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Word Forms

Recognize meanings of noun, verb, adjective and adverb forms

an aircraft landing
 

 

 
MULTIPLE WORD FORMS, SHARED MEANING

Imagination is an example of a word that has all four word forms—noun, verb, adjective and adverb—all of which share its central meaning. Additional word definitions vary slightly and keep close to the core meaning.                                           

CONTEXT WORD FORM
  NOUN

The singer had

imagination.

  VERB

He

imagined. (past)

  ADJECTIVE

His writing was

imaginative.

  ADVERB

He used words

imaginatively.

LIMITED WORD FORMS, VARYING IN MEANING

Revolution is an example of a word that has some but not all four word forms. Notice that the adjective and adverb forms have meanings that depart from "rebellion to authority" and take on a meaning closer to "rebellion of mind or feeling".

CONTEXT WORD FORM
  NOUN

The singer sang about social

revolution. (rebellion)

  VERB

He

revolted. revolt (V) "rebelled"

  ADJECTIVE

His songs were

revolutionary. (innovative, rebellious)

 revolting¹. (disgusting or rebellious)

  ADVERB

He used words

—none—  "in a revolutionary manner"

revoltingly¹. (disgustingly)

 

imagination (N) — the natural ability of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses; the word can be both a count noun (He had quite an imagination!) when speaking specifically and a noncount noun (He had imagination.) when speaking in general.

rebel (N) — go against or take action against a social convention (the usual way of doing things) or a government or institution

revolt (V) — (1) rebel or break away from authority; (2) turn away in mental rebellion, disgust; (3) rebel in feeling; (4) feel horror. (at) He revolted at seeing their brutality.

¹revolting (Adj) — (1) disgusting, repulsive, distasteful, awful; (2) rebellious   They are revolting. (unclear meaning)

revolution (N) — (1) an overthrow of a government, a rebellion; (2) a radical change in society and the social structure; (3) a sudden, complete or marked change in something; (4) completion of a circular movement, one turn.

revolutionary (Adj) — (1) a sudden complete change; (2) radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles; (3) related to a country's revolution (period); (3) revolving, turning around like a record

Also see Adjective Suffixes | Noun Suffixes | Adverb Suffixes.

"John Lennon" by Charles LeBlanc licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 (size changed and "poster" filter applied)

 

 

 

 

 

Word Form Entry into English

Source of word and the addition of other forms

 

 

Word Forms

Historically, a word entered the English language, or was borrowed, primarily as one form—a noun, a verb or an adjective. In time, additional forms were added to the original word so that it could function in other ways. The table below includes words and their approximate entry dates as well as additional word forms and their appearance dates.

There is no formal or exact way of knowing which suffix to add when changing a word from one form to another. The methods of adding suffix forms vary. Some patterns exist, depending on whether the origin of the word is Middle English, Latin, French, Greek, German, etc. Even native speakers require a dictionary when trying to select a particular meaning. Compare uninterested, disinterested and not interested.

A word may not have all four word forms. For example, the noun fun is widely used along with its two adjective forms fun (1675-85) and funny (1750-60). But usage of fun as a verb is rare and as an adverb is non-existent.

A word may have two similar forms that co-exist. For example, a word may enter English or be borrowed more than once. The noun chief (leader) entered into usage in Middle English 1240-1300, and then re-entered as the noun chef (head cook) from French in 1835-45. 

A word may be newly coined (made up) and not yet have other forms. For example, the word selfie is widely used as a noun, but no verb, adjective or adverb forms exist. The verb twerk can be used as a verb, but can one say a twerk (noun), twerky (adjective) or twerkily (adverb)?

Word origins and approximate dates are included on Dictionary.com for most word entries. (The sources for Dictionary.com include American Heritage and Harper Collins.)

 

 
NOUN VERB ADJECTIVE ADVERB

activity  (1520-30)

activate

active  (1300-50< Lat.)

actively

beauty (1225-75 < M.E.)

beautify

beautiful (~1450)

beautifully

bravery  (1540-1550 < Ital)

brave

brave (1475-85 < M.Fr.)

bravely

curiosity   (1350-1400 < M.E.)

—— (engage someone's interest)

curious   (1275-1325 < Lat.)

curiously

friend   (before 900 < M.E. or O.E)

friend (recent) / befriend (1550-1560) 

friendly   (before 900 < M.E.)

history   (1350-1400 < M.E.)

