Not everyone is a natural essay-writer. People would even employ someone to write an essay for them. The problem with that lies in the fact that, during an exam, you can’t do that.

Finding the right words to express exactly what you would like to convey, comes easier to some than others. Have to compose an essay can thus contribute to high levels of anxiety for anyone who feels challenged in this department. Add to this the fact that your written submissions need to annotated according to Harvard refencing and you have a perfect recipe for several sleepless nights.

You don’t have to pepper you writing with overly flowery sentences and phrases, but it might be a great idea to reach for a dictionary or thesaurus to spruce up your writing and make it interesting, if not compulsive, reading.

If, however, you feel a bit short on time and would really love to have a couple of attention-grabbing words to spice up your next essay with, we’ve got exactly whet you need.

Listed in this article are 20 words that that may soon have you nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Just kidding, but who knows ...

Whether it’s Shakespeare or business, this selection will make your writing so fresh you won’t recognise it. What you will discover is that it is important to know how to expand your vocabulary.

The best English tutors available
Kelly
5
5 (8 review/s)
Kelly
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Nikita
5
5 (5 review/s)
Nikita
R140
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Chioma
5
5 (10 review/s)
Chioma
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ariane
4.8
4.8 (12 review/s)
Ariane
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tara
5
5 (5 review/s)
Tara
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Magdalena
5
5 (14 review/s)
Magdalena
R208
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Martin
5
5 (10 review/s)
Martin
R90
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sibusisiwe
5
5 (11 review/s)
Sibusisiwe
R170
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kelly
5
5 (8 review/s)
Kelly
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Nikita
5
5 (5 review/s)
Nikita
R140
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Chioma
5
5 (10 review/s)
Chioma
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ariane
4.8
4.8 (12 review/s)
Ariane
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tara
5
5 (5 review/s)
Tara
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Magdalena
5
5 (14 review/s)
Magdalena
R208
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Martin
5
5 (10 review/s)
Martin
R90
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sibusisiwe
5
5 (11 review/s)
Sibusisiwe
R170
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

Improve Your Essays with Great Grammar

You use grammar to write, right?

There are some things that we do almost mechanically, without giving a thought to the basics that underpin the activity. Now and then, a driver should actually go back to study, even something as simple as the road-signs and what they represent. Don’t you agree?

So, before we look at how to expand your vocabulary, let’s revisit some of the basics of the language that we use every day! This refresher course may be just the thing you need to spruce up you writing.

Linking (Connector) Words

Chain in the sun
Connectors act like links in a chain, helping your sentences to flow.

Narrative flow is very important if you wish to enhance your essay-writing skills. In essence, narrative flow means how easily a plot or an argument can be tracked while in a text.

Good writing is about taking your reader along with you on a journey. This is done with captivating story-telling. This is a technique that can even be employed even when you’re writing a business essay.

Set a question at the start of your essay which you will answer, in some way, at the close (conclusion). Your aim is to maintain the interest of your readers and keep them focussed on the question right through to the end.

You also don’t want to confuse your reader by going off-track too often and, thereby, detracting from the main purpose of your essay.

The clever use of connectors (linking words) can contribute to the smooth and logical flow in an essay, bringing together your important ideas and arguments.

Of course you don’t require a whole bakkie-load of connectors to compose a brilliant essay, but it would help if you had sufficient in your writing arsenal to cope with all the transitions in your composition.

