Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Should you say minimum or minimal?

When should you use these words? What is the difference between them?

On the IELTS Exam these words could come up in Writing Task 1 or Speaking Part 3.

You want to be ready and understand how they are different so that you don’t mis-use them and lose vocabulary points.

Today you’ll learn the difference between these words and why they are so important for you to be able to use on the IELTS Exam.

Minimum – it means the smallest amount or quantity required. Looking at the “bottom,”  the “floor of something” or the “absolute lowest of something.”

  • Perfect for describing numbers.
  • Used to describe the lowest possible number. It means that this may not be a good thing and might be used to express that it’s too low.


“The minimum amount exhibited was 10.”

“The minimum wage is $5 per hour.”

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Minimal – it means a small amount of something.

  • It’s not the lowest possible number
  • Often it’s used in a positive way like “it’s good that these things are minimal”.
  • A great vocabulary when talking about risks and disadvantages
  • Minimalist lifestyle- It means that you do not keep on hand more possessions than you need.


“It’s good that these things are minimal.”

“The disadvantages are minimal.”


When it comes to IELTS, you should pay attention to the details.

You want to make sure you know the scoring system and why vocabulary matters.

Also, keep in mind that if you use the same vocabulary that every other student uses, you will get a 6 for vocabulary.

Use these high-level words to impress the Examiner in the rights parts of the IELTS Exam.

Get into 3 Keys IELTS to get your score increase guarantee. Go here to enroll now.

Do you have any questions?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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