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Words to Use in an Essay: 300 Essay Words

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Hannah Yang

words to use in an essay

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Words to use in the essay introduction, words to use in the body of the essay, words to use in your essay conclusion, how to improve your essay writing vocabulary.

It’s not easy to write an academic essay .

Many students struggle to word their arguments in a logical and concise way.

To make matters worse, academic essays need to adhere to a certain level of formality, so we can’t always use the same word choices in essay writing that we would use in daily life.

If you’re struggling to choose the right words for your essay, don’t worry—you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of over 300 words and phrases to use in the introduction, body, and conclusion of your essay.

The introduction is one of the hardest parts of an essay to write.

You have only one chance to make a first impression, and you want to hook your reader. If the introduction isn’t effective, the reader might not even bother to read the rest of the essay.

That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate with the words you choose at the beginning of your essay.

Many students use a quote in the introductory paragraph to establish credibility and set the tone for the rest of the essay.

When you’re referencing another author or speaker, try using some of these phrases:

To use the words of X

According to X

As X states

Example: To use the words of Hillary Clinton, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health.”

Near the end of the introduction, you should state the thesis to explain the central point of your paper.

If you’re not sure how to introduce your thesis, try using some of these phrases:

In this essay, I will…

The purpose of this essay…

This essay discusses…

In this paper, I put forward the claim that…

There are three main arguments for…

Phrases to introduce a thesis

Example: In this essay, I will explain why dress codes in public schools are detrimental to students.

After you’ve stated your thesis, it’s time to start presenting the arguments you’ll use to back up that central idea.

When you’re introducing the first of a series of arguments, you can use the following words:

First and foremost

First of all

To begin with

Example: First , consider the effects that this new social security policy would have on low-income taxpayers.

All these words and phrases will help you create a more successful introduction and convince your audience to read on.

The body of your essay is where you’ll explain your core arguments and present your evidence.

It’s important to choose words and phrases for the body of your essay that will help the reader understand your position and convince them you’ve done your research.

Let’s look at some different types of words and phrases that you can use in the body of your essay, as well as some examples of what these words look like in a sentence.

Transition Words and Phrases

Transitioning from one argument to another is crucial for a good essay.

It’s important to guide your reader from one idea to the next so they don’t get lost or feel like you’re jumping around at random.

Transition phrases and linking words show your reader you’re about to move from one argument to the next, smoothing out their reading experience. They also make your writing look more professional.

The simplest transition involves moving from one idea to a separate one that supports the same overall argument. Try using these phrases when you want to introduce a second correlating idea:

Additionally

In addition

Furthermore

Another key thing to remember

In the same way

Correspondingly

Example: Additionally , public parks increase property value because home buyers prefer houses that are located close to green, open spaces.

Another type of transition involves restating. It’s often useful to restate complex ideas in simpler terms to help the reader digest them. When you’re restating an idea, you can use the following words:

In other words

To put it another way

That is to say

To put it more simply

Example: “The research showed that 53% of students surveyed expressed a mild or strong preference for more on-campus housing. In other words , over half the students wanted more dormitory options.”

Often, you’ll need to provide examples to illustrate your point more clearly for the reader. When you’re about to give an example of something you just said, you can use the following words:

For instance

To give an illustration of

To exemplify

To demonstrate

As evidence

Example: Humans have long tried to exert control over our natural environment. For instance , engineers reversed the Chicago River in 1900, causing it to permanently flow backward.

Sometimes, you’ll need to explain the impact or consequence of something you’ve just said.

When you’re drawing a conclusion from evidence you’ve presented, try using the following words:

As a result

Accordingly

As you can see

This suggests that

It follows that

It can be seen that

For this reason

For all of those reasons

Consequently

Example: “There wasn’t enough government funding to support the rest of the physics experiment. Thus , the team was forced to shut down their experiment in 1996.”

Phrases to draw conclusions

When introducing an idea that bolsters one you’ve already stated, or adds another important aspect to that same argument, you can use the following words:

What’s more

Not only…but also

Not to mention

To say nothing of

Another key point

Example: The volcanic eruption disrupted hundreds of thousands of people. Moreover , it impacted the local flora and fauna as well, causing nearly a hundred species to go extinct.

Often, you'll want to present two sides of the same argument. When you need to compare and contrast ideas, you can use the following words:

On the one hand / on the other hand

Alternatively

In contrast to

On the contrary

By contrast

In comparison

Example: On the one hand , the Black Death was undoubtedly a tragedy because it killed millions of Europeans. On the other hand , it created better living conditions for the peasants who survived.

