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Korean English
English loan words in the Korean language

Language Interference
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False Friends and English Loan Words

Focus on Language

Sensitivity: Avoiding offense
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New word of the month
On women and new words

Top Tips for the CD-ROM
Create vocabulary extension activities with SmartSearch

Top Tips for the CD-ROM
Creating vocabulary extension activities with SmartSearch
by Mairi MacDonald

Many entries in the Macmillan English Dictionary on CD-ROM contain notes in the right-hand column to help students learn to use the right word in different situations. By using SmartSearch, you can quickly access all the entries containing editorial notes and generate a good deal of material for your lessons. In this article we will look at how the editorial notes can help students avoid unintentionally giving offence.

1 Extracting editorial notes from the CD

  1. Select SmartSearch > More search options > Editorial notes > Avoiding offence and click on Go.

  2. Look at the search results panel. You should have a list of the 14 entries containing these notes.
  3. Click on black. In the right-hand panel, click on the small square immediately after Avoiding Offence. This will open up the editorial note in the centre of your screen.
  4. Select Edit > Copy.
  5. Open up your word processing program and select Edit > Paste.
  6. Copy and paste the notes at other entries in the same way.

2 Finding example sentences

  1. Select SmartSearch > More search options > Examples.
  2. Type in words or phrases suggested in the editorial notes such as disabled, humanity, British, actor.

  3. Browse through the search results panels on the left to find examples of words that avoid causing offence.
  4. Use the cursor to highlight the sentence you want to copy and press CTRL and C.
  5. Open a new word processing document and press CTRL and V.


Try typing more complex searches such as Each & their, everyone & they. This will find example sentences referring to a person without mentioning whether the person is male or female.

3 Activity 1: Spot the offensive word

  1. Give students the following sentences:
    a I'm afraid the manageress has got someone with her at the
    b The attack has destroyed his faith in mankind.
    c This is the biggest single issue facing the elderly.
    d Mary has dual English and American citizenship.
    e Handicapped people succeed in overcoming many obstacles in everyday life.
    f Everyone should use his democratic right to vote.

  2. Students look over the sentences in pairs to see if they can spot anything wrong with the examples.

  3. Once students have established that there is nothing grammatically wrong with these examples and that these sentences are potentially offensive, get students to look at the editorial notes at -ess, man, old, English, handicapped and he.

  4. Students should underline the words that may cause offence and suggest alternatives.

Click here to see the suggested answers.

4 Activity 2: Wordsearch

Students use the editorial notes and read the clues to find the words hidden in the wordsearch.


If your students find this activity difficult, get them to match the list of answers to the clues first.

Click here to download the wordsearch (pdf format 168KB) and the answers (pdf format 164KB).