This resource shows you one simple shortcut to expand your vocabulary easily and immediately.

The trick is to add the suffix/ending ‘en’ to adjectives or nouns to create useful verbs. Since you already know the meaning of most of these basic adjectives and nouns, the hard part is done! When you add ‘en’, it creates a verb which means to make more of the quality that the adjective or noun describes.

How it works

short + en = shorten
The new verb shorten means to make something shorter.

length + en = lengthen
The new verb lengthen means to increase something in length.

It’s that simple!

Formula

adjective
or
noun
+ en = verb

Examples

Size
short shorten
wide widen
deep deepen
broad broaden
length lengthen
height heighten
Color
white whiten
dark darken
light lighten
red redden
bright brighten
Other
hard harden
soft soften
thick thicken
quick quicken
damp dampen
sharp sharpen
weak weaken
quiet quieten
fresh freshen
smart smarten
straight straighten
rough roughen
tough toughen
sweet sweeten
moist moisten
loose loosen
tight tighten
worse worsen
ripe ripen
slack slacken
dead deaden
less lessen
sad sadden
glad gladden
flat flatten
stiff stiffen
deaf deafen
sick sicken
fat fatten
awake awaken
great greaten
mad madden
coarse coarsen
fast fasten
fright frighten
threat threaten
haste hasten
strength strengthen

By using this vocabulary hack, you can expand word families to include more dynamic verbs while speaking and writing English.

engVid quiz
Quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
Before you take the photo, I need to __________ up my make-up. (make fresher)

Before he started painting, the artist __________ the canvas. (made blacker)

We need to find a way to __________ the cardboard to make the signs for the demonstration. (make stiffer)

You need to __________ your reading to have more general knowledge. (make broader)

Come on, __________ up! If you plan your time better, you will get a lot more studying done every day. (become smarter)

Now that we are done unpacking, we need to ________ all the boxes. (make flat)

I think you should __________ your knife, so it will be easier to cut the meat. (make sharper)

Those fireworks are so loud, I think they're going to __________ me! (make deaf)

No, I'm not going with you. Horror movies __________ me! (make sick)

You've been here all day. Why don't you go home? If the situation __________, I will let you know. (becomes worse)


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