Word of the Week

wowWith its 120th word, Word of the Week has now come to an end. We hope you enjoyed this free feature and that it has given you an insight into the thinking and research behind the English Vocabulary Profile.

All 120 are still available to read in our archive, below. Each Word of the Week in the archive is followed by a link to the full entry for that word on the English Vocabulary Profile. To view the entries, you will need to subscribe to the EVP: to subscribe for free click here.

Word of the week: pay

The word pay is a verb and a noun. The noun is listed at B1 level but the verb is known from A1 in the sense of BUY. Several phrases are listed in the entry, including pay attention (to sth) at B1 and pay tribute to sb/sth at C2. There are also three phrasal verbs listed, including pay back sb/sth or pay sb/sth back at B1. In the research we have done so far, phrasal verbs containing the adverb back appear to be more readily understood, perhaps because the meaning is generally transparent. Using the advanced search facility, it is possible to find all the phrasal verbs with back – key in the word, select phrasal verbs in the Category menu and click on the red button Search. In the six-level resource, there are currently 29 matches for the use of back as an adverb in phrasal verbs, with five at A2 level: bring back sth or bring sth back, call back (sb) or call (sb) back, come back, get back and give back. Of course, the word back is also a verb, and combines with other particles to form phrasal verbs, such as back off and back up (sth). Next week’s Word of the Week will feature the full entry for back.
To view the full entry for pay on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: virtue

The noun virtue is an example of a new word at C2 level. Use of the formal phrase by virtue of sth meaning ‘because of something’, shows exceptional ability in written English and the learner example given displays generally good control of a very long and complex sentence. There is only one error, corrected as shown by the use of square brackets, at the end of the verb intend (the Proficiency exam candidate mis-spelled this). The other three meanings of the noun have different grammar codes, shown just to the right of the CEFR level. Remember that it is possible to conduct an advanced search by part of speech - for example, a search on nouns that are only Uncountable yields 267 matches at C2, with the MORAL BEHAVIOUR meaning of virtue listed in alphabetical order between violence EXTREME FORCE and vitality.
To view the full entry for virtue on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: hold

The word hold is both a verb and a noun. The core meaning of the verb IN HAND is known from A2 level, as in She held the baby in her arms. Other meanings listed up to B2 level include ORGANIZE at B1 and PRISONER at B2, as well as the phrase hold your breath in its literal meaning – a separate use of this phrase is also listed at C2, meaning to wait for something to happen. You can use the capitalized guidewords and phrases in bold to navigate this long entry. There are several more meanings and phrases for the verb included at the C levels, as well as a number of phrasal verbs. The information about the noun hold is also fairly extensive, including the phrases catch/get/grab/take hold of sth/sb, get hold of sth/sb, on hold and a hold on/over sth/sb.
To view the full entry for hold on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

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