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Words That Make a Difference

We learn how to use words more effectively when we encounter them in bright and memorable writing, and what could be a better vehicle for that than the great writing found in America’s premier newspaper, The New York Times.

Writers, speakers, word lovers, general readers, and students and teachers at all levels will enrich their vocabularies with Words That Make A Difference. Even people with broad vocabularies will meet unfamiliar words here that will prove welcome additions to their speaking and writing vocabularies and add a new dimension to their understanding.

Readers will enjoy the book’s wonderful variety of words, and be engrossed in the Times passages that illuminate them. From standard words, like egregious and Lilliputian, to slang, like cockamamie and rinky-dink, to Yiddish, like chutzpah and tchotchke, you will encounter (or be reacquainted with) words that make writing and speaking more vibrant, colorful, and precise.

Each passage is preceded by the featured word’s pronunciation in respelled form. This is baroque — buh ROHK. This is macabre — muh KAH bruh. This is non sequitur — nahn SE kwi ter. This is vaunted — VAWN tid. The word’s definition follows the pronunciation.

Teachers from elementary school through college are finding Words That Make a Difference a rich classroom resource. Beyond the book’s value as a vocabulary builder, hundreds of its passages are perfect prompts for writing and discussion in classrooms from junior high through college. No surprise, considering they’ve all appeared in The New York Times.

Words That Make a Difference contains hundreds of words that regularly appear on the SAT and the ACT, as well as on Graduate Record Examinations (GRE’s). In fact, about 40 percent of the vocabulary words found on each SAT appear here. There’s never been a more a lively and effective study aid.

More than a hundred of the book’s passages are accompanied by fascinating language notes — a word history, a linguistic sidelight, a personal comment — and the book ends with brief chapters on slang, allusions, puns, and usage, and a section on how the semicolon, colon, dash and parentheses add precision, clarity, and life to writing.

Words That Make a Difference ($22) is available only from Levenger, a catalogue and Web site company devoted to products for people for whom reading and writing is an important part of their lives. Levenger has stores in Boston, Chicago, Boca Raton and Tyson's Corner, Virginia.

For selections from Words That Make a Difference, go to Selections.

What’s been said about Words That Make a Difference

"I'd say it's not only good for adults, but great for teens. For those teens studying for the SATs, this book would be a great place to start! The passages are engaging and memorable." Books Under Review

“You will open this book, start flipping through the pages and then find you have spent a hour or so in Greenman's world of words. It's a good journey. Once you get your copy, you'll probably want to buy another for a friend of like mind.” —James Glen Stovall, Emory and Henry College

"A treasure trove of advice about the language. Rarely has education been so much fun." —Robert Armstrong, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"In addition to the readings, we will discuss new vocabulary each day drawn from the readings and Robert Greenman’s Words that Make a Difference and How to Use Them in a Masterly Way." —from an AP Composition syllabus

"Robert Greenman presents vocabulary in a most unique format. Using 'respelling' for pronunciation, he not only defines words but also presents their informative and often delightful applications as used in context by The New York Times."  — Mary Jane Reed, in Teaching Powerful Personal Narratives: Strategies for College Applications and High School Classrooms