TEKS ELAR Academic Vocabulary List (5th-7th grades) – 310 Words

English Words (310 Words) selected in "TEKS ELAR Academic Vocabulary List (5th-7th grades)" will help you study for the SAT,GRE,ACT,TOEFL exams and learn english.

abbreviation

a shortened form of a word or phrase

The singer has been writing in shorthand for years, using now common abbreviations like “2,” “U” and “4” since the early 1980s.
acronym

a word formed from the initial letters of several words

“WWW” didn’t trip off the tongue for people in other countries but it was an acronym no one else had used.
action

the series of events that form a plot

He describes the action in the parlance of a soccer match, his voice rising and falling with the encounter’s ebbs and flows.
adage

a condensed but memorable saying embodying an important fact

Well, there’s the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.Salon (Apr 9, 2014)
ad hominem

appealing to personal considerations rather than to reason

To put it politely, this is a cheap ad hominem attack. Forbes (Dec 5, 2012)
adjective

the word class that qualifies nouns

Avoid foods with descriptive adjectives like “crunchy,” “crispy” and “sauteed.”Seattle Times (Feb 5, 2014)
adverb

a word that modifies something other than a noun

Should we rid student writing of adverbs because most kids don’t use those very effectively?New York Times (Feb 28, 2012)
affix

a linguistic element added to a word

By all means, affix sensors to my toilet bowl and examine my excretions.Slate (Feb 26, 2014)
agreement

in grammar, the correspondence between two words

The chief imam, beside him, smiles in agreement.
alliteration

use of the same consonant at the beginning of each word

John Wooden was the Wizard of Westwood, a nickname he never much cared for, although the poet in him might have enjoyed the alliteration.Seattle Times (Dec 21, 2010)
alternative

one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

That is true for three of the seven alternatives, including the one that calls for building a dam inside the South Mountain Reservation.
ambiguous

having more than one possible meaning

Irvine explains, “English is often ambiguous, and is often filled with odd idiomatic expression that can make things difficult.Forbes (Nov 7, 2013)
analogy

drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity

I am also troubled by an analogy made by rights activists that animals are undergoing a “holocaust.”
analyze

consider in detail in order to discover essential features

“We will analyze the images of the invasion to find out what went wrong and who was not paying attention at the time,” Paes said.
antecedent

the referent of an anaphor

Mythological or literary antecedents, including “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” are suggested, but Ms. Courtney offers up her own brand of dream imagery.
antonym

a word that expresses an opposite meaning

The direct antonym of cause is effect, while that of antecedent is consequent.Fernald, James Champlin
apposition

a relation between a word and a noun phrase that follows

A noun in apposition with another noun in the nominative case is also in the nominative case; as, Mr. Brown, the manager, is very capable.Buhlig, Rose
argument

a discussion for and against some proposition or proposal

It’s the oldest management argument in the book: You’re lucky to have a job.
audience

the part of the general public interested in something

Before you brag–humbly or not, business or personal–think about your audience.
author

a person who writes professionally

Hundreds of different gospel writers and authors wrote hundreds of texts about God and Jesus.
autobiography

a book or account of your own life

My autobiography, where I talk about my childhood in the camp in Arkansas, is in that library.
background

information that is essential to understanding a situation

The pterosaur’s ability to walk on all fours has an interesting evolutionary and historical background.
bibliography

a list of writings with time and place of publication

I was disappointed in the book’s lack of a bibliography, because you mentioned about 300 writers and titles that I’m now interested in picking up.New York Times (Jul 18, 2012)
biography

an account of the series of events making up a person’s life

All of the kids were read short, positive biographies of famous Americans, half of whom were black and half of whom were white.Slate (Mar 30, 2014)
bracket

a punctuation mark used to enclose textual material

In the regular Staples logo, which is all capital letters, the “L” is a staple positioned like a left bracket, its uppermost segment bent over.
brainstorm

try to solve a problem by thinking intensely about it

The Vatican announced Tuesday it would host a workshop early in the new year to brainstorm peaceful solutions to the ongoing civil war in Syria.
capitalization

writing in uppercase letters

Google has passed Exxon to become the second most valuable U.S. company by market capitalization.
cause

any entity that produces an effect

The babies’ bodies were sent to the Utah medical examiner’s office for tests, including one to determine the cause of death.Time (Apr 13, 2014)
character

an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction

All these characters are looking for change, but they can’t quite make it happen.Slate (Apr 13, 2014)
characteristic

a prominent attribute or aspect of something

Overall characteristics of societies and economies, such as population size, economic activity, and land use, are highly dynamic.
chart

a visual display of information

By sheer influx of people, Houston, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Washington top the charts.
choice

one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

“The key is to offer a wide variety of choices.”
citation

a short note recognizing a source of information

Third, if you’re going to assert negative facts, provide hyperlinks to your sources as a form of citation, as a recent court opinion illustrated.Forbes (Oct 23, 2013)
claim

an assertion that something is true or factual

He added that claims of Russian involvement were “The biggest load of nonsense I have ever heard.”
clarify

make clear and comprehensible

It clarifies the role of school principals, and holds parents responsible for the actions of children under 18.
classical

having the form used by ancient standard authors

But could even greater treasures–including lost works of classical literature–still lie underground?
classification

a group of people or things arranged by category

The government had promised international sponsors that ethnic groups could choose their classification.
clause

an expression including a subject and predicate

If the future textbooks of a free Iraq get written, the toppling of Saddam will be vaguely mentioned in one clause in one sentence.Salon (Sep 15, 2013)
climax

