What is good uncommon vocabulary?

Many students fail to understand that good vocabulary is not simply difficult and complex words. It is a combination of words that make them meaningful and useful in context.

Lexical resources

Uncommon vocabulary


If you want to write something is secret. You can use “clandestine”.

He kept all the clandestine papers of the company.

This sentence simply does not convey the exact meaning of the sentence.

He managed all the secret documents of the company to escape from income tax department.

What I’m trying to suggest is that you do not need very complex vocabulary like GRE, GMAT to get band 9.0. Your sentences should be meaningful and they should be used in proper context. In the second sentence the word “secret” easily blends with some business terms like “managed” and “documents” whereas in the first sentence “clandestine” does not actually match with “kept” and “papers”.

This is what I’m explaining that your words should be according to your level of English.

Examiners will know your range

Another issue with using complex vocabulary is that examiners will quite often recognise your range of vocabulary simply because you may be making some grammatical mistakes and using simple words while at the same time using very complex journalistic vocabulary for few words. Examiners will quickly identify this technique that you have memorised some words and anyhow managed to use them in your essay. This will create a negative effect on examiner and may actually result in lower band score than usually.

Note: If you’re really band 7.0 plus student, then you should use these words but if your level is lower than that, skip these words and focus on simple words.

English vocabulary

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Lexical resources

Uncommon vocabulary

Then, what make good vocabulary?


Yeah, this is a straight forward question. What makes them stand out and what differentiates band 6.0 level from band 9.0 level.
The answer is your use of vocabulary in proper context and your use of uncommon, still natural collocations.

For example, you can write following sentence in two ways.

They did research on rats and found different cures for diseases which may actually work similarly for human beings.

They conducted research on rats and identified different cures for common diseases which may actually work similarly on humans.

You can see two examples how the second sentence has better quality of English. So, always use your words in proper context and in a meaningful way.

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