Academic English Words You Should Know that are useful for IELTS – Sublist 1 of AWL

The Academic Word List is a compilation of the most used words in academic writing. In total there are 570 word families divided into 10 sublists.  Sublist 1 is made up of 60 words which are the most often used words in academic writing and therefore very useful for succeeding in  your IELTS exam.

Try to add these words to your writing – just a few at a time. Try to become familiar with their meanings, especially how they are used by taking notice of them when you are reading news, magazine articles, blogs, and books.

Here is the first sublist of the Academic Word List (most used) in alphabetical order with some words that are part of their word family (note the different prefixes and suffixes):

analyze (verb): to look closely and examine something carefully in order to understand it. Words in family: analysis (noun), analytical (adjective), analytically (adverb) analyst (noun)

  • His job is to analyze a company’s financial and marketing data in order to make a recommendation on whether or not to invest in that company.

approach (noun): a way of doing something. See more definitions. Words in family: approachable (adjective), approach (verb)

area (noun): a part of a building or piece of land or region of a country; part of a subject or activity. See more definitions.

assess (verb): to make a judgement about a person or situation after thinking carefully about it; to calculate the value or cost of something. Words in family: assessment (noun), reassess (verb),

  • Your IELTS essay is assessed on 4 criteria: task approach, coherence & cohesion, vocabulary and grammar.

assume (verb): to think that something is true although you don’t have proof. Words in family: assumption (noun)

  • I didn’t know that you were working from home yesterday. I assumed you were just sick and didn’t come in to work.

authority (noun): having power because of your position. See more definitions. Words in family: authorize (verb), authoritative (adjective)

  • In her new job, she was given the authority to hire new people.

available (adjective): something that is able to be used or easily bought or found. See more definitions. Words in family: availability (noun)

benefit (noun): the advantage, good effects, help  or improvement of something. See more definitions. Words in family: benefit (verb), beneficial (adjective), beneficiary (noun)

  • The benefits of playing sports as a child is learning how to work with a team and building self confidence.

concept (noun): an idea of how something is or should be done. See more definitions. Words in family: conceptual (adjective), conceptualize (verb)

  • The advertising department came up with a new concept on how to attract more customers.

consist (verb): to be made up of or composed of. See more definitions.

  • The IELTS exam consists of 4 modules: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

constitute (verb): to compose or form or create. See more definitions. Words in family: constitution (noun), constituents (noun) constitutional (adjective)

context (noun): the circumstances or background facts that surround a particular situation or event. See more definitions. Words in family: contextual (adjective)

contract (noun): an agreement that is enforceable by law (all those who signed must act as stated in the agreement. See more definitions.

  • Never quit your job before signing a new contract with a new employer.

create (verb): to invent or design something.  See more definitions. Words in Family: creative (adjective), creation (noun), creatively (adverb)

data (noun): facts, statistics, items of information. See more definitions.

  • Task 1 of the IELTS writing test requires students to interpret data that is presented in a graph or diagram.

define (verb): to explain, describe or state the meaning. See more definitions. Words in Family: definition (noun)

derive (verb): to receive or obtain from a source. See more definitions.

  • People can derive happiness more from strong friendships rather than from having expensive things and nice clothes.

distribute (verb): to divide out and share or give out, spread out evenly. See more definitions. Words in Family: distribution (noun), distributor (noun)

  • After the hurricane, the Red Cross distributed clean water, clothes and blankets to families who lost their homes.

economy (noun): the management of the resources of a  country with a view to its productivity. See more definitions. Words in Family: economic (adjective), economical (adjective), economize (verb)

environment (noun): the air, land, water where people, animals and plants live; the situation where you live or work in and how it influences how you feel. See more definitions. Words in Family: environmental (adjective), environmentally (adverb)

establish (verb): to found, start or build something that is set to last long-term, like a university or a business. See more definitions. Words in Family: establishment (noun), established (adjective)

estimate (verb): to guess of what size, value, amount, etc. might be. See more definitions. Words in Family: estimate (noun), estimation (noun)

  • The mechanic estimated that the repairs to my car would cost about $500.

evident (adjective): easy and clear to see and understand by everyone. See more definitions. Words in Family: evidently (adverb)

export (verb): to send goods and products to another country for sale or use. Words in Family: export (noun), exporter (noun)

factor (noun): a fact or situation that influences a result. See more definitions.