The best English tutors available
Kelly
5
5 (8 review/s)
Kelly
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Nikita
5
5 (5 review/s)
Nikita
R140
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Chioma
5
5 (10 review/s)
Chioma
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ariane
4.8
4.8 (12 review/s)
Ariane
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tara
5
5 (5 review/s)
Tara
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Magdalena
5
5 (14 review/s)
Magdalena
R208
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Martin
5
5 (10 review/s)
Martin
R90
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sibusisiwe
5
5 (11 review/s)
Sibusisiwe
R170
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kelly
5
5 (8 review/s)
Kelly
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Nikita
5
5 (5 review/s)
Nikita
R140
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Chioma
5
5 (10 review/s)
Chioma
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ariane
4.8
4.8 (12 review/s)
Ariane
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Tara
5
5 (5 review/s)
Tara
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Magdalena
5
5 (14 review/s)
Magdalena
R208
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Martin
5
5 (10 review/s)
Martin
R90
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sibusisiwe
5
5 (11 review/s)
Sibusisiwe
R170
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

Adjectives

An additional part of speech that will improve the way you write is the adjective.

Your essay may come across as dull or unappealing if hardly any use has been made of adjectives.

The use of too many adjectives, on the other hand, can make your essay wordy.

You want to strike a happy balance, since you want to sound interesting and don’t want to lose your reader’s interest with leaning too far, either way.

Adjectives should be used judiciously, as and when required.

An adjective should really only be used when it contributes to the meaning of the sentence.

For instance, to say that the grass is ‘very green’ might be normal in conversation, but may seem unnecessary in a piece of writing.

It may, instead, be better to utilise adjectives to express something extraordinary or to illustrate a point.

‘The injured soccer player’ would evoke far more emotional response in a reader than would ‘the fit soccer player’. The reader would, generally, take it for granted that a soccer player would be fit.

The ‘sharp increase’ in prices is an instance where the adjective qualifies the noun, but also creates an image of a line rising at a steep angle on a graph. On its own, the word ‘increase’ would not make that much of an impact on the reader. It also gives no indication of how fast the increase is happening.

Verbs

boy jumping off diving board
Verbs are the action words, driving the narrative forward. - Source: Unsplash

A sentence is often described as a group of words that make sense and contains a verb. However, it can also be a single word, such as “Stop!”, “Go!” or “Don’t”. Importantly, the single word has to be a verb … and the missing words are understood by the person addressed.

Be sure to increase your vocabulary by finding interesting verbs in a thesaurus, dictionary or on the Internet. Surely, masticate sounds better than chew.

Want to score better at writing?

Get a firm grip on the use of verbs and you will!

If you want to improve your writing or grammar and prove to your educator to understand it well, you must conversant with the different ways to use verbs. They can be used either in an active or a passive way.

In the Active Voice, the subject of the sentence is referred to first and is, thus, highlighted. The verbs in sentences come across as being direct, as in ‘The girl buys an ice-cream’.

In the Passive Voice, another part of the sentence is highlighted, generally, the object in the sentence, as opposed to the subject. ‘An ice-cream is bought by the girl’ is such an example. Greater emphasis is placed on the ice-cream, the object, in this sentence and less importance is placed on the person performing the action.

As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to rather use verbs in the active voice wherever possible. This will help to retain your reader’s interest without them having to figure out who or what is performing the action.

Some times it may seem preferable to utilise the passive voice.

When crafting an essay, it may be enticing to state something like ‘it has been said’ or ‘it is claimed’. While it may sound like perfectly good English, it is generally a far better idea to clearly pin-point the subject of the sentence.

Writing in this way would lend great precision to your writing, which should always be your focus.  You could for instance say that ‘scientists have said’ (instead of ‘it has been said’) to clearly identify who is being quoted.

While the use of the passive voice certainly has its place, in terms of adding variety to your writing, more direct and clear compositions will serve to hold your reader’s interest and avoid any confusion.

Nouns

Improving your use of nouns, in the essays that you write, would greatly improve your chances of achieving better grades for your writing efforts and increase your vocabulary.

This does not mean that you have to replacing every noun that you regularly use with ones that sound better or more intellectual. It means finding nouns, that will convey the full essence of what you wish to convey, to replace those that don’t.

Cactus plant and stack of books
Nouns are objects, places, and people.

The use of the word ‘cure’ is one such example. The word could be used to describe a treatment, medication or anything else which may help someone overcome an illness or injury.