the decisive moment in a novel or play

And thus, the climax of a romantic movie is an engagement, or a kiss, or a handprint on a foggy car window.Time (Feb 14, 2014)
closure

something settled or resolved

Until wreckage is found, there can be no closure for families of the 239 passengers and crew.
coherent

marked by an orderly and consistent relation of parts

Realizing exactly what you’ve committed to do is a great first step in organizing your thoughts in a coherent form.Forbes (Mar 28, 2014)
collective

members of a cooperative enterprise

That’s why we’re in this collective called a society: We share costs.
colon

a punctuation mark used after a word introducing a series

“13.4c” explained how to introduce quotes with a colon instead of a comma.Forbes (Dec 19, 2013)
comma

a punctuation mark (,) indicating the separation of elements

By the way, you forgot a comma there, genius.
commercial

an ad on radio or television sponsored by a business

Its Super Bowl commercial last year featured video of a baby getting tossed in the air with a GoPro video camera strapped to his head. Forbes (Apr 14, 2014)
communicate

transmit thoughts or feelings

The internet and social media mean we can communicate more freely than ever.
compare

examine and note the similarities or differences of

Instead, it compared the diets of people who went on to develop diabetes and those who did not get the disease.
compile

put together out of existing material

Awkward Family Photos, the beloved website that compiles the best of the worst family portraits, is getting its very own museum exhibit.
composition

an essay, especially one written as an assignment

The show remains more dedicated to restating its topic sentence than the most obedient ninth-grade composition student.Slate (Jan 2, 2014)
compound

composed of more than one part

Not only are people able to make compound expressions consistently, but we are also able to read these emotions pretty accurately as well.
comprehension

an ability to understand the meaning of something

But both measures—vocabulary and comprehension—are well-established indicators of mental ability.Forbes (Mar 19, 2014)
conclusion

a position or opinion reached after consideration

Some studies are too small to draw any definitive conclusions.
conflict

opposition in a work of fiction between characters or forces

“Drama is made out of conflict,” he said.Seattle Times (Apr 9, 2014)
conjunctive

a function word that serves to conjoin words or phrases

Be particularly careful of the conjunctive adverbs: so, then, therefore, thus, also, still, otherwise, however, hence, consequently, moreover, nevertheless.Buhlig, Rose
consequence

the outcome of an event

“Those that think about running away are afraid the authorities will return them to their masters with terrible consequences,” he said.
consider

think about carefully; weigh

There is also an issue of fairness to consider, said Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.
consonant

a letter of the alphabet that does not stand for a vowel

Consonants, for example, are pronounced from the back of the throat with a sudden guttural puff of air.
consult

seek information from

To help turn ingredients foraged at local markets into meals, she consults Mark Bittman’s book, How to Cook Everything.Forbes (Mar 28, 2014)
contemporary

belonging to the present time

“It is our mission to collect objects that have a relevance to contemporary culture,” said Peter Hoffmann, a spokesman for the museum in Bonn.
context

discourse that surrounds and helps explain a word or passage

Even without accessing the dictionary, children are able to glean the meaning of many words from context.
contrast

the act of distinguishing by comparing differences

By contrast, students who have more recently begun studying Spanish show markedly different processing of these elements of the language.
convention

something regarded as a normative example

Many labs do not have formalized notebook-writing conventions in place.Nature (Mar 26, 2014)
convey

serve as a means for expressing something

Television is constantly conveying what people think of animals, but it hardly ever considers what animals think of people, or whether they think at all.
counterargument

an opinion offered in opposition to another position

Most important of all, he did not downgrade students who came back at him with tight counterarguments.Slate (Dec 20, 2012)
critique

a serious examination and judgment of something

Even now, in retirement, Edward Beitashour watches all of his son’s games and sends emails with critiques of his performance.
culture

all the knowledge and values shared by a society

Western culture imbues us with the idea of insect as monster.
data

a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn

But with big data if most of your findings are false you find out sooner rather than later.Forbes (Apr 15, 2014)
decide

bring to an end; settle conclusively

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.
demonstrate

provide evidence for

Winners, who are voted upon by teammates, demonstrate dedication, strength and courage in the face of adversity.
denouement

the resolution of the main complication of a literary work

The denouement brings forward a surprising villain and a satisfying conclusion for two people who are clearly right for each other.Seattle Times (Jan 2, 2014)
derive

come from

There’s a German word I learned about in psychology class called schadenfreude, which means a pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.Salon (Apr 5, 2014)
describe

give an account or representation of in words

“Your whole core just shook,” she said, describing the mountain of mud, rock and uprooted trees that ripped through her neighborhood.
detail

a small part considered separately from the whole

Each detail has to be perfectly placed to create the backdrop and yet not get in the way of the story.Slate (Apr 10, 2014)
determine

find out or learn with certainty, as by making an inquiry

The plane’s black box could help investigators determine why flight MH370 diverted from its flight plan and ended in the Indian Ocean.Salon (Apr 16, 2014)
develop

progress or evolve through a process of natural growth

Employees and other stakeholders should have the opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and experience to help pursue the evolving digital strategy.Forbes (Apr 16, 2014)
device

something in an artistic work designed to achieve an effect

The shocking death of a lead character is a device used to unnerving effect in Hitchcock’s Psycho.Salon (Apr 12, 2014)
diagram

a drawing intended to explain how something works

Diagrams drawn on the skins identify parts of the body, but also link traditional Chinese medicine with other cultures’ traditions and religion with everyday life.
dialect

