English word of the day: PERVASIVE

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Hi students! Today’s adjective of the day is pervasive. Not persuasive – that’s a word meaning something that can easily persuade or convince you, change your mind. This is pervasive, with a V in the middle. Let’s say it together – pervasive. Per-VAS-ive

Something that is pervasive has the quality that it tends to spread and fill up an area, so that it ends up having a wide influence or effect. A simple example is a strong smell, maybe you cook with strong spices like curry and you could say that the smell of curry is pervasive. This doesn’t mean it’s good or bad, just that it tends to spread and fill the whole house.

We typically use this word to describe ideas, feelings, and trends that tend to spread and not stay small. For example, racism is a pervasive problem in many countries. It’s something that affects a lot of people, and society in general.

Or you could say that social media has become pervasive, because this technology has spread throughout the world and so many people use it, and it also affects our daily lives a lot.

So the adjective pervasive simply means widespread, but as I was looking up examples, I realized that we do often tend to use it for negative things.

A pervasive sense of inferiority would be a lack of confidence that impacts your whole life and your whole personality; a pervasive disease would be one that affects many systems throughout your body. And again we often talk about pervasive problems in society, like racism or poverty or depression, saying that they are pervasive means they affect a lot of people and wide areas of society.

Got it? So try to write your own sentence – what’s a pervasive problem in your company, your school, or your country? That’s all for today – thanks for joining me, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.


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