‘Five a Day’- A great way to learn vocabulary - The 11 Plus Journey

The 11 Plus Journey


‘Five a Day’- A great way to learn vocabulary

Guest post by Sheena Ager, author of ‘The Cadwaladr Quests’ series of vocabulary novels, and workbooks, available on Amazon

I have been talking about my ‘Five a Day’ for many years as I did it with Jude, my son, who was not a reader.

There are so many ways to learn vocabulary, but we found this to be great. We did something which I called “five a day”. We wrote five words, which we usually took from a workbook (CGP etc.) I would take them everywhere, car, dog walk etc., and we aimed to use those five words in as many sentences as possible. Even my husband got involved. We made serious sentences, silly sentences. The one I remember most was teaching Jude (reluctant reader son) the meaning of veto and sanction. It was very much around banning his Xbox, and he never forgot the meaning of those words! The best way to learn words is to use them in context, over and over again. And read them in context. It need not be five, as many as you can manage will work wonders.

Veto and sanction have different definitions, but they’re pretty similar in some ways, and this is how I taught Jude the difference. They’re often used in law and government speech, and as I make the laws in our house, I thought it would be a fun way to teach Jude.

Veto can mean a ban or to ban (verb and noun). Same with sanction.

Sanction can be a threatened penalty for disobeying a rule. But it can also mean the exact opposite – official permission or approval for an action.

Very confusing. And although they are often used in law-making and official business, the way I used them stuck in his brain.

My examples:

  1. If you don’t do your homework, I will veto your Xbox. (verb)
  2. There will be sanctions on your screen time if you’re rude like that again. (noun)
  3. All screen time will be vetoed until your homework is finished. (Past participle, future passive verb construction.)
  4. I will veto all screen time until your homework is finished. (verb)
  5. Please tidy up your rooms now lest I veto your screen times for the day. (verb)
  6. Sanctions to your screen time will be imposed if you continuously argue with your sister. (noun)
  7. Your sweet allowance will be sanctioned if you continue to leave clothes scattered around your bedroom floor. Please put them in the wash basket. (Past participle, future passive verb construction.)
  8. If you behave well, all Xbox sanctions will be lifted. (noun)
  9. You’ve been so well behaved today. You have done all your chores with alacrity, Xbox sanctions (noun) are lifted. I now sanction (verb) your screen time once more.

Internet Examples:


  1. The conference gave its official sanction to the change of policy.
  2. We received sanction to proceed with our plans.
  3. He may now be ready to sanction the use of force.
  4. The book was translated without the sanction of the author.
  5. Prison is the best sanction against a crime like this.
  6. The fear of ridicule is a very effective sanction.
  7. We now have an effective sanction against the killing of whales.
  8. They won’t sanction our spending on this scale.


  1. Mother put a veto on our staying out late.
  2. Mother put a veto on my screen time.
  3. The chairman has the power of veto on all decisions.
  4. The White House says the president would veto the bill.
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