the usage or vocabulary characteristic of a group of people

This is another fun term derived from the cuckoo, known as a gowk in some Scottish dialects.
dialogue

the lines spoken by characters in drama or fiction

A Disney actor dressed as Merlin is there, reciting dialogue—“Let the boy try.”
diary

a daily written record of experiences and observations

Anne Frank’s diary was written during World War Two, while the teenager hid from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam.
dictionary

a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”Forbes (Mar 5, 2014)
different

unlike in nature, quality, form, or degree

In this video, he perfectly mimics the sounds of 30 different animals, from horses and pigs to lambs and even flies.
differentiate

mark as distinct

Picture the smiley face icon–the only thing differentiating it from a frowning face is the upwardly curving mouth line.Forbes (Apr 7, 2014)
digital

of a circuit or device that represents magnitudes in numbers

The artist uses digital technologies in his work as well as hand-crafted skills and traditional metalworking techniques.
discussion

an extended communication dealing with a particular topic

Some classes will have online discussions, while other students will watch video lectures or listen to podcasts recorded by their instructors.
distinguish

mark as different

Lubbock taught the dog to distinguish between blank pieces of cardboard and those with the words “Food,” “Tea,” “Water,” “Bone,” and “Out” written on them.
documentary

a film presenting the facts about a person or event

Meanwhile, Animal Planet is airing fake documentaries about mermaids.Slate (Apr 11, 2014)
documentation

confirmation that some fact or statement is true

Both Kansas and Arizona require people registering to vote to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation proving their U.S. citizenship.Time (Mar 28, 2014)
draft

any of the various versions in the development of a work

Ultimately, this feels like a rough draft of a movie, waiting to be filled in.Seattle Times (Apr 3, 2014)
drama

a work intended for performance by actors on a stage

“People’s lives being good is never good drama. So we’re always looking for more problems for these people.”Seattle Times (Apr 9, 2014)
edit

prepare for publication or presentation by revising

Even if you buy a nice keyboard to use with your iPad, it’s much faster to create and edit documents on laptop.Seattle Times (Apr 4, 2014)
effect

a phenomenon that is caused by some previous phenomenon

That astounding reversal of the usual chain of cause and effect changed the way I thought about the McMansion.
electronic

concerned with principles governing behavior of electrons

Lastly, adults should ensure that children are not overusing e-book features like the electronic dictionary or the “read to me” option.
element

one of the individual parts making up a composite entity

Breaking through in a cluttered marketplace requires expertise in all of the elements of storytelling.
ellipsis

omission or suppression of parts of words or sentences

Mr. Toobin relied on ellipses to capture the tone of the president’s comment: “His remark to the chief justice had an … edge.”
emphasis

special importance or significance

So across the country there’s been an emphasis on testing and an emphasis on measurements—sometimes at the expense of an investment in education itself.Salon (Apr 7, 2014)
enhance

make better or more attractive

Using a blue desktop background, for example, can enhance creative performance, while red helps you attack and focus on nitty-gritty details.
enunciation

the articulation of speech with regards to intelligibility

He set the benchmark in enunciation, and he emphasized key words through changing the sound of the note on which the word was sung.
epic

a long narrative poem telling of a hero’s deeds

In Homer’s epic Odyssey, the great dog Argus plays a seemingly small, yet very profound, role.Salon (Apr 6, 2014)
essay

an analytic or interpretive literary composition

The major change is that the essay will ask students to analyze a given argument rather than take a stance on a question.
establish

show the validity of something, as by example or explanation

Only further research will establish that these cures will endure, averting an estimated 15,000 deaths a year from liver disease in the U.S.Seattle Times (Apr 12, 2014)
evaluate

form a critical opinion of

Obtain as much information as possible to evaluate the location, size, and educational specialties of every school.
event

something that happens at a given place and time

Spider experts concede that a sleeping person could plausibly swallow a spider, but “it would be a strictly random event.”Scientific American (Apr 15, 2014)
evidence

means by which an alleged matter is established or disproved

Some of the best evidence that vaccines are effective comes from the fact that we know what happens when they are not available.Forbes (Apr 16, 2014)
exaggerated

represented as greater than is true or reasonable

How could a news report possibly be trusted if the author exaggerated to increase its commercial appeal?Salon (Mar 29, 2014)
explain

make plain and comprehensible

It’s meant for a family audience; the film explains the life of a bear in a way that’s straightforward but rated-G.
explicit

precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable

While the drug’s original label had a so-called black box warning about blood clots, the new warning is much stronger and more explicit.
expository

serving to expound or set forth

When you look at a trending topic there is an “About” tab, offering up expository content about current events.Forbes (Dec 10, 2011)
expression

the communication of your beliefs or opinions

But on Patreon, the types of creative expression being shared are so diverse that it makes taste irrelevant–there’s something for everyone.Forbes (Apr 10, 2014)
factual

existing in reality

“There is no factual basis for such conclusions and we reject these false and misleading allegations,” military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said.
fallacy

a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning

It’s an inane and baseless fallacy, a conclusion with no reasoning, a judgment with no facts.Slate (Feb 5, 2014)
feature

a prominent attribute or aspect of something

Just as important as giving members more features is Facebook’s opportunity to learn about location, location-based services, and how consumers use them.Forbes (Apr 17, 2014)
feedback

response to an inquiry or experiment

Leaders who try to be perfect harm their reputation when it makes them seem unapproachable or not open to feedback. Forbes (Apr 14, 2014)
fiction

