English Words For Essays

This page contains a list of categorized words that you can use to help improve your writing, especially for school, formal writing, etc.

If you find these words useful, you can download a Word file that contains all of the same words here.

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Sections:

To indicate more information

To indicate an example

To indicate a cause or reason

To indicate a result or an effect

To conclude

To express an opinion

To describe or make

To prove

To compare or contrast

To indicate time

To indicate certainty

To indicate doubt

To summarize

To provide a condition

To express positive words

To show intelligence

To intensify

Said

Noted (said)

Precisely

Numerous

Praise

Call Forth

To indicate more information

  • Besides - Making an additional point; anyway
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Moreover
  • Likewise
  • Indeed – In truth
  • In fact
  • Also
  • As well
  • Foremost - Ranking above all others; Preceding all others in spatial position
  • First, Second, Third, Finally
  • Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly

To indicate an example

  • For example
  • For instance
  • In particular
  • Particularly - Specifically or especially distinguished from others
  • Specifically
  • To illustrate
  • To demonstrate

To indicate a cause or reason

  • Since
  • Because
  • Because of
  • Due to
  • For
  • For the reason that
  • As
  • Inasmuch as - Since
  • Whereby - As a result of which, By which, "the means whereby we achieved our goal"

To indicate a result or an effect

  • Accordingly - because of the reason given
  • Consequently
  • Hence
  • So
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • Thusly - In the way indicated
  • Thence - From that fact or reason or as a result
  • Therefrom - From that circumstance or source
  • Thereof - Of or concerning this or that, From that circumstance or source
  • Corollary - A practical consequence that follows naturally, "blind jealousy is a frequent corollary of passionate love"

To conclude

  • For the aforementioned reasons
  • For the aforementioned reasons, there is no doubt that
  • To sum up the foregoing,
  • Given these facts
  • In conclusion
  • In closing
  • To conclude

To express an opinion

  • In all due fairness
  • With good judgment, (one/we may)

To describe or make

  • vivid
  • portray
  • depict
  • exhibit
  • illustrate
  • expose
  • present
  • paint a portrait
  • limn - Trace the shape of, make a portrait of
  • delineate
  • represent
  • demonstrate
  • constitute - Form or compose
  • embodied - (adj) Expressed by
  • embody - (v) Represent or express in tangible form
  • embodiment

To prove

  • manifest - Provide evidence for; stand as proof of
  • attest - Provide evidence for
  • testify - Provide evidence for
  • certify - Provide evidence for
  • endorse, indorse - Give support or one's approval to
  • shew - Establish the validity of something, as by an example, explanation or experiment
  • establish
  • instance - (v) Clarify by giving an example of
  • exemplify - (v) Clarify by giving an example of

To compare or contrast

  • Whereas
  • In comparison
  • In contrast
  • However
  • Although
  • On the other hand
  • Likewise
  • Similarly
  • But
  • Yet
  • Withal - Despite anything to the contrary (usually following a concession)
  • Withal - Together with this
  • Nevertheless - Despite anything to the contrary
  • Nonetheless - Despite anything to the contrary
  • Notwithstanding - Despite anything to the contrary
  • Even so - Despite anything to the contrary
  • All the same - Despite anything to the contrary

To indicate time

  • After
  • Before
  • Currently
  • During
  • Eventually
  • Finally
  • First, Second, etc.
  • Formerly
  • Immediately
  • Initially
  • Lastly
  • Later
  • Meanwhile
  • Next
  • Once
  • Previously
  • Simultaneously
  • Soon
  • Subsequently
  • Subsequent - Following in time and order
  • Hitherto, Heretofore - Used in negative statement to describe a situation that has existed up to this point or up to the present time, “The sun hasn’t rose hitherto.”
  • In due time
  • Henceforth

To indicate certainty

  • Truly
  • Sincerely
  • Genuinely
  • Surely
  • Rightfully
  • Absolutely
  • Indubitably
  • Certainly
  • Without doubt
  • Needless to say

To indicate doubt

  • Most likely
  • More likely
  • Possibly
  • Probably
  • Dubitable - Open to doubt or suspicion
  • Dubious - Distressed with uncertainty or doubt

To summarize

  • Overall
  • To summarize
  • In summary
  • To sum up
  • Paraphrased
  • Briefly
  • In brief
  • Summing up
  • To put it briefly
  • précis - A sketchy summary, Make a summary (of)
  • synopsis - A sketchy summary
  • apercu - A short synopsis

