"Give them the gift of words"

Preparing to Take the GRE: Vocabulary Study

Applying to graduate school is a big step for many people. It’s a commitment of time, money, and dedication for several years. The requirement to make such a commitment might prevent someone who is more timorous from even beginning the application process. Timorous means timid, afraid, or fearful. The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote a poem titled “To A Mouse” in which he calls the mouse a “wee, sleekit, cowrin’, tim’rous beastie” – that is, a small, quick, trembling, fearful animal.

Example: Some of the contestants in the spelling bee are so nervous that the judges can hardly hear their timorous voices, even with the microphone.

Aesop wrote a fable titled “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse” about a timorous mouse living in the quiet countryside who receives a visit from her city cousin and, impressed by his urbane manner and descriptions of easy living and fancy food in town, follows him home for a visit. The word urbane comes from the Latin root urbs, meaning “city.” You can also see this root in the words suburb (“part of the city”) and urban (“of the city”). Urbane means polished, gentrified, polite, courteous – in other words, the sixteenth-century idealized version of a “civilized” city dweller, as opposed to the rough, crude peasants living on the farms. These days, the word is generally used to describe someone who is courteous, self-confident and worldly.

Example: Felicia spent her childhood traveling the world with her father, the diplomat, and although she is only sixteen years old, her urbane manner leads people to believe her to be much older.

Oh, did you want to hear the rest of the story of the country mouse and the city mouse? Although there was indeed a lot of delicious food – cheese left on the table, and crumbs of bread and cake on the floor – the cats and dogs in the house chase the mice away, scaring the country mouse back home to her simple, quiet life. “Better a crust in peace than a loaf in fear,” she says.

We know that after you’ve been studying these powerful vocabulary words you won’t be timorous about using them, and your urbane conversational style will impress even the most sophisticated city mouse!

To increase your GRE score by 7 points in 2 weeks, click here to start practicing for free with PrepEd GRE

Vocabulary Building At Every Age: Why You Need Better Vocabulary Now

Did it ever cross your mind that the words you choose to speak and write with are also the ones you use to think with?

The broader your vocabulary, the more extensive your thinking becomes. Vocabulary building is an essential, life-long skill we should never stop working on.

Vocabulary building is possible at every age

If you’re a teenager, you need to build  your vocabulary. If you’re an adult, the same rule applies. Even if you’re in your forties or fifties and think that you’re too old to learn new vocabulary tricks, you need to improve your vocabulary. Each person will have slightly different reasons for needing a good vocabulary, but ultimately it comes down to this: vocabulary building helps you become a better, more confident communicator, no matter how old you are.

Open up a world of description and communication

A large vocabulary extends beyond the words we use to communicate with, which are often words describing simple thoughts and needs which we use primarily with our families and close friends.

However, when it comes to speaking with colleagues and strangers, your vocabulary is even more important. It’s the arsenal you have at your disposal through which you pick out the weapons of choice. You can choose the words that move people, or words to reprimand them. You can analyze the situation and pick the words you need to express love, anger, or frustration. The right words make your meaning clear.

Level the playing field for all children with better vocabulary

Researchers and educators raise red flags on vocabulary poverty, saying that the word gap between low-income students and their high-income peers is dangerously wide. Just like the wage gap creates huge differences in future earning potential among young adults of different genders and racial backgrounds, this word gap can create barriers to success for children across the country.

Poor students do not interact with, speak with, or listen to as many words as their more wealthy peers – largely because their parents spend more time at work, and don’t have the time to devote to at-home reading support. As a result, during a critical neurological growth, these children do not receive the stimuli to expand their vocabulary and sharpen their thinking. If they’re not getting enough support at school and at home for their reading, they may not develop a love for books. This issue affects children with learning difficulties even more acutely.

As a result, many children lag behind their peers, struggling to communicate, read, and study. In the end, these children often face severe disadvantages when it comes to their education and future.

We are still working towards equality in education, where all students irrespective of background and income can access the same quality education. Until then, we should also focus on instilling in children a love for books and reading, because this can be the cornerstone through which vocabulary poverty is exterminated.

The bigger your word arsenal, the bigger your advantage in battle

In a nutshell, you will be able to express  yourself without others misconstruing your words.

