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Thematic Vocabulary
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By: Maria Pitsas
[email protected]

James Lyng Adult Education Center (EMSB)

This collection of links is intended for Basic English Literacy students studying at level 4, an upper-intermediate or advanced level of English. It is designed to give students an opportunity to practice and improve their vocabulary skills.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge Dictionary  Type in your word(s) in the search box and then do another search in the phrasal verbs or idioms dictionary. Each entry gives a sample sentence using the word or expression you are searching for. Minimize the window while you are working on other exercises on the net and retrieve it any time you wish to look up a word.





Merriam-Webster Dictionary  You can hear the pronunciation of words in this on-line dictionary. There is a thesaurus available as well, with synonyms, related words, and contrasted words.





Vocabulary Lists  You may print these vocabulary lists to study. Topics: describing people, jobs, colours, love, and holidays.

More Vocabulary Lists  Enter the site. Then, click on the Vocabulary ABC picture on the right side of the page. In the arrowed box, click on a category and then click on the “print” box. Handy lists on crime, describing people, emotions, and characteristics.

Vocabulary by Categories presents vocabulary related to themes such as the Internet, the media, banking, and technology. There are 20 units. Practice the key words through dialogues and other exercises.

All About Canada  Learn about Canadian history, culture, and geography. Take a citizenship test.A wonderful site!

Computer English 1  Quiz on the Internet and computers.

Computer English 2   Another quiz on the Internet and computers.

Internet Acronyms  Here are some common and useful acronyms for students who participate in chat rooms and/or write e-mails.

Medical English Quizzes  Go to the Interactive Tests (JavaScript) section.

Telephone Vocabulary  Here are some useful phrases when making a phone call.

Special English List  This is an interesting list. According to the United States Information Agency, here is a list of 1400 words you need to know to talk about current events and everyday activities. Another site is available with definitions of the same list.

Top 20 Words  On these pages you will find 20 useful words and their definitions for each subject. Subjects include selling, CV, punctuation, computers, and newspapers among others.

Movies 1 Search this huge database for plot summaries, key words, memorable quotes and all sorts of information about your favourite movies, old and new.

Movies 2 What an innovative site! Here you will find user-friendly language guides to over 60 popular American movies. Each guide contains a plot summary, a list of the major characters, and an extensive glossary of vocabulary and cultural references. A must for movie lovers!



Word + Preposition Combinations  Here, you will find verb+preposition (“to protect from”) and adjective+preposition  (“to be opposed to”) combinations. The list is in alphabetical order, and the site includes definitions, sample sentences and quizzes. Study and quiz yourself.

Verb + Preposition List  Here is a list you can print for future reference

Verb + Preposition/ Adjective and Preposition Combinations   Lists only.

Preposition Practice I  Click on “Grammar and Dictation” under the “Exercises to Do Online.” Then scroll down the grammar section and you will find some quizzes on word + preposition combinations.

Preposition Practice II  Esl.about offers a variety of study pages and quizzes on prepositions. Scroll down the page to see the list.

Prepositions in Conversation I  Scroll down this mega site to the difficult section and do the “Particles in Conversation Questions” quizzes.

Preposition Quizzes - ESL Blues presents 3 timed quizzes on prepositions, quiz 1, quiz 2, and quiz 3.You will know your answer is correct if the answer in the background increases. Fun site!

Add a Preposition  Complete each sentence by adding the missing preposition. Click on "New Exercise on Prepositions" at the bottom of the page to do all 7 exercises.

Dave's ESL Cafe  Scroll down to the grammar section and there are 4 quizzes on prepositions. Visit this large and famous site. It was one of the first ESL Internet sites!

Idioms Through Pictures  Pictorial idioms. A visual way of expanding your knowledge of idioms. This site has a Chinese translation for every idiom.



English Zone  Here is a collection of idioms by themes (animals, food, body, relationships, baseball). Study a page and then take a quiz. There is also an idiom dictionary with sample sentences and related idioms.

The Idiom Connection  This site presents the idioms in two ways: in alphabetical order and by theme.

Idioms For Everyday Use  Study idioms grouped around themes (geography, people, parts of the body, animals, colours, and numbers).

