This is the last list before moving on to more Use of English and Reading paper strategies. It’s aimed at everybody, not just Spanish speakers.

As I’ve mentioned before, the problem with word building is that sometimes we can make more than one noun or adjective out of the same root, for example “industrial” and “industrious”.

What’s the best method of studying those pairs? In my opinion it’s making your own noun^adj pairs dominoes. What we match (instead of sides with the same number of dots) are the pairs. In a more difficult version you not only have to match two words with the same root, but also need to explain the difference between them. For the game to make sense you need between 20 and 30 pairs.

So, what’s the difference between:

a cook – a cooker

destiny – destination

economy – economics

the end – the ending

an entry – en entrance

expectations – expectancy

base – basis

inheritance – heritage

specialty – specialization

advertising – advertisement

relationship – relation

an act – an action – an activity

scene – scenery

admission – admittance

adulthood – adultery

appliance – application

consciousness – conscience

box – boxing

camp – camping – campsite

class – classroom

closure – closeness

competition – competence

complexion – complexity

concept – conception

condition – conditions – conditioner

content – contents



childish – childlike

tasty – tasteful

funny – fun

live – alive

Arab – Arabic – Arabian

classic – classical

magic – magical

politic – political

comic – comical

historic – historical

economic – economical

deceptive – deceitful

electric – electrical (same meaning, different collocations!)

If you need more example sentences than your dictionary offers, simply take out the expression from the dictionary (e.g. “a fun way to” or “childish behaviour”) and google it in inverted commas adding if you are interested in British English only.

“a fun way to”


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