You’ll have the words to inspire and influence others to act in ways that benefit you and your cause. You’ll have a magical wand of words that will resolve disputes and accurately describe situations in ways that do you justice and help others understand your message.

‘Tricky’ and ‘hard’ both mean difficult, but that doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable. Semantic nuances in words make some more apt than others in certain circumstances. Broadening your vocabulary will make you aware of these subtle differences and ultimately help you use the right word in the right context.

Open the door to success with the key to happiness

A strong vocabulary can lift you up and help you become the individual you one day hope to be. If your goal is to be the person who speaks eloquently and confidently in any situation, a person who inspires and teaches those around them, and someone who can use the right words in the right situation, then vocabulary improvement is the simple solution.

A strong vocabulary is the basis for lifelong learning. The more vocabulary you know, the more you’re inspired to learn and grow.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Vocab1 to Improve Your Vocabulary

Vocab1 is today’s go-to source for improving vocabulary through enjoyable and science-driven activities and games. It’s unlike any other app because it makes learning fun. But let’s look more closely at the system to see why this software might not be the right choice for you.

You don’t want a fast way to improve vocabulary

Don’t believe anyone that tells you learning new vocabulary is time-consuming. With Vocab1 you can learn new words in a few minutes alone.

The exercises have been developed according to proven science and reputable research to ensure you can build your vocabulary fast and without much hassle. Principles like repetition and active learning ensure you work less but get impressive results.

But if you’re an old-school learner and you prefer your hand-written lists and homemade flash cards, then you might not enjoy using Vocab1’s high-tech solutions.

You think you already know the right words

There are dozens of vocabulary improving apps out there. But which one helps you learn the right words? Probably only a handful.

Vocab1 gives you access to word lists that are specifically tailored around particular disciplines, school grades, and tests to ensure you focus on the words that matter the most to your success right at this moment. The app offers 193 expert-designed word lists to choose from. Talk about choice!

Once you master your vocabulary lists you can take advantage of the dictionary-size word database to expand your lexicon even more.

However, if you believe that you’ve got the vocabulary you need to impress your boss or score high on that important exam, you probably won’t be motivated to use Vocab1.

You don’t enjoy guided learning sessions

Vocab1 2015 offers you step by step guidance so that you can improve your vocabulary through the most efficient path possible.  Featuring video tutorials and guided learning, the app ensures you have the support and encouragement you need to build your vocabulary.

But if you’re a lone wolf and want to plan your own exercise series, then you might not enjoy the hands-on guidance and personalized feedback provided by Vocab1.

You don’t think learning should be fun

Vocab1’s signature feature is its addictive and fun games. You can learn new words the fun way so that you build the motivation to improve even further with each new game!

Play the fun vocabulary games on Vocab1 for under an hour every week and you will be able to understand and correctly use new words without even realizing you’ve been practicing.

The best thing about the system’s interactive games is that you can personalize them with your own imported custom lists.

Still, if you think that the only way to learn is through repetitive review of the same lists over and over again, then Vocab1 is probably not the system you’re looking for.

You’re not concerned with succeeding at work, school, or in your social sphere

Every game and every activity is measured through advanced technology integrated with Vocab1. This achieves two great things:

1) It gives you an overview of your learning progress and helps you identify your weaknesses.

2) It offers you personalized learning recommendations to catapult your vocabulary to new heights.

Tracking your success with Vocab1 gives you the confidence to take your new vocabulary into the real world and use it immediately. However, if you don’t care about measuring your own progress and applying your skills to your own life, then you won’t enjoy using the progress tracking feature of Vocab1, either.

So there you have it. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever why you should use Vocab1 to improve your lexicon – unless you’ve finished reading this article and have changed your mind on any of the points above. If that’s the case, look into this award-winning system right away!

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Follow Vocab1 on Facebook, Twitter and Googe+ for more tips and advice.

Check out eReflect’s Profile on Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Crunchbase and Training Industry as well!

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Vocab1 to Improve Your Vocabulary

How Banishing Annual Performance Reviews Improves Employee Motivation

Annual performance reviews have gotten a bad rap in recent years – mostly because they  often do more harm than good. They’re supposed to motivate and acknowledge those employees who were doing an excellent job over the previous year, but what they really achieve is a lower employee motivation. That’s because many reviews, or reviewers, leave those who are under-performing simply embarrassed and without any incentive to try harder.

