Do you know why your reading answers sometimes go wrong? It is because of a group of words called abstract and uncertain words, especially indefinite adjectives and adverbs.
Take the expression “Not more than.’ This is not conclusive. It doesn’t speak clearly. “Such medicines do not more good than those mentioned in the first paragraph” is such a statement that creates more confusion than sense. Sometimes they use expressions like “it doesn’t go without any effect…” There are double negatives and that makes a positive effect. Similarly, when you say few and a few or little and a little, there are variations in their quantity. When you say enough, that is enough for some people but that is not enough for others. 1$ is enough for a beggar but not for A millionaire.
Expressions of Uncertainty?
- About / around
Both words express nothing for sure. “About 200” can mean 190 to 210. It can be even between 180 and 220.
- Less likely, likely, more likely
Mean less possible, possible and more possible. As the words possible and probable are themselves not sure of themselves, we can never know what all those expressions really mean. The case with “more likely, not likely and less likely” are all expressions of uncertainty.
- More or Less
Who has authority to draw a line between more and less?
- “It is not unknown” which means it is known.
Double negatives and double positives create their opposite effect.
- Few, a few, little, a little
Few and little are close to zero/nill while a few and a little refer to somewhere below “some.”
Expressions of Uncertainty
Your score in reading (and listening) mostly depends on your hold on the expressions of certainty and uncertainty. If you understand how badly they confuse us, you know how to find the correct choice. I will explain with an example:
“About 5 to 20 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis.”
In the statement above, there is an expression of uncertainty (about) and an expression of certainty (will). It is like a + and -. That means, when a plus and minus come together, it becomes minus. Analyzing the statement, it is evidently a confusing statement.
Expressions of Uncertainty
- Can / cannot
- Close to,
- In round numbers
- Just about,
- Least likely
- May / may not
- More or less
- Near to,
- Not far off,
- Round about,
- Something like
Expressions of Certainty
- Is / am / are
- Was / were
- Will / shall
- No / yes
- Do / do not
Expressions of uncertain certainty (a condition that is hard to determine)
- Can / cannot
- Should / should be / should not
Apart from the 3 expressions above, there is a fourth one – unfamiliar expressions or words that are not known to us. This includes all the words that are unfamiliar to us. Here is a list of medical terms you should learn by heart.
- Benign: Not cancerous
- Malignant: Cancerous
- Anti-inflammatory: Reduces swelling, pain, and soreness (such as ibuprofen or naproxen)
- Body Mass Index (BMI): Body fat measurement based on height and weight
- Biopsy: A tissue sample for testing purposes
- Hypotension: Low blood pressure
- Hypertension: High blood pressure
- Lesion: Wound, sore, or cut
- Noninvasive: Doesn’t require entering the body with instruments; usually simple
- Outpatient: Check in and check out the same day
- Inpatient: Plan to stay overnight for one or more days
- In remission: Disease is not getting worse; not to be confused with being cured
- Membrane: Thin layer of pliable tissue that serves as a covering or lining or connection between two structures
- Acute: Sudden but usually short (e.g., acute illness)
- Angina: Pain in the chest related to the heart that comes and goes
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Heartburn
- Cellulitis: Inflamed or infected tissue beneath the skin
- Epidermis: Outermost layer of skin
- Neutrophils: Most common type of white blood cell
- Edema: Swelling
- Embolism: Blood clot
- Sutures: Stitches
- Polyp: Mass or growth of thin tissue
- Compound fracture: Broken bone that protrudes through the skin
- Comminuted fracture: Broken bone that shatters into many pieces.
Here are some more medical terminology prefixes:
- Brachi/o – Arm
- Cardi/o – Heart
- Cyt/o – Cell
- Derm/a, derm/o, dermat/o – Skin
- Encephal/o – Brain
- Gastr/o – Stomach
- Hemat/o – Blood
- Hist/o, histi/o – Tissue
- Intestin/o – Intestine
- Lapar/o – Abdomen, loin or flank
- My/o – Muscle
- Neur/o – Nerve
- Ocul/o – Eye
- Ophthalm/o – Eyes
- Or/o – Mouth
- Ot/o – Ear
- Pulmon/o – Lungs
And for those of you who aren’t up on your Latin:
- Mono/uni – One
- Bi – Two
- Tri – Three
- Ab – Away from
- Ad – Toward
- Ecto/exo – Outside
- Endo – Inside
- Epi – Upon
Here are some examples of common medical terminology with suffixes:
- Pain terms end with -algia.
- Blood terms end in -emia.
- Inflammation is -itis.
- A breaking down is -lysis.
- Relating to disease is -opathy.
- Breathing terms end with -pnea.
- Anatomy: Parts of the body and its general structure.
- Gynecology: Study and treatment of the female urinary tract and reproductive organs.
- Hematology: Treatment of blood diseases and malignancies.
- Microbiology: Related to bacterial and viral infections.
- Neonatal: Special care for newborn babies with high dependency needs.
- Neurology: Related to the disorders of the brain, spinal cord, or general nervous system.
- Oncology: Chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
- Pathology: The names for disorders and diseases.
- Pediatrics: Medical assistance of infants.
- Psychiatry: The study and treatment of mental disorders.
- Rheumatology: Related to musculoskeletal disorders (bones, joints, muscles, etc.).
- Surgery: Physical operative procedures.
- Urology: Related to problems with the bladder and kidneys.
- Abdominal – Abdomen
- Cranial – Skull
- Digital – Fingers and toes
- Femoral – Thigh
- Gluteal – Buttock
- Inguinal – Groin
- Lumbar – Loin
- Mammary – Breast
- Nasal – Nose
- Pectoral – Chest
- Thoracis – Chest
- Ventral – Stomach
Past Medical History