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Focus on Lexical Resource(GT)


Lexical resource is another criteria upon which you will be scored. Lexical resource means your reserve of word power or vocabulary.

Not just vocabulary, accurate vocabulary.

Following techniques and ways can be used to prove your lexical resource.

  1. Vocabulary Modifiers & Synonyms
  2. Collocations
  3. Phrasal Verbs
  4. Topic-related words

1. Vocabulary Modifiers & Synonyms:-

Apart from the need to use a variety of sentence structures in your Task 2 essay, it is important you use a wide range of vocabulary in your writing. To improve your vocabulary range, you need to use modifiers and synonyms.

Using modifiers

Compare the two paragraphs below and decide which paragraph uses a better range of vocabulary.

Paragraph 1Modified Paragraph
As to food, there are varieties available in my country. There is a influence from Asian cuisine, such as Thai and Malaysian. If you were to visit I would be pleased to prepare one of my Thai stri-fries for you.As to food, there are great varieties available in my country. There is a strong influence from Asian cuisine, such as Thai and Malaysian. If you were to visit I would be pleased immensely to prepare one of my Thai stri-fries for you.

Using synonyms

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning.

To provide a good range of vocabulary in your writing, you need to use synonyms as they will help you to have a variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Look at the paragraph below.

There was a great deal of violence in the program, which seemed to revolve around a war of some kind. The characters, many of whom looked quite young, fought using weapons such as swords and knives. Moreover, the violence was quite realistic and there was a great deal of blood. I was horrified that such material would be shown at a time when young children usually watch.

The word ‘violence’ has been used repeatedly used in the previous paragraph. Instead, you should be using its synonym or similar meaning.

Be careful using synonyms

Firstly, some words may look the same, however, they may not be synonyms. Look at the sample sentences below:

Parents are responsible for their childhood. Without guidance from their father and mother, children may experience a variety of problems.

Can you find any problems with these sentences? In this example the writer has tried to use the word childhood as a synonym for the word children. Both of these words are nouns, however they are not synonyms. The word children refers to young people, usually under the age of twelve. The word childhood refers to the period of time when someone is a child. These sentences could be better expressed as:

Parents are responsible for their offspring. Without guidance from their father and mother, children may experience a variety of problems.

2. Collocations

They are a group of words which elevates the meaning and standard of English when used together.

A ‘collocation’ is a set of words which traditionally are used together. Examples from general English are ‘extremely happy’ and ‘deeply disappointed.’ They are similar to modifiers.

minor crimeviable option
to some extentlimited effectiveness
robust alternativesimproved rates

Try to use two collocation phrases wherever possible in your letter, and the examiner will recognize that you are using advanced Academic English.

Let’s consider this letter fragment of a band 9 scored answer. Notice the words in bold.

It’s pretty bad, so I can’t drive at all. There’s a huge dent in the front section ·cause I hit a tree and one light is totally broken. I got my mechanic to take a look and she
reckons it’ll be 2000 bucks to fix!

3. Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are phrases that indicate actions. Examples of such verbs include: turn down, come across and run into.

Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a preposition or an adverb:-


If you use too many phrasal verbs then your style of writing becomes totally informal. Hence, it is suggested to use 3-4 phrasal verbs, just to enlighten the examiner that your level of writing is quite advanced.

Let’s check this letter fragment that has been scored 9. Notice the bold phrases:-

I really want to get together, though. How about coffee next week or the week after? I know you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment, but I’ll give you a call and we can sort out the details over the phone. Maybe we can check out that new cafe near the library I hear their coffee is to die for.

4. Fixed vocabulary

I, as an IELTS examiner, will certainly be looking for some fixed vocabulary phrases in your letter.

Some examples of fixed phrases are:

  • I hope that you will take action soon
  • I look forward to your response
  • Hope to catch up with you soon!
  • Lots of love, Mary
  • Best regards
  • Yours faithfully or Yours sincerely
  • Best wishes
  • I am writing to….
  • Hope I am not causing you too much inconvenience.
  • I hope to hear from you soon
  • Hope to catch up with you soon!

and more ….. more…..

If you can address these all, you are certain to be scored band 9 in terms of vocabulary or lexical resources.

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