What is the most useful vocabulary for writing IELTS essays? I’d suggest that it is the vocabulary that you can use in any essay, no matter what it is about. I this post I give you a useful list of vocabulary that you can down load and use in all sorts of essays. I also show you a way of using this vocabulary to help structure your essays and make them more coherent.
IELTS essay vocabulary for downloadIELTS essay vocabulary (115914)– a download of IELTS essay vocabulary list
Problem vocabulary – language to help you write about problems that need solving (download here: Problem vocabulary for IELTS essays (60512))
How to structure an IELTS essay using key vocabulary
I would suggest that one way you can use this type of vocabulary is to help structure your writing. This has two benefits:
- it makes the writing process easier because a significant amount of the language you need is “structural” – if you learn to use this vocabulary, almost half your essay is already written
- it makes your writing more coherent by helping you to write essays with a clear structure
An example of an essay map
To show you what I mean, take a look at this outline of an essay. It contains 125 words: that is half of all the words you need for an IELTS essay.
One of the most controversial issues today relates to . ……………. In this essay, I am going to examine this question from both points of view
On one side of the argument there are people who argue that the benefits of considerably outweigh its disadvantages. The main reason for believing this is that …………………. It is also possible to say that …….One good illustration of this is ………….
On the other hand, it is also possible to make the opposing case. It is often argued that in fact ……….. People often have this opinion because …………… A second point is that ………..A particularly good example here is…………..
As we have seen, there are no easy answers to this question. On balance, however, I tend to believe that ……………..
Where else can you find this vocabulary?
- A sensible way to find more similar vocabulary is by reading sample essays and noting down useful phrases. Look for phrases that seem useful to you and note them down.
- Another great resource is of course the Academic Word List which comprises the 560 words most used in academic writing of all kinds.
- You will also find lots more vocabulary resources on my vocabulary page together with advice on how to use it.
Should you just learn these phrases?
That depends. If you are looking for a “quick fix” to get a result asap, it is one possible approach. However, that may not work. If your general English is of a lower standard, the examiner is likely to realise that these are “learnt” phrases and you may not get credit for them.
If you have more time to prepare, I have another suggestion. Adopt and adapt. This means:
- you choose a few of these phrases – not all of them
- you see how they work by trying them in your own essays
- you adapt them to your writing