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Tag Archive | toefl

Top 10 Charming Words for Nasty People

bully, rowdy, ruffian

#1: Ruffian 

Definition:

a brutal person; bully Read More…

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Seven Tips for Communicating Data

Written by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Syntax Training

After you have worked hard to collect meaningful data, the big challenges are how and how much to communicate. Consider these tips when you work on your next report or presentation that includes data. 

  1. Focus first on your message, not on the numbers.
    When planning your communication, focus first on the big idea or points you want to make. Then incorporate the data that will help your audience understand and appreciate your points. Be sure your big idea gets center stage, not the numbers.
  2. Explain the data.
    Numbers mean nothing on their own. They need interpretation. Avoid asking readers or your audience to “review the attached spreadsheets.” Why should they review them? Which numbers should they pay attention to and why? What do the numbers indicate?
  3. Put data in context.
    Make it clear whether numbers are positive, negative, or neutral. If you tell a sales rep that she visited an average of six prospects per day, compare that number to the goal number of prospects. If a client walks 5500 steps in a day, state whether 5500 is the magic healthy number or only halfway there. If expenses are 18 percent over income, say why the reader should care. Explain that the account balance will be €0 by 2018 if nothing changes.
  4. Paint a picture with your numbers so people can see them.
    Even simple expressions like “a tenfold increase” or “a 30 percent drop” can seem vague unless your audience can see them. If numbers have decreased dramatically over a decade, do not use words and numbers alone. In a bold-colored graph, show the deep drop year by year, month by month over 10 years.

hand-577355_1280

If your numbers are so large as to be abstract, paint them in recognizable mental pictures such as an area as large as Italy or a distance of 100 Greyhound buses. (Think of your audience when you choose the image.) How hot is 158 degrees Fahrenheit? Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. 

Or show the numbers reduced to their essence. Jack Hagley’s graphic “The World as 100 People” (www.jackhagley.com/The-World-as-100-People) presents the world as though it were only 100 people. For instance, 83 of the world’s 100 people are able to read and write; 17 are not.

World-as-100-People_3

  1. Highlight important numbers.
    A wall of numbers is as intimidating as a wall of text. Pull out essential numbers and focus on them. If you are presenting financial data, show just a small portion of it at a time on a slide or a page–just the portion you are discussing now. If you refer to and show just a small part, your audience will not say, “Where are you?” and “What are you talking about?” And always render numbers in a large enough font that you do not have to apologize for it.

Make it easy for your readers to find important numbers. If a client has asked for your fee, for example, don’t bury the number in a paragraph. Instead, render the number alone on a line or as part of a short heading, like this:

Your investment: US$19,000

 

  1. Prominently display the legends for tables and charts of numbers.
    Ensure that your audience will know instantly that 3000 indicates 3,000,000 and that your balance is positive rather than negative. Use abbreviations such as K and M only if you are certain your readers understand them. (To some people, M means thousand; to others, it means million.)
  2. Use only the essential, compelling numbers in the body of your document.
    If numbers weigh down your document, your readers may forget your main point. So move most of the supporting tables, lists, charts, and graphs to the appendices. In a presentation, hold back some slides of data, and show them only upon request. Remember: The numbers are not the message; they serve the message.

If you think of your communication as music, your most important message comes through the soloist. The numbers are the accompanists. They play an essential role, but they should never drown out the soloist. If they do, your communication will not reach and change your audience.

violinist-407185_1280

Simple but Intelligent Word Choices

#10: Lucid

Definition:

very clear and easy to understand; able to think clearly

Words It Might Replace:

clear, logical, orderly (describing an explanation); rational (describing a person). The word’s original meaning, by the way, is “suffused with light.”