Idioms from A-Z  Take a quiz and practice idioms, from A-Z. Remember to use your on-line dictionary for help.

Stories with Idioms  Study one idiom at a time, with an explanation and a dialogue illustrating the idiom in focus. Idioms  The Idiom Dictionary teaches the exact meaning of idioms and phrases. Join to receive a weekly preview of idioms or check click on each idiom in the index to get a detailed explanation of each idiom.

English Idioms, Sayings and Slang  An interesting and impressive list of idioms and slang collected by a Canadian teacher. If you can't find it in a standard dictionary, you just might find it here!

Autoenglish  A site to practice idioms, phrasal verbs and slang by subject areas. Read through the idioms and their definitions, and then take an interactive quiz. A colourful site!



Phrasal Verb Demon  A great starting point. This large site shows an interesting approach to understanding and remembering two-word verbs. You will learn patterns that emerge according to the preposition. There is a wonderful dictionary and an incredible database to give many examples. The practices are innovative, interactive and fun!

Two-Word Verb List  A list of basic phrasal verbs and their definitions. You can print and keep for future reference.

Three-Word Verb List  Another list.

Phrasal Verb Dictionary  A list of common phrasal verbs in English with definitions.

Phrasal Verb Exercises presents different texts, each one focussing around one verb and the different phrasal verb combinations possible (e.g. get, come, bring). Click at the top of the page for a phrasal verb dictionary of all the phrasal verbs used in the text.

First 50 Phrasal Verbs   50 basic phrasal verbs. Practice and then test yourself.

Phrasal Verb Quizzes I  Here you will find many quizzes on phrasal verbs. The quizzes are organised by preposition, by verb or mixed.

Phrasal Verb Quizzes II  A huge and popular site for practice on two-word verbs. Quizzes are sorted by preposition, by verb and by theme.

Phrasal Verbs by Theme and by Preposition  Here you will find fill-in exercises on phrasal verbs grouped by themes (driving, school, housework) and by preposition. There are also exercises on common phrasal verbs.

Phrasal Verbs in Stories  This site contains 14 texts related around a theme (e.g. feelings, communication, business). Each theme contains a text with phrasal verbs and the same text with corresponding meanings of the phrasal verbs.

Phrasal Verb Dispenser  Match the verb, the particle and the meaning. This site is grouped by subject (e.g. computers, food, money, emotions, illness). Fun site!

EFL4U-Phrasal Verbs  Click on "Phrasal Verbs." Here is a large bank of interactive exercises reviewing phrasal verbs at the intermediate level.



Collocations I - Combining verbs with expressions such as “make a deal” and “set a goal.” Scroll down to do other pages of collocation exercises. Intermediate level.

Collocations II - An exercise on common word partnerships.

Collocations III- Another exercise on word partnerships.

Collocations IV  Knowing strong and frequent collocations is essential for successful English. Practice collocations in a quiz format. There are 14 exercises on this site. Advanced level.

Collocations V  Scroll down and you will find 10 exercises on collocations and similes.

Collocations and Expressions   Practice over 80 collocations.

Similes I  Practice making comparisons.

Similes II  Another practice on making comparisons.



Slang   Quiz on over 280 common American slang expressions sorted alphabetically.

A List of Slang   A good starting point. An alphabetical list of meanings and examples of American slang.

Cool Slang   A fresh and fun site aimed at helping learners understand English slang and culture. Start with "The Cool English Slang Dictionary". You must register in order to enter this site..

Proverbs -Quiz on over 230 common proverbs sorted alphabetically.

Clichés - The Book of Clichés lists well-known phrases to say in times of trouble in a number of categories.

Cliché Finder  Just enter any words, and this search engine will return any clichés that use that phrase.

Murphy's Law - There are three quizzes on this site to test your knowledge of Murphy’s Law. Scroll down the page to take you to the other quizzes. Fun!

Sayings and Everyday Expressions  Here is a huge database of proverbs and common sayings. You can read the definition, an example and even the origin of the expression. Cool!



Better English Exercises  Interactive exercises for general and business English in grammar, spelling, vocabulary, sentence constructions, matching, crosswords. Over 350 exercises!

