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Top Tips for the CD-ROMs
Vocabulary building with
word families

Top Tips for the CD-ROMs
Vocabulary building with word families (adjectives)
by Mairi MacDonald

As the Language Study article on writing and text types points out, students need a wide range of vocabulary, particularly adjectives for describing people and places. To help students expand their vocabulary, The Macmillan Essential Dictionary has vocabulary notes containing information on word families. This month we look at how these notes can be used to create activities that broaden your students' vocabulary as well as practice what they have learned.

Finding Word families in the Macmillan Essential Dictionary

Using SmartSearch, select the following options:

Part of speech > adjectives
Vocabulary notes: Word Family

This will give you 8 adjectives containing extra information on word families. The word family can be accessed by clicking on the box on the right. Here is the Word Family box for correct.


Create a wordlist by selecting Edit and Add to wordlist to the right of the Search Results panel.

You can then run activities from this wordlist as a revision exercise.

You can copy the information in the Word Family boxes by selecting Edit and Copy. If you copy and paste the example sentences for each member of the word family, you can use this to create worksheets for your class.

Activity Word Families

1 Discuss word families, e.g. what words belong to the same word family.

Think of as many words as you know that belong to the word family of the words in the box below. Check your answers in the dictionary.


Complete the sentences with the correct form of the word in brackets.

able I'd love to be able to sing like you. (able)
disability The project is aimed at children with learning disabilities. (able)

a I want you to give me an ______ answer. (honest)
b This will ______ users to conduct live video conversations. (able)
c His contract ______ states that he cannot leave before next year. (clear)
d ______ aid organizations are appealing for donations from western governments. (nation)
e I read the report and made a few small ______. (correct)
f On Saturdays, there's always lots of ______ in the streets. (active)
g She was trying to do her job ______ and fairly. (honest)
h Tiredness can affect your ______ to drive. (able)
i We want government to serve the whole ______. (nation)
j The policy had caused thousands of families ______ suffering. (necessary)
k The first person to give the ______ answer wins the contest. (correct)
l Rose is still ______ at the age of 87. (active)
m There may be as many as 20 different ______ in a school. (nation)
n I don't want to be disturbed unless it's absolutely ______. (necessary)
o Some of the children were ______ to read. (able)
p She guessed my age ______. (correct)
q She is a woman of ______ and integrity. (honest)
r Our customers will not ______ understand why we are raising our prices. (necessary)
s What I'm saying is ______ my own point of view. (pure)

See the answers

As a follow up, create a wordlist containing all the words that feature in the list of answers. You can use this wordlist as a basis for activities such as Scrambled Words or Definitions. For more information on creating wordlists and using the Activities feature in the Macmillan Essential Dictionary, see the Top Tips column in Issue 12.