Example:

“But instead of a lucid narrative explaining what happened when the economy imploded in 2008, why, and who was to blame, the report is a confusing and contradictory mess…” – Frank Partnoy, The New York Times, January 29, 2011

#9: Austere

Definition:

marked by rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self–denial

Words It Might Replace:

simple or plain, especially when you’re describing something that is strict or without comfort

Example:

“This is the austere beauty of the desert: limitless vistas, clear skies, dramatic topography, an unforgiving environment for life of any kind.” – James Fallows, The Atlantic, October 2008

#8: Volatile

Definition:

likely to change in a very sudden or extreme way; having or showing extreme or sudden changes of emotion

Words It Might Replace:

unstable; emotional; unpredictable

Example:

“Prosecutors want to demonstrate that Bonds treated those around him in an abusive and hostile manner and that his volatile nature was also the result of steroid use.” – Christian Red, New York Daily News, March 17, 2011

#7: Stoic

Definition:

showing no emotion especially when something bad is happening

Words It Might Replace:

unemotional; uncomplaining; cold

Example:

“Hockey also gives normally staid, stoic and polite Canadians license to be aggressive.” – Stuart Weinberg, Wall Street Journal (wsj.com), November 30, 2010

#6: Caustic

Definition:

marked by sharp or biting sarcasm; very harsh and critical

Words It Might Replace:

critical, hostile, snarky; nasty; sarcastic

Example:

“This world loves bickering buddies…. [T]here’s plenty of fondness for comedies built around caustic and amusing back–and–forths between two people that, at the drop of a hat, either want to kill each other or cuddle.” – Christopher Bell, blogs.indiewire.com, April 27, 2011

#5: Maudlin

Definition:

showing or expressing too much emotion especially in a foolish or annoying way

Words It Might Replace:

sappy; schmaltzy; overly emotional

Example:

“His daughter’s account of his final days manages to capture the emotion without becoming maudlin.” – Glenn C. Altschuler, NPR.org, April 28, 2011

#4: Lurid

Definition:

causing horror or revulsion; involving sex or violence in a way that is meant to be shocking

Words It Might Replace:

shocking; sensational; gruesome

Example:

“Like articles about drug busts, this sort of story [about a prostitution ring] produces lurid, boldface headlines that catch the reader’s eye.” – Mark Drought, Stamford Advocate, April 13, 2011

#3: Glib

Definition:

said or done too easily or carelessly; marked by ease in speaking to the point of being deceitful

Words It Might Replace:

careless; insincere

Example:

“A time may come when Tiger Woods will be glib and ebullient and full of witty observations about golf. But I doubt it.” – David Jones, pennlive.com, April 15, 2011

#2: Cavalier

Definition:

having or showing no concern for something that is important or serious

Words It Might Replace:

thoughtless or careless, especially when you’re describing a disregard for consequences

Example:

“Many took issue with [Kristen] Stewart’s rather cavalier use of the term [“rape”], even if it was used in a metaphorical sense…” – Michael Jordan, BlackBook, June 4, 2010

#1: Demure

Long and exotic words (like defenestration or sesquipedalian) are often more fascinating than useful. By comparison, this list offers words that can enrich a conversation without sounding ridiculous.

Definition:

not attracting or demanding a lot of attention; not showy or flashy; quiet and polite

Words It Might Replace:

modest; unassuming; shy; coy

Example:

“As William and Kate sang prayers from the specially designed hymn sheets, the two sisters looked on unassumingly. But despite their demure appearance, rumours even began to surface today that one of the women was a secret ‘ninja nun’ intended to protect the Royal couple by pouncing on any intruders.” – Daily Mail, May 1, 2011

Read more…

Talk English by colors

 

WHITE

 

