• Academic B Writing
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  • Appendix 3: Using Academic Vocabulary

    At a minimum, you need to know the meaning, the part of speech, and the collocates.

    Meaning 

    Make sure you know what words mean. Sometimes when you use words incorrectly, it is because you don't fully understand what it means.

    Part of Speech

    You also need to know what part of speech it is.

    A noun...

    ...is a person, place, thing, or idea.

    ...can be described with adjectives.

    ...frequently follows determiners.

    *common suffixes include "sion/tion" (condition); "ance/ence" (difference); "ment" (development); "ity" (activity)

    A verb...

    ...is a word that shows action.

    ...can be described with adverbs.

    ...follows subjects (or comes before objects).

    ...can be changed to show past or future tense.

    *common suffixes include "ate" (indicate); "ize" (recognize); "ify" (identify)

    An adjective...

    ...is a word that describes a noun.

    ...usually comes before a noun or after a verb like BE.

    *common suffixes include "ive" (effective); "ful" (useful); "ic" (specific)

    An adverb...

    ...is a word that describes verbs, adjectives, and sentences.

    ...can be in many different places in a sentence.

    *common suffixes include "ly" (quickly)

    Collocations 

    A collocate is a word that is frequently used with another word. Sometimes when you use academic vocabulary, your teacher will tell you that you have a "word choice" error or your roommate may tell you that it "sounds funny." That is often because you used a word that is not a collocate. You should memorize a couple of collocates with each new word you learn. You can find lists of collocates on the LEAP dashboard, wordandphrase.info, in collocation dictionaries, and in your LEAP vocabulary packet. Using these lists while you make sentences will help you remember the words in a natural context.

    You need to be careful in your writing to use the correct word form.

    Look at the chart below. You will notice that some words have a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb form that are all a little different. Some words do not. Some words even have the same form for two different parts of speech.

    Noun

    Verb

    Adjective

    Adverb

    expression

    express

    expressive

    expressively

    respect

    respect

    respectful

    respectfully

    honesty

    be honest

    honest

    honestly

    confidence

    be confident, have confidence

    confident

    confidently

    Exercises

    Exercise 1: Identify word forms

    Fill in the word forms that you know.

    Noun Verb Adjective Adverb
          developmental
      support    
    sustainability     ------------
        explanatory ------------
          sequentially
    part ------------    
        collective  
      expect    

    Exercise 2: Revise for word form errors

    Find the word form errors. 

           The homework assignment looked easy, but I did not know how to completely it. I asked my study buddy to help me because he is so intelligence. Apparent, he is really good at learning languages, because he is learning three languages at BYU. I know one day he will be famously. I respectful him a lot. 

    This content is provided to you freely by BYU Open Learning Network.

    Access it online or download it at https://open.byu.edu/academic_b_writing_p/word_forms.