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The Most Effective Vocabulary Builder in the English Language!

Nonnan Lewis

The simple, step-by-step method that will increase your knowledge and mastery of the English Language.

The Coml!lete Handbook for
Building a Superior Vocabulary

• Speak and write with confidence.
• Read more effectively and efficiently.
• Learn quickly.
• Develop social contacts.
• Increase your earning power.
Just with Paypal

Book Details
 562 p
 File Size 
 20,456 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 1949, © 1978 by Norman Lewis

1. this is not a reading book . • .•
Don't read this book!
Instead, work with it. Write in it, talk aloud to it, talk back to
it-use your pen or pencil, your voice, not just your eyes and mind.

Learning, real learning, goos on only through active participation.
When a new word occurs in a chapter, say it aloud! (The phonetic
respelling will help you pronounce it correctly.)*
When you do the matching exercises, use a pen or pencil. Write
your responses! (Check the key that immediately follows each exercise
after you have filled in all the answers.)
When you do the "Yes-No," "True-False," or "Same-Opposite"
exercises, use your pen or pencil to indicate the appropriate response,
then check with the key when you have completed the whole exercise.
When you are asked to fill in words that fit definitions, write
your answers; then check the key both to see if you have re-
* The system of pronunciation symbols will be thoroughly explained in
Section 2 of this chapter.
sponded with the right word and also to make sure your spelling is correct.

When you do the Review of Etymology exercises, make sure to
fill in the English word containing the prefix, root, or suffix
required-use a chapter word, or any other word that comes to
mind. (Coin words if you like!)
Pay special attention to the Chapter Reviews. Aie the words
still fresh in your mind? Do you remember the meaning of each
root studied in the previous sessions? In these Reviews, you are
not only testing your learning but also tightening up any areas in
which you discover lacks, weaknesses, or lapses of memory.
2. master the pronunciation system!
_Saying words aloud, and saying them right, is half the battle in
feeling comfortable and assured with all the new words you are
going to learn. Every word taught is respelled to show its pronunciation,
so pay close attention to how the phonetic symbols work.
(a) First, master the "schwa"/
Almost every English word of two or more syllables contains
one or several syllables in which the vowel sound is said very
quickly. For example:
"Linda spoke to her mother about a different idea she had."
~Read the previous sentence aloud at normal conversational speed.
Read it again. Listen to how the -a of Linda; the -er of mother,·
the a- of about,· the -er and -ent of different; and the -a of idea sound.
Very quick-very short! Right?
Phonetically respelled, these words are represented as:
1. Linda LIN'-da
2. mother MU'l'B'-ar
3. about g-BQWT'
· 4. different DIF'-ar-:mt
5. idea i-DEE'-a
The symbol "a," called a schwa, represents the quick, short
vowel sound in the five words above.

Now look back at the sentence preceded by an arrow.
The italicized words are rewritten as:
1. previous PREE'-vee-as
2. sentence SEN'-ta'ns
3. aloud a-LOWD'
4. normal NAWR'-mal
5. conversational kon'-var-SAY'-shan-al
You will find a in almost all words that are phonetically
respelled throughout this book. Say the five italicized words aloud
and make sure you understand how the schwa (a) sounds.
(b) Next, understand accent.
Look at word (5) above: conversational: kon'-var-SA Y'-shan-al.
Note that there are two accent marks, one on kon', another on
SAY'. Note also that kon' is in lower-case letters, SAY' in capitals.
Both syllables are stressed, but the one in capitals (SAY') sounds
stronger (or louder) than the one in lower case (kon'). Say conversational
aloud, noting the difference.
Say these three words, taken from Chapter 3, aloud, noticing
the variation in stress between the lower-case and the capitalized
1. egomaniacal
2. altercation
3. anthropological
awl'-tar-KA Y'-sh:m
( c) Be careful of the letter "S" (or "s'') in phonetic respellings.
S (ors) is always hissed, as fo see, some, such. After an -n, you
will be tempted to buzz (or "voice") the -s, because final -ns is
usually pronounced -nz, as in wins, tons, owns, etc. (Say these
three words aloud-hear the z at the end?) Resist the temptation!
S (or s) is always hissed in phonetic respellings!
Say these words aloud:
1. ambivalencet
2. affluence
3. opulence
4. sentence
t All unusual words in this chapter are taught in later chapters of the book.

