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Complex – IELTS word of the day

Today’s word from the academic word list is:



  • This is one of those must have words for IELTS: an academic word that can be used in a variety of different contexts
  • The forms of  the word you need are complex, complicated, complexity, complicate,  and complication

The difference between complex and complicated

These are 2 similar adjectives, but they do tend to be used differently.

  • Complex describes something that is made up of several different parts that may be simple by themselves but combine to make a complex whole.
  • Complicated is more of a value word. If you describe something as complicated, it tends to be mean it is too difficult than it needs to be. It is more negative. So, for example, your writing may be complex, but it should not be complicated.

More notes

  • words used with complex and complicated include: area, issue, relationship and process
  • complex has another meaning as a set of buildings, eg a sports complex


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One Response to Complex – IELTS word of the day

  1. Dinaz January 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Unemployment is a complex issue and there is no one clear cut solution to solving it.

    Is Complex used correctly in the above sentence ?

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