We can make the group smaller with the less general term, chair. These terms are fairly common and familiar, and because we recognize them we may imagine that we understand thembut we really can't, because the meanings won't stay still. The women shifting babies saddled on their backs in rebozos sat in groups by the mission walls, wordless for hours, drinking the weekly Coke, watching as the faithful went to attend mass, young men shot hoops, and the older men hovered around benches at the back of the plaza, waiting for the weekly outdoor meeting of the community cooperative. We use it to understand our world through listening and reading, and to communicate our own feelings, needs and desires through speaking and writing. If you really can't find any examples or specifics to support your general conclusion, chances are you don't really know what you're talking about and we are all guilty of that more than we care to admit. You may think you're doing it right, giving your child the lesson without the hurt you went through. The more abstract or general your language is, the more unclear and boring it will be.
The more you rely on general terms, the more your writing is likely to be vague and dull. General terms refer to groups; specific terms refer to individualsbut there's room in between. Look back at the other examples I gave you, and you'll see the same sorts of problems. By the time we get to the last description, we have surely reached the individual, a single chair. A general is equal in rank or grade to a four star. A General Service List of English Words. General and Specific Words General Words are words that name a group or a category of a set of things, people, idea, and the likes.
Extended Version of Rank Frequency List: Spoken English, retrieved 3 December 2007 from. Can you see that concrete terms are clearer and more interesting than abstract terms? Both sentences are still correct yet would have different meanings. If you have reached any kind of a reasoned conclusion, you must have had or read about or heard about relevant experiences. Pigs wandered down the road in idle joy, and the dogs fought on cue outside the small shop. I want to introduce you to a powerful way of classifying languageby levels of abstraction or concreteness or generality or specificity any one of those four terms really implies the others.
If you find yourself bored or confused, chances are you're getting generalizations and abstractions. A Final Note Pointing Elsewhere Sometimes students think that this discussion of types of language is about vocabulary, but it's not. London: Longman, Green and Co. It can be a La-Z-Boy rocker-recliner. First, you don't always need modifiers to identify an individual: Bill Clinton and Mother Teresa are specifics; so are Bob's Camaro and the wart on Zelda's chin.
Let's look at an example. Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists. The degree on how you can be specific on certain terms usually varies. Many readers will find it both vague and boring. After Mary tells you that you're her best friend, you hear her tell Margaret that she really hates you. In the original publication the relative frequencies of various senses of the words were also included. Preliminary results show that the new list provides a substantially higher degree of coverage with fewer words.
Because these terms refer to objects or events we can see or hear or feel or taste or smell, their meanings are pretty stable. Thus, it is a must to know the basic categories that words may fall under in order for us to know how to use them properly. The images we form are likely to be fairly similar, and we're all likely to have some similar associations comfort, relaxation, calm , so this less general or more specific term communicates more clearly than the more general or less specific terms before it. But the hurts teach the lesson, not the general terms. And when someone's a general in the army or another organization, like the Surgeon General of the United States, for example, that means they oversee everything. Poor, with its connotative meaning, could be used to refer to people who do not do excel in their field.
The meaning of freedom won't stay still. If you have many concrete specifics at hand before you organize or draft, you're likely to think and write more easily and accurately. Denotation and Connotation Denotation is the literal meaning of a word. General practice is also a noun. It can be a green velvet La-Z-Boy rocker recliner. I'm sure you'll share my certainty that the word changes meaning when we marry, when we divorce, when we have children, when we look back at lost parents or spouses or children.
Does this mean you have to cram your writing with loads of detailed description? To maximize the utility of the list, some frequent words that overlapped broadly in meaning with words already on the list were omitted. There are many ways to label or classify language as we learn to better control itby levels, such as formal, informal, colloquial or slang; by tones, such as stiff, pompous, conversational, friendly, direct, impersonal; even by functions, such as noun, verb, adjective. Note how easy it is to visualize this chair, and how much attitude we can form about it. The fallacy of word counts. The vocabulary on this part of the site is for high school and college students who are learning via English as their second or additional language.
It can be a lime green velvet La-Z-Boy rocker recliner with a cigarette burn on the left arm and a crushed jelly doughnut pressed into the back edge of the seat cushion. You can complete the list of synonyms of general given by the English Thesaurus dictionary with other English dictionaries: Wikipedia, Lexilogos, Oxford, Cambridge, Chambers Harrap, Wordreference, Collins Lexibase dictionaries, Merriam Webster. New visitors to this site are recommended to first read the information pages linked to below. This is still pretty general that is, it still refers to a group rather than an individual , but it's easier to picture a chair than it is to picture furniture. This wordlist is based on the analysis of four language corpora of the total size of over 12 billion words.
These give details on how the words were selected and how they are organized in the various quizzes. Where do these concrete specifics emerge in the writing process? Spoon and hot and puppy mean pretty much the same to you now as they did when you were four. Although it may seem easy to point out what things are tangible and what are not, some people would still find it difficult and confusing. Introduction Language may be our most powerful tool. Second, not everything needs to be individual: sometimes we need to know that Fred sat in a chair, but we don't care what the chair looked like. It's easier to write well when you're closer to knowing what you're talking about.