(d) The symbol i or l is pronounced eye, to rhyme with high,
sigh, my, etc., no matter where you find it. For example:
1. fights FITS
2. spy ·sp1
3. malign ma-LIN'
4. civilize SIV'-a-Iiz'
[I or i (without the top bar) is pronounced as in it, sit, pitch.]
( e) All consonants have their normal sounds.
Except for G (or g), which is always pronounced as in give,
girl, get, go.
1. agree
2. pagan
3. again
(f) The vowel sounds are as follows:
1. A, a
2. E,e
3. I, i
4. 0,o
5. u, u
6. AH, ah
7. AW,aw
&. AY,ay
9. EE, ee
lO. 6, 0
11. ot>, 0o
cat (~T)
wet (WET)
sit (SIT)
knot (NOT)
nut (NUT)
martinet ( mahr'-t:i-NET');
for (FA WR); incorrigible
(in-KA WR'-a-j:;i-bal)
ate (A YT); magnate
equal (EE' -kwal); clandestinely
(klan ... DES'-tan-lee)
toe (TO) ; concerto
book (BOOK); prurient
12. 00, OC> doom (DOOM); blue (BLOO)
13. OW, ow about (a-BOWT')
14. OY, oy soil (SOYL)
15. ING, ing taking (TA YK'-ing)
(g) TH or th is pronounced as in thing; TR or t7i is pronounced
as in this.

3. a word (or words) on western and eastern pronunciation
In the New York City area, and in parts of New Jersey and
other eastern states, the syllables -ar, -er, -or, -of], and -aw are
pronounced somewhat differently from the way they are said in
the Midwest and in the West.
In New York City, for example, the words below are generally
pronounced as follows:
dis-PAR'-aj (A as in HAT)
MER'-ee (E as in WET)
MAR'-ee (A as in HAT)
HAR'-ee (A as in HAT)
In the Midwest and West, on the other hand, the same words
are usually said approximately as follows:
orange AWR'-anj
talk TOK
sa-RA WR'-a-tee
in-KA WR'-a-ja-bal
dis-P AIR'-aj
Nothing so radical here that a person brought up in Brooklyn
or the Bronx cannot understand a native of Los Angeles or San
Francisco--it's just that each one thinks the other has an accent!
In California, for example, Mary, merry, and marry sound alxix
most exactly alike-in New York, they are usually heard as quite
different words.

(So, to be sexist for a moment, if the men at a party in Manhattan
say, "Let's all make merry!'', Mary doesn't feel that she is
about to seduced by the males!)
In the phonetic respellings throughout the book, the ~estern
pronunciations of words with the syllables remarked on above are
used. This is done largely because I myself have lived in the Los
Angeles area for some fourteen years, and have had to retrain my
pronunciation (having come from New York City, where I was
born, and lived all my life until 1964) so that my friends and students
would stop making fun of the way I speak.
Neither form of pronunciation is any better nor any more
euphonious than the other. Throughout the country, pronunciation
varies not only from region to region or state to state, but
often from city to city! The changes are slight and subtle, but they
do exist, and an expert can easily pinpoint the geographical source
of a person's language patterns almost down to a few square miles in area.
If you are an Easterner, you will have no difficulty translating
the pronunciations of words like sorority, incorrigible, disparage,
and astronaut (all words discussed in later chapters) into your
own comfortable language patterns.

