This lesson provides you with some useful vocabulary for technology – one of the key topics in IELTS. I have tried to do more than give you a list of words, so you will find notes, phrases and examples:
- to show you which other words these words are used with
- to give you ideas for speaking and writing essays
- to help you use the words correctly
Test yourself first
When you write and speak about computers and technology, very often you will be asked to say how technology has changed or progressed.
Progress is an uncountable word, while advance is countable. So you say that “digital technology is an advance” but you cannot say that “digital technology is
Another common topic is to talk about what effect computer technology has had on our lives
Be careful with the difference between “affect” (generally a verb) and “effect” (generally a noun). Just to confuse you, in English they sound exactly the same.
“impact” and “influence” are often used with the preposition “on”
Technology and computer words
It is very easy to keep on repeating the same word without knowing it. One way not to do this is to change the form of the word or to use it in a different phrase.
Be careful with the spelling of technology.
A “technophile” loves technology and a “technophobe” hates it. In speaking, you could use the less formal word “geek” for technophile, but I would avoid it writing.
There is no great difference between “ICT” and “IT”. However, as my example shows ICT is most frequently used as the name of an academic subject.
It is normal to use hyphens (-) in adjective phrases such as “state-of-the-art” when they are used before nouns (“state-of-the-art technology”), but you do not always need them when they are used without a noun (“this technology is state of the art”).
“obsolete” is similar in meaning to “outdated”, but is a stronger word to show that the technology is so old that it cannot be used any longer.
It is normal to write “high tech” rather than “high technology”.
This is a rather confusing set of words to describe different kinds of objects.
A “device” is often something fairly small that allows you to complete a task. There is a strong collocation (very common phrase): “labour-saving device”.
“Equipment” is an uncountable word so you need to say “a piece of equipment”. It is a very general use word that can be used to describe almost anything mechanical.
“Gadget” is a word often used to describe objects that are either small or have a less serious purpose.
“Appliance” is typically used in the phrase “electrical appliances” (eg irons and kettles) that are less advanced technology.
Other useful words
This is a selection of other words that may come in useful when discussing technology
- technology phrases: matching exercise to find technology phrases
- technology sentences: gap fill exercise to insert the correct word in the sentence
- gap fill essay: choose the correct words/phrases to complete an essay on technology
Download the vocabularyTechnology vocabulary (22498)
Useful sites to improve your science and technology vocabulary
The best way to improve your vocabulary is without doubt reading. So why not try looking at these sites to see if you can find something to interest you: