Longman's Language Activator for language production


Direct benefits

The Language Activator can help you use words correctly (correct situation and correct grammar) and to find exactly the word you want for a certain situation. (See "Word usage" and "Synonyms" below.) And you will actively involve yourself in using the language, which will help you to learn it much faster and make your English real, not artificial.

Indirect benefits

When you use a book which is entirely in English, you review words that you are beginning to forget, you see how other words (in the description or discussion) are used correctly, you get subconscious review of grammar, you learn new words and conventions, and you subconsciously develop a better intuition for using the language. It will also develop your habit of thinking in English and help you get away from the habit of translating from Korean to English. So your English will get closer and closer to real English.


1. Word usage

Correct situation

You can check the Activator to make sure that you are using the correct word in a certain situation. As an example, a common error made by English learners is using the word benefit when they actually mean the money that a company has left after it pays its expenses. If you look up benefit, the Activator will direct you to "MONEY 7." Look up MONEY, then look at meaning #7, which is "money that someone receives regularly to spend or live on," and you will find the words allowance, pension and so on, but not the word benefit. So you know that benefit is not used for the extra money that a company keeps. Under MONEY, though, the second general usage is "profit made by a company or person." Look under PROFIT, and you will see "money that you make by doing business, selling things etc." Ah, so the word is profit!

Collocations (the words which are conventionally used with the word you know)

If you don't know which other words native speakers use with a word that you know, look up the word you know and you will find out how it is used. For example, can I say, "The cost of living is expensive"?

Look for 'cost' in the Activator. In the "which meaning?" main cost box are listed several ways to use the word cost. The first way is "the amount of money that something costs." It tells you to look under cost. Because this is the same word, it appears right under the main box. Listed under cost are more ways to use the word. The first one is "1. the amount of money you have to pay to buy something, do something, or produce something." So you look in 1. In 1 are listed several synonyms, like 'cost,' 'price,' 'charge,' and so on. Under 'cost,' we can find 'cost of living.' It gives the definition ("=the amount of money you need for things such as food, clothes and housing") and then gives a sample sentence, "The government has got to do something about the high cost of living."

We see the word 'high,' and we don't see the word 'expensive,' so we can deduce that it would be better to say, "The cost of living is high," not expensive.

2. Synonyms

If you know a word but think that it's not exactly the right word for the situation, or if you don't want to use the same word twice, look up the word here. You will find lots of other words which have a similar meaning.

Problems in using the Activator

When you have a problem finding a word, think again: Am I looking for the correct base word (the word that you begin your search with)? For example, for this sentence I wanted to find a noun that would express how new or old information is.

"The reader should be given some idea of the _______ of the information."

I thought that time would be the correct base word. I searched under time but couldn't find the appropriate word. Then I realized that the idea I was trying to express was closer in basic meaning to new or old. If you look at the Activator's entries for old, you will find outdated, which is a good word. But outdated isn't a noun, and I wanted a broader word. Then, while I was looking at the entries for old, I spotted age, which is the best word in meaning and form:

"The reader should be given some idea of the age of the information."

If you can't find a word that is exactly what you want in both meaning and form (noun, verb, adjective), you can restructure your sentence and use other forms or words to get your idea across to the reader.

"The reader should be able to see whether the information is current or outdated."