One word substitution is the process of using one word for a phrase. As the phrase indicates, they are the words that replace a group of words or a full-sentence effectively without creating any kind of ambiguity in the meaning of the sentences. Such a replacement make the sentence structure more lucid. In the English language, it is very important to write precisely and speak in a single word.

Generally, we speak or write in a garrulous way. But, it is seen that precise words are always understood easily by all. At times we become verbose which is not required and we are required to talk or speak precisely. This not only makes the language easily comprehendible but also makes it beautiful. The other way, we can say that these words are used to bring an effect of compression in any kind of writing. For example in business communication there are instances when we have to write a lot within the limitation of time and space, there this kind of words can prove quite handy. In the English language, there are a lot of single words for a group of words that can be used effectively to make the writing to the point that too without losing the meaning of the context.

One word Substitution is one of the integral parts of vocabulary. One easy method of doing one word substitution is by using the root method. Roots are nothing but the words from which the main word has been derived. CRACY, OMNI, CIDE, IBLE, etc. are examples of the root.

CRACY = RULE / GOVERNMENT

    • A government by the people -Democracy
    • A government by the officials – Bureaucracy
    • A government by the rich – Plutocracy
    • A government by the nobles – Aristocracy
    • A government in which priests rule in the name of god – Theocracy
    • Rule by the mob – Mobocracy
    • A government by a king or queen – Monarchy
    • A government by few – Oligarchy

OMNI = ALL

    • One who is all-powerful – Omnipotent
    • One who is present everywhere – Omnipresent
    • One who knows everything – Omniscient

CIDE = KILLING

    • The killing of a human being – Homicide
    • The killing / murder of a king – Regicide
    • The killing of an infant / newborn baby – Infanticide
    • The killing of a race or community – Genocide
    • The killing of one’s sister – Sororicide
    • The killing of self or self-murder – Suicide
    • The killing of either or both parents – Parricide / Parenticide
    • The killing of one’s brother – Fratricide
    • The killing of one’s father – Patricide
    • The killing of one’s mother – Matricide
    • The killing of one’s husband – Mariticide
    • The killing of one’s wife – Uxoricide
    • The killing of a virus – Viricide

IBLE = ABLE TO BE

    • A sound that cannot be heard – Inaudible
    • One who is too strong to overcome – Invincible
    • That cannot be erased – Indelible
    • That cannot be easily approached – Inaccessible
    • Incapable of being corrected – Incorrigible
    • One who is free from all mistakes and failures – Infallible
    • A statement which cannot be understood – Incomprehensible
    • A thing that is fit to be eaten – Edible
    • Incapable of being read – Illegible
    • Incapable of being avoided – Inevitable
    • Incapable of being practised – Impracticable
    • A loss or damage that cannot be compensated – Irreparable
    • One who does not get tired easily – Indefatigable
    • A man who is easily irritated – Irritable
    • That cannot be altered or withdrawn – Irrevocable
    • Water fit for drinking – Potable
    • Able to be easily carried or moved – Portable

Learning through word roots will make it easy to grasp more and enhance your vocabulary. It’s always advisable to learn one word substitution with the help of word roots to ease vocabulary building and expand word base exponentially.

Reading newspapers and magazines improve vocabulary up to a great extent. Make a list of unfamiliar words and write down the synonyms and its usage in English grammar.

    1. Attempt online test series, mock tests and previous year papers regularly and rigorously.
    2. Play English word games like crossword puzzles or other games that can enhance vocabulary lists.
    3. Use Mnemonics or other memorization techniques to improve the learning of such words.
    4. Try essay writing and paragraph writing in English to Malayalam and Malayalam to English.
    5. Watch English channels and documentary movies to unleash the grasping capability on new words.

Make a habit of speaking English with the help of a pre-planned script. If necessary, then record it with their meanings and listen to it at least one time. It will help to establish a connection with the brain resulting in remembering the meaning of difficult words.

More Examples

    • The widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time – Epidemic
    • An epidemic occurring worldwide and affecting a large number of people – Pandemic
    • A person who imports or exports goods into or from a country secretly because they are illegal – Smuggler
    • A hater of womankind – Misogynist
    • Medical examination of a dead body – Postmortem
    • A person with an evil reputation – Notorious
    • Handwritten book – Manuscript
    • A shortened form of a word or phrase – Abbreviation
    • One who can do anything for money – Mercenary
    • One who changes sides – Turncoat
    • One who copies from other writers – Plagiarist
    • One who damages public property – Vandal
    • Anything that leads to death – Fatal
    • A life history, written by oneself – Autobiography
    • A life history, written by somebody else – Biography
    • Celebration of a hundredth year, once – Centenary
    • A sentence whose meaning is unclear – Ambiguous
    • Cut off the head – Behead
    • One who has strange habits – Eccentric
    • A cinema show which is held in the afternoon – Matinee
    • Do away with wholly – Abolish
    • Recovering from illness – Convalescent
    • To lay special stress on – Emphasize
    • Remarks which do not apply to the subject under discussion – Irrelevant
    • One who does not believe in the existence of god – Atheist
    • One who doubts the existence of god – Agnostic
    • A man who has too much enthusiasm for his own beliefs and interests – Fanatic
    • One who pretends to be what he is not – Hypocrite
    • A person who always thinks of himself – Egotist
    • The practice of having one wife or husband – Monogamy
    • The practice of having several husbands – Polyandry
    • The practice of having several wives – Polygamy
    • The practice of having two wives or husbands – Bigamy
    • A man devoid of kind feeling and sympathy – Callous
    • Having opposing feelings – Ambivalent 
    • Somebody or something with the same name as somebody or something else – Namesake
    • Somebody who eats human flesh – Cannibal
    • Somebody who is considerably experienced in something – Veteran
    • A member of the middle class – Bourgeois
    • That is prohibited by law – Illicit
    • That which is against law – Illegal
    • That which is lawful – Legal
    • A word opposite in meaning to another – Antonym
    • One who is unmarried – Celibate
    • One who knows many languages – Polyglot
    • One who lives in a foreign country – Immigrant
    • Worship of idols – Idolatry
    • People living at the same time – Contemporaries
    • People who work together – Colleagues
    • One who looks on the bright side of things – Optimist
    • One who looks on the dark side of things – Pessimist
    • That through which light can pass – Transparent
    • That through which light cannot pass – Opaque
    • Violating the sanctity of a religious institution – Sacrilege
Previous articleThe ‘Bloomfieldians’
Next articleThe Structuralist View of Grammar
Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature for 14 years now. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges coming under this directorate and is now posted at the Department of English, H.H. The Maharaja’s Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of the lecture notes that she prepared by referring various sources, for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.

COMMENT