IELTS & TOEFL Academic Vocabulary – Verbs (AWL)

http://www.engvid.com/ The TOEFL and IELTS tests feature lots of technical and academic verbs, especially in the reading sections. In this lesson, I look at 10 academic verbs that you may see on both tests. The verbs include “estimate”, “obtain”, “pursue”, “occur”, “interpret”, and others. By expanding your academic vocabulary, you will improve your chances of doing well on the reading, writing, speaking, and listening sections of the test.

Take the quiz: http://www.engvid.com/ielts-toefl-academic-vocabulary-verbs/
Check out the detailed academic vocabulary list in our resources section: http://www.engvid.com/english-resource/academic-word-list/

TRANSCRIPT

Hey guys, I’m Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on IELTS and TOEFL academic vocabulary, with the focus being on verbs. So, on the IELTS and on the TOEFL, vocabulary is, of course, extremely important. It’s necessary in the reading section, in the writing sections, obviously in the listening, and it can help you in your speaking as well. So today what I’m going to do is look at 10 verbs that you can find in the back of almost any TOEFL or IELTS preparation book which comes with an academic word list. And at the end, I’ll let you know where you can find an academic word list that’s a little more comprehensive, that not only has verbs, but nouns and adjectives. The answer is actually quite simple.

So, let’s begin with five verbs. The first one is: “estimate”. So “to estimate” means to predict or guess, not merely guess though, to make an educated guess based on some kind of evidence. So, for example: “Police estimated that 20 people were killed.” It’s a little dark to say that, but if you read any newspaper article or if you are doing a reading section on a TOEFL or an IELTS, you might read something similar to this. So police estimated; they made a prediction. Okay?

The next word is: “identify”. “Identify” is just another way to say: “show” or: “to point out”, if you want to use a phrasal verb. So: “Scientists have identified numerous species.” They have basically shown, discovered, pointed out numerous species. Okay, and just a reminder: all of these are verbs which means you can use them in variety of tenses, all English tenses.

The next verb is: “interpret”. “To interpret” means to give a personal analysis or a personal opinion on something. So you can interpret a text, you can interpret a film, you can interpret a person’s words. The example we have here is: “His poems have been interpreted in many ways.” So they have been analyzed, and people have developed their own opinions, many different types of opinions about his poems. So this comes from “interpretation” which I know some of you Latin speakers may be familiar with.

The next verb is: “minimise”. This is the opposite of: “maximize”. When you think of “max”, you think of the top. Right? When you think of “to minimise” something, you think to keep it at a low level. So for example: “They attempted to minimise confusion.” Whether that’s because they created a text and they didn’t want people to be confused by the text, so they kept the language at a, you know, manageable level that everyone could understand.

And finally: “occur”, a very common verb. And you might be wondering: “Well, what does ‘occur’ mean?” It just means: “happen”, it comes from an occurrence. “An occurrence” is an event, something which happens. So: “This strange event occurred in 1994.” The strange event happened in 1994.

Okay, guys, let’s look at the other five verbs that I’m going to look at today. The next verb is: “obtain”. Now, “to obtain” means to acquire or to get something. So for example: “Archaeologists obtained the lost artifact.” They acquired it, they got it, essentially.

The next verb is: “prohibit”. This comes from “prohibition” which is the noun form. “To prohibit” is to not allow something or not give permission to do something. So, for example: “Protesters were prohibited from entering.” Maybe from entering the building or something like this, so they were not allowed, they were not given permission, they were prohibited.

The next is: “pursue”. Basically, this is a very common verb which means to chase or to go after. So, for example: police pursue criminals. Or, as we have on the board: “He pursued a career in economics.” So you can pursue a career, like chase after it, go after it.

Okay, the next verb is: “symbolise”. “Symbolise”, you might see the word: “symbol” in this. A symbol is a representation of something. So: “to symbolise” is to represent. For example: “In many cultures, the skull” – a human skull – “symbolizes death.” It represents death.

And finally, we have the verb: “transform” which just means to change into, it comes from “transformation”, which is the noun form. So, for example: “Caterpillars transform into butterflies.”

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