 White_Flag
a white lie a harmless lie/ a lie to spare someone’s feelings
white noise static noise
white as a sheet scared, sick, surprised
white as a ghost scared
white-collar related to “desk jobs”
a white flag surrender
to whitewash something to mask the negative parts
white wine wine from green or yellow grapes
a white Christmas snow on Christmas day
a white wedding a traditional western-style wedding where the bride wears a white gown
a white person a person of Caucasian race
white-hot extremely hot OR popular
a white paper an authoritative report on a issue
a white elephant a useless knick-knack OR an expensive, useless thing
white as the driven snow innocent (often used sarcastically about corruption)
white with rage extremely enraged
to bleed someone white to take everything someone has, esp. money
showing the white feather acting cowardly
a white-knuckle ride a dangerous, nerve-wracking, scary ride
that’s mighty white of you (old-fashioned) that’s good of you
lily-white unmistakably Caucasian OR blameless, goodly
white horses (surfing) patches of white foam made by breaking waves
white trash (American) (offensive) uneducated, socio-economically disadvantaged Caucasian people
whiter than white (British) righteous, innocent

BLACK

a white pointer (Australian)

080766-glossy-black-icon-business-envelope1a topless female sunbather
to blackmail someone to threaten to reveal secrets unless payment is made
to black out to lose consciousness
a blackout a loss of electricity in an area
the blackout during wartime, extinguishing or covering lights
black magic / the black arts magic used for malevolent purposes
the pot calling the kettle black someone criticizing someone else for a quality they themselves possess
the black market illegal/underground sales and purchases
little black book book of contacts, esp. past or potential dates
a black sheep the outcast or disgrace in a group
black gold oil / petrolium
  black tie formal clothing e.g. a tuxedo
black humor jokes about death or illness
a black day a day when something bad happens
to be in black and white to be written down officially
to be black and white (a situation) to be clear
in the black profitable
a black mood a bad, grumpy mood
a black eye a bruised eye
to blacklist someone to prevent someone from being hired
to blackball someone to shut someone out from group participation
black and blue bruised
a black look an angry/disapproving facial expression
as black as night very dark black
pitch black very dark black
a black person a person of African heritage
black ops extralegal covert activity, done in the dark (military/politics)
black-hearted cruel, evil, mean
a black mark an indication of wrongdoing
to blacken someone’s name to suggest/indicate a person’s wrongdoing
the Black Death The Bubonic Plague
  a black rat (British) a traffic police officer
Black Friday (U.S.) The day after American Thanksgiving when many stores have sales
the black dog (Irish) a bad mood
beyond the black stump (Australian) the back of nowhere, far from anything

RED

 

 

 

 

 

in the red

arrow-pointing-downunprofitable OR negative financial balance, owing money
a redhead a person with orange-colored hair
red light district area with prostitutes
to see red to be furious
red with rage furious
to turn/go red become embarrassed
a red herring a false clue
to paint the town red to dine, dance, experience fun in a town or city
a red flag a signal that something is wrong
roll out the red carpet give a big welcome
red tape unnecessary/excessive bureaucracy
not one red cent no money at all
a red letter day a special day
a scarlet woman a sinful woman
scarlet fever an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria.
red-hot very hot OR very popular
red card a sanction for a soccer player
red alert a serious warning of danger
a red-blooded male a virile, manly male person
like a red rag/flag to a bull provoking/aggravating anger
red (adjective) communist
bleed red ink (British) debt
red in tooth and claw (British) the wild, violent aspect of the natural world
redshirting (U.S.) delaying an athlete’s participation in sports order to lengthen his/her period of eligibility
  a red state (U.S.) a state whose residents are politically more Republican
a redneck (U.S.) an uneducated, rural white American
a red-bone (U.S.) a light-skinned black woman
the red scare (U.S.) (historical) the worry that society would be infiltrated by communists and communism
the red eye (U.S.) the overnight flight between west and east coast

