Top Tips for IELTS

Crime vocabulary and exercises

One of the core topics for IELTS is crime and justice. It is a tricky area as there are a number of quite technical words that need to be learnt. So what you will find here is not so much as a list of words, but more useful phrases that you can use in context. You will also find language notes and exercises to help you use this crime vocabulary.


Types of crime

Rather than learn lists of very specific words for names of individual crimes, it is almost certainly more useful to learn phrases that describe different categories of crime:

Key words

Another key word here is “offence” which is a close synonym for crime. It is a slightly broader word as it includes behaviour that is not necessarily criminal. You can also use the phrase “criminal behaviour“.


Key words/ideas

There is a common saying that “the punishment should fit the crime“.  If you wish to practise this vocabulary, a standard exercise is to look at the crimes and decide what punishment you think they should receive.

In some countries, there is still capital punishment/the death penalty, while this is banned in other countries. An occasional IELTS essay topic is to discuss the merits of capital punishment. What are the arguments for and against it?

Another topic you need to consider is crime prevention. Is it more effective to send someone to prison or to prevent the crime in the first place? Linked into this idea is whether prison sentences act as a deterrent to criminals.

The justice process

The details of this will vary from the country to country, but here are some of the main ideas:

Useful phrases



These are 3 exercises in the form of paragraphs from IELTS essays:

A great place to get more crime vocabulary

Get more vocabulary and ideas for IELTS


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7 Responses to Crime vocabulary and exercises

  1. Kay September 19, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    I’m preparing for this topic today. It’s really helpful.
    Last week task 1 is a map, and one month ago there was a process diagram. I don’t think this week it’ll be a map or process diagram. So I don’t decide to prepare for maps. And I have no idea about how to write it.
    P.S. I am going to take IELTS exam this week. ~~~~(>_<)~~~~

    • Dominic Cole September 19, 2011 at 4:23 am #

      Hmmm. The map is an unusual one. I’ll try and post something this week.

      • Thena January 18, 2012 at 9:20 am #

        It’s a pleasure to find such raitaonilty in an answer. Welcome to the debate.

  2. Radmila September 19, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    Drunken driving or drink driving?

    • Dominic Cole September 19, 2011 at 9:39 am #

      The offence is commonly termed “drink driving”. You could also say “driving when drunk”, or if you wanted to be super-correct “driving under the influence of alcohol”.

      • Radmila September 19, 2011 at 10:01 am #

        thank you)

  3. asadullah October 3, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    well,in kind revues,i hereby thx for the great opportunity for phrases on different topis,but kindly please leave the phrases on academic writing part..whatsoever possible

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