IELTS & TOEFL Academic Vocabulary - Verbs


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."

Okay, so today I have shown you 10 verbs. Now, again, these 10 verbs are but a small,

small sample of the total number of verbs you're going to have to know and you're going

to have to study to appropriately and adequately prepare for the IELTS or the TOEFL exam. So

if you would like a more comprehensive list, you can actually check it out in the resources

section of And also, keep an eye out for lessons... Similar lessons

in the future about IELTS and TOEFL vocabulary related to nouns and to adjectives.

For today, if you'd like to test your understanding of the 10 verbs I have taught you, you can

always check out the quiz on And don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Thanks guys.

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