Vocabulary Building Games: Networking

Use these vocabulary building games to practice vocabulary for networking, and group problem-solving. (Networking is making connections and sharing information with others.)

Picture of a network of connections between people with the question: 'Can you make the connections between these important English words and their meanings?'

Before the games, there are explanations of words that can be confusing. (For example, some have several meanings.) 

If you want to see or hear these words in context, you might like a TED talk on networking.

It gives some fascinating historical background. Check your understanding of that talk on the Reading Comprehension Test Practice page.

(I've shown Academic Word List vocabulary in bold. That lets you see examples from the list even for words you won't practice on this page.

To find the pages that practice them, see Alphabetical Academic Word List-- for A-B-- and linked pages.)

The purpose of separating words in a family by their parts of speech isn’t grammar practice. It's because each time you manipulate a word you learn it a little better.

Be sure to notice the suffixes (word endings). They show you a word's part of speech. That helps you recognize the way to use 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. There's a moun made from it-- clarification. There's also another adjective- clarified. It means 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. It can also mean the words around a new word that help to explain its meaning. It’s easy to misunderstand a problem when you don’t know its background-- the context. It’s common in politics for opponents to quote someone’s words "out of context." The purpose is to make the meaning of their words appear completely different.

Elements, n. - the basic substances that combine to form all chemicals. (Examples: oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, iron.) We also use the word to mean basic parts of something. We say "the elements of design," or "the elements of poetry," etc. Elementary means simple or basic. In the U.S., we call the first 5 or 6 years of school 'elementary school.'

Environment, n.- what is around us. It may refer to a person’s immediate surroundings, or to the whole earth, (air, water, soil, plants and animals, etc.). 

Interact, v.- to act in relation to others; to affect each other 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 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 the suffix meanings below. (Also remember that there may be minor spelling changes when you add them.)

·       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.

If you'd like to know more about networks-- in nature as well as among people, here's a fascinating article. By an ant biologist, it discusses how networks work for ants, cancer, teenage girls, social media, & War & Peace (!)

It also includes an audio version—just under 20 minutes of listening practice. It's not difficult, though it's a little long. The first section is worth reading even if you don't  have time for it all.

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

Didn't find what you needed? Explain what you want in the search box below. (For example, cognates, past tense practice, or 'get along with.') Click to see the related pages on EnglishHints.

site search by freefind advanced

New! Comments

What do you think about what you just read? Leave me a comment in the box below.
Enjoy this page? Please share it (link to it.) Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.