It breaks my heart when I read a thesis filled with ESL beginner level words. In this post, I will give you a list of words you must not use in academic writing. Also, I will tell you how to use Microsoft Word to remove them all.
Clearly, the theses I read have fairly good English. That’s because a high level of English is required for university study. In fact, the theses I read always use of a broad range of high-level vocabulary.
Therefore, the issue is not whether the student can use a broad range of academic vocabulary. Instead, it is whether the student has done a final check for academic vocabulary after writing his or her thesis.
Examples: Academic Vocabulary
I have sourced each of the following beginner level words from theses I have proofread. I have written them into new sentences though.
A. Nice (Adj)
In summary, regional associations such as ASEAN enable
nicer more agreeable cooperation between neighbouring countries.
B. Well (Adv – as in ‘done well’)
In brief, the education reforms were implemented
well thoroughly, extensively and efficiently.
C. Good/Bad (Adj)
good sides to key benefits of boring wells in local communities target their women and children.
D. To get (V – meaning ‘to receive’ or ‘to acquire’)
In short, rising exports means a country
gets receives an increased inflow of capital.
E. Poor/Rich (Adj – referring to wealth)
However, the governments of
poorer less developed countries can seek financial aid from richer more developed countries.
F. Basically (Adv – a linking word meaning ‘in summary’ or ‘put simply’)
G. Big or Huge/Small (Adj)
This resulted in a
big sizeable number of resignations by politicians who had opposed the bill.
H. Thing (N)
By contrast, one
thing action the government could do take1 is to create an independent commission against corruption.
I. Strong/weak (Adv)
Fortunately, the African Union enables its
weak developing nations to have a louder voice against the strongest superpower2 nations of the world.
J. Happy/sad (Adj)
Unfortunately, the consequences for the state’s citizens are
sad distressing, being increased poverty and higher rates of crime.
1Whereas ‘do’ collocates with (i.e. goes together with) ‘thing’, ‘take’ collocates with ‘action’. Therefore, the structure for thing/do is replaced by action/take as follows:
– thing/do: form = thing (n) + subject + modal verb + do (v)
– action/take: form = action (n) + subject + modal verb + take (v)
2The word ‘superpower’ is a noun. Therefore, ‘superpower’ is not a direct word-for-word substitute for the comparative adjective ‘stronger’. However, this more academic vocabulary still meets our need in this example. This is because we haven’t changed the originally intended meaning of the sentence. Therefore, the
Tip for Increasing Academic Vocabulary Usage
First, bookmark this page.
Second, when you finish your thesis, return to this webpage before you submit it.
Third, use the ‘Find’ tool on the ‘Home’ tab in Microsoft Word to search for each of the above beginner level words in your thesis.
Then, every time you find a beginner level word, replace it with a suitable academic equivalent.
Finally, submit your thesis for proofreading or for assessment. That is, don’t submit your thesis until after you have completed these four steps.
Task: Choose the More Academic Vocabulary
Now it’s your turn. Choose the more academic vocabulary in each of the following sentences. There may be more than one answer for each sentence.
1. In summary, a __________ teacher culture in schools is important as the teacher attitudes impact student learning.
2. Nevertheless, when superpower countries dogmatically push their beliefs onto other cultures, it is usually not perceived __________.
3. In short, ineffective state leaders make __________ decisions, policies and law.
4. Historically, the main reasons why countries have invaded other countries have been to __________ economic benefits, territory, revenge, or for reasons associated with nationalism or religion.
5. In conclusion, the problem with a class system is the __________ have limited opportunity to improve their socioeconomic status.
6. __________, there is no immediate solution to the conflict.
A. To conclude
B. In essence
D. In summary
8. The key __________ that will facilitate rapid and positive change is, therefore, more informed government policy.
9. Regrettably, this ongoing political instability is detrimental to the already __________ economy.
Possible Answers: Choose the More Academic Vocabulary
Here are my suggested answers. Note that other answers may be possible so check your personal answers with your local English teacher.
- A or B
- A or B
- B or D
- A, B or D
- A, C or D
- B or C
- A, C or D
- B or C
This article was proofread with Grammarly.