is a new kind of thesaurus. Its purpose is to help you achieve
a better command of fluency-oriented vocabulary. And it groups
together, under headwords, word groups that express meanings
similar to, or somewhat similar to, their important meanings.
The key point you should note here is this: This new thesaurus
groups only word groups not individual words. The reason
is this: Fluent speech (as well as fluent dictation) happens
mostly through word groups, and not through individual words.
In general, an individual word is used as a speech unit only
when it can do the work of a word group. So if youre
trying to achieve great fluency, the vocabulary items you
should master are word groups groups of words that
individual words tend to form with other words, with a more-than-chance
frequency: Phrases, collocations, phrasal verbs, idioms and
other multi-word items that add to your fluency.
And these are the kinds of word groups youll find under
the various headwords in this new kind of thesaurus. Ive
marked how relatively frequent/important (for fluency training)
a headword is by using the indicators AAA, AA
and A. Headwords marked AAA are more
frequent/important than those marked AA and A.
And headwords marked AA are more frequent/important
than those marked A.
Note that the word groups youll find under a headword
are not all phrases, collocations, etc. containing that
headword, but mostly those formed by other words. And
these are word groups that have nearly the same meaning as
the various senses in which that headword can be used in speech
Theres another important feature you can notice about
this book. All the headwords are verbs. Yes, verbs
and not nouns, adjectives or adverbs. You know, grammatically
speaking, speech and writing happen in clauses
(or abbreviated clauses). And the verb element is the soul
of a clause its heart, that which makes it exist and
go. And its the verb element that gives life to the
other clause elements. And its when they work in combination
with verbs that the roles of nouns and adverbs (and even of
adjectives) come alive. And so Id like you to be clear
about this: If you try and achieve a good mastery of the core
verbs, a major part of your fluency problem would be over.
And remember this: A verb (or for that matter, any other word)
stands for an idea in fact, for as many ideas as it
has senses. And a good mastery of a verb includes a mastery
of word groups (formed by other words) that can be used in
speech or writing as paraphrases or near-paraphrases of its
But a conventional thesaurus doesnt concentrate on verbs.
In fact, it doesnt concentrate on any other type of
words, either but gives equal importance to them all:
Verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs. So if you try to make use
of a conventional thesaurus to improve your fluency-oriented
vocabulary by mastering verbs, your attention is certain to
be diverted from verbs to other types of words, and youll
find it difficult to focus on verbs.
And thats not all. A conventional thesaurus does not
confine itself to the core words (on which fluency word power
depends) as its headwords, but tries to fill its pages with
as many headwords as possible. And most of them are words
outside the central core of the everyday vocabulary field,
and are of no real value to a person who is trying to pick
up a greater command of fluency-oriented vocabulary. And even
under headwords that are core words, a conventional thesaurus
tends to list as many vocabulary items as possible, irrespective
of whether theyre useful for everyday communication,
because its purpose is to try and be useful to all categories
of readers (from a junior school student to a cross-word puzzle
enthusiast), and not to cater to fluency enthusiasts alone.
The result is that most of the vocabulary items that a conventional
thesaurus lists under its headwords are irrelevant for the
fluency building work, and their percentage is so high that
those that can be relevant for the fluency-building work get
buried among them.
In fact, as the focus of a conventional thesaurus is not on
fluency building, a large number of word groups that are fluency-oriented
(and that anyone who is trying to achieve a high degree of
fluency ought to have a good command of) wouldnt even
find a place in it.
And so people who try to make use of it, under the wrong impression
that it would help them to improve their communicative word
power, would find a conventional thesaurus confusing and unhelpful.
Im telling you all this to drive an important point
home to you: If youre trying to achieve a good command
of fluency-relevant vocabulary, a conventional thesaurus wont
be of much help no matter how helpful it may be for
other purposes. This is so whether its a Roget-style
thesaurus or a dictionary-style thesaurus. You need dedicated
fluency-oriented vocabulary building books books that
focus on fluency-building vocabulary.
And the fluency thesaurus
you have in your hands now is one such dedicated fluency-oriented
vocabulary building book1
and the first thesaurus of its kind.
One effective way of achieving mastery of fluency-building
vocabulary is this: Keep browsing through the word groups
listed under the various headwords. Remember that all the
word groups youll find under a particular headword are
related to one another in some way through that headword (=
While browsing through the
word groups, keep trying to relate each word group occurring
under a headword to that headword. Itd be a good idea
to have a standard Advanced Learners Dictionary2
to hand, so you can quickly look up the word groups youre
As you know, most core words have more than one sense. The
word groups youll find under a headword in this book
are those that can express the important senses or related
senses of that headword in different ways. But I have not
categorized the word groups into sub-sets with each sub-set
representing a particular sense or sub-sense, because that
kind of sub-grouping would defeat the very purpose for which
this book has been written: To prompt the readers thinking,
and to get them to try and relate each word group to the headword
under which it occurs through any of the senses in which the
headword can be used. So I have arranged the word groups in
alphabetical order, because this sort of arrangement can help
a reader to search and find, or refer back to, a particular
word group quickly and easily.
And when youve used this book in this way for a few
weeks and have become thoroughly familiar with the word groups
it gives, what begins to improve will not only be your productive
fluency, but also your receptive fluency. And then, it also
begins to become easier for you to understand native speakers
of English when they speak English with a natural flow. Remember
this: The ability to understand the kind of English
that native speakers of English speak is as important as being
fluent in speaking native-like English, if you are
to become good at having conversations with them.
1: For a list of other dedicated fluency-oriented
vocabulary building books, please click here.
here to go back to the main
body of the Introduction).
2: By the way, heres a point of general
interest: No matter how deep your knowledge of English is,
if youre someone who has to make heavy use of fluent
English every day, you need a standard dictionary meant for
advanced learners. For example, if your first language isnt
English, and if youre a serious, everyday user of normal,
everyday English, even if you already have a copy of a large
dictionary like the Concise Oxford Dictionary, you should
go ahead and buy a dictionary meant for advanced learners
(published by the Oxford University Press or by some other
reputed publisher like Longman, COBUILD, Cambridge, or Macmillan).
Mind you, nobody ever really stops being an advanced learner
or being in need of an ALD. (Click here
to go back to the main body of the Introduction).