Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today we’ll talk about formal adjectives for Speaking Part 1, and learn some high-level vocabulary for your next exam.

Recently, in the Facebook group for 3 Keys IELTS, there have been some interesting questions about vocabulary.

Students are worried about the difference between formal and informal words, and aren’t sure when using these is appropriate on the Speaking Exam.

Firstly, don’t get hung up on the idea that formal words are for Part 3 and Writing, while informal words are for Part 1 and Part 2.

That is not exactly true.



We usually define ‘informal’ as language including slang and phrasal verbs.

In contrast, ‘formal’ is more academic.

However, just because a word or phrase is high-level, doesn’t mean it is only for formal communication.

In conversation, native speakers use impressive vocabulary all the time!


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It helps us be specific and descriptive. That is how you raise your Vocabulary score in Speaking Parts 1 and 2- by being specific and descriptive!

High-level words for Speaking Part 1:

Adore– love

Exquisite– amazing

Sublime– perfect, amazing, perfect happiness

Verbose– talkative, using a lot of words

Vast/massive– very large

Choose a couple of today’s words and make sure to try and use them today, talking out loud to yourself or someone else.

Then you can remember to use them to impress the examiner on your next IELTS Exam!

Do you have any vocabulary questions for your IELTS Speaking Exam?

Ask us in the comments section below!


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