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Advanced ESL: Vocabulary Words

Study these vocabulary words. Then practice with SAT vocabulary questions.

Insolent (IN-sō-lent): adj -- disrespectful and rude, insulting 
His insolent words angered the police officer, and he was taken to the station.
The army recruit had to do a hundred push-ups for insolent behavior.
Benign (bee-NINE): adj - good and kind, not harmful
My next door neighbor has a very benign attitude, and she always has plenty of friends.
There was a tumor near his throat. They removed it, and luckily, it was benign, not cancerous.
Stratified(STRA-ti-fīd): adj - separated into layers
The stratified colors in her painting combined tones of rock and water.
We thought the stratified rock in the cave was beautiful, but we did not know the geological history. 
Tawdry (TAH-dree): adj - cheap in appearance
The play takes place in a smoky jazz club from the 20's. Her character wears shiny, but tawdry clothes.
That shirt would look o.k. at a dance club, but it would look tawdry if you wore it at a cafe.
Gratuitous (gruh-TOO-i-tus): adj - given freely, given without being necessary
Your screenplay is interesting, but the violence seems gratuitous. There is a lot of it, and I do not see see why.
My aunt was gratuitous with her hugs and kisses. No child escaped her lengthy good-byes.

Practice: Complete the sentences with the correct word (answers are at the bottom of the page):

1. She may have seemed to be rude, but I believe her intention was _____________.

A. insolent
B. benign
C. stratified
D. tawdry
E. gratuitous

2. He gives his money to charities in a ________________ way. He does it for the tax break and barely knows which is which.

A. insolent
B. benign
C. stratified
D. tawdry
E. gratuitous

Now study more words and practice them. After that, there are more practice problems using all 10 words on this page.

Amalgam (uh-MAL-gum): noun -- a mixture, a combination of different things
My mother's family is Swedish, but my father's family line is an amalgum of Europeans.
My friends are an amalgum of personalities: we represent every sign in the zodiac.
Epitome (e-PI-tō-mee): noun - representing the highest form of something
My neighbor is the epitome of the dutiful daughter. She does everything her parents want her to do.
In most horror movies, the bad guy is the epitome of evil.
Impetus (IM-pe-tus): noun - a compelling force, the reason or situation that causes action
The 911 attack seemed to be the impetus for the Iraq war, though people questioned that later.
A heart attack often serves as an impetus toward leading a healthy lifestyle. 
Ingenuous (in-JEN-yoo-us): adj - not worldly or cunning, easily taken advantage of
The ingenuous way she talks does not fool me. She always has an agenda.
He is very kind, but sometimes he tries so hard to do the right thing that he is ingenuous.
Debacle (de-BAH-kul): noun - a ridiculous defeat, a complete defeat
Unfortunately, our team didn't just lose. It was a debacle. 
Despite all the effort they put into their campaigns, this election year was a debacle for the republicans.

More Practice. Complete the sentence with the missing word or words.

3. We consider our girl scout troop to be an _________________ of talents. We all something unique to offer.

A. amalgum
B. epitome
C. impetus
D. ingenuous
E. debacle

4. He was the _______________ of the perfect athlete until he injured his arm in a car accident.

A. amalgum
B. epitome
C. impetus
D. ingenuous
E. debacle

5. The ________________ they suffered at the state championship actually became the ________________ for the strong team they created this year. 

A. amalgum ... debacle
B. impetus ... benign
C. epitome ... debacle
D. debacle ... impetus
E. insolent ... gratuitous

6. When our teacher discussed the __________________ canyon rock, she ___________________ suggested it was ugly because it was old.

A. benign ... gratuitously
B. debacle ... insolently
C. stratified ... ingenuously
D. stratified ... benignly
E. amalgum ... gratuitously

7. Her _______________ clothes and ________________ speech showed that she was not a kind person.

A. insolent ... epitome
B. gratuitous ... ingenuous
C. amalgum ... tawdry
D. insolent ... gratuitous
E. tawdry ... insolent

8. That musician fills his songs with ___________________ screams and shrieks. He thinks he is the _____________ of hard core, but he is not very good.

A. insolent ... amalgum
B. benign ... debacle
C. stratified ... impetus
D. gratuitous ... epitome
E. tawdry ... debacle

Copyright: I.E. Tutoring/Speakmethod.com: English Pronunciation Practice

Answers: 1. b, 2. e, 3. a, 4. b, 5. d, 6. c, 7. e, 8. d