a literary work based on the imagination

Science fiction has always been the world of “what if.”Seattle Times (Apr 16, 2014)
figurative

not literal

As word spread, more than a few expressed disappointment that the axe which had fallen on Morgan was figurative and not literal.
film

a series of moving pictures that tells a story

In his own classroom, Blecher said he’s used verbal warnings about a violent murder in a film he was about to show.Slate (Apr 17, 2014)
finding

the act of determining the properties of something

Dr. Dubinett added that researchers were collecting additional data before submitting the findings to a medical journal for publication.
fluency

skillfulness in speaking or writing

Communication difficulties can include problems with speech sounds, language, social interaction, voice or fluency.
focus

direct one’s attention on something

We focus on academics, but our kids also need to be emotionally literate, able to tell a story from beginning to end.
foreign

relating to another place or part of the world

These dish names look pretty foreign to the average college student eye, accustomed to the likes of pad thai, burgers and Chipotle burritos.Seattle Times (Apr 14, 2014)
foreshadow

indicate by signs

He enters looking down, heavy head bowed, which proves a foreshadowing of the bummer times to come.
form

a particular mode in which something is manifested

With radio and telephony in their infancy, letters and postcards were the most common form of communication between those serving and their next of kin.
formality

a manner that strictly observes all forms and ceremonies

Formal dress puts an emphasis on formality and presentation.New York Times (Feb 4, 2014)
format

the general appearance of a publication

In Word, you can type, search, add comments and perform some basic font formatting, but that’s it.
function

the actions and activities assigned to a person or group

It is a change in the role of the manager, not an abolition of the function.Forbes (Apr 18, 2014)
genre

a kind of literary or artistic work

The successful acts span the genres of rock/alternative, pop, dance/electronic, urban, classical, jazz and world music.
gesture

motion of hands or body to emphasize a thought or feeling

She cannot speak, but communicates volumes with her eyes, vocalizations and gestures.
glossary

an alphabetical list of technical terms in a field

Like the sports guide, the Financial Glossary provides definitions, use, and context information for commonly used terms that may not be familiar to you.
grammar

the branch of linguistics that deals with sentence structure

As with any translation, there may be errors of grammar, clumsy phrases and perhaps a few missing passages, but the book will be legible.
graphic

a visual image

‘BOOM!’ was the wording on a graphic used to illustrate the problem.Forbes (Apr 8, 2014)
guide

something that offers basic information or instruction

If anything in the news upsets you, read our guide to find out what to do.
historical

used of the study of a phenomenon as it changes through time

He also looks at genetics, because our genes provide a historical record, just as fossils do.
hyperbole

extravagant exaggeration

He is enthusiastic bordering on hyperactive, bouncing from topic to topic and speaking in near-constant hyperbole.Seattle Times (Feb 13, 2014)
hyphen

a punctuation mark (-) used between parts of a word

” Hyphen” is the overall name Cabeen gives these small-scale collaborations, and four out of five pieces in this year’s edition, ” Hyphen 2012,” are brand-new.Seattle Times (Mar 23, 2012)
idea

the content of cognition

“You don’t want to be controlled because the whole idea is that we want to express ourselves.”
identify

give the name or characteristics of

They could identify all 12 individuals as well as the monkeys’ relationships to each other.BBC (Apr 14, 2014)
idiom

expression whose meaning cannot be inferred from its words

Ms. Li said, “You miss a lot of idioms, cultural things,” if you don’t go to middle school or high school in the language.
illustration

a visual representation to make a subject easy to understand

Together, the findings show that language matters more than illustration when it comes to learning about animals’ biology and psychology.
image

a visual representation produced on a surface

State television has sought to project an image of normality, showing images of packed beaches, happy people, and officials praising Maduro.
imagery

the ability to form mental pictures of things or events

Then the predawn imagery of Texas—rough, lovely open country—appeared on the screen.Slate (Mar 4, 2014)
imaginative

marked by independence and creativity in thought or action

He changes the world around him through the creation of new systems, new inventions, and imaginative solutions to old problems.Forbes (Feb 5, 2014)
implicit

suggested though not directly expressed

Unfortunately, some implicit lessons can contradict explicit teaching about safe practices—with potentially dangerous results.
inconsistency

the quality of lacking a harmonious uniformity among parts

But inconsistencies between those new procedures and the original papers only fueled more confusion and suspicion.
indefinite

not decided or not known

Death for me now is not something in the indefinite future, it is in the immediate future.
inference

drawing a conclusion on the basis of circumstantial evidence

Much is left to our own inference, which would be okay if we were given enough information to work with.Forbes (Jun 4, 2013)
influence

a power to affect persons or events

Power is a tool, influence is a skill; one is a fist, the other a fingertip.
inform

impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to

This informs what he has done in Ukraine and should inform our judgment of it.Salon (Apr 3, 2014)
informal

not in accord with established conventions and requirements

They have been mostly civilians formed into informal militias with mismatched uniforms.
initial

the first letter of a word (especially a person’s name)

