Are you an intermediate ESL student? Expand your vocabulary with these new words.

April 4, 2015
4 April 2015,
Improving your vocabulary is essential for progressing from an intermediate English language learner to an advanced learner.  An improved vocabulary helps you better communicate; it is easier to understand and be understood during conversation. Additionally, a diverse vocabulary gives you more options during conversations, to better express your thoughts. Consider the difference between “That’s a nice painting” and “The artist chose vibrant colors for this painting and the result is magnificent”. Communication at an advanced level (or academic level) is about impressing as much as about expressing, and having a rich vocabulary is critical.

Intermediate ESL vocabulary

That said, it is important not to try to learn hundreds of new words every days. You will not gain anything from doing this, other than been frustrated and extremely tired. At Spoken English Practice, we encourage you to get in to the habit of learning a new word (or two) every day. And then try to use these new words  when you are speaking with your English tutor or conversation. The key is to build an active vocabulary, and the only way to do that is by using these new words during real conversations in English.

Below is a list of eight words that every non native English speaker should learn how to use. Knowing these words will help you articulate yourself better, and make you look like an advanced English speaker.

1.) Fungible

Refers to goods similar in quantity and type that can be exchanged. Synonym > interchangeable. For example “In this recipe potatoes are fungible for carrots. The end result will be the same” or “gemstones are not fungible because of their different cuts and sizes”.

2.) Rudderless

Literally means a boat with no rudder, more commonly refers to people or organisations that lack direction or control. Synonym > purposeless. For example “John keeps changing his mind about what he wants to study, he’s rudderless” or “the organisation’s debt is a result of the rudderless management”.

3.) Rhetoric

Language (spoken or written) that skillfully persuades and influences people; often has negative connotations. Synonym > oratory. For example “The politician’s rhetoric convinced voters to elect him” or “students will study rhetoric in this semester’s English course”.

4.) Intricacies

The complexity of something or someone; having many parts or details. Synonym > complexity. For example “The movie showed intricacies; I had to stay focused to follow the plot” or (a variation of the word) “The miniature model of the castle is intricate”.

5.) Astute

Mentally clever with the ability to notice and understand things that others may not. Synonym > shrewd. For example “Only the astute reader would have noticed the grammatical error in the article” or “an astute leader will help the team achieve success”.

6.) Surreal

Very strange and unusual, seems not real. Synonym > dreamlike. For example “The sunlight forced it’s way through the fog illuminating the water in one specific spot; it was surreal”.

7.) Influx

The arrival of a large number of something. Synonym > inpouring. For example “The city experienced an influx of people for the big rock concert” or “the hot weather brought an influx of flies”.

8.) Oblivious

Not aware of something or someone, lacking knowledge. Synonym > unaware. For example, “The crash happened because the driver was oblivious of the other car on the road” or “the teenagers were oblivious of the noise they were making”.

Again, remember, when it comes to growing your vocabulary, don’t get too greedy. It is about quality not quantity. So keeping growing your vocabulary one word at a time.