Important Words to Know: Spelling Review Study Guide (page 2)

Updated on Aug 25, 2011


Literary words are words that are useful when discussing or analyzing a piece of literature such as a novel, short story, or poem. Some of these words are only applicable to literature; others can also be used to describe real-world situations.

anecdote n. a short account of an interesting or humorous incident. Our teacher told us a comical anecdote about her college days.

archetype n. an original model or type after which other similar things are patterned. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the archetype of the tragic love story.

climax n. the crucial moment in a story. The criminal was caught at the climax of the story.

sexposition n. the part of the story that sets up the plot. Important details about the story were revealed during the exposition.

figurative adj. not literal. Writers often use figurative language when writing about nature.

hyperbole n. intentional exaggeration. It is hyperbole to say that you are dying of thirst when you're just a little thirsty.

interpret v. to explain the meaning of. I don't know how to interpret the doctor's writing.

irony n. the use of words to express something different from the literal meaning. The irony of his nickname, "Tiny," became obvious when I discovered he was seven-feet tall.

literal adj. the actual meaning. The literal translation of his name means "king."

personification n. the act of giving an inanimate object or animal humanlike properties. Calling the sea "angry" is an example of personification.

plot n. the course of events in a story. The plot of this story is exciting and action-packed.

protagonist n. the main character in a story. The protagonist of the story is a young wizard named Harry.

pun n. play on words. The title of the vampire movie Love at First Bite was a pun on the saying "love at first sight."

rhetoric n. style of speaking. I decided to vote for the politician when I heard his fiery and convincing rhetoric.

satire n. a literary style in which important topics are made to look ridiculous through the use of humor. The movie Network is a classic satire on media.

setting n. the environment or location in which a story takes place. The setting of Catcher in the Rye is New York City.

stanza n. a group of lines in a poem. This poem is composed of three stanzas.

summarize v. to highlight the most important details. Our teacher asked us to summarize our summer vacations.

theme n. the main idea of a story. The theme of this book is "never give up."

tone n. the feeling of a story. This scene of the play has a foreboding tone.


Business words are words that relate to work or finances. You may see these words used in newspapers and magazine articles. Although they may not mean much to you right now, someday you will probably use most of these words on a regular basis.

balance n. the difference between money available and money owed. After I pay for my new shoes, the balance on my account will be $500.

bankrupt n. the legal state of being unable to pay ones debts. Mr. Temple's company went bankrupt when demand for their product died out.

benefits n. anything offered by an employer in addition to salary, including health insurance, vacation days, and sick days. My job doesn't pay very well but the benefits are excellent.

corporation n. a company that is legally treated as an individual. Wal-Mart is one of the most successful corporations in the world.

credit n. money due to a person or business. I have a credit of $25 at the bookstore that I can spend on whatever I would like.

debt n. money owed by a person or business. My debt is low because I always pay with cash.

department n. a smaller division within a company. The accounting department handles all of our financial transactions.

employer n. business or individual for whom an employee works. My employer has a great health insurance plan.

fiscal adj. financial. My dad loves to talk about fiscal responsibility.

implement v. to put into effect. The company decided to implement some changes to its e-mail policy.

insurance n. a coverage plan in which an individual pays a regular fee in exchange for future services. According to our health insurance plan, we are allowed two dentist visits every year.

incur v. to come into or acquire, usually undesirably. We have incurred a large number of debts.

interview n. a formal meeting set up between an employer and employee when attempting to be hired for a job. I have an interview with the cement factory on Monday.

jargon n. the specialized vocabulary of an industry or group. Once I learned all the jargon, my job as a computer engineer became much easier.

policy n. a course of action; a rule. Our policy is to treat everyone equally.

procedure n. a way of doing something. The procedure is to always wash your hands before cooking food.

product n. a thing being produced or manufactured. The company's new product is expected to sell well.

references n. a group of people presented by a potential employee to an employer who can report on the potential employee's strengths and weaknesses. I have great references from my years spent working for the Parks Department.

résumé n. a printed overview of one's previous job experience. As Omar´s résumé shows, he has a long history of working with web-based companies.

salary n. the amount a job pays, usually figured as an annual amount. My annual salary is $45,000.


YOU MAY HAVE noticed that some of the letters in the business and foreign words have odd little symbols attached to them. These are called accents, and some languages use them to show how certain letters are pronounced. In French, for instance, an e with an accent aigu (é) is pronounced with a long a sound. Be careful when spelling these words; most words with accents are considered to be spelled incorrectly if you leave their accent marks off, even though we don't normally use these marks in our language.


The interesting thing about technology terms is that the definition of technology itself is constantly changing. Technically (no pun intended), technology refers to any sort of man-made machine. A wheelbarrow, for example, is a form of technology. However, if someone tells you they're really into technology, it's a pretty good guess that they don't mean they're really into wheelbarrows. More often than not, technology refers to modern electronics and computer terms. Here, then, are 20 computer and electronics terms that are useful in the modern world.

application n. a software program that lets you complete a task on your computer, such as word processing, listening to music, or viewing a web page. The computer application I use for making spreadsheets has many other uses.

bandwidth n. the capacity for sending information through an Internet connection. I have a lot of bandwidth at work, which makes it easy to download large files.

browser n. the program that enables users to look at files on the Web. My favorite browser is Firefox.

cursor n. a symbol, usually a blinking line or arrow, that shows the location of an input device on the screen. Point your cursor at the button reading submit and click the left mouse button.

database n. an organizational system using tables that helps a computer quickly retrieve pieces of information. The names of all the DVDs this store offers are collected in a database.

digital adj. the description of any electronic device that uses numbers to calculate information. This digital thermometer beeps when your temperature has been attained.

download v. the process of copying files from an outside source to your computer or network location. My favorite band is offering a deal where fans can download their latest song.

gigabyte or gig n. a measure of storage capacity equal to one billion bytes; currently the predominant measure of hard drive space. Benton bought a new computer with a 750-gig hard drive.

hard drive n. the part of a computer on which information is stored. I had to buy a new hard drive because I couldn't get access to any of my files.

input v. the process of entering information into a computer. After you input the requested information, the computer will give you your new password.

keyword n. a word connected to a larger concept used to simplify web searches. If you want to find information about the Civil War, type the keywords U.S. and Civil War into a search engine.

login n. the process of identifying oneself to a computer or network location, usually by entering a username and password. Here is your new login information; keep it in a safe place.

mouse (mows) n. a sliding input device with one or two buttons used to operate a cursor on a computer screen. With my wireless mouse, I can surf the Web from across the room.

network n. a group of two or more computers linked together. More than 200 computers are connected by the school network.

online adj. connected to a computer or network. Online shopping now accounts for the majority of all money spent in the United States.

search engine n. a program that searches documents, websites, and databases by keywords and returns a list of related information. Yahoo! used to be the leading search engine, until it was overtaken by Google.

spreadsheet n. a bookkeeping program that displays data in rows and columns, or any individual document created by that program. I have the names of all of my CDs arranged on a spreadsheet.

text v. to send a message by text message, usually on a cell phone. Text me the time the movie starts and I'll meet you there.

upload v. the process of copying to from an outside source from your computer or network location. When you're done with your test, upload your answers to the server to see the results.

username n. a nickname used to log on to a computer, website, or network location. The username I use to get onto my family's computer is "nexxus."

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