- capable of, deserving of, giving to or that which can be.
- This suffix creates adjectives out of verbs and nouns. Here are some examples:
- enjoyable — something that gives enjoyment
- chewable — something that can be chewed
- desirable — something that deserves to be desired
- biodegradable — something that is capable of being degraded (or broken down) by nature
- employable — a person who is capable of holding down a job (i.e. being employed)
- observable — something that is capable of being observed
- unimaginable — something that cannot be imagined
- reusable — something that can be reused (i.e. used again)
- testable — something that can be tested
- Notice that this suffix sometimes forces small changes onto the spelling of the root word (i.e. drop the final "e").
- taking other people how they come, without rushing to judgement about factors that may make them seem different
- In the long run, it's actually easier to try to live a life of acceptance than it is to criticize and judge others too quickly!
- While introducing this word, we watched Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's famous I Have A Dream speech on YouTube.
- To be accountable for something means that you are responsible for it being done correctly.
- The word accountable often follows the verb TO HOLD, as in the following three examples.
- When he suspended the boy for cheating, the principal said that we must all be held accountable for our actions.
- Even though the man had not planned the theft, a judge held him accountable for his role in carrying it out. He was sentenced to four years in jail and will have a criminal record for the rest of his life.
- As you move on through school, letter grades hold you accountable for the quality of the work you produce. You can be rewarded with high marks and good grades or penalized with low marks and poor grades.
- responsible, answerable, liable
- Do you see the word COUNT in the middle of this word? That gives a clue to its meaning! We count money or things. An accountant deals with our finances and taxes. When we put money in a bank account, we expect it to be kept safe. All of these things MUST be done correctly! The word accountable holds a lot of the same meaning!
- If something is accurate, it is correct. In other words, it includes no mistakes.
- The information in his report was accurate.
- able to change to fit new conditions
- It's important to be adaptable because technology is changing quickly these days.
part of speech
- An adjective is a word that describes a noun.
- In the phrase
The short, green elf, the words short and green are adjectives. (They describe the noun in the sentence — the elf!)
part of speech
- An adverb is a word that describes a verb.
- She completed her homework quickly.
- Adverbs tell how, when, where, how often or how much something happens.
- The student arrived late. (The word
lateis an adverb because it tells WHEN the student arrived!)
- Many adverbs end with the suffix -ly.
- It's generally best to keep adverbs close to the action they describe! In SHORT sentences, this is easy, but it can get a little harder in longer ones!
- the way a person views, or feels about, someone or something
- A good attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference.
- outlook, view
- The season between summer and winter.
- The weather can be unpredictable in the autumn.
- Autumn begins around the third week of September. It lasts about three months and ends just before Christmas each year.
- fall (as in the season)
- Something that is baffling is confusing or hard to understand.
- The evidence was baffling so the mystery remained unsolved.
- puzzling, hard-to-solve, perplexing, frustrating
- to have confidence in the truthfulness or correctness of something
- I believe that the weather will be good on the weekend.
- There is a neat mnemonic that can help you to remember the spelling of this word:
Never believe a lie.
- A word that begins with the prefix
biohas something to do with life and/or living things.
- Here are some good examples:
- Biology is the scientific study of life.
- A biography is the story of someone's life. (Along the same lines, an autobiography is your own story of your life!)
- Something that is biodegradable can be easily broken down by bacteria or other living organisms.
- See also our definitions of biodiversity and biologist.
- The concept of biodiversity refers to the ecological importance of the natural mix of plant and animal species in different parts of the world.
- It is important to protect what remains of the Earth's natural biodiversity.
- The biodiversity of an area is reduced by actions such as the logging of Old Growth Forests and the replanting of only a limited variety of new tree species. When this kind of thing happens, we can be almost certain that serious ecological problems will develop! For example, the resulting forest will be very different than what was originally there and many plants and animals species may be unable to survive in that area any longer. Similar problems can occur due to things like over-fishing, the uncontrolled growth of cities, the widespread use of toxic chemicals, acid rain, and industrial farming methods.
- When you see the letters bio- at (or near) the beginning of a word, you should recognize it as a prefix. That word has something to do with the concept of LIFE!
- See also our definition of the word biologist.
- a set of planned actions carried out in order to make something happen
- The campaign to prevent bullying must continue.
- BC is in the middle of an election campaign that will end with a province-wide vote on May 14th. The candidates for election have been debating their plans for the province, seeking the support of voters. Political parties have run many ads on TV, radio and the Internet.
