Word Usage for CDS & Defence Exams

By : Naveen Singh

Updated : Dec 3, 2020, 23:03

Serving one’s country is the greatest opportunity anyone can get in their lifetime. While most of us can serve our nation by being socially alert and caring for the nation's integrity and safety, there is a section of people who opt to make it their life's mission to serve their nation! These are the nation's defence forces who act as the security barrier that keeps us safe from the enemies of the country.

Getting into the defence jobs is undoubtedly a matter of pride but can also be an uphill task. The entrance examinations are devised to ensure only the best of the lot can get through, and understandably so. Here is an exhaustive list of the government organizations that conduct defence examinations: UPSC CDS, UPSC-NDA, CISF, CRPF, Central Armed Police Forces, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Cantonment Board, State Police Subordinate Selection Commission, Border Defense Organisation, Bureau of Police Research and Development, Indo-Tibetian Border Police, and Railway Protection Force (RPF).

Importance of Word Usage in Defence Exams

English, as a language, can be tricky having a vast vocabulary of words, similar sounding words with very different meanings, one-word having several substitutes, and the different parts of speeches. If we notice the syllabus for the defence entrance exams, we realize that all these exams place special focus on English vocabulary, parts of speeches, and grammar. These three constitute the word usage definition to provide guidance on how to prepare for the exams. 

Tips to Prepare Word Usage Questions for Defence Exams

English is an important element of defence examinations and mastering the vocabulary is imperative. Here are some quick tips that will help us sail through the use of words in defence exams smoothly:

  1. Extensive reading: This is one underrated but highly effective way of improving English as well as overall knowledgebase. Be it newspaper articles, social media write-ups, or magazines; reading can help expand English word usage as very few others can.
  2. Making notes: It is recommended to note down all words whose meaning is not understood, and then take it ahead by looking them up online. This way, remembering them becomes easy.
  3. Keeping a Thesaurus ready: It is always recommended to keep Collin's dictionary or Merriam Webster handy to expand the vocabulary base as a learner.
  4. Increasing interactivity in English: Conversing in English and discussing difficult words with friends can help to memorise the words better. Interactivity always ensures that learning is expedited.

Types of Word Usage Practice Questions:

General Knowledge and English comprise a major chunk of questions in defence exams. To perfect those questions, let us view some word usage practice questions:

1. Multiple choice

The man disappeared after he was rescuing a boy from drowning.

Was rescued

Has been rescued

Had rescued

No improvement

Correct Answer: Had rescued

2. One-word substitution

1) To-Do Away With Rules

2) The Act Of Freeing A Person From A Charge By Verdict

3) Fear of Height


1) Abrogate

2) Acquittal

3) Aerophobia

3. Rearrangement of answer options chronologically

  1. Not only drinking

(p) smoking

(q) But also

(r) is very

(s) injurious

2. to health

4. Which sequence of options p, q, r, and s fits between 1. and 6.?

(a) qprs

(b) pqrs

(c) spqr

(d) rpqs

Answer: (a)qprs

Best Books for Word Usage Practice for Defence Exams



‘English for General Competitions' (earlier known as Plinth to Paramount) (2 vol)

Neetu Singh 

High School English Grammar & Composition

Wren and Martin

General Knowledge

Lucent's GK book

Why Prepare Word Usage Questions From BYJU'S Exam Prep?

There are various online sources that offer word usage practice sets of questions with answers. One such website is BYJU'S Exam Prep. BYJU'S Exam Prep provides a single roof to prepare for all defence examinations. You will be able to access word usage practice sets with answers. It has a variety of offerings including word usage study material pdf, quiz for defence exams, practice questions, and many others, and provides access to a team of experts from whom students can learn from the comfort of their home.

Word Usage Frequently Asked Questions:

1) How do I improve my English vocabulary?

One of the proven but underrated methods is reading. The more we read, the more we expand the vocabulary of English words. Read English newspapers every day. You may read "The Hindu", "Hindustan Times", "The Economic Times", or you might as well read Egnlish journals and publications.

2) What are the type of questions that I can expect for the English section of the defence examinations?

Grammar questions are usually in the form of 'Fill in the blanks' or 'Spot the errors'. Apart from these, word substitution, sentence arrangement, and cloze tests that ask to replace a missing word with the appropriate word from the given options is also not uncommon.

3) How do I prepare for English and grammar for defence exams in the shortest time?

By solving previous year's papers, you should be able to maximize the preparation in the shortest time.

4) Is subscribing to online portals like BYJU'S Exam Prep necessary?

Yes, because BYJU'S Exam Prep will streamline your learning process and guide you with the correct resources in a time-effective way.

5) Is proficiency over spoken English as important as over written English?

Yes, because defence exams also involve interviews that require you to speak with confidence. Although nobody is rejected for not being fluent enough in English, lack of better speaking skills can deter your confidence level.