"Give them the gift of words"


GRE Vocabulary Review: Playing With Words

Categories: GRE Vocabulary, Vocabulary Building Words | Tags:

The more words you know, the more easily you’ll be able to hold conversations on any topic. Learning these vocabulary words will give you the ability to choose exactly the right word to use on any occasion. In many cases, it’s important to be clear and precise in your speech, neither using too few words in your explanations, or confusing the issue by using too many words. The word verbose means “using more words than necessary.” Someone who is verbose has either a tendency to talk too much, or to speak in long rambling sentences that take a long time to get to the point (or both!).

Example 1: I would prefer leaving Peter off of the invitation list for our monthly lunch; he’s so verbose that no one else gets a chance to speak.

Example 2: Alan hoped that his verbose answers to the essay questions would hide the fact that he knew very little of the material on the test.

Words can be used for many things: to inform, to intimidate, to create beauty, or just to have fun. The poets Edward Lear and Ogden Nash loved to play with words, creating whimsical poetry on many subjects. Here’s a poem by Ogden Nash:

The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
Farwell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.
– Ogden Nash, 1933

Edward Lear was famous for his nonsense rhymes, limericks, and fantastical stories. He also wrote about a rhinoceros in “The Story of Four Little Children Who Went Round the World,” in which Violet, Slingsby, Guy, and Lionel meet mice who eat custard pudding, blue-bottle flies who eat oyster patties, crabs who wear mittens, and finally a friendly old rhinoceros who takes the children home, upon which the children have him killed and stuffed, and “set him up outside the door of their father’s house as a Diaphanous Doorscraper.” The word diaphanous means thin, transparent, or wispy – hardly a word that describes a huge solid animal! This playful and lighthearted use of words makes the words of Nash and Lear both strange and very enjoyable to read. Whimsical means playful, lighthearted, fun, and fantastical.

Example: Carolyn was known for the whimsical decorations she created every year for her children’s birthday parties.

Keep a sense of humor when you’re studying vocabulary, and have fun with language! You can read more poems by Ogden Nash here, and discover Edward Lear’s limericks here.