4. why etymology?
Etymology (et'-a-MOL'-a-jee) deals with the origin or derivation
of words.
When you know the meaning of a root (for example, Latin ego,
I or self), you can better understand, and more easily remember,
all the words built on this root.
Learn one root and you have the key that will unlock the meanings
of up to ten or twenty words in which the root appears.
Learn ego and you can immediately get a handle on egocentric,
egomaniac, egoist, egotist, and alter ego.
Learn anthropos (Greek, mankind), and you will. quickly understand,
and never forget, anthropology, misanthropy, anthropoid,
anthropocentric, anthropomorphic, philanthropy, and anthropophobia.
Meet any word with anthropo- in it, and you will have at
least some idea of its meaning.
Jn the etymological (et':i-m:i-LOJ'-:i-k:il) approach to vocabulary
• You will learn about prefixes, roots, and suffixeso
You will be able to figure out unfamiliar words by recognizing
their structure, the building blocks. from which they are constructed-
• You will be able to construct words correctly by learning to
put these building blocks together in the proper way-and
•You will be able to derive verbs from nouns, nouns and
verbs from adjectives, adjectives from nouns, etc.-and do all this correctly.

Learn how to deal with etymology and you will feel comfortable
with words-you will use new words with self-assurance-you
will be able to figure out thousands of words you hear or read
even if you have never heard or seen these words before.
That's why the best approach to new words is through etymology:
j:-as you will discover for yourself as soon as you start to
work on chapter 3!
5. but what are nouns, verbs, and adjectives?
You probably know.
But if you don't, you can master these parts of speech (and reference
will be made to noun forms, verb forms, and adjective
forms throughout the book) within the next five minutes.
(a) A noun is a word that can be preceded by a, an, the, some, such, or my.
An egoist (noun)
i Incidentally, Latin scholars will notice that I present a Latin verb in the
first person singular, present tense (1•erto, I turn), hut call it an infinitive
(verto, to turn). I do this for two reasons: 1) verto is easier for a nonLatin
scholar to pronounce (the actual infinitive, vertere, is pronounced
WAIR'-t:>-ray); and 2) when I studied Latin fifty years ago, the convention
was to refer to, a verb by using the first person singular, present tense.
If you are not a Latin scholar, you need not bother to read this footnote-
if you've already done so, forget it!
Such asceticism (noun)
The misogynist (noun)
(Nouns, you will discover, often end in conventional suffixes:
-ness, -ity, -ism, -y, -ion, etc.)
(b) A verb is a word that fits into the pattern, ''Let us
------------·"A verb has a past tense.
Let us equivocate (verb)-past tense: equivocated.
Let us alternate (verb )-past tense: alternated.
Let us philander (verb)-past tense: philandered.
(Verbs, you will discover, often end in conventional suffixes:
-ate, -ize, -fy, etc.)
(c) An adjective is a word that fits into the pattern, "You are
very "
You are very egoistic (adjective).
You are very introverted (adjective).
You are very misogynous (adjective).
(Adjectives, you will discover, often end in conventional
suffixes:' -ic, -ed, -ous, -al, -ive, etc.)
And adverbs, of course, are generally formed by adding -ly to
an adjective: misogynous-misogynously,- educational-educationally;
That's all there is to it! (Did it take more than five minutes?
Maybe ten at the most?)
6. how to work for best results
If you intend to work with this book seriously (that is, if your
clear intention is to add a thousand or more new words to your
present vocabulary-add them permanently, unforgettably-add
them so successfully that you will soon find yourself using them in
speech and writing), I suggest that you give yourself every advantage
by carefully following the laws of learning:
(a) Space your learning.
Beginning with Chapter 3, every chapter will be divided into
"sessions." Each session may take one half hour to an hour and a
half, depending on the amount of material and on your own speed of learning.
Do one or two sessions at a time-three if you're going strong
and are all involved-and always decide when you stop exactly
when you will return. (I remind you to do this later in the book,
since such a procedure is of crucial importance.)
(b) Do not rush-go at your own comfortable speed.
Everyone learns at a different pace. Fast learners are no better
than slow learners-it's the end result that counts, not the time it
takes you to finish.
(c) Review.
When you start a new session, go back to the last exercise of the
previous session (usually Can you recall the words? or Chapter
Review), cover your answers, and test your retention-do you
have quick recall after a day or so has elapsed?
(d) Test yourself.
You are not aiming for a grade, or putting your worth on the .
line, when you take the three Comprehensive Tests (Chapters 8,
13, and 17)-rather you are discovering your weaknesses, if any;
deciding where repairs have to be made; and, especially, experiencing
a feeling of success at work well done. (In learning,
too, nothing succeeds like success!)
Use these three tests, as well as the abundant drill exercises, as
aids to learning. No one is perfect, no one learns in the exact same
way or at the same rate as anyone else. Find the optimum technique
and speed for your unique learning patterns-and then give
yourself every opportunity to exploit your actual, latent, and potential abilities.
But most important (as I will remind you several times
throughout the book)--develop a routine and stick to it!