Business Vocabulary Quizzes  Linguarama exercises help you improve your English for business purposes. Vocabulary, grammar, writing, polite language. Answer keys on line. Subjects include Sales, Personnel, Cross-Cultural Communication.

Business Vocabulary   In this Business English site, you will find lists of words and exercises related to fields such as sales, marketing, finance, and technology. There are also two lists of 100 essential business nouns and 100 business verbs. Writing letters and telephone language may also be of interest.

Action Verbs and Phrases for a CV   Here is a nice list of powerful action verbs and phrases you can use when writing a CV/resume or during a job interview. Check out "Interviews" and "Tough Questions" too.

Job Interview Vocabulary   Here is an impressive collection of links to sites that offer useful vocabulary lists, phrases, and collocations related to job resumes and job interviews.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!   Vocabulary quizzes on jobs, job adjectives and job applications.

Business Studies  A site devoted to ESL for Marketing and Investing. Over 60 activities!



Spelling Help   Here are tips and exercises to help you improve your spelling. Study the lesson and then do the worksheets. Learn to spell confidently with help, exercises and advice from an experienced teacher.

Spelling Rules   More tips and exercises on spelling.

Spelling Page offers many exercises for advanced learners. Click on “Spelling Practice” and then go to “Advanced Spelling Words.”

Listen and Spell  Listen to the word to complete the sentence, type in your answer, and then check it! Level 4 and level 5 are recommended.

A Spelling Test  A short test on 50 commonly misspelled words.

Ridiculous Spelling  Visit this site! It explains how crazy English spelling is in an informative and entertaining way. Click at the top of this page for more links (spelling clues, word families, word fun…etc)



Allan Cooper's Homonyms  Here is a list of homophones. Homophones are one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or spelling (as the words see, sea and the letter C)

Practice Your Homonyms   Here is a huge site where you can practice your homonyms by doing short quizzes.



Prefixes   Making opposites with prefixes. Print and study the list. Take a quiz.

Prefixes and Suffixes  More examples of opposite prefixes and some common suffixes.

Prefixes and Suffixes in Context  Reading passages with exercises on word formation.

Suffixes  Study the –tion suffix and then take a quiz.

A List of Prefixes I  Here is a short list of prefixes, what they mean and some examples.

A List Of Prefixes II  A more extensive list of prefixes.

Prefixes and Suffixes: A List   Enter the site. Then, click on the Vocabulary ABC picture on the right side of the page. In the arrowed box, click on “word building” and then click on the “print” box for a list of the basic prefixes and suffixes.



Common Errors  Click on “Go to List of Errors.” Here you will find an extensive list of common errors. It is aimed at native speakers but it is useful and interesting for advanced ESL learners. Do you know the difference between “envious of” and “jealous of”?



News Stories from CNN  Here is a collection of news stories from the CNN newsroom. Click on “vocabulary” on the left hand side, and choose an article. High-interest articles and highly recommended for vocabulary and grammar practice!

News Stories from Reuter's   Here is another good source for news articles. Choose a news story, read the story, and answer the vocabulary and comprehension questions.

Reader's Digest   This is the on-line version of the popular magazine. High-interest articles about social, health, political and economic issues. Check out the quizzes, fun and laughs sections.

Point and Click Dictionary  Click on “current topics” and on “News from the Web.” While you read the articles, all the exercises are “ active dictionary” pages that use the " point and click” dictionary function that dynamically links any word in the text to a dictionary. Try some vocabulary tests too.



Preposition Game  Click on the game "Wordfall". Then, choose “prepositions” and have fun dropping the spaceship in the right place using the arrows.

Vocabulary Drill  Choose the correct word in a sentence. Use the context of the sentence to determine the word’s meaning.

Spell Check  A spelling game. Try the hard level.

Definition Game  What’s the word? Here is a dictionary definition randomly selected from the Collins Cobuild English Dictionary. There are over 60,000 entries. Some are easy, some are tough!

Game Zone  A huge bank of language games to play on line!



Graphic Design By: Helena Bogovichenko, Erine Chak