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Using accurate vocabulary

Using accurate vocabulary means using words in their correct context. There are many words in English with similar meanings so it is important to choose the correct word for the context. Let’s look at an example of this.

Example
In general I think that women are better drivers than men because they __________ more while they are driving.
  1. think
  2. concentrate
  3. consider

All three words (think, concentrate and consider) have similar meanings. However, in this context, the correct word is (BconcentrateConcentrate means to focus on a specific task (e.g. driving).

(Athink and (Cconsider are inaccurate for this context because they mean to think about something over a longer period of time (e.g. to think about a problem in order to find a solution).

During the Speaking test it is important that you use words:

  • that are familiar to you
  • that you know are correct for the context.

Collocations

Using accurate vocabulary also includes using collocations. Collocation refers to a group of words that are frequently used together.

Look at the following examples:

  1. In my opinion, people who committerrible crimes should be severely punished.
  2. In my opinion, people who carry out terrible crimesshould be severely punished.

In English we can say: commit a crime’ or ‘carry out a crime’. These are examples of collocations, that is, words we frequently use together.

However, we never say ‘perform crime’. This is not a correct collocation.

Many collocations exist in the English language. However, some of them are more common than others.

Let’s look at some examples of collocations:

adjective + noun He gave me some excellent advice.
noun + verb The disease spread before anything could be done to prevent it.
verb + noun I have always tried to follow my father’s advice.
verb + adverb Consider the proposal carefully before you make a decision.
adverb + adjective An ability to speak Japanese is highly desirable for this job.

Using appropriate vocabulary

During the Speaking test, you will be assessed on your use of appropriate vocabulary. In particular, you should avoid using informal expressions. This means that although your style of speaking should be natural and relaxed, it should also be appropriate for an interview.

Using a range of vocabulary

During the Speaking test you should demonstrate your ability to use a wide range of vocabulary. One way of doing this is to avoid repeating words and phrases in your answer.

Let’s look at the following example.

Examiner: Do you think that television advertising has a strong effect on people?

Andres: Um… in general I think television advertising does have a strong effect… although probably most people don’t think so. I think young people in particular are affected by television advertising, because they watch more television than adults. Um… when they see television advertising… food and drink and so on… it can make them think that they really want those things… because television advertising is often really attractive.

In this example, Andres uses the phrase ‘television advertising’ a number of times. This does not demonstrate a wide range of vocabulary. He can avoid this repetition by using other words or phrases that have the same meaning.

 

Look at this example again, below. This time Andres has tried to avoid repetition. While you read, try to identify the words Andres has used instead of ‘television advertising’.

Examiner: Do you think that television advertising has a strong effect on people?

Andres: Um … in general I think advertising on television does have a strong effect… although probably most people don’t think so.
I think young people in particular are affected by commercials, because they watch more television than adults. Um … when they see these advertisements … food and drink and so on … it can make them think that they really want those things … because the marketing of these products is often really attractive.

 

Um … in general I think advertising on television does have a strong effect… although probably most people don’t think so. I think young people in particular are affected by commercials, because they watch more television than adults. Um … when they see these advertisements … food and drink and so on … it can make them think that they really want those things … because the marketing of these products is often really attractive.

In this example Andres has avoided repetition and demonstrated a much wider range of vocabulary by using other words and phrases instead of ‘television advertising’ (advertising on television, commercials, these advertisements, marketing).

To avoid repetition Milan could use synonyms or phrases such as: aim, ambition, future plan

For example:

Well … one major aim is to start my own business as an architect. I like design… designing … and I think it would be a profitable business. Another ambition is to travel. I love seeing new places around the world. I also want to marry and have lots of children … this is another future plan.

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