IELTS essays: vocabulary tips

How do you achieve a high band score in IELTS essays? Well, it is possible, but there are no shortcuts. To score well on the IELTS writing tasks, you must have excellent command over English grammar. You also need to possess a vast vocabulary. Unfortunately, learning grammar and vocabulary takes time. Nonetheless, there are a few things that you can do to speed up the process. In this lesson, I will give you some tips for improving your vocabulary.

1. Avoid the repetition of words

Don’t get stuck on certain words. It is a common problem and the only solution is to learn more and more words. If you have a vast vocabulary, you will have no trouble finding the right words. Sometimes repeating the same word is unavoidable to a certain extent. This usually happens with words used in the question itself. In such cases where you can’t find another word, repeat the same word in another form. For example, use a noun form instead of a verb form.

2. Overworked words

This is another common problem. The most common overworked words are get, go and nice.

Study the following sentences.

He gets two hundred dollars a week.

While studying in Sydney, Peter got a strong Australian accent.

She got the baby to drink some milk.

Luckily I got the last train from Chicago.

These sentences can be written using more appropriate words. Study the following sentences.

He earns two hundred dollars a week.

While studying in Sydney, Peter acquired a strong Australian accent.

She coaxed the baby to drink some milk.

Luckily I caught the last train from Chicago.

Another word that is often overworked is nice.

My uncle is always nice to visitors. (Write: My uncle is always kind to visitors.)

The three days I spent in Rio were nice. (Write: The three days I spent in Rio were enjoyable.)

3. Avoid words that repeat an idea

Look at the groups of words given below. The italicized word or words are unnecessary and can be left out.

Up until; free gift; green in colour; follow after; continue on

We continued on to the next city. (Write: We continued to the next city.)

The policeman followed after the thief into the jungle. (Write: The policeman followed the thief into the jungle.)

She offered me a free gift. (Write: She offered me a gift.)

4. Avoid conversation words that should not be written

Certain words and phrases used in ordinary conversation are not considered appropriate in formal writing. Examples are given below.

Touch luck (Use unfortunate instead)

Have a go (use try instead)

Rip off (use defraud instead)

A piece of cake (use easy instead)

5. Learn word combinations

When you learn vocabulary, learn phrases and not just words.

There are certain word combinations that always go together. These are often called collocations. Examples are: burning desire, blazing row, heavy smoker, indulgent father etc. Word combinations like these are easy to understand, but not so easy for a learner to produce correctly. So, learn them.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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