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ESL forum > Ask for help > Battery of vocabulary related questions    

Battery of vocabulary related questions


Battery of vocabulary related questions

Hi there,

 Hope you have had a nice weekend. First of all, thanks a million to each of you who took their time to answer to my previous post. My students were more than satisfied with your answers. 

Would it be wrong to simplify the difference between the words "extend" - time and distance- and "expand" -synonym of increase?
Is the verb "gain" a word that is used with some words for the reason of collocations? To tell you the truth, I always tell my students so, to study it by heart: gain weight, popularity, knowledge,...
I told my students that with extreme adjectives they can also use the adverb "utterly", which is used with negative ideas only. Can it be used with positive ideas with a change in meaning, similar to "rather"? Rather expensive but Rather good  = better tan expected.
 Learning languages is important TO / FOR me. What s the difference between TO me and FOR me?
Is there an easy difference among the verbs "SHIFT" -change attention from one idea to another one ; "MODIFY", "ALTER" , "CHANGE" and  "VARY"  - for me they are all close to meaning.
Thanks for your help in advance. 

26 Apr 2015      


Hi there,
Extend means "give or offer"" and "expand"  means increase.
Gain - gain confidence, gain popularity, gain knowledge, etc..  (So... Yes to your question) 
Utterly can be used with both negative and positive ideas. It does not equal "rather" in meaning when used in a positive way. It means completely or totally. - She looked utterly beautiful in that dress... she was angelic!
"Learning languages is important to me." (not for me... I always think of this sentence... "You are important to me." You cannot use "for me" here . Same idea. The "for me" is a literal translation. However, you could say "Learning languages is important for my education.)
Shift means to move something or change location. Shift your attention would mean to move or focus your attention from here to something else.
Vary means (more or less) to change slightly 
Modify and alter are synonyms of change 
 Hope that helps somewhat.

27 Apr 2015     

United States

I started to answer this a while ago, but my computer threw out what I had written, and I didn t have the time to start over then. I do now. I won t have to write as much, since Linda made a good start.

"Extend" means more than "give" or "offer". It also means to make something longer - in space or time. In very general terms, "extend" is usually transitive and "expand" is usually intransitive, but neither is exclusive.

 "Expand" basically means to increase in size, rather than just to increase - a somewhat small distinction.

 I don t see any need to require memorization of collocations with "gain", since it means to add something to what is already there. Yes, it is a transitive verb, so it requires a direct object, but you don t require memorization of other transitive verbs. I might be missing something in your explanation, though.
I agree with Linda about "to me", shift, modify, alter and change.
I have a little difference about "vary", though. "Vary" is related to "various" and it means to give or take on more than one different characteristic. The temperature varies widely in the spring. Her grades have varied over the years. 

27 Apr 2015     

United States

Regarding to vs. for http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1775292 has some more information.

28 Apr 2015