A Range of Writing Words

This AWL vocabulary, much of it writing words, or at least words connected with books and plays, is mostly found in two interesting Voice of America articles for English learners, one on the development of modern English and one on William Shakespeare. After a few explanations, you can practice these words by filling in the blanks in several paragraphs.  If you would like to review their meanings first, you will find most of them on a Writing Words crossword. (Right click here to download the crossword and here for its answers.

A Few Writing Words Explanations

a picture of ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare
a picture of Shakespeare

The adjectives ‘positive’ and its opposite ‘negative’ have several meanings and uses. ‘Positive’ usually means something good or favorable, but it can also express certainty (no doubt): “I’m positive Larry visited us last Wednesday, not last Thursday.”

A positive attitude is hopeful and flexible: “Mary always stays positive about life. Even when things go badly for her she finds something good in her situation.” A  person with a negative attitude sees or expects the worst in a situation. He or she may be excessively critical , finding fault with what others do or the solutions they propose. Positive and negative also refer to the advantages and disadvantages of a possible choice, and to opposing electrical charges.

To manipulate (from the Latin word for hand) means to handle or work with something (for example, data), but it also can have a negative meaning: to work secretly to get what one wants, not by frankly expressing it but by subtle twisting of other people’s thoughts. A manipulative person finds sneaky ways to get other people to do things to his or her advantage.

We distinguish, or make a distinction, between similar things to point out their differences. Something distinctive stands out from other related objects (it’s ‘distinctly’ different.)  These words also may imply praise or honor. Someone might introduce a speaker by saying, “I would like to present the distinguished educator (or author or other professional) who ...” A person who writes with distinction writes clearly and well.

Here is a range of adjectives for describing difference:

identical- exactly the same >... distinguishable- it’s possible to tell the difference between them >... similar- alike in many ways >... related- connected, about the same subject >...distinctive- different, standing out from others >...unique- one of a kind, with nothing similar or at all like it.

Stress is a body’s reaction to danger or problems-- or the amount of emphasis we put on syllables or ideas. (“The boss stressed that anyone who was late to the meeting would be fired.”)

Gapfill Exercises with these Writing Words 

Use these writing words to fill in the blanks below:

chapter, editions, paragraph, sections, style, topic

(If you need a hint, press the question mark to get the word's first letter. This will take away from the points you can win.)

Most books are divided into chapters, major that each introduce a new (or new complications of the plot in fiction.) Each is made up of paragraphs of several (usually three to five or more) sentences. The topic sentence of a states the main idea or subject of the paragraph. Supporting sentences give explanations and examples, and the last sentence in each paragraph (as well as the last section of an essay) gives the conclusion: a restatement of the main idea or of the results found.

After authors finish writing a first draft of their book, essay, or play, they revise it, looking for errors and trying to improve its . They want to make it as clear and easy to read as possible. They edit (revise and make changes as needed) their work several times, and then a professional editor working for a publisher will edit some more. Finally the book or article will be published, but even then, corrections may be made for a new edition of a much-used book. Many of Shakespeare’s plays, for example, were published in several even during his lifetime.

Fill in the blanks in these paragraphs about Shakespeare with the words above each paragraph:

conflicts, deny, intensely, prime, range, restricted, roles, sought

Shakespeare wrote plays with a range of for actors to fill: from very roles-- maybe a single appearance as part of a crowd-- to roles that gave actors a lot of room to interpret their characters in their own personal styles. Characters like Hamlet, in an stressful situation, allowed actors to show the full of human emotions. Hamlet faced internal as well as a struggle with the king as he the right thing to do. The king was a liar, but Hamlet was too honest to his guilt for Ophelia’s death or his responsibility to take revenge for his father.

couples, diminish, global, manipulate, positive, tensions

Shakespeare’s comedies show the more side of human emotions. They are also full of confusing situations and people who others to try to get their own way, but in the end the and conflict and the now-happy can get along with each other. The theater Shakespeare used most was named the Globe, in a time when the people of England were very conscious of possibilities. The whole world was displayed within the theater as well as in its name.

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