IELTS & TOEFL - The easy way to improve your vocabulary for English exams


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."

Two: "It was an interesting lecture."

Three: "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? SoOh, 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. It was a… Such a "bad" experience. It was

such a "scary" experience. It was a "traumatic" experience, from the word: "trauma". Okay?

Now, obviously, the intensity can also change. So it depends what you want to say, but sometimes

it's more interesting when you change the intensity as well.

I had such a "bad" day. I had a really "hard" day. I had an extremely "stressful" day. Okay?

You can see I'm changing many words there. That's a "bad" song. That's a "sad" song.

That's a "depressing" song. Okay? Now, here, I changedOf course "bad" and "sad" don't

mean the same thing, but I gave it a particular meaning. All right? So, in this case, it was

bad for me because it was sad. Or even better: it was depressing. All right? YouOr you

couldIt could be a bad song for many other reasons.

And the weatherThis country has such "bad" weather sometimes. Such "cold" weather. Such

"freezing" weather or "arctic" weather. All right? So this is an example of what you

can do to stop using lazy English and start using more energetic English. This is a wonderful

game, you can play it by yourself when you're on the bus, or while you're walking down the

street, or in the subway. Look at people around you, look at places around you. Try to think

of words to describe them. Start with positive things: "She looks good.", "She looks pretty.",

"She looks beautiful.", "He loo…" Okay? Things like that or about a place. Try to

avoid "good", "nice", "bad". Even "interesting" is overly used so try to find better and better

words. After a little while, it will become second nature. "It will become second nature"

means it will come to you more automatically to use a more interesting word, a more dynamic

word, and a more energetic word than simply saying: "good" or "bad".

I've also done something for you, I've written a resource on our website:

where I've written a list of words that you could use instead of saying: "good" or "bad"

to describe a variety of different things. You could also go to our website:

to do a quiz on this subject. So thanks very much for watching. Good luck with your English.