According to INC, several companies have ditched the annual performance review practice in view of the fact that, by the end of a typical review, most people feel bad about themselves, and the company doesn’t exactly benefit from it.

What you can do instead of an annual performance review

Adapting a year-long, ongoing performance feedback practice will make your employees feel more comfortable and will give them the relief of knowing that all of their work won’t be under scrutiny and open to malevolent comments from managers and other teams.

– Instead of having the organization evaluate the performance of teams and individuals, have people review each other’s performance.

– Create opportunities for informal evaluations to enable constructive feedback to your employees, teams, and colleagues.

– Encourage your team to seek feedback and advice rather than dread it by assuming a positive attitude come feedback time.

– Organize follow-ups in which you can tangibly support employees to reach their full potential within the company and offer the tools and know-how they need to succeed and keep up with the rest of their peers.

– Keep a communication channel open at all times. You never know when an employee will need your advice.

– Praise more than you criticize. Appreciating the little things and the small successes of your team and employees is what will motivate them to stay focused.

Meaningful conversations that inspire action and solve problems

Remember that employee performance is not about criticism but about meaningful conversations that positively affect the employee – and by extension, the company.

Companies that have moved past the annual review performance practice (think Atlassian, Microsoft and Accenture) now engage in truly constructive feedback sessions in which feedback is not served cold but is accompanied with coaching and other supportive initiatives like mentoring. This ensures that the feedback is turned into impactful action that ameliorates the performance of the employee at hand and removes roadblocks.

A constructive performance review model emphasizes the human principles of empathy and support.

It is grounded in the vision of an organization’s responsibility to make the best out of its employees’ talents and time, and highlights the importance of ongoing support, education, and inspiration of the workforce through a dialogue that doesn’t presume, but gives employees a pedestal to speak their concerns and voice their problems. In this model, employees work together with management find the right solution that can benefit everyone involved.

One-to-one informal evaluations

Evaluating people in front of others is a dreadful, nightmarish thing to do that can only harm your employees’ momentum and engagement with the company.

Instead, heave heartfelt, informal one-to-one sessions in which evaluations are not perceived as threats or insults but as the springboard for fixing problems and coming up with great solutions. You’ll notice the difference – and so will your employees.

Vocab1 guarantees to help you increase your vocabulary knowledge! Learn more words and apply them in your writings.

How September Got Its Name

Ever wonder why September is ninth in order and not seventh? If you’re familiar with Latin, the etymology of “September” is not hard to decode. It’s derived from the word ‘septem’ which means ‘seven.’ But if you’re feeling perplexed don’t worry. Yes, it’s the ninth month in the Gregorian Calendar. It wasn’t always like that, however.

Calendar months were moved and renamed often over the first few thousand years they were in use. At one point, the Romans decided that the month after August needed to be named. September was the next month and seventh in line – that’s because year started in March back then. January and February did not even exist yet.

So since the month after August was seventh in line, it was quite apt to name it “September.” However, the early Roman calendar (which only had 304 days) didn’t work out in the end, because the seasons eventually stopped aligning with the sun’s position in the solar system, causing confusion. That’s why around 700 BCE, the King Numa Pompilious added January and February in the calendar, extending its length by 50 or 51 days.

As a result, September was pushed back, and was ninth in line, where it has stayed.

September is memorable for more than its odd naming history, however! Here are some examples:

> September is one of only two months that start on the same day of the week every year (December is the other).

>  On September 5, 1961 air piracy was declared a crime in the United States, punishable by death or imprisonment.

> Band aids were a first-aid concept created in September.

>  National Cheese Pizza Day is celebrated September 5.

> National Teddy Bear Day is celebrated  September 9.

January is not the only month people make resolutions! The first month of fall in the Northern Hemisphere can be a month of new resolutions, personal growth pledges and new starts. This is the case because after a lovely summer vacation break September starts with you feeling energized, relaxed and ready to conquer more!

Vocab1 guarantees to help you increase your vocabulary knowledge! Learn more words and apply them in your writings.

Vocab1 – Your Questions Answered

What makes Vocab1 different?