“P.D.I.P. will be good for the unity of Indonesia,” Mr. Gandi said, referring to the opposition party by its Indonesian initials.
instruction

a message describing how something is to be done

Each lesson included some instruction followed by some practice.
interpret

make sense of; assign a meaning to

For them, happy could be interpreted as anything from happy to laughing to wonder.
interview

the questioning of a person ; often conducted by journalists

Pollsters are confident they can interview about 1,000 people to measure the views of a nation of over 300 million.
introduction

the first section of a communication

Carroll’s introduction lays out his purpose and why he went about it the way he did.
irregular

contrary to rule or accepted order or general practice

Only the small class of verbs we know as irregular managed to resist.
italic

a typeface with letters slanting upward to the right

With those tools, would-be publishers could change fonts, adjust typeface sizes and add attributes such as italics.Seattle Times (Jan 23, 2014)
journal

a daily written record of experiences and observations

“The day was splendid for it,” she wrote of the session in her journal.
key

serving as an essential component

For our prehistoric ancestors, a finely tuned sense of hearing was a key tool for ensuring survival.
language

a means of communicating by the use of sounds or symbols

One thing you don’t get taught when you learn a language is how to swear and argue.
legible

capable of being read or deciphered

At least one letter, and perhaps two, is legible in the new signature, although one might be hard-pressed to name three.
letter

a written message addressed to a person or organization

“Congratulations! You are now an ambassador for world understanding,” the letter said.
linguistic

consisting of or related to language

Despite all of its considerable linguistic sophistication, the novel offers a blunt message: Words are good.Slate (Apr 9, 2014)
literary

relating to or characteristic of creative writing

But James Bond began as the literary creation of writer Ian Fleming, who himself enjoyed a life as remarkable as his famous protagonist.Seattle Times (Dec 18, 2013)
literature

writings in a particular style on a particular subject

During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature—novels, short stories, poems.
log

a written record of events on a voyage (of a ship or plane)

These days, for example, she’ll ask people to keep logs of their days using their smartphones to take notes and photos.Forbes (Apr 16, 2014)
logical

capable of correct and valid reasoning

The unusually large extent of ice is due to a logical factor: it’s been really, really cold around the Great Lakes.
map

explore or survey for the purpose of making a diagram

First, we can’t yet scan a human brain in nearly enough detail to map all its “circuits.”Slate (Apr 13, 2014)
meaning

the message that is intended or expressed or signified

“You really need to appreciate the full range of meanings that a word can have.”
mechanics

the technical aspects of doing something

State Senator Dale Schultz was a rare Republican who voted against the bill, saying the party was “fiddling with mechanics rather than ideas.”
memoir

an account of the author’s personal experiences

Hillary Clinton’s upcoming memoir of her time in the Obama Administration will be released on June 10, according to a website for the book.
message

a communication that is written or spoken or signaled

But the hard part of communication is often figuring out how to make sure a message doesn’t go in one ear and out the other.The Tipping Point
metaphor

a figure of speech that suggests a non-literal similarity

In any case, doors are a handy metaphor for the mysteries of life and human nature.
meter

a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in verse

We would rather be gushing about Milton’s meter or Woolf’s rhythms than explaining how to write academic arguments.Salon (Mar 2, 2014)
method

a way of doing something, especially a systematic way

Home cooks and food writers experiment with different methods, depending on whether they want a crunchier or creamier texture.
modifier

a content word that qualifies the meaning of a noun or verb

The Secret Service is frequently described now with the modifiers “macho” or “male dominated.”
mood

a characteristic state of feeling

But we are sometimes more surprised to discover the impact of ancestral places, often places unknown to us, on our moods and emotions.Salon (Mar 16, 2014)
moral

the significance of a story or event

The moral of the fable: Don’t sell the skin till you have caught the bear.
motivation

psychological feature arousing action toward a desired goal

To draw a parallel, how likely is it that our motivations are the same as humans from, say, 50,000 years ago?
movement

a series of actions tending toward a particular end

The anti-smoking movement has never been louder or more prominent.The Tipping Point
multimedia

transmission that combine media of communication

Museums are using portable multimedia players to make walking through their collections feel a bit like being in a multiplayer video game.
multiple

having or involving more than one part or entity

The simplest action—say, calling up a website or sending an email—involves communicating with multiple servers and routers along numerous paths.
myth

a traditional story serving to explain a world view

Creation myths from Egypt to Scandinavia involve tidal floods of all sorts of substances—including the blood of deities—purging and remaking the earth.
narrative

an account that tells the particulars of an act or event

Indeed, the main narrative of his book is a simple story of good guys versus bad guys.Slate (Apr 7, 2014)
news

information about recent and important events

Twitter has become a serious tool for news sharing in Africa as well.Forbes (Apr 23, 2014)
nonfiction

prose writing that is not formed by the imagination

What puts him above the rank of most nonfiction authors, even some of the better ones, is that he doesn’t merely present information.
nonverbal

involving little use of language

Because Glass includes video, the software understands even nonverbal communication; for example, if a patient points to the part of the body that hurts.
novel

an extended fictional work in prose

Even those who have not read the novel or heard of Joseph Heller will have heard the phrase “catch 22”.
online

connected to a computer network or accessible by computer

Until now, the 7,000 images available online at images.library.amnh.org/digital were accessible only at the museum’s fourth floor research library.
onomatopoeia

using words that imitate the sound they denote

What a succession of groans, hurrahs, cheers, and all the onomatopoeia of which the American language is so full.Verne, Jules
open-ended

without fixed limits or restrictions

A good open-ended question would be “Sounds like a tough deal. Tell me how it all happened.”
opinion

a personal belief or judgment

Today, consumers are more likely to use social media as well as online reviews and forums to share opinions.Forbes (Apr 25, 2014)
order

logical or comprehensible arrangement of separate elements

Blue’s Clues succeeds as a story of discovery only if the clues are in proper order.The Tipping Point
organization