GREEN

green with envy

green-parrot-wide-300x187very envious
the green-eyed monster jealousy
to give the green light to give approval to proceed
to be green (in a position) to be inexperienced, a rookie
to be green (policy) to be environmentally aware
the green room room in a theater or studio where guests/performers wait to go on
to turn green to be nauseous
green around the gills sick-looking
a greenbelt an area of nature around a city
greens vegetables
a green a golf course
a greengrocer a person/store that sells vegetables & fruit
  the grass is always greener on the other side other people’s possessions/situations always seem better than your own
greener pastures a better situation
to greenwash something to deceptively make practices/policies seem more environmentally friendly
little green men stereotypical/humorous description of space aliens
as sure as God made little green apples very certain
colorless green ideas sleep furiously (Linguistics) Noam Chomsky’s oft-quoted example of a sentence with good grammar but no meaning
to have green fingers (British) to be good with plants/gardens
to have a green thumb (U.S.) to be good with plants/gardens
a greenie (Australian) an environmentally aware person
a green card (U.S.) legal residency status
a greenhorn (U.S.) an inexperienced or young person
greenbacks (U.S.) dollars

YELLOW

yellow

fashion_recap__yellowcowardly
a yellow streak cowardice
yellow-bellied cowardly
yellow journalism disreputable, sensationalistic journalism
a yellow card (soccer) to give someone a first warning
the yellow peril (offensive, archaic) the fear that Asian people will outnumber/displace Caucasian people
yellow fever  an acute viral haemorrhagic disease
yellow fever (Nigerian slang) traffic police
a yellow dog Democrat (U.S.) a voter who always votes Democrat in every election

BLUE

out of the blue

blue-sky-14366suddenly, unexpectedly
a bolt from the blue a sudden/unexpected thing
to be blue to be sad
a blue funk a feeling of melancholy
the blues sadness OR a 3 chord style of music
once in a blue moon infrequently
blue-collar related to manual labor or the working class
a blue blood an aristocratic person
to talk a blue streak to talk a lot
to turn blue to have difficulty breathing
blue with cold feeling very cold
until you’re blue in the face having lost your patience
blue chip stock stock of an established/financially sound company
working blue performing using foul language
a blue movie a pornographic film
a blueprint (for something) a design, a guide
true blue faithful
blue on blue in military: friendly fire
into the wide/wild blue yonder to an unknown/faraway place
blue balls (lewd) male sexual frustration due to unfulfilled sexual urges
to turn the air blue to swear a lot
between the devil and the deep blue sea a dilemma
the boys in blue the police
the thin blue line the police
a blue state (U.S.) a state whose residents are politically more Democrat
a blue (British) a Tory
to scream blue murder (British) to express yourself angrily
a blue-eyed boy (British) a male who can do no wrong, who is favored by authority
having a blue (Australian) having a fight
make a blue (Australian) make a mistake

BROWN

a brown-noser

51FWx8gxbOL._SY300_a sycophant
in a brown study being contemplative; daydreaming
  browned off (British) annoyed

PURPLE

purple prose

purpleflowery, romantic writing
born in the purple born into a high ranking/aristocratic family
the Purple Heart (U.S.) a U.S. military honor badge
a purple patch (British) a period of exceptionally high achievement

ORANGE

agent orange

Orange_and_cross_sectiona defoliant used in herbicidal warfare
Orangemen (Irish) Protestant fraternal organization

PINK

in the pink of health

big_a149_pinko_rozovata_panteravery healthy
tickled pink very pleased
a pinko a communist
to see the world through rose-colored glasses to see the world through an optimistic filter
rosy positive, optimistic,
to get a pink slip to be fired
the pink pound (British) consumer spending by gay people

GREY

grey area

seagull_greyunclear
grey matter the brain
to give someone grey hairs to try someone’s patience
gray market sale of products via nonstandard distribution channels or at an unofficial price
grey nomads (Australian) retirees who travel around the country
the silver screen the movies

GOLDEN

a golden boy

Gold bar isolated with clipping patha well-regarded, successful man
a golden handshake monetary incentive to join a company
a golden parachute money given to an executive leaving a company
golden ears great listening ability to discern quality or commerciality
a golden shower (lewd) urinating on a sexual partner
a golden mean the desirable middle (between extremes of excess and deficiency)

