Building a vocabulary is hard. You have to read a lot. We mean a lot. Read. Read. Read. However, when you are faced with standardized tests, like the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, LSAT, etc. you don't have much time to build a great vocabulary, if you already don't have one.
Here is a handy tip to quickly build a great one if you are pressed for time.
Replace the word 'very' with a new word!
As a bonus, below is a list of the top 100 words on the SAT.
Top 100 words on the SAT
Here is how you stop the abuse of words.
Often words are misused. A good example is the case of mixed doubles: pair of words or phrases, like affect and effect. Some are not even words, like irregardless. Following are words who are endangered by bad usage. These words have been bloodied and mauled. You can however rescue them with proper usage.
Well, you may think this word means fortunate or lucky. Actually, fortuitous means accidental or by chance. The root of the word comes from Latin fortuitus, from forte ‘by chance.'
It was entirely fortuitous that I washed my car before we decided to drive it on the beach.
You may think this means abundant. Actually, it means overdone or disgustingly excessive.
Andy's fulsome speech got on my nerves.
Affect is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change. Effect is usually a noun, an effect is the result of a change.
The problem affected Matt's performance.
The termites had a devastating effect on the house.
Use one or the other, but not both.
Buster died five days ago. It's been five days since Buster died.
You cannot say:
It has been five days ago since Buster died.
5. Any more/anymore.
Use any more if you mean any additional, while use anymore if you mean nowadays or no longer.
He won't be chasing any more jobs.
He doesn't do this anymore.
The first means one after the other, while the second means one instead of the other.
Running requires the alternate use of your left and right legs.
The alternative to a taxi is Uber or Lyft.
7. Every one/everyone.
If you can substitute everybody, then the single word everyone is correct; if not, use two words, every one.
Everyone fears Hilton's children. Every one of them is a terror.
8. Every day/everyday.
The single word, everyday, is an adjective. It is usually found before a noun.
Sarah loves her everyday diamonds.
Expressing time every day is two words.
Matt wears a black turtle neck every day.
9. Any one/anyone.
If you can substitute anybody, then the single word anyone is correct. If not, use two words, any one.
Anyone can complain.
Any one of his colleagues would agree with his position.
10. Any place/ anyplace.
The single word anyplace is the right choice. It is used informally and the word anywhere is better English.
11. Any time/anytime.
The single word is correct.
He will take a free ride anytime.
12. A while/awhile.
Students often confuse the two words. Awhile means "for a time", while a while means "a period of time."
Doug rested awhile.
Greta dozed for a while.
13. One of the ... if not like.
Do you think something doesn't sound right in the sentence below?
Michael was one of the best, if not the best, player on the team.
Anything wrong? Well, you may say that it sounds right, but actually it is not. If you remove the phrase "if not the best" the sentence reads: Michael was one of the best player on the team. But is that you meant to say? No. So it is better to put the qualifying phrase at the end like:
Michael was one of the best player on the team, if not the best.
This word can be tricky. It can mean "alone," "solely," or "and no other" and can appear anywhere in a sentence. Make sure to put it in the right place, which is right before the word or phrase you want to single out as the lone wolf. Let's take the following example.
Peter says he saw the crime.
Now see how placing "only" in different places results in different meanings.
Remember, it is easy to make a mistake with "only". So watch out!
15. Reason ... is because.
Let's look at the following sentence.
The reason Samantha stayed home is because Tabatha was crying.
Can you hear something wrong, like perhaps an echo? Because means 'for the reason that,' so the example says: The reason Samantha stayed home is for the reason that Tabatha was crying. Use one or the other, not both.
The reason Samantha stayed home is that Tabatha was crying.
Samantha stayed home is because Tabatha was crying.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.