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

(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

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,with a noun: clarification, and another adjective: clarified-- something that has now been made 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.

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

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 Suffix List.)

Put each of the words below under its part of speech. (I've done the first as an example.) Some (like clarity and clarification, both nouns) have more than one related word for a part of speech. You can just make three lists on a piece of paper. Then check your answers at the bottom of the page.

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, unreliable, unresponsive                                                                                             







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 



challenge,     challenger

clarification, clarity






















challenged, challenging



elemental, elementary









For more practice with these words and a few others, try the Collaborative Thinking Crossword.

Home> TOEFL and IELTS Vocabulary> Vocabulary-Building Games: Networking.

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