COLOR

off-color

rainbow_fridge_magnetinappropriate, crude
to show your true colors to reveal your true self or feelings
a colorless person a boring person
colorful (e.g. tale, history, life) event-filled and interesting
colorful language vivid or expletive-filled language
to pass with flying colors to do very well
local color having typical characteristics of the local area
color commentary facts & comments about athletes during a broadcast
a horse of a different color a completely different thing/idea
a country’s colors the colors of a national flag
 SOURCE

Contronyms: What did you mean by deceptively smart?

A synonym is a word that means the same as another.

Necessary and required are synonyms.

https://i0.wp.com/mrgray.id.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/a_synonym_tshirt.jpg

An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another.

Wet and dry are antonyms.

While synonyms and antonyms are not in themselves interesting, the complexities and irregularities of the English language sometimes make synonyms and antonyms interesting to explore. Many complexities result from words having multiple definitions.

A trivial example is a word with synonyms that aren’t synonyms of each other, the word beam, for example, having the synonyms bar and shine.

Similarly, some words have antonyms that are neither synonyms nor antonyms of each other but completely unrelated: the word right, for example, having the antonyms wrong and left.

A more interesting paradox occurs with the word groom, which does not really have an antonym in the strictest sense but has an opposite of sorts in the word bride, which can be used as a prefix to create a synonym, bridegroom.

https://i0.wp.com/www.bohobride.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/groom01.jpg

The word contronym (also antagonym) is used to refer to words that, by some freak of language evolution, are their own antonyms. Read More…

168 Color terms in English

Compiled by Stephen Chrisomalis

This list contains 168 definitions of obscure colour terms using combinations of ‘normal‘ colours of the rainbow and descriptive adjectives; e.g. cardinal = deep scarlet red; russet = reddish brown. Note that most English speakers outside the U.S. spell colour with the added British ‘u’ rather than the American version color. Don’t worry if the colours (or colors) in your universe don’t match up with the definitions I’ve given for these words, though – I’ve been known to have skewed perceptions of reality … Read More…

Another 10 Words That You’ve Probably Been Misusing

girl-confused

Tyler Vendetti

There are so many words in the English language that it’s not surprising that the definitions for some of them have gotten mixed up over the years. It’s possible that you’ve gone your entire life without realizing your mistakes. I’m sure people have noticed. How long have you been using that word incorrectly, you wonder? How many angry Facebook rants have you ruined with your improper grammar? While I can’t give you an answer to those questions, I can at least provide you with a list of other tricky words so that you may never have to suffer from this embarrassment ever again:

1. Travesty

What you may think it means: a tragedy, an unfortunate event

What it actually means: a mockery; a parody

This one, I’ll admit, is my own personal error. For the longest time, I equated travesty with tragedy, mostly because in passing, they sound like the same word. It’s stupid, I know, but if you knew how many times I confused fetal position with beetle position, you wouldn’t be laughing. It’s a serious problem.

2. Ironic

Read More…

Another 20 “Forgotten” Words That Should Be Brought Back

Languages are living things that shift and evolve over time. If you look at the history of the English language, from Anglo Saxon through the Great Vowel Shift to what we consider Standard English today, you’ll notice that it has undergone some spectacular changes over the centuries. Some basic words have stuck around through the ages, like “father”, “house”, “egg”, “boat” and so on, but just as new words developed over time, other words were discarded along the way.

Many others from Shakespeare’s time through to the early 20th century have fallen out of common usage, and we are undoubtedly the poorer for it. Here are 20 words that could only serve to add a bit more colour to our daily lives if they happened to come back into regular use.

1. Bunbury

noun

An imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place.

“Auntie Jane the cottage dweller” was my go-to bunbury whenever I wanted to take a day off to go play in the forest. Read More…

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