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The Century Vocabulary Builder   By: (1889-1947)

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THE CENTURY HANDBOOK SERIES

THE CENTURY HANDBOOK OF WRITING. By Garland Greever and Easley S. Jones.

THE CENTURY VOCABULARY BUILDER. By Garland Greever and Joseph M. Bachelor.

THE CENTURY DESK BOOK OF GOOD ENGLISH. By Garland Greever and Joseph M. Bachelor.

A BUSINESS MAN'S DESK BOOK. By Garland Greever and Joseph M. Bachelor.

THE FACTS AND BACKGROUNDS OF LITERATURE, English and American. By George F. Reynolds, University of Colorado, and Garland Greever.

PARLIAMENTARY PRACTICE. By General Henry M. Robert.

Other Volumes To Be Arranged

THE CENTURY VOCABULARY BUILDER.

By GARLAND GREEVER

and

JOSEPH M. BACHELOR

TO

DANA H. FERRIN

WHOM THIS BOOK OWES MORE THAN A MERE DEDICATION CAN ACKNOWLEDGE

PREFACE

You should know at the outset what this book does not attempt to do. It does not, save to the extent that its own special purpose requires, concern itself with the many and intricate problems of grammar, rhetoric, spelling, punctuation, and the like; or clarify the thousands of individual difficulties regarding correct usage. All these matters are important. Concise treatment of them may be found in THE CENTURY HANDBOOK OF WRITING and THE CENTURY DESK BOOK OF GOOD ENGLISH, both of which manuals are issued by the present publishers. But this volume confines itself to the one task of placing at your disposal the means of adding to your stock of words, of increasing your vocabulary.

It does not assume that you are a scholar, or try to make you one. To be sure, it recognizes the ends of scholarship as worthy. It levies at every turn upon the facts which scholarship has accumulated. But it demands of you no technical equipment, nor leads you into any of those bypaths of knowledge, alluring indeed, of which the benefits are not immediate. For example, in Chapter V it forms into groups words etymologically akin to each other. It does this for an end entirely practical namely, that the words you know may help you to understand the words you do not know. Did it go farther did it account for minor differences in these words by showing that they sprang from related rather than identical originals, did it explain how and how variously their forms have been modified in the long process of their descent it would pass beyond its strict utilitarian bounds. This it refrains from doing. And thus everything it contains it rigorously subjects to the test of serviceability. It helps you to bring more and more words into workaday harness to gain such mastery over them that you can speak and write them with fluency, flexibility, precision, and power. It enables you, in your use of words, to attain the readiness and efficiency expected of a capable and cultivated man.

There are many ways of building a vocabulary, as there are many ways of attaining and preserving health. Fanatics may insist that one should be cultivated to the exclusion of the others, just as health cranks may declare that diet should be watched in complete disregard of recreation, sanitation, exercise, the need for medicines, and one's mental attitude to life. But the sum of human experience, rather than fanaticism, must determine our procedure. Moreover experience has shown that the various successful methods of bringing words under man's sway are not mutually antagonistic but may be practiced simultaneously, just as health is promoted, not by attending to diet one year, to exercise the next, and to mental attitude the third, but by bestowing wise and fairly constant attention on all. Yet it would be absurd to state that all methods of increasing one's vocabulary, or of attaining vigor of physique, are equally valuable. This volume offers everything that helps, and it yields space in proportion to helpfulness.

Aside from a brief introductory chapter, a chapter (number X) given over to a list of words, and a brief concluding chapter, the subject matter of the volume falls into three main divisions... Continue reading book >>




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