  • There are many factors

finance (noun): control of how a large amount money should be spent; or money needed to support a business. See more definitions. Words in Family: to finance (verb), financial (adjective), financially (adverb)

formula (noun): a fixed plan or method that is used to achieve something. See more definitions. Words in Family: formulate (verb),

function (noun): the purpose or role of something or someone. See more definitions. Words in Family: function (verb), functional (adjective)

identify (verb): to recognize who someone or something is; to recognize the things that make a person or group of people different and unique from others. See more definitions. Words in Family: identifiable (adjective), identification (noun), identity (noun)

income (noun): money that is earned through business, investments or work.

indicate (verb): to show something exists or point something out. See more definitions. Words in family: indication (noun), indicator (noun)

individual (noun): a single person. See more definitions. Words in Family: individualize (verb), individually (adverb), individualistic (adjective)

interpret (verb): to explain or decide what a particular phrase, performance or action  means. See more definitions. Words in family: interpretation (noun), misinterpret (verb), misinterpretation (noun)

involve (verb): to include  or affect someone or something in an activity. See more definitions. Words in family: involvement (noun), involved (adjective)

issue (noun): an important subject or problem people are discussing. See more definitions. Words in family: issued (adjective)

labor (noun): work. See more definitions. Please note difference in American spelling (labor) and British spelling (labour). Words in family: laboured (adjective), labourer (noun)

legal (adjective): relating to law. See more definitions. Words in family: legally (adverb), illegal (adjective), illegally (adverb), legality (noun)

legislate (verb): to make into law. See more definitions. Words in family: legislation (noun), legislator (noun)

major (adjective): great in size, extent or importance. See more definitions. Words in family: majority (noun)

method (noun): process or way of doing something that involves a system or plan.  See more definitions. Words in family: methodical (adjective), methodically (adverb), methodology (noun)

occur (verb): to happen.  See more definitions. Words in family: occurrence (noun), recur (verb), recurring (adjective)

percent (noun): out of every 100 – shown with symbol %. See more definitions. Words in family: percentage (noun)

period (noun): a length of time. See more definitions. Words in family: periodical (adjective), periodically (adverb)

policy (noun): a set of rules or procedures to follow for particular situations as agreed by government, business, etc.  See more definitions. Words in family: policies (noun)

principle (noun): a basic idea or rule which explains how something works or happens. See more definitions. Words in family: principled (adjective), unprincipled (adjective), principles (noun) * Note – not to confuse with “principal”  which is the head or leader of a school, group, etc.

proceed (verb): to continue and move forward.  See more definitions. Words in family: procedure (noun), procedural (adjective)

process (noun): a series of actions that you take to achieve a result.  See more definitions. Words in family: processed (adjective)

require (verb): to need or demand something. See more definitions. Words in family: requirement (noun)

research (noun): detailed studies someone does to find out more information about a subject.  See more definitions. Words in family: to research (verb), researcher (noun)

respond (verb): how someone reacts to a situation.  See more definitions. Words in family: response (noun), responsive (adjective)

role (noun): a job someone or something has in a situation.  See more definitions.

section (noun): a part or area of something larger. See more definitions. Words in family: sectioned (adjective)

sector (noun): one part of a country’s economy.

significant (adjective): of importance. See more definitions. Words in family: significance (noun), significantly (adverb)

similar (adjective): to be like something else or sharing the same characteristics.  See more definitions. Words in family: similarity (noun), similarly (adverb)

source (noun): the origin of something, where it comes from.

specific (adjective): referring to something particular, rather than in general. Words in family: specifically (adverb), specification (noun), to specify (verb)

structure (noun): the way that something is put together, arranged or built. See more definitions. Words in family: to structure (verb), structural (adjective), structurally (adverb), to restructure (verb)

theory (noun): a set of ideas or principles that explain something. See more definitions. Words in family: theorize (verb), theoretical (adjective)

vary (verb): to change the way you do something. See more definitions. Words in family: variation (noun), variable (noun), varied (adjective), varying (adjective)

 

 

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