This word can also be used as a verb, as in the following:
- to work in a determined way towards a goal
- William Wilberforce spent decades campaigning for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in the early part of the nineteenth century. The effort nearly killed him but the goal was achieved just days before his death in 1833. A remarkable man, he was also a founding member of the SPCA. His story is told in the 2006 movie Amazing Grace.
- Something that is challenging requires skill and effort to do.
- That was a challenging puzzle! I worked on it every night and it still took me two weeks to finish!
- difficult, hard, complex
- easy, simple
- the often easy-to-predict results of an action
- One of the consequences for continued reckless play may be new rules that forbid older children from using some of their favorite playground equipment.
- There can be terrible consequences for ignoring safety rules. You may think it's just too far to walk to the intersection before crossing the street. Yet that's what the law says you are supposed to do! A lot of people get hit by cars when they
jay-walkto save a bit of time. Similar things can be said about the wearing of seatbelts and bike helmets.
- effects, outcomes, repercussions, results
- giving all members of a group an equal say in the making of decisions
- Most of the world's largest and most influential countries have democratic forms of government.
- When we call a country "democratic," we usually mean that its leaders are chosen by its citizens in some kind of election. This form of government first developed in Ancient Greece about 2500 years ago and the word originally meant "people power." At its best, the idea still indicates involvement by people in the decisions made by their governments.
- Winston Churchill once said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." What I think he meant was that democratic ideals can still be tripped up people with power and money.
- undemocratic; dictatorial; tyrannical
- something that is given to a charity — usually money
- Canadians are being encouraged to make a donation to the Red Cross (or another well-known relief organization) to help the people affected by that terrible storm in the Philippines.
- a learning disorder that makes learning to read very hard
- Affecting somewhere between five and ten percent of the population, dyslexia is the most common form of LD.
- A sudden, violent shaking of the ground caused by movement or shifting in the crust of the Earth.
- We hold earthquake drills at school every few months.
- An strong earthquake can do a great deal of damage if it occurs in a heavily populated area.
- Earthquake is a compound word. This means that it's made up of two separate and different ideas — earth and quake. The new word's meaning comes from blending both of the original words.
- Any naturally-occurring substance that is made entirely of one type of atom.
- There are more than one hundred different elements.
- Elements cannot be separated into simpler substances. The most common elements in our galaxy are:
- at-risk, threatened, or likely-to-disappear in the near future
- The Northern Spotted Owl and Oregon Spotted Frog are two of BC's most endangered species.
- Biologists tell us that there are many endangered species in the world these days. While the reasons they are threatened are complicated, one of the biggest problems facing most at-risk creatures is habitat loss. People are paving over, building on, polluting and using up the places where they have traditionally made their homes! Human activity must be carried out more carefully if these species are to have any chance at survival!
- There is LOTS of additional information about this topic on the endangered species project page of our website!
- to suddenly and violently explode
- The crowd erupted when Sam scored the game-winnning goal.
- A volcano erupted in Japan recently. This event had not been expected and many hikers were on the mountain that day. Lots of people were killed as a result.
- a feeling of great enthusiasm, eagerness or energy
- We could feel the excitement in the air that night.
- Her face flushed with excitement as soon as she heard the news.
- no longer living, likely having been killed off by humans
- Scientists tell us that many more kinds of plants and animals will become extinct in coming decades unless people take better care of the environment.
- Wikipedia has a page listing many species that have already become extinct. You can click on most of the entries to learn more about the amazing animals and plants that have died out or been killed off.
- a dream, or a wish, that is at least a little unrealistic or out-of-reach
- I've had a fantasy ever since I was a child — and that is to be an astronaut.
- a story containing highly imaginative (and often unrealistic) characters, settings or plot twists
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a good example of a fantasy.
- able to bend or change easily.
- Rubber, leather and wire are flexible things.
- bendable, adaptable, supple, changeable
- firm, stiff, brittle, inflexible
- many, many times
- Some people eat fast food too frequently to stay healthy!
- As you head into your teens, it's a good idea to take a shower frequently and to begin to use deodorant! If you don't, other people may be able to smell you coming! ; )
- rarely; infrequently
- The suffix ful can be added to many nouns and verbs to make a new word with a similar meaning. In many cases, this new word will be an adjective.
