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.