Exercise 1: Abbreviations and Acronyms
Common ones are found in dictionaries.
Put the following into an appropriate box. Look them up if you
don't know them (N.B. 'SAR' won't be in but you SHOULD know that one!)
YMCA, PhDs, SAR, Capt. ASAP,
Exercise 2: Idioms and Proverbs
Look up their meaning in a specialised dictionary if possible or
choose the noun or verb as the head word. It's often best to look under the most unusual
of the nouns/verbs: in i) here, 'stable' or 'bolt' is more likely to give results than
'close' or 'horse', which have a wider usage. Read the example given in the dictionary for
correct usage and try to think of a couple of examples of your own. Note the definition
and examples in your personal vocabulary book.
Under which headword would you look these up?
i) To close/lock the stable door after the horse has bolted.
ii) To make a pig's ear of
iii) To open up a can of worms.
iv) To blow the whistle on something or
v) To get one's just deserts.
Exercise 3: Word
Classes (Parts of Speech)
To understand what part of speech a word is, look at the
sentence as a whole. It will contain a subject (noun or pronoun), at least one verb and
probably an object noun or pronoun. Adverbs may qualify or describe verbs, adjectives do
the same for nouns. Conjunctions link parts of a sentence (e.g and, but, although,
because) prepositions are used before nouns or pronouns and often show place, position or
time (e.g in, over, before, out of). The position of a word in a sentence is usually
significant. Endings can also help: adverbs often end in 'ly', nouns in 'tion'
or 'ience' for example.
One or two words in each sentence is the wrong part of speech (e.g verb instead
of noun). Find it and correct it in the box.
i) My friend didn't know what
kind of computer to buy so he asked for my
ii) I ran so fast to catch my
train that I could hardly breath.
iii) The HSBC building in Central is
over 300 metres height.
iv) She's a very well dancer.
v) She sings good
vi) He's got lots of friends and
I've got none: I'm jealousy....
... of his popular.
viii) Accountants need a lot of patient in their job.
ix) The economy climate changes quite rapidly.
x) If I've done something wrongly, I'll try to put
Exercise 4: Phrasal Verbs
These are common and varied and simply have to be memorised!
Many have particles which give a clue to meaning (e.g sit down, get on) but others are
idiomatic (e.g. get on with someone, crop up)
The particles are not correct in these contexts. Type the appropriate particle
in the box.
i) I met my husband when my car broke
off outside his house.
ii) I'm looking after to going on holiday
iii) Before her marriage, she threw up all her old
iv) It's late: let's put up the meeting until tomorrow.
v) "Hold out a minute, I'm coming"
For more practice using phrasal verbs, click
Phrasal Verb Dictionaries
Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs
By J. Sinclair and R. Moon, et al. London: Collins.
Collins Cobuild Concordance Samplers 2: Phrasal Verbs
By Malcolm Goodale. (1995). London: HarperCollins.
Oxford dictionary of current idiomatic English, vol. 1: Verbs with prepositions and
particles. By A. Cowie and R. Mackin. London: Oxford University Press.
Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs
Exercise 5: Alphabetical order
Give yourself 1 minute to decide how many of these are true.
Dowse comes before doze in the dictionary.
Forum comes before forward in the dictionary.
Sediment comes before sedge in the dictionary.
Swing comes before swine in the dictionary.
Ukelele comes before ulcer in the dictionary.
i) 1 of
ii) 2 of
iii) 3 of
iv) 4 or more of
Exercise 6: Prefixes:
These prefixes give a negative or opposite meaning to a word.
You can also check in a thesaurus,
under 'antonyms' (which means opposites).
de- dis- in-
il- im- ir- non-
Use them to make words which mean the following:
i) The opposite of increase
ii) The opposite of existent
iii) The opposite of natural
iv) The opposite of encourage
v) The opposite of responsible
Exercise 7: Prepositions:
These go with nouns or noun phrases and often show position,
place or direction, time or method.
Put the correct one into the box in the following sentences:
since for until
during to under
Exercise 8: Collocation
From the drop down menu, choose the word that collocates best.
i) For a Buddhist,
a murder or suicide is an especially serious action.
ii) When we were camping in N. China the temperature dropped to
minus 7. We were frozen
iii) The pirates searched for the treasure in every nook and
" is an important priority in the workplace.
v) Few people were forced to come to Hong Kong: they came of