- Study these examples to get a sense of how this suffix works:
- beauty (noun) → beautiful (adjective)
- boast (verb) → boastful (adjective)
- care (noun) → careful (adjective)
- cheer (verb) → cheerful (adjective)
- forget (verb) → forgetful (adjective)
- joy (noun) → joyful (adjective)
- meaning (noun) → meaningful (adjective)
- pain (noun) → painful (adjective)
- shame (noun) → shameful (adjective)
- wonder (noun) → wonderful (adjective)
- the natural environment of a plant or animal
- Many plants and animals suffer if they are removed from their habitat.
- The degradation (deg-ra-day-shun) of habitat threatens many species of plants and animals in our world.
- something important from the past
- When we travelled across Canada, we visited many historic monuments.
- A person who demonstrates honesty tries to tell the truth and not to lie, cheat or steal.
- Aidan likes to say,
Honesty is the best policy!This old phrase means that people who try to tell the truth and not to lie, cheat or steal usually have the best lives! By contrast, people who practice dishonesty will almost certainly find that it bites them in the behind eventually!
- Honesty is Nootka's
Virtue of the Monthfor September 2013! It is a theme that all classes are discussing and a quality that we want all of us to try to demonstrate!
- The ight pattern in spelling is very common in both "easy" and "hard" words — and many people find it difficult to remember because it is not spelled the way it sounds! You just have to memorize it — and that means practice!
- Study these examples because ALL of them can show up on tests!
- LEVEL 1: light, night, right, sight, tight
- LEVEL 2: bright, flight, rights
- LEVEL 3: knight, lightning, brightest, fighting
- LEVEL 4: frightening, highlight, delighted
- Here's a simple game to practice this important pattern. Try it!
- Keep in mind that ight is not the ONLY way to spell this sound in English! Some words follow the Silent-E Rule — and, again, you just have to memorize them:
- white (the opposite of black)
- write (with a pen or pencil on paper)
- site (the place where something happens)
- mite (a tiny insect)
- a clear idea, feeling or sense about someone (or something).
- I had the impression that she didn't like me.
- When you meet someone for the first time, they'll get a sense of who you are — and how they feel about you. We call this
making a first impression.
- The prefix in means "not" or "the opposite of ... "
- Here are a few examples:
- incomplete — not complete; unfinished
- inappropriate — the opposite of appropriate; rude; insulting
- inaccurate — not accurate; not correct
- insensitive — not sensitive; unkind; rude; cold; mean
- inconvenient — not convenient; bothersome; difficult
- independent — not dependent on others; free; unhindered
- indestructible — not breakable; extremely strong
- inexplicable — not explainable; hard to understand
- infrequently — not frequently; rarely; uncommonly
- informal — not formal; casual
- insecure — the opposite of secure; not confident
- injustice — the opposite of justice; wrong; criminal
- insincere — the opposite of sincere; phony
- This article gives a lot of interesting and useful information about this prefix — and a few related ones, too!
- You cannot treat every word that begins with "in" as if those letters meant "not"! There are MANY words that begin with this spelling! Here are some examples: industry, information, inflict, infant, inside, insect, initials, intelligence, and instrument. The key is to look at the root of the word and it's context!
- without needing much help or support from others
- After years of counting on others for help, Figmund is finally learning to get his schoolwork done independently.
- strong and powerful
- Samantha had an intense reaction to the sight of the dead bird.
- His expression showed intense fear.
- Michael has such an intense personality! He reacts so strongly to everything that happens! It must be exhausting to put out that much energy every day!
- While it's often used in a negative way, the word intense can have a positive meaning, too! You must pay attention to the context to understand what is meant.
- fierce; passionate
- weak; mild; passive
- a small, defined amount
- We have only a limited amount of time to get this project done!
- unknown and without an explanation (like in a mystery)
- We were all left wondering about the mysterious disappearance of our team's mascot, a stuffed gorilla named Pete.
- "I know something you don't know," whispered my little sister in a mysterious voice.
- Until very recently, the function of one organ in our bodies was truly mysterious! Many scientists believed that it did nothing at all — except get infected and cause illness and death. However, research has now shown that the appendix plays a role in our immune system and that it may have other functions as well.
- puzzling, baffling
- feeling fearful, anxious or tense about something
- I felt nervous as we approached the first day of school in September this year.
- peaceful, calm, relaxed
- It's kind of neat to know that the word nervous is related to our scientific understanding of the nerve cells in our bodies. Nerve cells allow us to see, hear, smell, taste and touch the world around us. There are at least 100 billion nerve cells in a human brain — and billions more in the rest of the body, too. Biologists speak of this vast network of nerves in each of us as the central nervous system. When we
feel nervous,it's because our nerve cells are working hard behind the scenes!!!!