a methodical and orderly manner or approach

But you need an appropriate organization structure, with a clear vision from the top.Forbes (Apr 16, 2014)
overview

a general summary of a subject

A quick Google or Wikipedia search can generally help me define concepts, understand acronyms and abbreviations, and get a brief overview on a topic.
paragraph

one of several distinct subdivisions of a text

I never liked writing concluding paragraphs to papers—where you just repeat what you’ve already said with phrases like In summation, and To conclude.Looking for Alaska
parallelism

similarity by virtue of corresponding

The same words are used in order to make the parallelism as close as may be, “Through Him” was creation; “through Him” is reconciliation.Maclaren, Alexander
paraphrase

express the same message in different words

It has been repeated, quoted, and paraphrased so often that it’s hard to find the exact words Franklin originally wrote.Forbes (Jun 6, 2013)
parenthesis

a punctuation mark used to enclose textual material

There was no grammatical punctuation like commas or periods or parentheses that would slow the reader down.
participle

a form of the verb used as an adjective

All verbs, without exceptions, in the active participle, are formed by adding ing, as see, seeing; teach, teaching, &c.Defoe, Daniel
pattern

a perceptual structure

As you read these words, your eyes scan the page, picking up patterns to which your mind assigns meaning.
perfect

a tense of verbs used in describing completed action

Eugene Hicks, who learned how to make tamales at age 13, has perfected the dish.Southern Living (Apr 29, 2014)
perform

carry out an action

We achieve greatness not through our ability to perform tasks, but through specific intent.Forbes (Apr 26, 2014)
periodical

a publication that appears at fixed intervals

The word “blog,” isn’t in there, but that should be OK, because courts have counted blogs as a kind of periodical.Slate (Sep 24, 2013)
personal

concerning an individual or his or her private life

These blogs raise awareness, but the latest trend has been to raise funds directly after sharing a personal narrative.
personification

attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas

Hercules was one of the numerous personifications or emblems of the power of the sun; and the Arabian name Shams-on, or Samson, signifies the sun.Mitchell, Logan
perspective

a way of regarding situations or topics

“I look at this from two perspectives–as a current owner and a former player,” Jordan said in a statement.
persuasive

intended or having the power to induce action or belief

Amazingly persuasive people are constantly listening to you and not themselves.
phenomenon

any state or process known through the senses

Much is to do with the fact that our ability to sense and measure phenomena across the solar system is getting better and better.
phrase

an expression consisting of one or more words

Even people who have never seen a movie probably know phrases like “May the Force be with you” and could identify a lightsaber.Forbes (Mar 16, 2014)
place

any area set aside for a particular purpose

But consider also that the entire world can access educational videos anywhere, anytime, except in one place–our school classrooms.
plagiarism

taking someone’s words or ideas as if they were your own

Some students lose their admission offers because of plagiarism, cheating, drunken misbehavior or arrest.
plan

a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be achieved

Japan plans to release an adaptation plan of its own by the summer of 2015 that would focus on a more “eco-friendly lifestyle,” he said.US News (Mar 25, 2014)
playwright

someone who writes plays

The Hotel Plays by American playwright Tennessee Williams is a theatre experience set in the rooms and corridors of The Langham Hotel in London.
plot

the story that is told, as in a novel, play, movie, etc.

Characters have multi-layered motivation, decisions have consequences, and the plot twists keep the next big moment hidden.Salon (Apr 12, 2014)
poetry

literature in metrical form

The words from that famous American poet mean that anyone—even you —can write poetry.
point of view

a mental position from which things are perceived

I started writing first-person journals from his point of view and, after that, putting him into various situations without any story in mind.
policy

a plan of action adopted by an individual or social group

Instead, schools needed to create a safe environment, where teachers could be confident that behaviour policy would be enforced.
position

a way of regarding situations or topics etc.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S.Forbes (Apr 29, 2014)
predicate

the constituent of a sentence containing the verb

This whole series is predicated on a mystery.
preposition

a word before a noun or pronoun connecting to another word

According to O’Conner and Kellarman, “there’s nothing wrong with starting a sentence with a conjunction” or ending one with a preposition.
presentation

a show or display

But he was surprised that almost all the websites needed to improve their content and presentation significantly, he said.
problem

a question raised for consideration or solution

Will that solve the problem of the “ownership” attitude?
procedure

a particular course of action intended to achieve a result

The police said the operation went as planned and had followed standard procedures.
process

a particular course of action intended to achieve a result

When you focus on learning, failure is just a part of the process and won’t shake your confidence.
progressive

a tense of verbs used in describing action that is on-going

For the last eight months, I’ve been doing the backstroke for half of my daily 40-minute swim to stabilize what had been progressive scoliosis.
pronoun

a function word that is used in place of a noun

He did not ask himself whom he included in that pronoun “we.”Tracy, Louis
pronunciation

the way a word or a language is customarily spoken

And when it comes to accents, nothing divides English dialects more efficiently than vowel pronunciation.Slate (Aug 22, 2012)
proposition

a statement that affirms or denies and is true or false

There’s actually hard brain science supporting the proposition that the best ideas can come from breaking laws of reason.
publish

prepare and issue for public distribution or sale

Few of the journals that published the papers scrutinized in this case have professional editors or significant numbers of in-house editing staff.
punctuation

marks clarifying meaning by indicating separation of words

We read the words in order and then, boom, punctuation mark.Slate (Nov 25, 2013)
purpose

what something is used for

Consider what purpose your content can serve and how you can cater to your audience’s needs.Forbes (Apr 11, 2014)
quantitative

