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How to Increase your English Vocabulary

Knowing what the noun form of a verb is, or how to turn a noun into an adjective is a very important skill in English. Firstly, it gives you flexibility. You don't have to perform the equivalent of linguistic gymnastics and change the word order of a sentence – you can just use the appropriate form. Secondly, it means you can avoid lots of long, clumsy sentence structure. For example, instead of saying "it's important to have flexibility" you can say "it's important to be flexible"; or "Be organised" instead of "Develop your organisation skills".

Hint: English speakers try to use the smallest words and shortest sentences possible! Learn to avoid complex sentences by using the right form of the word.

Learning tips

1. Learn all the forms of a word. Take a piece of paper and write headings across the page:
Person Noun Verb Adjective Adjective Adverb

Then underneath, write the form of the word. For example:
photographer / photograph, photography / photographic

Remember: not every word will have every form.

2. Recognise typical patterns
This page on prefixes gives you typical
endings for nouns, verbs and adjectives.

There are a few exceptions, but you can guess that if the word has a -ful, -ic, – ive type ending, it's going to be an adjective!

3. Learn the stress
The stress will often change as the word type changes.
'op-ti-mi-sm, op-ti-'mis-tic, op-ti-'mis-ti-cally

Exercise 1
Here are some examples of adjective and noun forms.

adjective – noun

efficient – efficiency
organised – organisation
flexible – flexibility
resourceful – resourcefulness
optimistic – optimism

Turn these nouns into adjectives


Make nouns from these verbs

to reduce
to assist
to deliver
to maintain
to adjust

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