PHOTO CREDITS: http://www.freestockphotos.biz
part of speech
- A word that names a person, place, thing or idea.
- The words kangaroo, Canada, and happiness and democracy are all nouns.
- This suffix can be added to many nouns to create an adjective with that quality. For example, a famous "spacious area," means "an area full of space." You can think of the "ous" as meaning full of, or having the qualities like and/or abounding in.
- The meaning of words using this suffix is often clear if you look at the root of the word:
- adventurous = full of adventure
- anxious = full of anxiety
- courageous = abounding in courage
- curious = full of curiosity
- dangerous = abounding in danger
- famous = full of fame
- gaseous = having the qualities of a gas
- glamorous = abounding in glamor
- gracious = full of grace
- hazardous = full of hazards
- joyous = abounding in joy
- miraculous = having the qualities of a miracle
- monstrous = having the qualities of a monster
- poisonous = full of poison
- scandalous = having the qualities of a scandal
- There are SOME words that use this spelling which don't hint at their meaning so easily (i.e. obvious; ravenous; jealous; tremendous)! Yet, if you took the time to research the origin of these kinds of words, you'd probably find a good explanation as to the spelling of word!
- taking an active part in something
- That wonderful coach stresses participation, skill development and fun much more than winning.
- Class participation is critical to school success!
- When I was a kid, my participation in team sports created some lasting memories. I don't think I'll ever forget playing goalie for my school's floor hockey team or scoring two goals in one soccer game! Along the same lines, the coach of my high school's soccer team used to write stories for the school newspaper about our games. No matter how badly we lost, he always made it seem like we were heroes! Indeed, I kept one of those stories for many years!
part of speech
- a syllable (or group of letters) that can be added to the beginning of a word so as to change the meaning of that word
- Here are some good examples:
- • un- means
notas in unhappy
- • pre- means
beforeas in prewriting
- • re- means
againas in reuse
- to put off something you should do because you don't want to do it
- My Mom has been telling me to start my book report but I've been procrastinating on it.
- Deep down, I think it's often the fear of failure that causes people to procrastinate! They don't really believe they can succeed, so they don't even try!
- dawdle; stall; delay
- to make up (or make amends) for some kind of failure or shortcoming
- After failing to hand in his homework, Simon was able to redeem himself by working in the library after school until it was all finished.
- Jenny wanted to redeem herself after getting a poor mark on the last test, so she worked extra hard on all of her homework.
- to set free or to let go
- The prisoner was released after serving his sentence.
- Each Spring, the Grade 3s release butterflies in our garden.
- capture, detain, hold, imprison
- the act of making a movie, album or game available to the general public
- The kids grew excited as the release of the long-awaited game approached.
- the repeating (i.e. overuse) of key words in a piece of writing
- We are learning to edit our writing so that repetition is eliminated.
- Repetition in writing puts readers to sleep!
- doing something over and over again to help you master the skill
- A great deal of repetition may be necessary to master some skills.
verb / noun
- (verb) to make a careful study of a topic
- Mike decided to research the habitat of polar bears for his class project.
- We have been researching the topic of endangered species by meeting scientists, reading articles on the web and watching videos. We have already learned a great deal! While our film is not yet finished, we think it's going to be great in the end!
- (noun) the careful study of a topic
- Scientists usually do a lot of research before they publish their findings.
- There has been a great deal of research into how to help kids with dyslexia and other forms of LD do better in school. For example, we now know that it's important to teach kids how to advocate for themselves — so that they can take charge of their own learning.
- A respectful person treats others with courtesy and kindness.
- Danny's teachers thought of him as a respectful young man.
- RESPECT was Nootka's
Virtue of the Monthfor October 2013!
an important idea in vocabulary
- Many of the words we use today started out as words in another language! For example, more than 50% of today's English words began as Latin words used throughout the Roman Empire! Many more come from Greek, French, Spanish and German — although the way we spell them now may well have changed a bit.
- Root words often give us a strong hint of their meaning! Since these roots are found in many, many English words, learning what they mean can help you to understand what you read much better!
+ struct +(strukt)
- By adding a prefix and/or a suffix to this root, the English language creates a whole bunch of great new words, as shown in this table:
- Note that all of the words in the EXAMPLES box may appear as BONUS words on upcoming Spelling Tests.