expressible as an amount that can be measured

Architects and interior designers, he said, study how people interact with buildings and rooms, but without much quantitative information.
question

a sentence of inquiry that asks for a reply

“What we find is that even if we do applied research, there’s always some fundamental question we want to answer.”
quotation

a passage or expression that is cited

It included a quotation from Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
read

make sense of a language

He says we will graduate knowing how to read and write because we’ll spend a million hours learning how to read and write.Speak
reasoning

thinking that is coherent and logical

Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
recognize

perceive to be the same

Of course, it isn’t quite as scary when it’s just a scam—that is as long as you recognize that it’s a scam.Forbes (Apr 30, 2014)
record

anything providing permanent evidence about past events

The fossil record, therefore, is heavily weighted toward the seas, making it appear that they were the cradle of life.Scientific American (Apr 28, 2014)
reference

a book from which you can seek authoritative facts

A dictionary, they argued, should provide references of language use and help readers.
refrain

part of a song or poem that recurs at regular intervals

The refrain that I heard repeated over and over was: “It’s the most beautiful place in Japan.”
relationship

a mutual connection between people

It’s just that it had become increasingly possible to have a deep and meaningful relationship with a computer without ever learning to program it.
relative pronoun

a pronoun (as `that’ or `which’ or `who’) that introduces a relative clause referring to some antecedent

Relative pronouns, as well as conjunctions, serve to connect sentences; as, “Blessed is the man who feareth the Lord, and keepeth his commandments.”Kirkham, Samuel
relevant

having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue

Is the data really useful and relevant to solve the problem?Forbes (Apr 24, 2014)
reliable

conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief

Social media is not always the most reliable source of news.
research

a seeking for knowledge

We are only beginning to understand what the nose knows, and we imagine ensuing research will continue to surprise and baffle us all.
resource

aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed

Teachers released children onto the playground with few resources and little guidance.
response

a statement that is made to reply to a question or request

The sin of racism is a societal one and it demands a collective response.
revise

reorganize, especially for the purpose of improving

If the reviewers raise objections to the methods or conclusions, the authors must revise the paper before it will be accepted for publication.
rhetorical

relating to using language effectively

And he does tend to overuse a few devices, like rhetorical questions, deliberatively repetitive phrasing, and direct address.Slate (Apr 28, 2014)
rhyme

correspondence in the final sounds of two or more lines

“Like Emily Dickinson, I ain’t afraid of slant rhyme / And that’s the end of this verse; emcee’s out on a high.”Looking for Alaska
role

normal or customary activity of a person in a social setting

The other motivation is, we better darn well train our young to take their responsible role in a democratic society.Salon (May 2, 2014)
root

the form of a word after all affixes are removed

Eating together can serve as a solid basis for companionship, a word that is itself rooted in the sharing of bread.Slate (Apr 22, 2014)
salutation

word of greeting used to begin a letter

We still teach “whom” in high school and use it as a salutation in letters to unknown recipients.Seattle Times (Sep 6, 2012)
saying

a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations

The saying “never go to bed angry” is valid advice.
scheme

an elaborate and systematic plan of action

Let’s try taking a butcher’s cleaver to the piece, evening out the rhythm and adding a rhyme schemeSalon (Apr 26, 2014)
semicolon

a punctuation mark used to connect independent clauses

The semicolon represents a division in thought somewhat greater than that represented by a comma, and somewhat smaller than that represented by a period.Greever, Garland
sensory

involving or derived from the senses

Mr. Martin said that his philosophy as a writer is to show and not tell, and doing so requires “vivid sensory detail.”
sentence

a string of words satisfying grammatical rules of a language

I honestly said this sentence out loud, for the first and hopefully last time in my life: “I’m just glad they didn’t eat the baby.”
sequential

in regular succession without gaps

The first offering is for The Phantom Menace with others following in sequential order.Forbes (May 1, 2014)
setting

the context and environment in which something is situated

Under this fresh blanket of spring snow this village could be the setting for a Russian fairy tale.
similar

having the same or nearly the same characteristics

Venus is similar in size to our own planet.Science Magazine (May 1, 2014)
simile

a figure of speech expressing a resemblance between things

Mr. Baker sinks similes as if they were high, arcing three-point shots.
solution

a method for solving a problem

He called the bill “a solution in search of a problem.”
solve

find the answer to or understand the meaning of

“No single technology will ever solve everything,” he said.
sound effect

an effect that imitates a sound called for in the script of a play

Read poems aloud so you can hear their sound effects and music.
source

a document from which information is obtained

The Global Slavery Index in common with the ILO uses what are called secondary sources.
spelling

forming words with letters according to the principles underlying accepted usage

The winning word in the first National Spelling Bee, held in Louisville in 1925, was gladiolus.
stage direction

an instruction written as part of the script of a play

Nothing about the play is more famous than its stage direction for Antigonus: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”
stereotype

a conventional or formulaic conception or image

Boys also feel pressure to adhere to old stereotypes that dictate that academic achievement isn’t cool.
storyline

the plot of a book or play or film

Yet with their simple storylines and crude visual effects, Chinese animations almost exclusively target young children.Forbes (Mar 27, 2014)
strategy

an elaborate and systematic plan of action

The use of military force is not always the best strategy for putting an end to bloodshed.
structure

the complex composition of knowledge as elements

This was the legacy of Sesame Street: If you paid careful attention to the structure and format of your material, you could dramatically enhance stickiness.The Tipping Point
style

a mode of expression typical of a person, group, or period

Her sentences often force you to reread them, both to appreciate her style and her passion.Seattle Times (Apr 16, 2014)
subject

some situation or event that is thought about

How do I bring up the subject of the theft?Slate (May 5, 2014)
subordinate clause

a clause in a complex sentence that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence and that functions within the sentence as a noun or adjective or adverb