To provide a condition

  • provision, proviso - A stipulated condition
  • stipulate - Specify as a condition or requirement in a contract
  • given
  • if
  • whether
  • whenever
  • when
  • while

To express positive words

  • magnificent
  • grandeur - The quality of being magnificent or splendid or grand, the quality of being exalted in character or ideals or conduct
  • magnanimous - The quality of being exalted in character or ideals or conduct
  • fantastic
  • fantastical
  • phenomenal
  • wonderful
  • extraordinary
  • marvelous
  • superb
  • good
  • fine
  • great
  • avid - Emotionally desirable
  • avid ambition to succeed
  • excellent
  • spectacular
  • prodigious
  • grand
  • brilliant
  • glorious - Bringing great happiness and thankfulness
  • illustrious - Widely known and esteemed
  • notable - Worthy of notice
  • respected
  • impressive
  • splendid
  • splendiferous - Having great beauty and splendor
  • resplendent - Having great beauty and splendor, Richly and brilliantly colorful
  • flamboyant - Elaborately or excessively ornamented, Richly and brilliantly colorful
  • redoubtable - Having or worthy of pride
  • formidable - Extremely impressive in strength or excellence
  • prowess
  • superior
  • terrific
  • tremendous
  • wondrous - Extraordinarily good
  • wonderful
  • sublime - Inspiring awe, Lifted up or set high
  • flair - natural talent
  • knack - A special way of doing something
  • outshine - Attract more attention and praise than others
  • paramount - Having superior power and influence
  • predominant
  • preponderating
  • prevailing

To show intelligence

  • profound
  • shrewd – hardheaded (practical experience and observation) intelligence
  • astute
  • acumen - Shrewdness shown by keen insight
  • insightful
  • savvy - The cognitive condition of someone who understands
  • cognition - The psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning
  • genius
  • smart
  • sharp
  • keen
  • mastermind
  • Einstein - Someone who has exceptional intellectual ability and originality
  • work of art
  • fine art
  • maven - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • mavin - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • adept - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • whiz - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • wizard - Someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field

To intensify

  • incredibly
  • exceedingly
  • toppingly - extremely well
  • extremely
  • extraordinarily
  • truly
  • really
  • very
  • utterly - Completely and without qualification; used informally as intensifiers, With sublimity; in a sublime manner
  • absolutely
  • perfectly
  • sublimely
  • dramatically
  • sheer - (adj.) Complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as an intensifier; (adv.) Directly "he fell sheer into the water"

Said

  • enounced, enunciated - Speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
  • pronounced - Speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
  • articulated - Express or state clearly
  • vocalized - Express or state clearly
  • posited - Put firmly
  • stated
  • expressed
  • reported
  • alleged - Declared but not proved
  • averred - Report or maintain, To declare or affirm in a grave manner and formally as true
  • affirmed, asserted
  • wrote
  • composed
  • indited - Produce a literary work
  • penned - Produce a literary work
  • spelt - Indicate or signify
  • voiced, sounded - Give voice to
  • demean - Reduce in worth or character, usually verbally

Noted (said)

  • remarked
  • denoted - Be a sign or indication of, "Her smile denoted that she agreed"
  • observed
  • commented
  • mentioned
  • referred
  • announced
  • noticed

Precisely

  • explicitly
  • accurately
  • expressly
  • exactly
  • incisively

Numerous

  • innumerable
  • many
  • various
  • several
  • diverse
  • umpteen
  • umteen
  • myriad (noun and adj.)

Praise

  • extol - (v) Praise, glorify, or honor
  • exalt
  • glorify
  • laud
  • proclaim
  • revere
  • idolize
  • worship
  • venerate

Call Forth

  • evoke - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • arouse - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • elicit - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • enkindle - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • provoke - Call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • inflame - Arouse or excite feelings and passions
  • awake - Stop sleeping
  • conjure - Evoke or call forth, with or as if by magic
  • invoke - Evoke or call forth, with or as if by magic
  • summon - Gather or bring together
  • instill - deposit gradually

 

When taking the ACT essay section, students have 45 minutes to write a well-reasoned argumentative essay about a given prompt. The new ACT Essay prompts tend to be about “debate” topics — two sides of an issue are presented, with no obviously “right” side. Oftentimes, these subjects carry implications for broader issues such as freedom or morality. Test-takers are expected to convey some stance on the issue and support their argument with relevant facts and analysis.