Table of Contents
How to Use This Book for Maximum Benefit
Why this is not a book to be read; how to
learn to pronounce the new words correctly;
how the etymological approach
works better than any other method for
learning words quickly .and permanently;
how to master nouns, verbs, adjectives,
and adverbs in five to ten minutes; how to
use the psychological principles of learning
to sharpen your verbal skills.

1. How to Test Your Present Vocabulary
How vocabulary growth of the average
adult compares with that of children; a
simple. test to show you whether your vocabulary
is below average, average, above
average, excellent, or superior in range,
verbal speed, and responsiveness; important
evidence of the close relationship between
vocabulary and success.
2. How to Start Building Your Vocabulary
How building your vocabulary will enrich
your thinking, increase your self-assurance
in speaking and writing, and give you a
better understanding of the world and of
yourself; why it is necessary to recapture
the "powerful urge to learn"; why your age
makes little difference; how this book is
designed to build a college-size vocabulary
in two to three months.
3. How to Talk about Personality Types
(Sessions 1-3)
Words that describe all kinds and sorts of
people, including terms for self-interest, reactions
to the world, attitudes to others,
skill and awkwardness, marital states,
hatred of man, of woman, and of marriage.
How one session of pleasant work can add
more words to your vocabulary than the
average adult learns in an entire year; why
it is necessary to develop a comfortable
·time schedule and then stick to it.
4. How to Talk About Doctors (Sessions 4-6)
Words that relate to medical specialists
and specialties. Terms for experts in disorders
of the female organs; childhood
diseases; skin ailments; skeletal deformities;
heart ailments; disorders of the
nerves, mind, and personality. How selfdiscipline
and persistence will ultimately
lead to complete mastery over words.
S. How to Talk About Various Practitioners
(Sessions 7-10)
Words that describe a variety of professions,
including those dealing with the
human mind; teeth; vision; feet; handwriting;
aging; etc. How you are becoming
more and more conscious of the new
words you meet in your reading.
6. How to Talk About Science and Scientists
(Sessions 11-13)
Words that describe students of human
development, of the heavens, of the earth,
of plant and animal life, of insect forms,
of words and language, of social organization.
Books on psychology that will add
imiileasurably both to your store of new
words and ideas, and also to your understanding
of yourself and of other people.
7. How to Talk About Liars and Lying
(Sessions 14-17)
Words that accurately label different types
of liars and lying. Terms that relate to
fame, artistry, reform, heredity, time,
place, suffering, etc. Four lasting benefits
you have begun to acquire from your work
in vocabulary building.
8. How to Check Your Progress: Comprehensive
Test I (Session 18)
A 120-item test of your learning in Part I.