Vocab1 is the only vocabulary learning tool in the world to use a corpus to accelerate learning. A corpus is a massive database of words in usage, developed by linguists (professors who study language).

How do I know a corpus will improve my vocabulary?

Because your brain is hard wired to learn new words through context. Typically, you need to see a new word in 10 different contexts to learn it. Up until now this could take months of reading. With Vocab1 you can read the word 10 different contexts in just a few minutes.

Who made the corpus?

The corpus used in Vocab1 is called COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English) and we created by the talented linguists at Brigham Young University. eReflect have done a special licensing deal to use the corpus in our vocabulary products.

Why don’t other programs do this?

A corpus alone is not enough to produce vocabulary context. At eReflect we did another 6 months of advanced research and data processing in order to extract the contextual usage examples from the database. This was a massive task and it’s the reason Vocab1 is the only program to offer this technology.

What is the difference between Vocab1 and Ultimate Vocabulary?

While Ultimate Vocabulary is a powerful program, it was originally developed in 2006, and a lot has changed since then. Vocab1 is our next generation vocabulary tool for a new era of advanced cloud computing.

The main new feature in Vocab1 is the corpus based learning to create massive context. Vocab 1 has also been completely reimagined in terms of user experience, reliability, and features.

Why is massive context a huge leap in vocabulary learning?

Research shows that our brains are hardwired to learn new words by reading or hearing them in context. In fact, we now believe that is the only way to learn new words effectively. Vocab1 leverages this knowledge by providing multiple examples of real-world context for every word. This means you can get more context in a few minutes than you previously would have in months. This accelerates your learning to almost “superhuman” levels.

What is the difference between Vocab1’s Context and dictionary usage examples?

Most dictionaries only provide 1 or 2 examples, which is nowhere near enough. In addition, the examples are contrived and do not simulate context in the real world. Vocab1 provides dozens of examples that are extracted from actual usage in the real world.

What are the games and activities in Vocab1?

The games and activities are there to accelerate your learning even more and to make vocabulary fun. The games featured in Vocab1 are based on the most popular games from previous products. Only they have been updated and improved. They are now more user friendly, faster, and fun.

See Also:

Special PDF Report – The Power of Vocabulary Context

Vocab1 Spy Screenshots Revealed

Vocab1 Spy Screenshots Revealed

After a massive response to our special report The Power of Vocabulary Context we are pleased to release a special preview of what is to come.

Vocab1 is the first vocabulary building software to use a corpus directly.

Vocab1 integrates the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) by Brigham Young University.

COCA contains more than 520 million words of text (20 million words each year 1990-2015) and it is equally divided among spoken, fiction, popular magazines, newspapers, and academic texts.

This means Vocab1 can help you learn words faster than ever before, based on research that shows that your brain is “hard wired” to learn words by reading them in context.


Above: Learn with massive context and immersion like never before.



Above: 9 newly updated games and activities to accelerate your learning.



Above: Access 640 built in expert word lists, plus thousands more to be created by the community.



Above: Track your progress and see your improvement.



Above: New social profile and learning.


3 Tips To Engage Readers and Write With Style!

Online reading requires a different kind of focus. We’re easily distracted by ads, chat notifications, and emails, and we have an endless, ever-growing stream of information from around the world that begs for our attention and time.

This makes it hard for you as a writer, blogger, or business owner to attract your audience’s attention and keep them interested and thirsty for more.

This article will help you engage your readers by making some simple changes to your writing style and content.

Scannable Content

Make your readers’ life easier

– or don’t bother writing at all. Nobody’s going to read a 20-line paragraph. Structure your content in a way that’s easy to skim and scan on a smartphone or tablet. People want to be able to choose what to read and what to leave behind, and writing novel-like content is turning them away.

Use bullet points, headlines, and strategic formatting

to make it easier for the reader to navigate and understand your content. Highlight important takeaways and write short paragraphs of 4 sentences or fewer.

Be sure to use numbers.

They give people a reason to read because you’re giving them information they can quantify and readily understand. Consider these two headlines:

Ways you can engage your readers and keep them coming back for more

5 ways you can engage your readers and keep them coming back for more

Do you see how the insertion of the number makes this headline so much more concrete, and the whole article a whole lot more valuable?