 

In addition to some of the more obvious categories, like grammar and structure, students’ essays are also evaluated on their mastery of the English language. One way to demonstrate such mastery is through the correct usage of advanced vocabulary words. Below are 50 above-average vocabulary words sorted by the contexts in which they could most easily be worked into an ACT essay.

 

Context 1: Factual Support For ACT Essay

These words can easily be used when stating facts and describing examples to support one’s argument. On ACT essays, common examples are trends or patterns of human behavior, current or past events, and large-scale laws or regulations.

 

  • Antecedent – a precursor, or preceding event for something – N
  • Bastion – an institution/place/person that strongly maintains particular principles, attitudes, or activities – N
  • Bellwether – something that indicates a trend – N
  • Burgeon – to begin to grow or increase rapidly – V
  • Catalyst – an agent that provokes or triggers change – N
  • Defunct – no longer in existence or functioning – Adj.
  • Entrenched – characterized by something that is firmly established and difficult to change – Adj.
  • Foster – to encourage the development of something – V
  • Galvanize – to shock or excite someone into taking action – V
  • Impetus – something that makes a process or activity happen or happen faster – N
  • Inadvertent – accidental or unintentional – Adj.
  • Incessant – never ending; continuing without pause – Adj.
  • Inflame – to provoke or intensify strong feelings in someone – V
  • Instill – to gradually but firmly establish an idea or attitude into a person’s mind – V
  • Lucrative – having a large reward, monetary or otherwise – Adj.
  • Myriad – countless or extremely large in number – Adj.
  • Precipitate – to cause something to happen suddenly or unexpectedly – V
  • Proponent – a person who advocates for something – N
  • Resurgence – an increase or revival after a period of limited activity – N
  • Revitalize – to give something new life and vitality – V
  • Ubiquitous – characterized by being everywhere; widespread – Adj.
  • Watershed – an event or period that marks a turning point – N


Context 2: Analysis

These words can often be used when describing common patterns between examples or casting some form of opinion or judgement.

 

  • Anomaly – deviation from the norm – N
  • Automaton – a mindless follower; someone who acts in a mechanical fashion – N
  • Belie – to fail to give a true impression of something – V
  • Cupidity – excessive greed – Adj.
  • Debacle – a powerful failure; a fiasco – N
  • Demagogue – a political leader or person who looks for support by appealing to prejudices instead of using rational arguments – N
  • Deter – to discourage someone from doing something by making them doubt or fear the consequences – V
  • Discredit – to harm the reputation or respect for someone – V
  • Draconian – characterized by strict laws, rules and punishments – Adj.
  • Duplicitous – deliberately deceitful in speech/behavior – Adj.
  • Egregious – conspicuously bad; extremely evil; monstrous and outrageous – Adj.
  • Exacerbate – to make a situation worse – V
  • Ignominious – deserving or causing public disgrace or shame – Adj.
  • Insidious – proceeding in a subtle way but with harmful effects – Adj.
  • Myopic – short-sighted; not considering the long run – Adj.
  • Pernicious – dangerous and harmful – Adj.
  • Renegade – a person who betrays an organization, country, or set of principles – N
  • Stigmatize – to describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or disapproval – V
  • Superfluous – unnecessary – Adj.
  • Venal – corrupt; susceptible to bribery – Adj.
  • Virulent – extremely severe or harmful in its effects – Adj.
  • Zealot – a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals – N

 

Context 3: Thesis and Argument

These words are appropriate for taking a stance on controversial topics, placing greater weight on one or the other end of the spectrum, usually touching on abstract concepts, and/or related to human nature or societal issues.

 

  • Autonomy – independence or self governance; the right to make decisions for oneself – N
  • Conundrum – a difficult problem with no easy solution – N
  • Dichotomy – a division or contrast between two things that are presented as opposites or entirely different – N
  • Disparity – a great difference between things – N
  • Divisive – causing disagreement or hostility between people – Adj.
  • Egalitarian – favoring social equality and equal rights – Adj.

 

Although it’s true that vocabulary is one of the lesser criteria by which students’ ACT essays are graded, the small boost it may give to a student’s score could be the difference between a good score and a great score. For those who are already confident in their ability to create and support a well-reasoned argument but still want to go the extra mile, having a few general-purpose, impressive-sounding vocabulary words up one’s sleeve is a great way to tack on even more points.

 

To learn more about the ACT test, check out these CollegeVine posts:

 

Angela Yang

Angela is a student at Cornell College of Engineering. At CollegeVine, she works primarily as ACT Verbal Division Manager. She enjoys teaching a variety of subjects and helping students realize their dreams.

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