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For instance, we know that sophomores are students in their second year of college or high school. The "sopho" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us philosophy, which we know means "love of knowledge." The "ic" ending is sometimes added to adjectival words in English, but the "more" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us moron. By permission of Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc. Suffixes, on the other hand, modify the meaning of a word and frequently determine its function within a sentence. With suffixes, the word becomes the adjective national, the adverb nationally, and the verb nationalize.
Thus sophomores are people who think they know a lot but really don't know much about anything, and a sophomoric act is typical of a "wise fool," a "smart-ass"! Going back to philosophy, we know the "sophy" part is related to knowledge and the "phil" part is related to love (because we know that odendron loves shady spots). "Phil" is still love, and "anthropy" comes from the same Greek root that gives us anthropology, which is the study ("logy," we know, means study of any kind) of anthropos, humankind. Knowing the Greek and Latin roots of several prefixes and suffixes (beginning and endings attached to words) can also help us determine the meaning of words. See what words you can come up with that use the following suffixes.
Most bookstores carry books on building a more powerful vocabulary, some of them with zany names such as Thirty Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary.
If you've got money to spare or if they're on sale, buy them and use them; they can't hurt.
So a philanthropist must be someone who loves humans and does something about itlike giving money to find a cure for cancer or to build a Writing Center for the local community college. Ante, for instance, means before, and if we connect bellum with belligerant to figure out the connection with war, we'll know that antebellum refers to the period before war. The dictionary should be one of the most often used books in your home.
(And an anthropoid, while we're at it, is an animal who walks like a human being.) Learning the roots of our language can even be fun! (In the United States, the Authority for this table: The Little, Brown Handbook by H. (We'll allow room for sacred texts here.) Place the dictionary somewhere so that you can find it immediately and use it often.
It is also frustrating to read a newspaper or homework assignment and run across words whose meanings elude us. When your children get in trouble fighting with the neighbors' children, and your neighbors call your children swell, the battle is over and they didn't stand a chance.
Building a vocabulary that is adequate to the needs of one's reading and self-expression has to be a personal goal for every writer and speaker.
When people use a word that puzzles you, ask what it means!Click on any of the words within that construct and a new pattern of connections will emerge.