Vocabulary is all about words in any language — the words in a language or a special set of words you are trying to learn called Vocabulary.


Prefixes and Suffixes are together called Affixes and they are used to form words.

A prefix is an addition at the beginning of a word. Some examples are as follow:

Prefix Meaning Word
ex- Out of, former ex-student
inter- between inter school
semi- half semicircle
equi- equal, the same equidistant
auto- self autobiography
anti- opposed to antisocial
dis- opposite of dislike
de- opposite of defrost
sub- beneath sub standard
up- to a higher state upgrade
trans- across transmission
mis- wrongly misunderstand
non- not nonsense
dis- not dishonest
macro- relatively large macromolecules
tele linking across distance television


Prefixed Used to Make Antonyms:

Prefixes like dis-, im-,in-,un-,ir-il-are used to make antonyms.

For example:
please – displease
proper – Improper
correct – incorrect
regular – irregular
legal – illegal

Prefixes Used to Make Verbs:

Prefixes like en-, em-, im-, for-, fore-,over- are used to make verbs:
For example;
power – empower
mobilise – immobilise

2. Suffixes

A suffix is an addition at the end of a word. Some examples are as fallow:
Suffixes Meaning Word
-able quality changeable
-ible of sensible
-acy state conspiracy
-ful quality careful
-ment state excitement
-ly quality meanly


• Suffixes Used to Make Nouns:

(a) -or, -er, -yer, -ar (person)
paint – painter
(b) – dom
(c) – ship (state)
friend- friendship
hard- hardship
(d) – th(condition)
heal- health
grow- growth
(e) – ism (specific doctrine)
secular – secularism
(f) -ness  (quality)
neat – neatness
happy – happiness

Suffixes Used to Make Verbs:

In many cases suffixes are added without any change. In some cases there are changes such as the following:
doubling of the last consonant:  sad – sadden
dropping of the vowel ‘e’:  pure- purify
other changes: sancity-sancity

• Suffixes used to Make Adjectives:

Suffixes like -ish, -some, -worthy, -like,-ward,-less, -y are used to make adjectives.
For Example;
note – noteworthy lady-ladylike
whole – wholesome


Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. They are formed by using the following
1. -anti
freeze –    antifreeze   –   perspirant-antiperspirant
2. -dis
agree – disagree

3. -in

discreet – indiscreet
4. – il
legal – illegal
5. -im
mature – immature
rational – irrational
judge – misjudge
8. -un
acceptable – unacceptable


Synonyms are those words which have the same meanings. Examples are:
Word Synonym
abduct kidnap
ache long/pain


A Simile is the comparison of two unlike things having a common quality, using the word
‘like’ or ‘as’. For example;
1. as black as coal
2. as agile as a monkey
3. as dull as dishwater
4. as old as the hills
5. as common as dirt

One-word Substitution

One-word Substitution means one word used for a group of words that have similar meaning. Examples are:
1. Alien  – a person living in a country of which he is not a citizen
2. Amphibian – an animal that can live both on land and in water
3. Audience – assembly of hearers
4. Annual – coming off after every one year
5. Bankrupt – a person who has lost all his money
6. Brittle –  that is easily breakable
7. Curable – that can be cured
8. Edible – fit to be eaten
9. Fatalist –  a person who believes in fate
10. Hospitable –   one who entertains one’s guests
11. Illegal –   that which is against the law
12. Innocent –  one who is not guilty
13. Invisible – that which cannot be seen
14. Irreparable – that which cannot be repaired
15. Incapable – not able to do something

Phrases, Idioms, Proverbs

1. Phrases

1. At arm’s length= maintaining some gap in familiarity.
The new principal keeps his staff at arm’s length
2. At all cost = whatever may be the price/sacrifices
 I will be honest at all cost.
3. At one’s fingertips = thorough and ready knowledge
All the information is at her fingertips.
4. At sixes and sevens= in disorder, chaos After the farewell party, the room was left at sixes and sevens.
5. At the eleventh hour= at the last moment.
He reported the damage to me at the eleventh hour.
6. beyond question: undoubtedly
Her voice is, beyond question the sweetest.
7. By fair means or foul = by good or bad method
They decided to win the game by fair means or foul.
8. At daggers drawn = open enmity
The family is at daggers drawn because of property.

2. Idioms

• Idioms referring to animals
1. Cots and logs        –  rain heavily
2. Let the cat out of the bag        – tell a secret
3. Got to the dogs    – ruin oneself, be ruined
4. Lead a dog’s life  – have an unhappy life with many troubles
5. A dark horse –  a person whose abilities are hidden or unknown
6. Flog a dead horse  – waste your time with useless effort. go on doing something after there is clearly no chance of success
• Idioms referring to Parts of the body
7. Keep somebody at arm’s – avoid having a close relationship with somebody
8. Be all ears – be waiting with interest to hear what somebody has to say

• Idioms referring to Trees

9. Tum over a new leaf – start to behave in a better way
10. A hard nut to crack – a difficult problem to solve
•Idioms referring to Colours
11. Black and white – in writing
12. In the pink  –  very well, very healthy

3. Proverbs

Action speak louder than words -What a person actually does mean more than what he says he will do.
The apple never falls far from the tree – A child usually behaves in a similar way to his or her parents.
Beauty is only skin-deep – How a person looks is less important than his/her character.
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