——  (make or write history)

historical (1375-1425) related to history

historic (1605-15) important

historically

impossibility   (1350-1400 < M.E.)

——  (make not unattainable)

impossible   (1250-1300 < M.E.)

impossibly

perfection  (1175-1225 < Lat.)

perfect  [per-FECT]

perfect   (1250-1300 < Lat.)  [PER-fect]

perfectly

style (1250-1300 < M.E.) kind

style design

stylish (1775-1785) fashion

stylishly fashion

Old English (O.E.), Middle English (M.E.), Latin (Lat.)  Italian (Ital.), Middle French (M.Fr.)

 

 

 

 
NOUN VERB ADJECTIVE ADVERB

approval   (1680-1690)

approve   (1300-1350 < M.E.)

approving / approved

approvingly

decision (1425-1475 < M.E.)

decide   (1350-1400 < M.E.)

decisive (1605-1615 < M. Latin)

decisively

difference   (1300-50 < M.E.)

differ   (1325-75 < M.E.)

different  (1350-1400 < M.E.)

differently

education  (1525-1535 <Lat.)

educate   (1580-1590 Lat.)

educational (1645-165)

educationally

exactness

exact demand or force (1400-1450)

exact   (1400-50 < M.E.)

exactly (1525-1535)

failure  (1635-1645 < M.E.)

fail   (1175-1225 < M.E.)

failing / failed

failingly

friend   (before 900 < M.E. or O.E)

friend (recent) / befriend (1550-1560) 

friendly   (before 900 < M.E.)

–none– "in a friendly manner"

Old English (O.E.), Middle English (M.E.), Latin (Lat.)  Italian (Ital.), Middle French (M.Fr.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

Rick supposably went to the library, but no one saw him there.

suppose (V) – to consider something as a possibility

Eileen's feelings are easily hurt because she is very sensible.

sense (V) – use any of one's faculties such as sight, hearing, smell, taste or touch

This is an exception example.

He was one of the most imaginably progressive CEOs of the decade.

imagine (V) – form a mental image of something

Jake was a very good smelly dog who could find worms in the ground.

smell (V) – to perceive or take in the odor or scent of something by using one's nose

smell (N) – scent (odor, fragrance, aroma )

SOLUTION

Rick supposedly went to the library, but no one saw him there. (according to what was accepted or believed to be true)

Rick could have supposably gone to a different library. (conceivably, perhaps)

Eileen's feelings are easily hurt because she is very sensitive(1) having perception through the senses; (2) easily offended

Eileen doesn't spend time in chat rooms because she is sensible. (1) reasonable, having good sense or judgment; (2) intelligent, keenly aware

This example is an exception.  (does not follow the usual rules)

This is an exceptional example.  (superior, excellent)

He was one of the most imaginatively progressive CEOs of the decade. (using his imagination or creativity to be progressive)

It could imaginably be said that he was a very progressive CEO. (possibly, able to be imagined)

Imaginably, he was one of the most progressive CEOs. (perhaps, possibly)

Jake was a dog with a very good sense of smell. He could find worms in the ground.

Jake was a smelly dog. (The dog had an unpleasant scent.)

Jake was a good-smelling dog.  (The dog had a pleasant scent.)

Jake preferred dog food with a meaty aroma(a food scent)

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Lennon and McCartney

booking a flight
 

 

Read the Context with Errors (for use in Practice 1 and Practice 2.)

John Lennon was a -famous- musician. He rose to worldwide -important- as a co-founder of the band The Beatles in the early 1960s.  With co-writer Paul McCartney, he formed the -celebrated- songwriting partnership known as Lennon and McCartney. McCartney's -suggest- of George Harrison led to the third member of the band. In 1962, the formation of the group was -completely- with Ringo Starr.

Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles, had a strong -influence- on how the band dressed and looked. At first, Lennon refused to wear the suit and haircut, but later -concession- when he realized the pay was good. A look that was more -professionally- would make them stand out and appear unique.  He also realized that more -attention- from the media would get them more gigs. It certainly did. The team of Lennon and McCartney collaborated -succeed- for seven years before breaking up in 1969.

