Don’t Learn New Words. Learn Word Clusters!

So, what are Word Clusters?

Word clusters are groups of words all coming from a single idea. Collecting synonyms for a particular word is the easiest way to start. A cluster is formed and has one common (or very nearly common) meaning and for that one meaning, you have effectively learnt multiple words. Remember synonyms are words that closely resemble the search word, but frequently are not identical in meaning.

Words that are based on the theme of peace, calm and serenity. See how these are not identical but similar.

Peaceful - Calm - Serene.

  • Serene: Calm, undisturbed, comfortable.
  • Tranquil: Quiet, peaceful, amicable.
  • Sedate: Characterized by dignity and propriety.
  • Solemn: Quiet, dignified, earnest.
  • Stable: Balanced, calm durable.
  • Placid: Calm, mild, easy-going.
  • Unagitated: Not physically disturbed or set in motion

Words that are solely based on the word's origins, on its roots.

Let's look at an example. 

Roots are the base elements of a word that convey the basic meaning of the word. So if you take words that you use every day, like the word reaction, you'll notice that the root or base word within the word "react" is the word "act."

When simplified further, you can easily see that:

  • The word "act" refers to something that you do or how you perform or behave.
  • The prefix of the word reaction is simply "re." The prefix in its simplest form means back or again.
  • The suffix of the word reaction is simply "ion," and it is this suffix that can turn just about any word into a noun.

So when you look at the root or base of the word reaction and combine it with the meanings of both the prefix and the suffix, you can easily understand what the word means, which is to act in response to something.

Think about these word groups too;

butter, buttery, buttered.

​engineer, engine, engineered.

These suffixes change the word's meaning.

  • ad- (or a-): toward - example, advance, advantage, advice
  • ab- : away from - example, abnormal, abrogate.
  • com-/con-/co- : with - example, compound, contradict, coworker.
  • ex- (or e-)- : out - example, export, expunge, exhibit.
  • in-, im-, il- : in, inside, OR not (Inactive means not active; immobile means not moveable)
  • pre-: before - example, prevent, previous.
  • pro-: forward - example, professional, propose.
  • post- : after, behind - example, post-graduate, postpone, posthumous.
  • re-: again or backward - example, react, reaction, regroup, re-purpose.
  • sub-: under - example, submerge, submarine, subvert.
  • trans-: across or through - example, transcontinental, transpose, transport.
  • un-: not - example, undue, undo, unravel.

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