Vocabulary Building Games: Networking

These vocabulary building games will help you practice some important academic vocabulary related to networking (making connections and sharing information with others), thinking, and group problem-solving. Before the games there are explanations of words that have several meanings or that can be confusing.

If you want to see or hear these words in context, you might be interested in a TED talk on networking. It gives some fascinating historical background. You can also check your understanding of that talk on the Reading Comprehension Test Practice page.

figures of people connected by lines into a network
figures of people connected by lines into a network

(In the explanations and the fill-in paragraphs, I have shown Academic Word List vocabulary in bold, so you can see examples, even if you won’t actively practice those words on this page. If you want to find the pages that practice them, see Alphabetical Academic Word List-- which has AWL A-B words and links to the rest of the alphabetical lists.)

I might also mention the value in separating words in a family by their parts of speech. The purpose isn’t grammar practice, but because each time you manipulate a word you learn it a little better. In addition, noticing word endings (and the parts of speech they indicate) helps you recognize the proper uses for each word.

Explanations of Networking Words

Abstract , adj.-- mental categories or concepts that can’t be touched or seen: time, justice, mankind. It has another meaning as a noun: a brief summary of a technical article in an academic journal.

Categorize, v.- to group related things, or to define something by what it’s related to.

Challenge, n. or v. To challenge someone is to call them to compete or to make a special effort. (It can also be to question a person’s statements or actions.)

Clarity, n.- the quality of being clear or easy to understand.  (The related adjective is ‘clear.’ To clarify is to make something clear.)

Confer, v- to discuss or consult with others

Context, n.- the whole situation needed to understand a problem or decision, or the words around a new word that help to explain its meaning. It’s easy to misunderstand when you don’t know the background-- the context-- of a problem.  It’s also common in politics for opponents to quote someone’s words ‘out of context’ and make their meaning completely different.

Elements, n. - the basic substances that combine to form all chemicals but cannot be broken down chemically into smaller parts (oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, iron, etc.) We also use the word to mean basic parts of something: the elements of design, or the elements of poetry, etc. Elementary is simple or basic. In the U.S. the first 5 or 6 years of school are called elementary school.

Environment, n.- what is around us. It may refer to a person’s immediate surroundings, or to the whole earth, (including air, water, plants and animals, etc.) and its influence on a particular creature or on all life.

Interact, v.- to act in relation to others and be affected by their actions

Network, n..- a group of interconnected machines, wires, or people

Network, v.- to connect with other people for mutual advantage or to work on something together.

Rely, v.- to depend on someone or something

Respond, v.- to answer or to react to someone else’s words or actions.

Select, v.- to choose something from among several possible choices.

Strategies, n.- ways to attack a problem (or an enemy. Strategy originated as a military term for the overall planning of a military campaign.)

Tape, n. or v.-  a roll of a thin flexible material, either with sticky adhesive (to attach something to paper or skin), or with special qualities that enable it to record and replay sounds in a “tape recorder.” Such tapes were common in the 2nd half of the 20th century. They replaced records, and CDs replaced them.  Tape can also be used as a verb meaning to apply sticky tape or to record sounds on the acoustic tape.

Vocabulary Building Game 1: Categories

Categorize the words in the list by part of speech. (Some belong in more than one category. I did not make a category for adverbs, but any of these adjectives can be made into an adverb by adding -ly as a suffix. If the adjective ends in -le, the adverb is made by changing the -e to -y: unreliable> unreliably.)

Hint: Remember these suffix meanings (also remember there may be minor spelling changes):

·       add -ify to an adjective to get a verb meaning ‘to make’ (example: simple+-ify= simplify-- to make simple or simpler.)  Other common verb endings are -ate, -en, and -ize.

·       add -er, -ar, or -or to a noun or verb for the person who does that (ex: bake+er= baker, a person who bakes). If you add -er to an adjective it makes a comparative: more____ (ex: sweeter= more sweet.)

·       add -ance or -ence,-ion, -tion,  or -ment to make verbs into nouns.

·       -able, -al, -ic, -ive convert verbs (or sometimes nouns) to adjectives. Present and past participles of verbs, usually ending in -ing and -ed, can also be used as adjectives.

(For more word-building suffixes see List of Suffixes.)

Put each of the words below under its part of speech. (I've done the first as an example. You can just make three lists on a piece of paper. For the verb list, only use the infinitive, not past or continuous forms.) Then check your answers at the bottom of the page.

abstract, abstraction, categorical, categorize, category, challenge, challenged, challenger, challenging, clarification, clarified, clarify, clarity, confer, conference, context,  contextual, element, elemental, elementary, environment, environmental, interact, interaction, interactive, rely, reliable, reliance, respond, response, responsive, select, selection, selective, strategic, strategize, strategy, tape, taped, unreliable, unresponsive

NOUNS                                  VERBS                            ADJECTIVES   

                                                                                           abstract               





Vocabulary Building Game 2:  Gapfill

Choose (and type) the best word to fill each gap (blank space.) You can press the question mark to get the word's first letter if you need a hint (though that will reduce your score.)

challenge, clarify, elements, environment, interact, interaction,
reliable, responsive, select, selection

The biggest of successful networking may be in the of the best people to with. It’s also crucial to an that allows free between people as they work, without unnecessary pressures to produce something useful immediately.

Other that contribute to productive networking include a purpose for the network and some criteria for success, follow-up mechanisms, and a supervisor, willing to instructions and objectives when questions arise. Obviously, these conditions cannot always be met, but the more of them that are met, the better the potential quality of the group’s output.

Answers to Game 1: Categories 

Nouns-    Verbs-       Adjectives

abstract-------------------abstract

abstraction-------------------------

category- categorize- categorical

challenge- challenge- challenged

challenger----------------challenging   

clarification- clarify-----clarified

clarity

conference- confer----------------

context--------------------contextual

element-------------------elemental

environment--------------environmental

interaction- interact-----interactive

reliance-    rely------------reliable

response- respond-----responsive

selection-  select--------selective

strategy- strategize-----strategic

tape------ tape-------------taped

--------------------------------unreliable

--------------------------------unresponsive

NOUNS

abstract

abstraction                                                  

category

challenge

challenger

clarification

clarity

conference

context

element

environment

interaction

reliance

response

selection

strategy

tape

VERBS

categorize

challenge

charify

confer

interact

rely

respond

select

strategize

tape

ADJECTIVES

abstract

categorical

challenged

challenging

clarified

contextual

elemental

elementary

environmental

interactive

reliable

responsive

selective

strategic

unreliable

unresponsive

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