5 Tips on Expanding Your Vocabulary for Essay Writing


Have you ever been stuck writing an essay because you couldn’t choose the proper words? Or maybe you have received a mark lower than expected due to ‘limited vocabulary’? It’s a common problem, especially for students who have never written anything close to creative or analytical. However, we’ve got you covered! Go through the tips below, and, provided you follow them, your speech and writing will become much more diverse.

5 Tips on Expanding Your Vocabulary for Essay Writing

Read Short Stories

Let’s make the typical ‘read more’ recommendation more specific. In the end, one can interpret it differently. Usually, the ‘read more’ advice sounds as if you should drop everything, take Ulysses, all books of War and Peace, combine all of it with Greek mythology, and dive into this mixture for several months. No need for this madness.

First of all, you still need to study, live, attend school, and actually write your essays. Asking a professional “write my essay for me” is not a bad idea, but no one else but you can take care of the rest. So, compose your reading list wisely: start with something small but not primitive.

Even a short ‘At the Funeral’ essay written by Mark Twain is a nice piece of literature that will both cheer you up and help you expand your active vocabulary. Just mind that the latter is possible only if you read regularly.

…But Do Not Stick to One Genre or Writer

Even if you adore a specific genre or have tender memories related to reading a particular author or book, do explore others. Even within one genre, styles may overlap since authors learn from each other to write a similar kind of fiction. It’s okay for them and for you as well, but only if you aim to succeed in one genre or type of essay (philosophy, for example).

In any case, everyone still needs to have something special about their own writing style, which can be unique only if you read diverse literature and experiment. For instance, if you pick some fantasy or horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft, a lot of the words you’ll see in these works will be descriptive.

On the other hand, another writer’s stories may be about something abstract, like feelings and emotions. Therefore, abstract words will prevail there. Knowing both (how to genuinely describe scenery and write about abstract things) is quite important. That way, your style will seem neither tight and boring nor ridiculous due to cliches used to express one’s feelings.

Order Some Samples to Learn From

If you look through the Essay Pro reviews by nocramming.com, you may notice that the prices and quality are quite a good match there. So, it’s a suitable service for one to order a sample or two to look at the topic you’ve covered from a different angle.

What words did the expert use? Why didn’t you use them? What if you know all the words but, for some reason, always forget about them? Highlight all of those and look through the list from time to time. Create a challenge for yourself: when completing an essay, use at least 10 words from your passive vocabulary to remember them.

Install a Vocabulary App

Install a Vocabulary App

Basically, any language-learning app will do if it lets you choose to train your vocabulary specifically. For instance, the Drops app that helps people learn many languages from English to Chinese works mainly with vocabulary and has clear categories.

The same goes for ED Words – choose the category related to the subjects you need to write essays on and practice. Of course, such apps usually start with basics, but you can skip them or actually test your active vocabulary. Sometimes, there are a lot of words one can understand when hearing them but not use them in daily life or in writing.

Skim Through Other Academic Works

To be able to reproduce indirect speech accurately, one needs to know some other words except for ‘say’, ‘be’, and ‘can’. While reading a research paper or a dissertation, one can notice that during a literature analysis, authors use diverse verbs to specify the type of arguments someone has made:

  • State;
  • Argue;
  • Agree;
  • Disagree;
  • Add;
  • Share;
  • Suggest;
  • Insist;
  • Concur;
  • Postulate, and so on.

Sure, some of the words above (like concur or postulate) may not be suitable for a typical essay, but you are free to use the rest instead of repeating ‘he said, she said’. The point is to find the balance when choosing words not to overcomplicate or oversimplify your writing.

Summing Up

See? It’s not really that hard to learn some new words. You don’t need to visit additional lectures or read thousands of pages. Regularly reading short essays and stories, highlighting specific words in others’ papers, and spending about 10 minutes a day using an application can help you a lot. Just start with something least straining, and improvement will follow in a while!


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