+ struct +
construction, destructive, instructed, structure, obstructing
AND MANY MORE
- not strong; light; faint; gentle
- There was a subtle taste of mint in the chocolate chip ice cream we had last night.
- Sometimes, this word implies a bit of cleverness or trickery, too:
He has such a subtle sense of humor! Many of his friends don't even realize that his jokes are often poking fun at them!
- doing very well OR having a good outcome
- That successful sandwich shop does a lot of its business around lunch time.
part of speech
- a syllable (or group of letters) that, when added to the END of a word, often changes the word significantly
- Example suffixes: -less means
without(as in thoughtless and careless); -able means
can be(as in comfortable and climbable)
- The tools, machines or methods developed by people to do something that they could not do on their own.
- Modern medicine uses many different kinds of technology to help sick and injured people get better.
- The history of our world is closely linked to the development of new technologies. Thousands of years ago, new ways of working with metals like bronze and iron made it possible for vast empires to develop. In the 1500s, the invention of the printing press transformed society and made it essential that people learn to read and write. In more recent times, the development of trains, airplanes, cars, light bulbs, telephones and radios have led to all kinds of changes, too. Today, hi-tech computers and gadgets are revolutionizing just about every aspect of our lives. If you take the time to think about it, there are examples of MANY different kinds of technology all around you!
- This word is used in a number of other ways, too.
- having strong appeal or attraction — even if to go for it would be wrong or unwise
- It was tempting to eat a second piece of chocolate cake even thought I knew I might feel sick if I did.
- appealing, enticing, inviting, alluring, tantalizing
- a state of great confusion, uncertainty or distress
- An unexpected snowstorm caused turmoil in the city.
- Our house was in turmoil when it flooded after several days of heavy rain. The carpets and furniture were ruined! Everything was wet! It smelled horrible! What a disaster!
- While moving slowly to create a democratic form of government, the country of Egypt has been in turmoil recently. Violent street protests have been common. Many innocent people have been killed in clashes between the parties competing for power. These kinds of scenes have been shown on the news many times over the past few years.
- order (see Definition #5)
- When we underestimate something, we fail to recognize its potential or give it too little credit.
Don't underestimate your own abilities,advised the coach.
- Mike had drastically underestimated the complexity of the new Lego set he wanted. When he opened the box on his birthday, he quickly realized that it was MUCH harder than he had expected! In the end, he needed his Dad's help to finish it!
- Isabelle was underestimating the difficulty of the coming science test when she decided not to study for it. As a result, she had only herself to blame for the low mark she earned.
- being unwilling to excuse how someone else may have failed (or hurt) you
- Her unforgiving attitude towards her parents always made family gatherings feel tense and uncomfortable.
- forgiving, merciful
- The unforgiving wind made me cold and miserable long before I got home.
- brutal, cruel
- If you can imagine being suddenly tossed up into the air and bashed around by strong winds, you're close to the meaning of upheaval!
- The class was thrown into upheaval when the teacher announced the surprise test.
- Looking back, I can see that the sudden death of my grandfather tossed my family into a period of upheaval that lasted more than a year.
- peace, tranquility
- not showing reason, good judgement or sound thinking
- It is unreasonable to insist on getting your way in every situation. People who act that way end up friendless and lonely because no one will want to be around them!
- foolish, illogical, absurd
- reasonable, sensible
- A person who is unteachable has developed such a negative attitude towards learning, school or teachers that they are no longer willing to listen or try.
- Even if school is not their favorite place in the world, most kids love to learn new things! You don't have to ask them to try! They just do! Sadly, that's not true for all children. Some of them face so many difficulties and disappointments in life that they learn to respond to the world by acting cold and hard. They think they have to look tough or cool — and they hate to show any weaknesses. These kinds of attitudes can eventually make them unteachable.
- If you ever feel that you are becoming unteachable, you'd better have a long talk with yourself — and get some help!
- defiant, resistant, hardened
- teachable, willing, open
- In sentences, verbs show ACTION or
the state of beingof someone or something.
- The words do, run, be, have and think are all verbs.
- Remember that the way we SAY and SPELL verbs often changes a bit, depending on when the action being described actually happens!
The cat chased a mouse all over the house last night.
The kids spent recess chasing each other around the playground.
One of my dogs loves it when we chase him around the yard.
- the act of complaining about something in an annoying way
- April learned that whining about a teacher can lead to some rather unpleasant results! ;-)
- complaining, griping
part of speech