A phrase is also a dependent part of a sentence, but it differs from a subordinate clause in that it contains no subject or predicate.Buhlig, Rose
suffix

an affix that is added at the end of the word

For example, the suffix “ologist” refers to someone who studies a field of knowledge.
summarize

present the main points in a concise form

Without repeating all three paragraphs, I’ll summarize–they do mean dangerous!Forbes (Nov 13, 2013)
summary

a brief statement that presents the main points

Because many of us try to consume so much information, most of us are forced to mostly skim highlights and summaries just to keep up.
superlative

the form of a word denoting the greatest degree or extent

It’s a country of superlatives: home to the world’s longest wall, largest population, and fastest-growing major economy.
support

provide with evidence or authority or make more certain

“All of the studies are very consistent–the data are complementary and support one another.”
syllable

a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme

Only one pair of words in the top 100 most common rhymes is more than one syllable: forever/together.Slate (Feb 20, 2014)
synthesize

combine so as to form a more complex product

They attempt to synthesize the video, photography, text and artifacts collected, and begin to assemble a portrait.Forbes (Apr 16, 2014)
table

a set of data arranged in rows and columns

That could involve asking authors to guarantee that they have checked figures, tables, text and abstracts for internal consistency.
task

any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted

You need to single task, and, more importantly, “batch” your work so that you are doing similar activities at the same time.
technique

a practical method or art applied to some particular task

In recent years these devices have allowed surgeons to develop “minimally invasive” surgical techniques.Forbes (Mar 11, 2014)
technology

the practical application of science to commerce or industry

Everywhere you look, there is an article, blog post or tweet about one of the mega trends in technology—cloud, big data, mobility or social.Forbes (May 6, 2014)
tense

a category of verbs used to express distinctions of time

One day we worked on verb tenses: “I surf the Net, I surfed the Net, I was surfing the Net.”Speak
text

the words of something written

Meanwhile, a college aged woman nearby stood alternating between reading the text and just texting.Salon (Apr 14, 2014)
theme

a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary work

But the theme of the book is that kids can have a role in saving lions.
thesaurus

a book containing a classified list of synonyms

Visual Thesaurus is the perfect tool for those moments when the right word is on the tip of your tongue.Forbes (Oct 16, 2012)
thesis

an unproved statement advanced as a premise in an argument

You need to prove the thesis to the consumer, persuade people it should exist and will benefit them.Forbes (Nov 6, 2013)
time

an instance or single occasion for some event

South Africans go to the polls this week to vote for a new government at a time when they are celebrating 20 years of democracy.
timeline

a sequence of related events arranged in chronological order

The series, which began last month, has a complex plot that unfolds in multiple timelines and flashbacks.
title

the name of a work of art or literary composition

The titles of these tales reflect that unease: “Atomic Bomb Thief!” and “Am I Man or Machine?”
tone

a quality that reveals the attitudes of the author

I can apologize for the tone, but not the content.
topic

the subject matter of a conversation or discussion

The topic of the paragraph should be determined, and should be clearly indicated by a topic sentence.Wood, Thomas
transition

a passage or word that connects a topic to one that follows

McMahon makes a smooth transition as she alternates the story between the past and the present.Seattle Times (Feb 26, 2014)
turning point

an event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend

Gettysburg marked the war’s turning point, and the battle has been the subject of as much study as any conflict in U.S. military history.
understand

know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

“Music is not what I do; it’s how I understand the world,” he said.
unfamiliar

not known or well known

White compared reading a poem for the first time to “playing and understanding a hole on an unfamiliar golf course.”
valid

well grounded in logic or truth or having legal force

But I stressed that this wasn’t a valid excuse, just a reminder that all people make mistakes and that it’s important to learn from them.
venue

the scene of any event or action

As well as big venues for sport, music and theatre, the park has water fountains that react to movement and an adventure playground.
verb

a word denoting an action, occurrence, or state of existence

“It means you need to conjugate your verbs correctly and not speak above your audience by using too-formal Spanish.”
verify

confirm the truth of

“Trust but verify,” as Ronald Reagan once said while negotiating disarmament with the Russians.
viewpoint

a mental position from which things are viewed

“A Circle of Wives” is told in turn by all four women, slowly unveiling the story from multiple viewpoints in overlapping segments.Seattle Times (Mar 13, 2014)
visual

relating to or using sight

With robots, kids learn programming via interactive play by moving a robot in various sequences and using intuitive, visual programming on a computer screen.Scientific American (May 1, 2014)
vocabulary

a language user’s knowledge of words

But good news— vocabulary is one skill that continues to improve throughout life.Slate (Apr 29, 2014)
voice

the distinctive quality or pitch of a person’s speech

A verb is in the active voice when the subject is acting upon the object.Cox, George
vowel

a speech sound made with the vocal tract open

The more parents exaggerate vowels and raise the pitch of their voices when talking to babies, the more the babies babble, new research shows.
whole

including all components without exception

“For the first time we’re looking at the way the whole ecosystem works together, rather than surveying just a particular plant or species,” said Bulley.
write

communicate or express by letters or symbols

“I am writing to you as one human being to another, and appealing to you from my heart,” he said.