Adorning your essays with NEW VOCAB the RIGHT WAY!

Joyce Ling

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Although clarity in expression takes priority, employing sophisticated vocabulary will win you major points with the examiner. Essays with a (healthy) level of adornment tend to demonstrate greater control of language and insight, giving the piece a perceptive and erudite aspect. Nevertheless, trying to employ new vocabulary seamlessly in your essay can be tough- rather than swapping random words in and out of your essay post-mortem, adapting your vocabulary bank to your own writing style can make the process a lot less jarring.


Finding the right bank for you

The conditions of your vocabulary bank should be suited to your specific needs. A focus on a need or theme enables more visible connections within the vocabulary bank. Having those connections will make it easier to 'memorise' new terms. Instead of compiling a dense 20-page glossary, try breaking your vocabulary bank up into smaller, specific sections.


For example, if you're hoping to find new verbs to express the author's intention:

  1. Expressions used in previous essays

The author argues

The author shows  

The author criticises

The author supports


  1. Branch off 'argue' (Fervent tone):

contends, asserts, posits, proffers…

Branch off 'shows' (Neutral tone):

demonstrates, exposes, elucidates, delineates, explicates…

Branch off 'criticises' (Negative tone):

condemns, denigrates, lampoons, parodies…

Branch off 'supports' (Positive tone):

praises, endorses, exalts, lauds…


From storage to use

After clarifying their definitions, try using some of your new words in a sentence or a paragraph, relating to either your texts or language analysis. You can also extend your vocabulary bank by adapting the words to different sentence structures:


The author criticises the superficiality of our consumerist culture.


The author condemns the superficiality of our consumerist culture.


In a condemnatory tone, the author delineates the ostentation of our consumerist culture.


The author argues that gender is an arbitrary concept.


The author asserts that gender is an arbitrary concept.


Asserting that gender is an arbitrary concept, the author explicates the categorist nature of human understanding.


Using convoluted expressions can be fun or exasperating! Whilst demonstrating extensive vocabulary may raise your mark, the key is to ensure harmony between your words and your understanding.

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