown : coronet Time sequence relationship night : day : : before : after then : now : : past : present Relationship of measure mile : distance : : gram : weight ship : knot : : aircraft : mach Profession, person relationship sermon : clergyman : : design : architect car : chauffeur : : boat : oarsman Origins chicken : egg : : tree : seed Locations Paris : France : : Rome : Italy Copenhagen : Denmark : : Vienna : Austria Symbol, institution relationship country : flag : : business house : logo nazism : swastika : : Semitism : star of David Musical instruments and their categories flute : wind : : drum : percussion guitar : strum : : harp : pluck Case relationship he : him : : I me she : hers : : it : its Gender relationship fox : vixen : : bull : cow horse : horses : : volcano : volcanoes Parts of the day dawn : morning : : dusk : evening noon : midnight : : day : night Latent reasoning (This is based on certain implied relationships as in proverbs or idiomatic expressions) run : hare : : hunt : hound flog : dead horse : : plough : sand

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