While ‘cure’ is a very legitimate word to use to describe a brand-new medicine that effectively eliminates an illness, but the word ‘antidote’ is a more appropriate word to use for a medicine used to counter a poisoning.

While it may not always be possible to identify the appropriate noun for every occasion, you will, in all probability, recognise when a noun is too general or vague to convey a particular meaning.

You also don’t want to go around sounding like Mrs Malaprop, in The Rivals, the 1775 play by Richard B. Sheridan.

Mrs Malaprop uses words, that sound very close to ones which would be appropriate in the sentence, but which have totally different meanings. The results of these missteps can be quite comical.

Even public figures have fallen foul of malapropism. Tony Abbott, a former Australian Prime Minister, is reported to have said that no-one “is the suppository of all wisdom”, whereas repository was the intended word.

It is a given that you would not get to make such a gaffe on international television, but it would serve you well to research a word carefully before using it. If you can’t do so, because you’re in an exam locale, for instance, use the easiest word you can think of to express your idea. Doing this is far better than using a big, clever-sounding word, without fully knowing its actual meaning, and getting it wrong.

This brings us back to the point that you should pursue writing with clarity as your number one priority!

Revamp Your Essays with These 20 Words

Below are 20 words to improve your vocabulary. A word of caution though: It is far better to sound absolutely clear, about what you’re saying, than to sound intelligent!

  • Anomaly (noun)

An anomaly occurs when someone or something does not follow a particular rule or expectation. They may be an oddity and this may refer to a person or the result of a test or experiment. A cat, that is born with two heads, would be described as an anomaly.

  • Antithesis (noun)

This relates to a thing or a person that is the exact opposite of someone or something else.

  • Belie (verb)

This is when something or initial impression of someone does not fully reveal the truth, e.g. Joan hoped that the smile on her face would belie the sadness that she felt.

  • Brusque (adjective)

To be curt or abrupt in speaking or actions.

  • Capricious (adjective)

Someone or something can be said to be capricious if they are prone to sudden or unpredictable change. They may also be described as erratic.

  • Circumspect (adjective)

Someone, who is circumspect, considers things carefully and seldom takes risks.

  • Contrived (adjective)

Contrived describes some circumstance that has not come about naturally. It may be said to be artificial or affected.

  • Conundrum (noun)

This is a difficult a puzzling or difficult question or problem.

  • Egregious (adjective)

This refers to something that is very bad or shocking, as in the egregious abuse of copyright.

  • Epitome (noun)

Epitome refers to someone or something that is the embodiment or perfect example of something.

  • Exponential (adjective)

When something increases more and more rapidly, e.g. Grocery prices have shown an exponential increase.

  • Idyllic (adjective)

Idyllic describes an ideal (perfect) place or scenario.

  • Machiavellian (adjective)

If someone is Machiavellian, they are scheming, cunning, unscrupulous or devious.

  • Malaise (noun)

Malaise describes when you feel out of sorts; you are ill or something is troubling you.

  • Obsequious (adjective)

This is when someone’s behaviour is servile or ingratiating.

  • Quintessential (adjective)

Quintessential represents the most typical or perfect example of a certain type or characteristic.

  • Rancour (noun)

Rancour means bitterness or resentment, especially when it’s been long-lasting.

  • Ubiquitous (adjective)

This is when an object, idea or anything else is omnipresent; abundant; universal.

  • Vacuous (adjective)

A blank, vacant or expressionless expression can be described as vacuous. It can also describe someone who is regarded as brainless, unintelligent or empty-headed.

  • Vernacular (noun)

This is the everyday language spoken by people in a particular place, region or country. Is also referred to as colloquial (native) speech.

Hopefully, with these words to improve your vocabulary, you will be all set for tackling that short story or novel you’ve always dreamed of writing. Get to it!

>

The platform that connects private tutors and students

1st lesson free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating!

5.00 (1 rating/s)
Loading...

Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.