Word of the Day: Elaborate

To elaborate (‘rate’ pronounced like ‘date’) is “to add more details” or “to explain something more.” Someone might say, “Please elaborate,” which means, “Please tell me in more detail.” or “Please give me more information.” You might also hear someone say, “Allow me to elaborate.” This means they want to explain in more detail or give more information. If you want to try using this word, instead of saying, “Tell me more.” you can say, “Please elaborate.” It is more formal and academic than “please tell me more.”

By changing the pronunciation (‘rate’ pronounced like ‘ret’), elaborate becomes an adjective.

For example:

She drew an elaborate design.

She was wearing an elaborate shirt.

The building plan was very elaborate.

Elaborate explanations can be difficult to understand.

As an adjective, elaborate means that something contains a lot of detail, has a complicated design, or has many detailed parts. The Cambridge Dictionary has audio of both British and American English pronunciations if you’d like to hear the difference between the verb and adjective forms. You can also find more examples and explanations there.

We can make elaborate an adverb in the typical way (-ly): elaborately.

For example:

The building was elaborately designed.

We can make elaborate a noun in the typical way (-tion): elaboration.

For example:

More elaboration is needed for us to understand your idea.

Increasing your vocabulary – allow me to elaborate:

Many students have studied English by memorizing long lists of vocabulary. Unfortunately, most of the words they studied are forgotten or not easily remembered because they are not used. Rather than teach lists of words that may never be used, I believe many students should increase their vocabulary by finding the gaps. This can be done in a natural way. If you are trying to express yourself and you don’t have the necessary vocabulary, there is a gap in your knowledge. Those are the words you need to find and learn. Find words that are meaningful to you. The words you use or hear often are the ones you’ll remember.

Reading is also a natural way to increase your vocabulary. If you see words you don’t know, look them up or ask someone what they mean. Of course, it’s important to read things that are not too difficult. It is no fun not being able to understand most of what you read and having to look up too many words. Find material that is suitable to your level. Try to find material that you enjoy to make it more fun. You don’t always have to understand every word. Try to use context to help you get the main idea or gist.

Listening is another natural way to increase your vocabulary. Again, find podcasts, songs, TV shows, or YouTube videos that are not too difficult and that you enjoy. Make learning fun!

Of course, beginners learn vocabulary differently. However, if you are reading this, you are not a beginner. If you understand 80% or more of this, start increasing your vocabulary in a more natural way. Figure out which learning style is best for you. Do you learn best by listening, reading, writing, or another way? For some people, making lists of words is helpful. There is no one way that is perfect for everyone. If you really want to increase your vocabulary, you have to put in some time and effort. Why not make it more enjoyable and meaningful? You will be more motivated and more likely to learn if you are having fun doing it.

While I rarely teach vocabulary in a traditional way, I actually love exploring words and their origins.

By looking at the roots of words, we can more easily understand and add other words to our vocabulary. Let’s take elaborate as an example.

Elaborate comes from Latin: ex/e (outer) and labor (work). So, we have “work out” and in the 16th century the meaning becomes “to produce by effort of labor.”

Now, can you think of other words that are similar? How about collaborate? You may know that col/co is Latin for together. So, now we have “work together.” This leads us to words with “co” like coed (coeducation), cooperate, commune, community, coexist, commiserate, compare, combine, communication…the list goes on! Vocabulary is fun, isn’t it? 😉

Ready for a story? Did you hear about Mr. Kim’s elaborate plan to make money by taking TOEIC exams for people? Apparently he made 150 million won! Check out the story at the Jeju Weekly. I just discovered The Jeju Weekly. I like it!

Because I love to write, I occasionally head over to The Daily Post to see if the word they provide as a writing prompt is one I’m interested in writing about. If you want to read more about today’s word of the day, The Daily Post has more than 100 blogs that have written about it.

Did you miss the first word I wrote about? It is used below in two examples:

Museum curators might wonder if a painting is authentic.

Mr.Kim’s clients’ test results were not authentic.

Check out the meaning of authentic.

That’s all for today!

Catch you later!

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