Where do I procure words for academic writing, you may wonder? I like to keep a list of ‘posh words’ which I keep ‘at the ready’ when I engage in my academic writing!

For me, I like to keep my words on a spreadsheet, like the one here:

When I encounter new academic words, or words that I’m persuaded are common parlance to my discipline I make a quick note of these words on my phone or in a notebook…and then later transfer them to this spreadsheet.

I also try to make a concerted effort to ensure I review this list regularly, and try to use at least one new words in each new piece of academic writing I produce.

Now, how do I go about procuring words for this ‘posh’ list? I do them two ways: actively, and passively.

Actively: I make use of various wonderful online resources to ensure I am regularly learning new academic words. I, then, add these words to my spreadsheet.

Two wonderful tools to help you identify new words are:

Academic Word List

Use this resource to acquaint yourself with the most frequently used academic terms in English texts. You can learn the words on each list and then test your knowledge with the embedded quizzes.

Just the Word

Use this resource to help you generate collocations (word combinations) which you may use in your academic writing.

Passively: When I am conducting my research I always ensure I have a blank notepad (or sometimes I use my phone) on which I can quickly jot new words that I encounter in the text. I always make sure I return to these words later, find the definitions, and add them into my text.

Indeed, this is probably the best way to improve your vocabulary. You may have heard that those who read more tend to write, and even speak, with a more advanced vocabulary than those who won’t… there is a reason for this! We subsume what we read, and end up recycling it in our own words and work. Keeping track of these words will only enhance your ability to do so

So those are my tips for improve your academic vocabulary! If you have any further tips, do let me know!