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Lexis and structure is a main section in many examination papers, especially at WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB papers. The areas that questions are set have been carefully identified and extracted for all students who are writing any exam papers on lexis and structure. The details and copious illustrations will be got through the link below.

If you would like to read more about each topic, get the book here

1. Antonyms

Antonyms are words of the opposite meaning to others. If words have opposite meaning, or the opposite to each other in meaning, then we are defining an antonym. So, antonyms are simply words that are opposite to each other in meaning.

2. Synonyms

Synonyms are words of identical/similar meanings or words having the same different applications in a language. In dealing with synonyms, we need to recognise the fact that two words may not have exactly the same meaning in the English language.

There may be a slight difference in meaning between two words which appear to be synonyms. In synonyms, some words can be used interchangeably while some cannot.

3. Homonyms

Homonyms are those words having similar spellings and the same sound but different meanings. Some English words are exactly spelt alike yet they have different meanings.

For example, the word bank means different things. It means the financial institutions: where money and valuable things are kept. It also means the edge/side of the river. Furthermore, the word pass means to succeed and it also means walk across.

So, homonyms are words whose meaning can be discovered correctly through the context they are used.

 4. Homophones

Homophones are English words that sound similar or almost the same but different meanings or spellings or both. A care must be taken so that you will not confuse homophones with homonyms.

Some of the authors write the examples of homophones under the definition of homonyms. This is very wrong. Make sure you use a good English dictionary for clear meanings and examples of both homonyms and homophones.

5. Spellings

It has been discovered that one of the problems that students face in their examinations, apart from grammatical difficulties, is a spelling difficulty.


A large number of students write wrong spellings. In dealing with such spelling problems, we need to make effective use of a good dictionary to look for the exact spellings and meanings of such words.

6. British and American Spellings

There are several areas in which British and American spelling are different. The two spellings throw learners into confusion, especially those who are writing external examinations.

It is for the learners to master them and stick to one in writings. All examination bodies in West Africa also accept both spellings, but the consistency should be maintained.

The wrong selection and usage of the spellings will be penalised by examiners/markers.

7. Affixation (affix)

Affixation is the process involving the addition of affixes like un, ment, poly, able, etc. to a word to form a new and meaningful word.

Affixes, therefore, are words or syllables placed before or after the root words or base to form new words. There are two types of affixation, namely: prefixation (prefixes) and suffixation (suffixes).

8. Prefixation (prefix)

This is a process that involves adding prefixes before a word to create a new word. The word ‘pre’ means ‘before’ and therefore, prefixes are words or syllables placed before root words to form new and meaningful words.

For example, we have the word cycle and purpose as root words. When we add the words or the syllables bi and multi to them, they will give new words

9. Suffixation (suffix)

This is the process involving the addition of suffixes to an existing word to form a new and meaningful word. Suffixes, therefore, are words or syllables placed after the root word or the base to form new words.

For example, kind can be kindness by adding the suffix ‘ness’ to the root ‘kind’

10. Idioms

An idiom is a fixed group of words or an expression with a special meaning that cannot be literally interpreted and understood. It is also different from the meanings of the individual words.

Thus, be all eyes is not connected with anything done to all eyes; it means to watch intently or be vigilant. For the reason above, one will find the idiomatic expressions difficult to interpret if one is not familiar with them and their meanings.


11. Proverbs (Wise Saying)

Proverbs are wise sayings which cannot be understood literally. Proverbs are important in our every use of a language since they give vigour and vividness to ordinary speech and also to the point of view of adding to the scope of our vocabulary.

If we say what you sow you reap, this will give a vivid meaning that what you give will be given back or what you pay someone will be repaid to you. This proverb teaches us moral and to do well

12. Phrasal Verbs

A phrasal verb is simply a combination of a preposition or an adverb and lexical verb, that is, a lexical verb plus preposition or adverb is equal to a phrasal verb.

For example, the word blow in is a combination of verb (blow) and preposition (in) to make a phrasal verb blow in. Apart from the formation of a phrasal verb, it does not also have a literal meaning but figurative meaning; that is, it cannot be understood from the ordinary meanings of the words that make it.

So, a phrasal verb has an idiomatic meaning. For example, the word blow in means arrive or enter a place abruptly. It does not really mean blow.

Also, the word take in means deceive or to be pregnant. It does not really mean to take something inside or in. Therefore, a phrasal verb serves as an idiomatic expression as its meaning is non-literal.

13. Figurative Expressions

Figurative expressions are also known as figures of speech denoting the use of words and expressions in a symbolic sense rather than in the literal usage.

There are many figurative expressions in English but some of those commonly set questions on by the WAEC, NECO and some examining bodies will be discussed here.

14. Registers

Registers could be defined as the technical or specialised variation of words or phrases as relating to different disciplines, professions or courses of study.

15. Group of Words

The word ‘group’ means ‘number’. So, groups of words are referred to the numbers or strings of grammatical words or items that indicate certain meanings in the English language.


There are three groups of words in the English language. They include phrases, clauses and sentences.

16. Tenses and Concord

It is believed that for a sentence to be meaningful and sensible, it must have a verb or a verb phrase. That verb or the verb phrase indicates time and action.

Therefore, time indication is called a tense in English. Tense indicator is, therefore, a verb. Also, before two or more people work together indisputably, they must have agreed.

So also, before words, phrases and sentences are meaningful and sensible, and satisfy grammatical standard, there must be an agreement between them.

So, that agreement between parts of a sentence, especially subject-verb agreement, is called a concord in English.

17. Articles and Determiners

In some cases, certain words, especially nouns or noun phrases need pre-modifiers or modifiers, so that their meanings can be lucidly well-defined in terms of persons, objects, qualities or quantities.

Such words functioning as pre-modifiers are called articles and determiners.

18. Subjunctives

Subjunctives are said to be used to express the situations which are neither real nor certain, but just imagined in certain constructions.

It asserts that something is thought of, as being desirable or likely to happen. Consider some of them below.

19. Tag Questions

If we ask questions, our expectation is to answer the questions appropriately. If we also make a statement, we are expected to provide the appropriate answer for it.

If these are not done correctly, there will be a problem. This problem can only be solved through having the knowledge of tag questions.

20. Voice

Voice is the form of verb that shows whether the person or the thing in the subject is the performer or the receiver of the action in the sentence. These are two types of voice namely: active and passive sentence (voice).

21. Parts of Speech

The parts of speech are also called the class of words that perform different functions in the English grammar. The parts of speech are eight, namely: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, conjunction, preposition and interjection.

If you would like to read more about each topic, get the book here



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