That’s the power of numbers. People want to know in advance what’s in it for them and giving them numbers gives them this reassurance. They know they’ll easily find tips they can quickly and easily use.

A great tip for ensuring your content is scannable and user-friendly is to re-read only your highlighted content, headlines and subheadings, text in bold or italics, and anything else you’ve drawn attention to through special formatting.

If it gives you the gist of the whole article, then you’ve done a great job!

Write With Style. Take a different road.

Engaging a reader is about offering something new. Something they’ve never heard or thought of before. It might be hard depending on your subject matter or business niche, but it’s nonetheless possible.

Use a metaphor to speak for a well-covered topic and don’t be afraid to contradict ideas and trends everybody else seems to agree with. Take the road less traveled and speak from a place of confidence.

As long as you back your claims with facts and arguments, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Your readers will be exhilarated to read something fresh, something daring!

Set the Right Tone and Have The Best Emotional Involvement

If you’re the blog author for a multinational company, too-casual language is a big no-no. It sounds unprofessional and makes your company seem unreliable.

On the other hand, if you’re a food blogger and your writing is filled with scientific jargon or too much historical information, this will distance you instead of bringing you closer to your audience. To engage your readers you need to speak their language.

Tone is the personality of your writing. It’s how you sound in your readers’ minds and how they picture you. Decide whether it is going to be defined by its humor and wittiness, its astuteness, or its neutrality.

Implement these three tips and you will have more people reading through your content!

Vocab1 guarantees to help you increase your vocabulary knowledge! Learn more words and apply them in your writings.

How to Improve Your Writing Skills Using Technology (Guest Post)

David Mitchel

Writing is a lonely job. Be it an essay, a novel, or a nonfiction gardening manual, it is generally one person and a keyboard, or pen and paper for those who prefer the old fashioned method.  That’s why so many writers have struggled in the past because when they hit a wall in their writing, they don’t know where to turn. That’s why this age of technology has become the best thing for writers because they now have numerous online tools to help them improve their writing skills, no matter their experience level.

Writing Prompts

Anything can spark an idea for a story, but sometimes the world around you offers nothing in the way of a quality project. That’s where online writing prompts come in. There are numerous websites that offer prompts for all writers, no matter their age or skill level. Whether you prefer picture, objects, or even first line prompts, there is a site that can help get those creative juices flowing.

Grammar Tutorials and Paper Writing Guides

Whether you are just learning to write or just brushing up on the rules of grammar, online tutorials and paper writing guides are a great way to keep the rules of writing fresh in your head.  This will improve your writing and make it easier to get those projects published, or give students the high grades they need to reach their educational goals. I would recommend EnglishGrammar101 as a great place for excellent grammar tutorials and SolidEssay if you are looking for “how-to” paper writing guides.

Apps for Tablets and Smartphones

When looking for writing tools, there’s an app for that. Jotterpad and Drafts both let writers quickly jot down their ideas wherever they are.  iA Writer includes features that highlight any chosen part of grammar; from nouns to adverbs to conjunctions.  It also comes with a document library, focus mode, and a few export features. Even Microsoft Word has now come out with an app to keep all writers doing what they love.

Online Dictionaries and Thesauruses

When writing in the park or on the subway, reference books are usually left at home. So, when stuck for a word, or unsure if you’re using the correct one, go online to the Oxford Dictionary website, and browse around for what you need. Not only is the correct spelling available, but they also offer synonyms, different meanings, and sample sentences. Alternate spellings for different countries are also given for those who need it.

Graphic Organizers

Some people are better writers when they use pictures to keep their ideas straight. That’s where graphic organizers come in. There are a few different tools to do this, including concept maps that show relationships between multiple ideas, web maps that show how different sections of ideas relate to each other, and mind maps that contain a central idea with related topics that branch out to broaden the concepts.

Proofreading Software

Even the best editors miss a spelling mistake or misplaced comma. Proofreading software can find those hidden errors and ensure the finished product is as clean as possible. The best part is that many of them go beyond simple spelling errors. Some have features that correct grammar and usage, rephrase awkward sentences, read your text out loud, and even have translators for those who require another language in their text that they are not fluent in.

