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  1. #1
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    Default Improving your vocabulary Academic Word List

    If you are an academic type and want to improve your writing, one of the best tools out there is the Academic Word List. What it gives you are the 570 most word families common to all forms of academic writing irrespective of the subject.

    Here is a little exercise from my IELTS site. Look at these two paragraphs and decide which is the better academic writing.

    In contrast, there is only one major argument on the other side of the debate. This is that both museums and art galleries need to charge an entrance fee if they are to survive in the modern world. Governments do not have sufficient funds to subsidise all such institutions and there are other priorities for public money. Therefore these galleries and museums need to charge their customers not only to survive but to update their exhibitions and make new purchases. By way of illustration, the Tate Modern in London could not have been founded without revenue from admissions.

    But there is only one good argument against. This is that both museums and art galleries need to charge for entrance if they are to live in the modern world. Governments do not have enough funds to give all such places and there are other needs for public money. Therefore these galleries and museums need to charge their customers not only to stay in business but to update what they show the public and buy new paintings. For example, the Tate Modern in London could not have been set up without money from admissions.

    With luck you chose the first one. What are the differences? They are all to do with the AWL:

    in contrast = but
    major = good
    survive = live
    sufficient = enough
    subsidise = give
    institutions = places
    exhibitions = what they show the public
    illustration = example
    founded = set up

    Simple when you know how. If you are looking for good AWL resources, I can't recommend the Nottingham University site too highly: I am also building my own set of exercises based on my IELTS essays with added word of the day exercises.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Improving your vocabulary Academic Word List

    Quote Originally Posted by teacherdominic View Post
    If you are an academic type and want to improve your writing, one of the best tools out there is the Academic Word List. What it gives you are the 570 most word families common to all forms of academic writing irrespective of the subject.

    Here is a little exercise from my IELTS site. Look at these two paragraphs and decide which is the better academic writing.

    In contrast, there is only one major argument on the other side of the debate. This is that both museums and art galleries need to charge an entrance fee if they are to survive in the modern world. Governments do not have sufficient funds to subsidise all such institutions and there are other priorities for public money. Therefore these galleries and museums need to charge their customers not only to survive but to update their exhibitions and make new purchases. By way of illustration, the Tate Modern in London could not have been founded without revenue from admissions.

    But there is only one good argument against. This is that both museums and art galleries need to charge for entrance if they are to live in the modern world. Governments do not have enough funds to give all such places and there are other needs for public money. Therefore these galleries and museums need to charge their customers not only to stay in business but to update what they show the public and buy new paintings. For example, the Tate Modern in London could not have been set up without money from admissions.

    With luck you chose the first one. What are the differences? They are all to do with the AWL:

    in contrast = but
    major = good
    survive = live
    sufficient = enough
    subsidise = give
    institutions = places
    exhibitions = what they show the public
    illustration = example
    founded = set up

    Simple when you know how. If you are looking for good AWL resources, I can't recommend the Nottingham University site too highly: I am also building my own set of exercises based on my IELTS essays with added word of the day exercises.
    Here are the stats produced by the UE Text Analysis Tool:

    Text 1:
    General Statistics Word Length Breakdown
    Total Word Count: 98
    Total Unique Words: 69
    Number of Sentences: 5
    Average Sentence Length: 19.60
    Number of Paragraphs: 1
    Hard Words: 13 (13.27%) (what's this?)
    Lexical Density: 70.41% (what's this?)
    Fog Index: 13.15 (what's this?)

    Length Count Graph
    2 letter words 18 18.4%
    3 letter words 21 21.4%
    4 letter words 16 16.3%
    5 letter words 12 12.2%
    6 letter words 8 8.2%
    7 letter words 7 7.1%
    8 letter words 3 3.1%
    9 letter words 6 6.1%
    10 letter words 3 3.1%
    11 letter words 2 2.0%
    12 letter words 2 2.0%
    Text 2:
    General Statistics Word Length Breakdown
    Total Word Count: 94
    Total Unique Words: 64
    Number of Sentences: 5
    Average Sentence Length: 18.80
    Number of Paragraphs: 1
    Hard Words: 5 (5.32%) (what's this?)
    Lexical Density: 68.09% (what's this?)
    Fog Index: 9.65 (what's this?)

    Length Count Graph
    2 letter words 14 14.9%
    3 letter words 23 24.5%
    4 letter words 21 22.3%
    5 letter words 11 11.7%
    6 letter words 10 10.6%
    7 letter words 5 5.3%
    8 letter words 3 3.2%
    9 letter words 5 5.3%
    10 letter words 1 1.1%
    11 letter words 1 1.1%
    I know which I prefer.

    b

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Improving your vocabulary Academic Word List

    Re my last: I know almost nothing about IELTS, and have no pretensions about teaching people how to write in an academic style. When I talked about a preference, it was strictly a personal one.

    b

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Improving your vocabulary Academic Word List

    Quote Originally Posted by teacherdominic View Post
    ...
    If you are looking for good AWL resources, I can't recommend the Nottingham University site too highly: I am also building my own set of exercises based on my IELTS essays with added word of the day exercises.
    I agree that this is a valuable resource for students. The exercises in particular look helpful.
    However, I disagree with the premise that whatever has been produced in academia is actually what is best. A bigger word is not necessarily a better word.

    By the way, I much prefer "For example ..." to "By way of illustration ...", though this is a good way for lazy students to get their word count up.

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