Part of speech:
Both a noun ("a baseline," "the baseline")
and an adjective ("baseline scores," "the baseline performance")
"Baseline" has a specific meaning in many fields, like sports, art, and surveying.
Here's the general meaning: a baseline is a basic starting point or a specific basic value that you use to make comparisons.
How to use it:
For the noun, talk about determining a baseline, establishing a baseline, providing a baseline, using something as a baseline for something else, comparing changes to the baseline, and so on. You can also say "a baseline of something," as in "a baseline of strength," "a baseline of good health," "a baseline of happiness," "a baseline of energy consumption in our house," etc. For situations in which comparisons are hard to make, especially regarding changes over time, talk about lacking a baseline or needing a baseline.
For the adjective, talk about baseline qualities, baseline characteristics, baseline testing, baseline data, a baseline score, a baseline performance, baseline knowledge, baseline skills, etc.
Sitting silently and paying attention to the teacher are baseline expectations in a high school classroom, and yet it can be a constant battle to get the students to actually do that.
When I first meet a student, I like to observe her reading and writing to get a feel for her baseline skills.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "baseline" means when you can explain it without saying "starting point" or "basic level."
Think of a time you were just starting to learn something or just starting to work toward a goal, and fill in the blanks: "At the start of __(learning something new or working toward a goal)___, I noticed __(something basic you could or could not do)___, which served as a baseline for improvement."
Example: "At the start of my first carpentry project, I noticed that I had to disguise my errors with a lot of caulk, which served as a baseline for improvement."
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:
Our game for May is: “What Do These Words Have in Common?”
The three words given will have something specific in common. (More than one right answer might be possible, but I've only got one particular answer in mind for each set of words.) I've arranged the questions from easiest to hardest, so today’s should be pretty easy. By the end of the month, expect some whoppers.
What do these words have in common?: mouse, cherub, die (the cube with dots for playing games)
Answer: All have irregular plurals: mice, cherubim, and dice.
Try this one today: brunch, Texarkana, Velcro
A Point Well Made:
Laura Miller: “The first book we fall in love with shapes us every bit as much as the first person we fall in love with.”
1. The closest opposite of BASELINE is
2. We haven't budged from the baseline of monthly sales, and _____.
A. this utter lack of progress is beyond frustrating
B. if we can keep that up, we're certain to meet our loftiest goal
C. those who accused us of doing so have no data to back up that claim
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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