Academic Word List- Comparing and Contrasting

Level: Advanced

Topic: Profession, work or study

Grammar Topic: Vocabulary

Submitted by:

Type: Lesson Plans

      Page: /       Download PDF (123 KB)

Lesson Plan Text

Academic Word List- Comparing and Contrasting
Worksheet 1 – Comparing and contrasting phrases presentation

Complete these phrases for comparing and contrasting. There are several possible 
answers for each.

They are ________________________________________________________ the same

They are _________________________________________________________ identical

They are __________________________________________________________ similar

They are _________________________________________________________ different

A is _____________________________________________________... er/ more…than B

A is ____________________________________________________________ as… as B

The __________________________________________ difference between A and B is…

A/ An _________________________________________ difference between A and B is…

Use words and phrases under the fold to help you with task above. Some can be used 
more than once. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

… percent

… times

a great deal

a lot

a (tiny) bit

absolutely

almost

basically

biggest

completely

considerably

exactly

fairly

(far) far

great

half

more or less

most important

most obvious

most significant

much

(not/ very) nearly

(not) quite

obvious

one and a half times

only/ sole

practically

quite a lot

slightly

substantially

surprisingly

three quarters

totally

twice

very

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

Mixed up answers
Match the lists of words below to the gapped sentences on the previous page. 
A) a tiny bit/ a bit/ slightly/ … percent/ quite a lot/ considerably/ substantially/ a great deal/ 

a lot/ much/ far/ … times/ far far

B) almost/ absolutely
C) almost/ more or less/ nearly/ very nearly/ basically/ exactly
D) biggest/ most important/ most significant/ most obvious/ only/ sole
E) great/ obvious
F) not nearly/ half/ three quarters/ not quite/ nearly/ almost/ exactly/ one and a half times/ 

twice/ three times

G) slightly/ quite/ fairly/ very/ completely/ totally
H) very/ quite/ surprisingly

Compare with the answer key under the fold. Do any of the expressions have (basically) 
the same meaning?

--------------------------------

Suggested answers

They are _almost/ more or less/ practically/ nearly/ very nearly/ basically/ exactly_ the 
same

They are ___________almost/ absolutely__________________________ identical

They are _______________________ very/ quite/ surprisingly ______________ simil-
ar

They are _____________slightly/ quite/ very/ completely/ totally__________ different

A is ______ a tiny bit/ a bit/ slightly/ … percent/ quite a lot/ considerably/ substantially/ 
a great deal/ a lot/ much/ far/ … times/ far far_______ ….er/ more…/ less… than B

A is ______not nearly/ half/ three quarters/ not quite/ nearly/ almost/ exactly/ one and a 
half times/ twice/ three times ______ as… as B.

The ______________ biggest/ most important/ most significant/ most obvious/ only/ 
sole __________ difference between A and B is…

A/ An _______________ great/ obvious ____________ difference between A and B 
is…

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

Worksheet 2 – Comparing and contrasting places
Compare one of these things in your country/ city and other places, supporting your 
arguments. Your partner will agree or disagree, or if they don’t know the other place they 
will just ask for more support for your arguments. 

- Acceptance of differences in sexuality
- Belief in personal transformation
- Bullying subordinates
Carbon offsetting
Corporate restructuring
- Electricity generation
- Government use of statistics
Granting sabbaticals
Immigration
- Importance of hierarchy
Infrastructure
- Interest in sustainability
- Job security
- Maintaining traditions
- Naming of successors
Number of guidelines from the government
- Number of subsidiaries
- Publication of theses
Research funding
Residential care
Restoration of historical buildings
Rigid management
- School resources
- Self-sufficiency of adult children
Stress
- Strictness of school grading
Submissive females
Suspension from school
- Taking dietary supplements
- Tax revenues
- Teaching of study techniques
Temporary jobs
- The baby boomer generation
- The impact of globalisation
- The IT sector
Theoretical physics
Times when you need to use identification
Transmission of disease
- Treatment of historic sites

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

- Use of panel interviews
Volunteering
Welfare payments

All the words in italics above are from the AWL. Ask about any you don’t know.
Worksheet 3 – Comparing and contrasting Academic Word List vocabulary
How different are the following words from the Academic Word List and the words next to 
them and what are the differences if there are any? Work together to write two sentences 
saying those things, e.g. 
“’A majority’ is almost the same as ‘most’. The biggest difference 
is that majority can also mean anything over 50%”

A generation/ An era

A majority/ Most

A medium/ Media

A parallel/ A similarity

A perspective/ A viewpoint

An illustration/ A figure

An image/ An icon

An institute/ An academy

An instructor/ A teacher

At short intervals/ For a short time

Banned/ Prohibited

Conservative/ Reactionary

Exactly/ Precisely

For Instance/ For example

Habits/ Norms

Identification/ ID

Ignorance/ Stupidity

Immaturity/ Childishness

Index/ Contents page

Individualism/ Selfishness

Inhibit/ Restrict

Initially/ At first

Innovator/ Inventor

Insightful/ Intuitive

Integrate/ Merge

Internalise/ Remember

Irrational/ Illogical

Isolation/ Loneliness

Labourer/ Worker

Legislation/ Law

Legislator/ Lawyer

Magazine/ Journal

Manipulate/ Control

Manual/ Handbook

Mechanism/ Machine

Mediate/ Negotiate

Minimalise/ Reduce

Ministry/ Government department

Minor/ Unimportant

Misinterpretation/ Misunderstanding

Objectivity/ Logic

Odd/ Abnormal

Paragraph/ Section

Predicted/ Inevitable

Preliminary/ Preparatory

Principal/ Principle

Private investigator/ Private detective

Professor/ Lecturer

Psychiatry/ Psychology

Purchase/ Buy

Qualitative/ Quantitative

Ratio/ Percentage

Regime/ Government

Relocate/ Move

Spouse/ Partner

Stubborn/ Persistent

The same/ Identical

Theory/ Paradigm

To itemise/ To list

Uninvolved/ Disinterested

Unjustified/ Unjust

Homework
Choose one of the tasks below and write at least 250 words on the topic of your choice. If 
you run out of things to say at fewer than 200 words, choose another and continue. 

Compare the past, present and future of one thing

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

Compare two things

Compare two solutions to one problem

Compare competing theories (e.g. for why something happens)

Compare different predictions for the future of something

Compare different future possibilities depending on what action is taken

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013