Vocabulary Builder – Week 4 & 5, 2022.

Let’s grow our English vocabulary together.

Hello and welcome to our weekly “Vocabulary Builder” which comes to you every Wednesday. As always, we discover some of the most outstanding (not “new”) word usages, phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions and common mistakes to avoid in English. If you are yet to subscribe to our site, then kindly do so (be sure I’ll follow back and share in your thoughts too).

Do not be surprised to find me reopening a poem or story you wrote many days or years back and referring to it in my Wednesday posts. It is simply what I love doing.

So, let’s roll out today’s compilation. I’ll deliberately skip phrasal verbs in today’s post.

Outstanding word usage

Cavalcade /ˈkævəlˌkeɪd/


A series or chain of an event or something.

Example of usage:

Ingrid Wilson uses this word in her poem “Do-you-think-the-saurus?” to refer to the different interconnected ‘versions’ of English that have been used in different ages since time immemorial. See below:

‘Dawlin, Baybe!’ Essix nearby

Nowf Lahdan too: a cavalcade

of Englishes

down through the years, the Middle

and the Old

taught me to be bold

with my word choices.

From stanza 2 of “Do-you-think-the-saurus?”

Lest we forget, writers are at liberty to deviate from the literal meaning of a word (definition) to its figurative meaning, but with great regard to the principles of semantics, as seen in this case.

I bet no linguist would wink at this detailed and memorable poem by Ingrid.

Outstanding idiomatic expression

An idiom is saying “to make a monkey of someone” when we mean “to fool someone”.

Step up to the plate


To take up responsibility or initiate an action (by volunteering).

Cindy Georgakas uses this beautiful expression in the fourth stanza of her new year poem “Ignite our Light for the New Year: Spoken Poetry” published on her website on Jan. 3, 2022.

Let’s step up to the plate

being an example and walk away

from getting on our soap box. 

We need to practise what we preach

and go back to what we learned as children

and be kind to one another,

in and out of the sandbox. 

Stanza five of “Ignite our Light for the New Year”

The difference between a skilful writer and a native writer is the ability to contextualize a word or a phrase as seen in Cindy’s case. When you contextualize an idiom, you consider its suitability for the message you’re trying to convey. Kindly read Cindy’s poem; you’d agree with me that this usage is well-fitting and exemplery (and that Cindy is a skilful writer).

More idioms to add to your writer’s voc-list

1. Spoil the ship for a ha’p’oth of tar (ha’p’oth – half-penny-worth): have something important fail for want of a small reward.

2. Twenty to the dozen – fluently. (E.g. She speaks English twenty to the dozen.)

3. Burn daylight – waste time.

4. Harsh one’s mellow – spoil one’s good mood or annoy someone.

5. Take a load off – sit.

Idioms add flavour to writing but should be used abstemiously since they have hidden meanings. Kindly post one or two in the comments section for other readers to see and enrich their vocabulary too.

Common mistakes to avoid

Poor writing is like a glaring wrong answer in Mathematics.

Using the phrases “at this point in time” and “at this moment in time” in writings and formal speeches.

These phrases are redundant (needlessly wordy). Instead, use now or at this time.

Examples of usage:

NONSTANDARD: Most people can at this point in time access the Internet.

STANDARD: Most people can now/at this time acess the Internet.


Thank you many times for reading till the end. Kindly like and leave your thoughts in the comments section below. See you again next week with another chapter. Meanwhile, keep reading our posts.


  1. Mike U. says:

    Well done as always, Lamittan, and it served its purpose–I’d never heard “Spoil the ship for a ha’p’oth of tar,” “Twenty to the dozen” or “Harsh one’s mellow” before. This feature is quickly becoming an educational tour de force! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make me want to continue with this, my friend Mike. I am overjoyed you found something to learn, and that you actually loved this. Many thanks to you for your support, bro, always. 🤝😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great, as always 🙏💙🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Luisa. I’m really glad you liked this. 👍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a pleasure 😊❣️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ❤🌟🌟❤🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ingrid says:

    Thank you for the mention, Lamittan! Do you know that ‘cavalcade’ comes from a group of horses all riding together?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re most welcome, Ingrid my friend. Sure, that’s the initial literal meaning. I’m glad to know. Your works are amazing. Keep writing, keep inspiring us.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, Lamittan. The picture is awesome too.💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Grace. I’m glad you like it, dear 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sure did. My pleasure.💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re most welcome 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Obong eno says:

    Great job Lami ❣️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks to you, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Obong eno says:

        Okay dear 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Daphny Aqua says:

    I always look forward to this as I always get to learn, great job Lam. 🤗💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re most welcome, Daph. I’m glad you’re learning as so I am. 🤗❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Daphny Aqua says:

        We’ll all learn together. 😁🤗💖

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes we do. 🤗❤ Pleasure.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all Lamittan… let me be the first to Congratulate you on 100 followers. Nice job! your mention of Ingrid and moving the horses out of the stable!~ 💖💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you many times for the praises, dearest. And of course your idiom “step up to the plate” also had a stunning contextualized usage as I pointed out there. You two are great skilful writers. 🌺❤🌺.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my heavens… I think I was writing and fell asleep… sorry. Long week and I just came back and saw this incredible mention and thank you so much for sharing my poem and stepping up to the plate to call me out-:)
        I do love these vocab writes and haven’t used the others but good to have in my tool box. Thanks truly and great post!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh sorry you had to wake up to reply. I’m glad you liked them. You’re most welcome, dear. Thanks for stepping up to the plate to respond, m’hhm


  8. Awesome share, Lamittan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks to you kindly. Glad you liked it. 💕🌟💕


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