IELTS & TOEFL – The easy way to improve your vocabulary for English exams Is your English limited to “good” and “bad”? Learn how to improve your vocabulary FAST by using more advanced, descriptive adjectives. Having marked thousands of student essays, I know this one simple change can help you get a higher score on any English exam, especially the TOEFL, IELTS, and TOEIC. You can move from lazy English to powerful English in minutes! Take the quiz on this lesson here:


Hi, my name is Rebecca, and in today’s lesson, I’m going to show you how to stop using lazy English and start using energetic English. How do you do this? Very easy. For the next few minutes, I’d like you to participate in a little experiment with me. I’d like you to pretend that you are a professor, and join me in checking these sentences on the board.
So, six students wrote these sentences in an English exam, and what I’d like you to do is to help me to decide which students, which two students should get the highest marks. Let’s start looking at the sentences.
Number one wrote:
“It was a good lecture.”

“It was an interesting lecture.”
“It was an informative lecture.”
Out of these three students, which student do you think should get the highest marks? Think about it. Well, according to me, it would be the third student. Let’s look at another set of sentences.
Number four wrote:
“I had a bad week.”
Student number five wrote:
“I had a tiring week.”
And student number six wrote:
“I had an exhausting week.”
Again, put on your professor’s cap and tell me: which student do you think should get the best marks? Which one? Well, according to me, it would be student number six.
Now, why did we – I think you probably chose the same ones as me -, why did we choose student number three and student number six? Why did we choose these responses and why didn’t we choose one and four? Because one and four use the words: “good” and “bad”. And what I’d like you to learn in this lesson is to use any words when you’re speaking or writing other than: “good” or “bad”. Why? Because “good” and “bad” are overly used, they’re rather boring words, and they’re not very descriptive words; they don’t tell us anything specific, they’re very vague, they’re very general.
What I’d like you to do instead is to do what these other students went on to do which is to be more detailed, more specific, more descriptive, more energetic, more dynamic in your speaking and in your writing. This one change will make a tremendous difference in the way that you speak and definitely in the way that you write. This is a really important lesson if you’re planning to appear for the TOEFL, or the IELTS, or the TOEIC exam, or any English proficiency exam, or even if you’re just in school and you’re submitting assignments and essays. This one technique of getting rid of the words: “good” and “bad” and replacing them with more interesting words is going to give you a much higher score. Next, I’ll show you exactly how you can do this.
So, now I’ll show you how to avoid using the lazy words: “good”, “nice”, or “bad”, and start using more powerful words instead. All right? You’re going to go from the basic, to the intermediate, to the advanced level word or you could say the more vague word, general word to a clear word, to a more specific word. Okay? That’s what you want to keep in mind when you’re coming up with your words. I’ve just given you some examples, but you can certainly come up with lots of other examples.
Let’s look at some of these.
A “good” meal. A “tasty” meal. A “delicious” meal.
We had a “nice” evening. Okay. We had a “fun” evening. We had an “enjoyable” evening.
It was a really “good” meeting. It was a “useful” meeting. It was a “productive” meeting.
You see how I’m adding so much more information with the more powerful vocabulary. Right? More detailed vocabulary.
We had a “nice” holiday. Well, what is “nice”? “Nice” is a very general word. If you want to stay general, you can still use a better word. So here I’ve given you an example: we had a “pleasant” holiday. We had a “relaxing” holiday. Okay? So… Oh, I’m sorry. We had a “pleasant” holiday. Or: we had a “delightful” holiday. That’s if you want to stay more general. If, by “nice holiday”, you meant that it was really a quiet holiday, then say: “quiet”. A better word than “quiet” is: we had a “relaxing” holiday. Okay? So you see how you’re being more specific because when I say: “I had a nice holiday”, it doesn’t tell you very much; just gives you a very general impression.
Let’s continue with using the word: “bad”. Also, another very overused word.
It was a really “bad” journey. It was a “difficult” journey. It was a “problematic” journey. “Problematic” means there were many problems that you had or that you encountered on the way, during your journey.

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