499 Words Every College Student Should Know: A Professor’s Handbook on Words Essential to Great Writing and Better Grades

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Using easy-to-understand, informative, and often humorous explanations of every word, 499 Words Every College Student Should Know explores how to use the words in proper context. The majority of these words were chosen because they are common in media, literature, and online, and students need to understand them.

On any given day, you might read “abrogate” used in a USA Today article; or “demagogue” or “fiduciary” used on CNN. You might hear “ensorcelled” and “torpor” in a TV drama; you’ll hear a political candidate described as “truculent.” You may hear “pedantic” used in a movie. How many of these words are part of most college students’ “arsenal of words”? Hopefully all of them, but if not, 499 Words Every College Student Should Know will provide them with what they need to become more articulate in their speaking and writing. It will also enhance their comprehension in their reading, ultimately culminating in what every student aspires to: earning better grades!

499 Words Every College Student Should Know teaches truly important vocabulary words and focuses on Professor Spignesi’s classroom-tested Trinity of Vocabulary Use. For each word, the vocabulary-enriched and educated student will be able to:

  • Understand the word in their reading
  • Use the word in their speaking
  • Make good use of the word in their writing


Knowing them — in fact, using the words and making them part of their everyday language — will make any college student or those soon-to-be, more credible.

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