by | December 28, 2010

    E4 Show Word Web


    Exceptional Expressions For Everyday Events

    In a classroom, students may be asked to show how they solved a math problem. Teachers may show students how to use microscopes correctly. In both situations, the activity requires a demonstration of how a task is accomplished. The word show can be used as a verb or as a noun.

    To show artwork is to let people see it. A student might need to show a note from a teacher to his parents. A traveler could be asked to show her passport at an airport. To show can also mean to prove or to confirm. For example, a student might be asked to show that he can be trusted to care for the class pet.

    As a noun, show refers to a public display or performance. A show could be live theater, such as a play on Broadway in New York City. It could be a television or radio program, or even the entertainment provided by a musician on the street.


    • How is demonstrating a concept different from putting your work on display?
    • What does it mean to exhibit certain behaviors or traits?
    • How might students who like to write showcase their talent?

    The Spanish Connection

    The word show comes from the Middle English sheuen that means “to look at, display.” From the definition of sheuen, we see that the original meaning for show was a verb that over time developed into use as a noun. The Spanish word for to show is mostrar. Show and mostrar are not cognates, but some synonyms for show are.

    Word Changes

    • In the late 19th century, a popular form of public entertainment was provided by groups of traveling performers. These events were known as dog and pony shows because these groups often performed with these animals. Today the idiom dog and pony show is used, in a somewhat negative sense, to refer to a presentation that is overdone, especially one that is part of a promotional campaign.
    • In modern times, there are many different kinds of shows, and show is often used to form compound words such as showcase, showtime, and showmanship.
    • Some synonyms for the verb show are morphological family members of some synonyms for the noun show. For example, to exhibit is often defined as “to show artwork,” while the noun exhibition is a public display of artwork.
    E4 Show Morphology Web