Saturday, June 4, 2011

Top Ten Words 2 - 'Simple but intelligent' conversation boosters

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary have recently issued another Top Ten Words list - 'Simple but intelligent' words to make your conversation sparkle.
This could help you boost your word power. But remember, the best way is to read, read, read. Anyway, have a look at their definitions at Merriam-Webster first (you can cycle through them all), then come back and do the two short exercises.

Click and Drop - Where you see this sign, mouse over for instructions

Exercise 1 - Choose words from the box to fill the gaps.

lucid   ·   demure   ·   maudlin   ·   stoic   ·   austere   ·   volatile
caustic   ·   lurid   ·   glib   ·   cavalier
1.I asked him why he had said what he had said about me, but he just gave me a answer. Trying to be funny, I suppose.
2.She's a stand-up comedian who specialises in political satire, and her comments about today's politicians can be absolutely devastating.
3.Their lifestyle is so , you would think they were in a monastery. No little luxuries, no creature comforts. But they seem to like the simplicity of it all.
4.It was a soppy, film, which tried to tug on your emotions, but which just left me cold, it was so overdone.
5.You have to be careful with the boss. He looks calm enough, but he's very and is liable to fly off the handle on the slightest pretext.
6.She gave a very description of what I had always found to be a very complex process, difficult to understand. But her explanation has made it as clear as a bell.
7.She's a very young lady. She never wears anything flashy and is modest to a T. But she's very genuine, and once you get to know her, she can actually be very entertaining.
8.If he keeps on with such a attitude to his studies, gallivanting around town till all hours, there's no way he's going to get his degree.
9.I don't know why the tabloids think they have to always describe the latest murder in such detail. What the victim's families must feel, heaven knows.
10.His reaction to his wife's death was outwardly that of a ; stiff upper lip and all that. But we knew that it was just a show and that he was really hurting inside.

Exercise 2 - Choose words from the box to fill the gaps.

maudlin   ·   lurid   ·   glib   ·   caustic   ·   cavalier   ·   demure
volatile   ·   stoic   ·   austere   ·   lucid
Jenny is the (1) one, always quiet and unassuming, too unassuming I would say: sometimes her outfit can border on the (2) - plain wool skirt and white blouse - you know the sort of thing. But I'll say one thing for her, even after a few drinks she always remains perfectly (3) , when the rest of us are all mumbling incoherent nonsense. Tammy can be very insensitive with her (4) remarks about Jenny's total lack of fashion sense. But they are like water off a duck's back to Jenny.
Sammy is the opposite, with a (5) disregard for the serious side of life, but at least you know where you stand with her. As long as, that is, you can put up with her (6) comments about the qualities (or lack of them) of her various lovers, not to mention the (7) details of their bedroom antics that she so delights in telling the rest of us.
Tammy is the (8) one, swinging wildly from one mood to another. She's normally pretty (9) about life, showing almost no emotion. But after a few drinks she often switches mood to being (10) , crying her heart out over absolutely nothing. That's when Sammy comes into her own, she's the only one who can snap Tammy out of it.

Related post

There is now a second group of ten 'simple but intelligent' words. I have done an exercise on them here. Mind you, some of them aren't quite so simple!


  • Ex 1 - 1. glib, 2. caustic, 3. austere, 4. maudlin, 5. volatile, 6. lucid, 7. demure, 8. cavalier, 9. lurid, 10. stoic
  • Ex 2 - 1. demure, 2. austere, 3. lucid, 4. glib, 5. cavalier, 6. caustic, 7. lurid, 8. volatile, 9. stoic, 10. maudlin

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