It All Starts With the Letter A

No doubt you have learned lots of vocabulary in school and feel like the time for vocabulary lists is over.  Well, not so fast.  Below are some English words that start with the letter A, that will help you improve and round out your vocabulary.

Abstract – This one can be a verb, noun, and adjective, so be careful in the way that you use it.

  • Noun: A brief summary of the main points of fact or an abstract work of art.  You will encounter this if you ever read or write scientific papers.  Almost all papers have an abstract at the beginning of the paper that provides a quick summary (one paragraph) of the area of study and the overall findings.
  • Verb: To make a summary (as described above) or obtain or remove from a source.  An example would be, “Data was abstracted from the department for the end of the year summary.”  Or perhaps a funny and British only way of using abstract is as a way to describe stealing something.  He abstracted the necklace from the jewelry store.
  • Adjective: Involving general ideas or qualities rather than specific people, objects, or actions.  The opposite of abstract would be concrete.  This is mainly used to refer to works of art or styles of thinking.

Acquit – Next time you are reading a newspaper and they are discussing a legal case, you might see this word and now you will understand what it means.  It is a verb used to indicate that an individual has been determined to be innocent of a crime.  O.J. Simpson was acquitted of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson.

Advise vs. Advice – These two are so close, only separated by on little letter.  It would be easy to mix the two up, but now you won’t.

  • Advise: Is a verb meaning to give an opinion about what you believe should be done.  Or it can be used as a recommendation or suggestion.
  • Advice: Means the exact same thing as advise but in noun form.

The doctor advised that she should take the medicine for two weeks before returning for a visit.

The doctor’s advice was to take the medicine for two weeks and then return for a visit.

The letter changes depending if you are using it as a noun or a verb.  So next time, rather then just trying say the word fast and hoping that no one notices if you said it correctly or not, try to think about how you are using it in the sentence.