Speech Recognition Software

Every writer has the ability to speak much faster than they write. That’s why speech recognition software has become so popular for people in every field. From journalists to lawyers to students looking to update their status on social networks or send off quick emails to their friends, software like Dragon has become their most used tool. It not only records dictation for writing projects or outline ideas, it can also help to navigate your computer, create spreadsheets, and even do some editing.


Having outlines, stories, essays, or other writing projects saved on a home computer is great, but this means you can’t access them when you’re at work or travelling.  That’s where Evernote comes in. This program allows anything that has been saved in the program to be accessed from any other personal device, no matter where you are. Pictures, notes, documents, even scanned handwritten pages are available. And Evernote even allows stored items to be shared as the user sees fit.

Writer’s Forums

Having a community to discuss ideas, issues, or successes with is something everyone needs, and writers of any kind are no different. There are many forums for writers to visit online, to find like-minded individuals who understand every moment of fear, excitement, and even the hubris that comes along with creating something so unique. They can offer critiques, advice, and resources for any topic, and make the writer’s world a little less lonely.

Author Bio: David Mitchel is a freelance writer who has contributed to multiple websites in the education field. One of his recent publications is on how to write a psychology report.

The Importance of Editing and Proofing Your Social Media Posts (Guest Post)

Alicia Honeycutt

How active are you on social media? Chances are that you spend some time every single day writing posts and updating your profiles.

Even if you’re using social media just for fun, you’re telling people a lot about who you are. Everybody has access to websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – friends, acquaintances, co-workers, your teachers and even potential employers. As a result, you have to be careful about everything that you upload.

Posts that contain errors, grammar mistakes and poorly-structured sentences are usually linked to sloppiness and laziness. This isn’t the impression you want to make on others. Editing and proofreading your social media posts doesn’t take a lot. At the same time, putting some effort in the process will definitely pay off in the long run.

Reasons Why You Need to Proofread Everything

There are several reasons why you need to proofread everything you’re about to post in the online realm. The most important ones include:

          – Build your credibility: if you want to be taken seriously, you should be a perfectionist when it comes to the content that you publish online. Whether you’d like to establish your reputation as a professional or simply reach a big number of people, proper spelling and grammar are essential.

          – Find attractive employment options: statistics show that more employers than ever are checking candidates on social media. According to CareerBuilder, 39 percent of employers looked for candidate profiles on social media in 2013. The figure has gone up to 52 percent in 2015.

          – Connect with the right people: by posting thoughtful, well-research and properly written posts, you’ll be attracting intelligent people to your profiles. Such networking opportunities will be really beneficial in the long run.

          – Create an online identity that people will like: your online identity is entirely based on the information that you publish. The posts will determine how people are going to perceive you. If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to proofread before posting the next status.

Tips for Effective Social Media Proofreading

If you’ve never proofed and edited your online content in the past, you may feel somewhat confused about getting started. A few simple tips will help you improve your posts. The best aspect is that you’ll need just a couple of minutes to make sure your content is error-free.

Read Your Posts

The first and simplest thing you can do to reduce the risk of errors is read the post you’re about to upload. Reading the text out loud is usually the best approach. It will enable you to identify errors and poor sentence structure that will otherwise go unnoticed.

Use the Right Proofing Tools

Professional writers, bloggers and people that post frequently on social media can rely on various tools to enhance the quality of their creation. A quality grammar and style checker is ideal for beginners and people that don’t have prior experience. When it comes to important posts (like the ones on your LinkedIn profile, for example), you may want to opt for a bit of professional assistance.

Check Your Content after You’ve Uploaded it

Reading the text just once before it goes online isn’t sufficient. After you post an update, you may notice a formatting problem or another issue that interferes with readability. This is why you should dedicate a few seconds to checking the posts after they go live and making sure that everything looks impeccable.

Slow down before you post your next tweet or Facebook status update. Even if it doesn’t discuss a serious topic, it should be error-free. Social media provide lots of opportunities and you can’t be negligent about building your online persona. Proofreading is an easy process and you don’t have to do a lot of work in order to make sure your posts are perfect.

Author Bio

My name is Alicia Honeycutt. I am a content strategist and a passionate writer from Los Angeles. I love reading and writing, travelling and discovering the world.