9. How to Talk About Actions
(Sessions 19-23)
Verbs that accurately describe important
human activities. Excursions into expressive
terms for good and evil, doing, saying,
wishing, and pleasing. Further proof that
you can learn, in a few weeks or less, more
new words than the average adult learns in
an entire year.
10. How to Talk About Various Speech Habits
(Sessions 24-27)
Words that explore in depth all degrees
and kinds of talk and silence. More books
that will increase your alertness to new
ideas and new words.
11. How to Insult Your Enemies
(Sessions 28-31) ·
Terms for describing a disciplinarian,
toady, dabbler, provocative woman, flagwaver,
poss_essor of a one-track mind, freethinker,
sufferer from imaginary ailments,
etc. Excursions into words relating to
father and mother, murder of all sorts,
sexual desires, and various manias and
phobias. Magazines that will help you
build your vocabulary.
12. How to Flatter Your Friends
(Sessions 32-37)
Terms for describing friendliness, energy,
honesty, mental keenness, bravery, charm,
sophistication, etc. Excursions into expressive
words that refer to ways of eating and
drinking, believing and disbelieving, looking
and seeing, facing the present, past,
and future, and living in the city and
country. How the new words you are
learning have begun to influence your
13. How to Check Your Progress: Comprehensive
Test II (Session 38)
A 120-item test of your achievement in Part Il.

14. How to Talk About Common Phenomena and
Occurrences (Sessions 39-41)
Words for poverty and wealth, direct and
indirect emotions, not calling a spade a
spade, banter and other light talk, animallike
contentment, homesickness, meat-eating,
and different kinds of secrecy. Excursions
into terms expressive of goodness, of
hackneyed phraseology, of human similarity
to various animals, of kinds of sound,
etc. How to react to the new words you
meet in your reading.
15. How to Talk About What Goes On
(Sessions 42-44)
Verbs that show exhaustion, criticism, selfsacrifice,
repetition, mental stagnation,
pretense, hinting, soothing, sympathizing,
indecision, etc. How you can increase your
vocabulary by picking your friends' brains.
16. How to Talk About a Variety of Personal
Characteristics (Sessions 45-46)
Adjectives that describe insincere humility,
dissatisfaction, snobbery, courtesy to
women, financial embarrassment, sadness,
etc. How increasing your vocabulary has
begun to change the intellectual climate of your life.
17. How to Check Your Progress: Comprehensive
Test m (Session 47)
A 120-item test of your achievement in Part 111.
18. How to Check Your Standing as an Amateur
Answers to Teaser Questions in Chapters
3-7, 9-12, and 14-16.
19. How to Keep Building Your Vocabulary
The five simple, but vital, steps to talce so
that you can keep your vocabulary ever
developing, ever increasing. How your
vocabulary will continue to grow only if
you remain on the search for new ideas.
The best means for malcing this search successful.
Appendix: Some Esoteric Phobias

1. Test Your Grammar
A thirty-sentence test of your ability to use
words correctly. Is your English average,
above average, or nearly perfect?.
2. Random Notes on Modem Usage
Grammatical usage is becoming more liberal
every day-is your speech neither
affected nor illiterate? Simple rules for
fifteen important expressions.
3. How Grammar Changes
Grammar follows the speech habits of
educated people-how does your· grammar
measure up in your use of nine common expressions?
4. How to Avoid Being a Purist
There is no reason for being overprecise
in your speech-but do you also avoid
barbarisms and illiterate expressions?
5. How to Speak Naturally
Nine more, expressions of which you must be careful.
6. Do You Always Use the Proper Word?
A twenty-five sentence check on your increasing
linguistic ability.
7. Some Interesting Derivations
How words come from the names of people and places.
8. How to Spell a Word
You can eliminate all your spelling difficulties-
provided you know the tricks.
9. Take This Spelling Test
Proof that you are 1 becoming a better speller.
10. Another Check on Your Spelling
Further tests to nail home the correct spellings
of common but difficult words.

Word Power Made Easy-Fully revised expanded new paperback edition
POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY I 0020

First Pocket Books printing (rcvi~cd edition) Augu~t 1979
50 49 48
POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of
Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Printed in the U.S.A.
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