Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one kernel or multiple kernels.)
Obviously, a kernel is a little seed or the little part inside a nut or piece of fruit.
The meanings we're interested in are abstract, and there are three of them:
1. A kernel is the most central, most important part of something.
2. A kernel is a tiny piece of something or a single little bit of something.
3. A kernel is a seed: a tiny little beginning of something.
How to use it:
For the first meaning (the most vital part of something), talk about the kernel of a system, the kernel of a project, the kernel of a company, the kernel of your argument, and so on.
For the second meaning (a very small piece of something), talk about a kernel of truth, a kernel of wisdom, a kernel of compassion, a kernel of information, etc.
And for the third (the small start of something), talk about the kernel of an idea, the kernel of a lifelong dream, the kernel of a romance, and so on.
I feel a kernel of anxiety whenever my baby girl starts standing up alone--what if she tips over and hits her head?!--but I clap for her and smile.
Children's literature is wonderful in that you never have to dig through layers of meaning to arrive at the kernel of wisdom each story contains.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "kernel” means when you can explain it without saying “tidbit” or “marrow."
Think of something you heard, read, or watched that made you think "Hmm, that was mostly baloney, but...", and fill in the blanks: "The kernel of truth in _____ was that _____."
Example: "The kernel of truth in that ad for diet pills was that a sensible diet will always help speed weight loss."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the challenging, endlessly entertaining game; it's called Moot!
A Point Well Made:
Ben Willis: “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.”
1. The opposite of KERNEL is
2. The experience _____ the kernel of a goal in his mind.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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