GLOSSARY

attend (V) –(1) be present at an event; (2) go with; (3) take care of; (4) assist; (5) watch over; (6) listen to

celebrate (V) – (1) observe a day with festivities; (2) make publicly known; (3) praise widely (in media); (4) perform a ceremony, solemnize

celebrated  (Adj) — (1) well known; (V-past) — (2) observed a day or commemorated an event with ceremonies or festivities.

collaborate (V) – work together on a project or series of projects (song-writing)

concession (N) – giving in on a point, yield; admitting defeat

fame (V) not used any longer;  defame (V) – attack a person's reputation

gig (N) – paid public performance

import (V) – (1) bring goods into a country (commerce); (2) carry or convey meaning

influence (V & N) – (V) the ability to affect others (cause change in); (N) – something or someone causing the change

partnership (N) – team; collaborators; association

stand out (VP) – be seen more easily

succeed (V) – do well

suggest (V) – mention, offer an idea; propose a person for a position (job)

suggestive (Adj) – (1) like, brings to mind (His writing is suggestive of Hemingway's.) ; (2) something that brings to mind sexual thoughts. (She danced suggestively. He gave me suggestive looks.)

unique (Adj) – unlike others, singular in existence

 

 

 

Identify the word forms for the following words.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" button(s).

 

1.
Famous








2.
Important








3.
Celebrated








4.
Suggest








5.
Completely








6.
Influence








7.
Concession








8.
Professionally








9.
Attention








10.
Succeed








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Lennon and McCartney (cont.)

 

 

Select the word form that best completes the sentence.

  1. Select a response from the list.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" button.

 

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Noun, Verb, Adjective or Adverb?

Lennon
 

 

Read the Context (for use in Practice 3.)

Some (description) Lennon as a genius. "He was (difference)," they said. Others (agreement) and say that he was well (preparation) for his musical career.

He (residence) with his aunt and uncle after the (separation) of his parents. They made sure he received a good (education), but they (discouragement) him from trying to make a living by playing the guitar. A few neighbors (prohibition) their children from being friends with him. His (behavior) was not (convention) and was somewhat (rebel).

He did his best to (disruption) and (ridicule) the home-life of his friends. In fact, he was (envy) of what he saw as their (perfection) families. After the death of his mother, he (failure) his exams but kept his musical (aspiration).

Undoubtedly, the (inspiration) for his song-writing came from both the advantages and the disadvantages of his early-childhood.

 

GLOSSARY

advantages (N) – good things that help a person advance or are favorable to his or her success

aspiration (N) – having strong desires, goals, purpose, aim

behavior (N) – manner of how one acts or behaves; behaviour (Br-Eng)

convention (N) – following social ways or acceptable standards

disruption (N) – the state of disorder or temporary stopping of normal life

encouragement (N) – urging; give confidence or courage to do something

discouragement (N) – urge someone not to do something

envy (N) – feeling discontent with the advantage, success or wealth of others

failure (N) – being unsuccessful or falling short of expectation

friendship (N) – the state of being a friend

 

influence (N) – the power of people or things to compel (force) others to think or behave in a particular way

inspiration (N) – feelings, thoughts or influences that drive a person to do something

neighbor (N) – a person who lives nearby in the same community

perfection (N) – the state of excellence or completion

prohibition (N) – the act of not allowing something to occur

rebel (N) – a person who rises against authority

rebellion (N) – the act of rising against authority

residence (N) – place where on lives

resident (N) – person who lives in a place

ridicule (N) – the act of making fun of something or someone

undoubtedly (Adv) –  in a manner without doubt, a manner of certainty

 

 

 

 

Edit and correct the word forms.

  1. Enter your correction into the response text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the"Check" button.

 

21.
Some (description) Lennon as a genius. "He was (a difference)," they said.


22.
Others (agreement) and say that he was well (preparation) for his musical career.


23.
He (residence) with his aunt and uncle after the (separation) of his parents.


24.
They made sure he received a good (education), but they (discouragement) him from trying to make a living by playing the guitar.


25.
A few neighbors (prohibition) their children from being friends with him.


26.
His (behavior) was not (convention) and was somewhat (rebel).


27.
He did his best to (disruption) and (ridicule) the home-life of his friends.


28.
In fact, he was (envy) of what he saw as their (perfection) families.


29.
After the death of his mother, he (failure) his exams but kept his musical (aspiration).


30.
Undoubtedly, the (inspiration) for his song-writing came from both the advantages and the disadvantages of his early-childhood.