Academic Word List- Positive and Negative Connotations

Level: Advanced

Topic: Profession, work or study

Grammar Topic: Vocabulary

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Type: Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan Text

Academic Word List- Positive and Negative Connotations
Without looking at the list below, listen to your teacher read out words and raise the 
Positive or Negative cards that you are given depending on what you hear. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Label the rows of words below P for positive or N for negative. 

abandon/ abandonment

ambiguous

arbitrary/ arbitrarily

accessible

accommodating

accurate

achievement/ achievable

adaptable

anticipation

approachable

appropriate

attainment

authoritative

awareness

beneficial/ benefit

biased

bulky

collapse

brevity

clarity

classic

coherent

commitment

compatible/ compatibility

comprehensive

constructive

consistency/ consistent

conformist/ conformity

contradictory

decline

contribute/ contribution

convincing

cooperation

credit/ credited

demonstrable

devote/ devoted/ devotion

discretion

discriminating

diversity/ diversify

distort/ distortion/ distorted

domination

erode/ erosion

dynamic

empirical

enable/ enabling

energetic

ethical

enhance/ enhancement

error/ erroneous

exposure

ideological

evolution/ evolve

expertise/ expertly facilitate

flexible/ flexibility

focused

guarantee

highlight

implementation

incentive

ignorant/ ignorance

implicate

injure/ injury

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

innovation/ innovative/ innovator

insight/ insightful

integrity

interactive

involving

justifiable

isolation/ isolationism

melodramatic

manipulation/ manipulative

logical

maximise

mediate/ mediation

methodical

motivated

mutual

minor

passive/ passivity overestimate/ underestimate

objective/ objectivity

persistent

phenomenal

precision

prime

priority

presumption/ presumptuous

prohibitive

reactionary

professionalism

proportionate

rational

refine/ refined/ refinement

relevant

reliable

reluctant

restrictive

rigid

resourceful

responsive

restore

revolutionise

secure/ security

selected/ selective

straightforward

transformation

ultimate

undergo

under-resourced

variable

Check your answers as a class. Can you find any patterns in parts of words that have 
positive or negative meanings?

Test each other in pairs.

Try to argue that one of the words above has the opposite aspect too, e.g. that a generally 
positive word has negative aspects.

What hedging language could you have used in the last stage to make your opinion 
softer?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

Academic Word List Positive and Negative Connotations
Cards to hold up

Photocopy and cut up one of each card per student. 

Positive Negative Positive Negative

Positive Negative Positive Negative

Positive Negative Positive Negative

Positive Negative Positive Negative

Positive Negative Positive Negative

Positive Negative Positive Negative

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013