Topic: Vocabulary

These resources relate to the nature of words and word choice, and move towards building student vocabularies in systematic ways.

Compound word creation

An interactive activity to explore how compounds are made

In this activity, students work with an interactive smart board display to build compound words.

The Activity pages for this starter can be found in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right corner of this page. Each Activity page contains slides that can be displayed using a projector or smart board. 

Compound word creation: Activity 1

An interactive activity to explore how compounds are made

Compound word creation: Activity 2

For each word, see how many compounds you can think of which include the word.

Neoclassical compounds

In this activity, students analyse neoclassical compounds, which are compounds where often the word elements were taken from the classical languages (ancient Greek and Latin) and were combined in new ways in English (the element neo- comes from the Greek for ‘new’). Neoclassical compounds involve combining forms. They are meaningful elements drawn from Greek and Latin, which can combine with other elements to form words.

Activity 1

Nouning verbs

A quick activity looking at how some words can be both nouns and verbs

This is a simple starter activity that will help your students see how some words can function as both nouns and verbs. The activity is designed to be carried out in pairs around the class. One student be the noun and the other will be the verb. Each will need the same word list (which you can download and print below) or you can just use the word list on the screen.

Word frequency in speech and writing

Comparing word frequencies is an interesting way to think about some of the differences between speech and writing. Which are the most frequent words in speech, and how do they compare with the most frequent words in writing?

Word frequency in speech and writing: Activity

Spoken English











Written English



Word salads (secondary)

In this resource we’ll look at what grammar is and why we need it. First of all, take a look at the word salads. They can be found in the Activity pages within the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right of this page. The slides show real spoken sentences drawn from our corpus, which have been jumbled up into the wrong order. The students' task is to rearrange the words into an order that makes sense.

Word salads (secondary): Activity 1

Sentence 1


Sentence 2


Analysing language choices in reviews

In this lesson, students examine word choice in a pair of published reviews.


  • Identify words with particular effects in a particular genre of English writing, the review.
  • Discuss the effects of word choice in real language in use.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will look at two published reviews and analyse the language choices that the writers made.

Analysing language choices in reviews: Activity

It’s reasonably compact, compared to most smartphones these days, with a 3.7in screen that’s slightly bigger than the iPhone’s. It looks neat enough, but when you pick it up it feels like no other phone around. The screen is slightly curved, and so are the edges of the phone. It all feels like a smooth, tactile pebble, with glossy front and matte back. It’s made from polycarbonate, that is plastic, but it’s put together like it’s one piece. Even the tiny holes on the bottom edge for the speaker are individually precision-milled.

Building words


  • Identify prefixes, base words, and suffixes.
  • Build words by combining prefixes, base words, and suffixes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of word classes by identifying the word class of the newly derived words.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of derivational morphology by using newly derived words in sentences.

Lesson Plan

The Activity page appears in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right.

Derived nouns and composition

In this activity we will look at suffixes that can change adjectives and verbs into nouns.

Derived nouns and composition: Activity 1

Complete the examples with nouns which are derived from the highlighted adjectives. The first answer is provided for you.

Anna was late. It annoyed me. → Anna's lateness annoyed me.

Jeff is shy. I didn’t notice this until the party. → I didn’t notice Jeff’s ___ until the party. I didn’t notice Jeff’s shyness until the party.

Derived nouns and composition: Activity 2

Complete the examples with nouns which are derived from the highlighted adjectives. The first answer is provided.

The peacekeeping forces withdrew. It led to civil war. → The withdrawal of the peacekeeping forces led to civil war.

Discourse structure


  • Review a list of useful vocabulary and phrases for establishing continuity, cohesion, and structure in discourse.
  • Apply knowledge of discourse structure to arranging sentences into an appropriate, meaningful order as an article.
  • Analyse existing texts to identify elements that support the discourse structure of the texts.

Lesson Plan

Activity 1

Dizzee Rascal and the textbook

The way we use language can differ dramatically according to context. This creative lesson asks students to translate from one context into another. This is a great approach that allows students to apply their implicit knowledge of language, and to analyse linguistic features naturally and implicitly, based on their intuitive language skills.

Dizzee Rascal and the textbook: Activity

Stress on the brain, complain, too da fool. Stress on the brain, complain, too da max.

I'm gonna search for big money stacks, top tens and platinum whacks.

Ain't got no need for a chain of a chaks. I'm a rude boi, I ain't gotta relax.

I got this game in my head like dax. Got this game in my hand, be cool.

Unstoppable, make a boi relax. I'll take teeth for the money and jaks.

We make money off album tracks. Come on, I'll face it, let's all face facts.

Formal and informal

This lesson resource is designed to draw attention to how we use different registers in a variety of written contexts. When we use language, we make a number of different lexical and grammatical choices, depending on the context, or 'situation of usage'.

Formal and informal: Activity

working with register variation

The concept of register is about the idea of appropriate language, which is shaped by context. Thinking about context is a fundamental part of language analysis, and is a useful 'way in' to exploring language choices and meanings. 

Being able to vary your register is an important skill.

In this activity we will start by looking at two real letters. One of them is a personal letter and the other a business letter. You can download them, or read through them here:

Morphology - an introduction

In this lesson, students explore word morphology. Morphology is an area of language study concerned with how words are formed. While syntax is about the larger structures formed when words are put together, morphology is about the structure within words.


Englicious contains many resources for English language in schools, but the vast majority of them require you to register and log in first. For more information, see What is Englicious?

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