Finally, when you’re introducing a new angle that contradicts your previous idea, you can use the following phrases:

Having said that

Differing from

In spite of

With this in mind

Provided that

Nevertheless

Nonetheless

Notwithstanding

Example: Shakespearean plays are classic works of literature that have stood the test of time. Having said that , I would argue that Shakespeare isn’t the most accessible form of literature to teach students in the twenty-first century.

Good essays include multiple types of logic. You can use a combination of the transitions above to create a strong, clear structure throughout the body of your essay.

Strong Verbs for Academic Writing

Verbs are especially important for writing clear essays. Often, you can convey a nuanced meaning simply by choosing the right verb.

You should use strong verbs that are precise and dynamic. Whenever possible, you should use an unambiguous verb, rather than a generic verb.

For example, alter and fluctuate are stronger verbs than change , because they give the reader more descriptive detail.

Here are some useful verbs that will help make your essay shine.

Verbs that show change:

Accommodate

Verbs that relate to causing or impacting something:

Verbs that show increase:

Verbs that show decrease:

Deteriorate

Verbs that relate to parts of a whole:

Comprises of

Is composed of

Constitutes

Encompasses

Incorporates

Verbs that show a negative stance:

Misconstrue

Verbs that show a negative stance

Verbs that show a positive stance:

Substantiate

Verbs that relate to drawing conclusions from evidence:

Corroborate

Demonstrate

Verbs that relate to thinking and analysis:

Contemplate

Hypothesize

Investigate

Verbs that relate to showing information in a visual format:

Useful Adjectives and Adverbs for Academic Essays

You should use adjectives and adverbs more sparingly than verbs when writing essays, since they sometimes add unnecessary fluff to sentences.

However, choosing the right adjectives and adverbs can help add detail and sophistication to your essay.

Sometimes you'll need to use an adjective to show that a finding or argument is useful and should be taken seriously. Here are some adjectives that create positive emphasis:

Significant

Other times, you'll need to use an adjective to show that a finding or argument is harmful or ineffective. Here are some adjectives that create a negative emphasis:

Controversial

Insignificant

Questionable

Unnecessary

Unrealistic

Finally, you might need to use an adverb to lend nuance to a sentence, or to express a specific degree of certainty. Here are some examples of adverbs that are often used in essays:

Comprehensively

Exhaustively

Extensively

Respectively

Surprisingly

Using these words will help you successfully convey the key points you want to express. Once you’ve nailed the body of your essay, it’s time to move on to the conclusion.

The conclusion of your paper is important for synthesizing the arguments you’ve laid out and restating your thesis.

In your concluding paragraph, try using some of these essay words:

In conclusion

To summarize

In a nutshell

Given the above

As described

All things considered

Example: In conclusion , it’s imperative that we take action to address climate change before we lose our coral reefs forever.

In addition to simply summarizing the key points from the body of your essay, you should also add some final takeaways. Give the reader your final opinion and a bit of a food for thought.

To place emphasis on a certain point or a key fact, use these essay words:

Unquestionably

Undoubtedly

Particularly

Importantly

Conclusively

It should be noted

On the whole

Example: Ada Lovelace is unquestionably a powerful role model for young girls around the world, and more of our public school curricula should include her as a historical figure.

These concluding phrases will help you finish writing your essay in a strong, confident way.

There are many useful essay words out there that we didn't include in this article, because they are specific to certain topics.

If you're writing about biology, for example, you will need to use different terminology than if you're writing about literature.

So how do you improve your vocabulary skills?

The vocabulary you use in your academic writing is a toolkit you can build up over time, as long as you take the time to learn new words.

One way to increase your vocabulary is by looking up words you don’t know when you’re reading.

Try reading more books and academic articles in the field you’re writing about and jotting down all the new words you find. You can use these words to bolster your own essays.

You can also consult a dictionary or a thesaurus. When you’re using a word you’re not confident about, researching its meaning and common synonyms can help you make sure it belongs in your essay.

Don't be afraid of using simpler words. Good essay writing boils down to choosing the best word to convey what you need to say, not the fanciest word possible.

Finally, you can use ProWritingAid’s synonym tool or essay checker to find more precise and sophisticated vocabulary. Click on weak words in your essay to find stronger alternatives.

ProWritingAid offering synonyms for great

There you have it: our compilation of the best words and phrases to use in your next essay . Good luck!

big word to use in your essay

Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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Powerful words and Phrases to use in Essays

words and phrases to spice up an essay

Although many might consider essay writing an easy task, it is not always the case with most students. Writing academic papers (essays, term papers, research papers, dissertations, theses, proposals, reports, and other assignments) requires students to hone and practice continuously. Thus, mastering writing at the academic level takes time and much practice, after which most students begin to be confident writing essays. For some, this confidence comes towards the end of the undergraduate course, while some master the art a few months or a week into their undergrad level studies.

This might sound like you, and you do not have to feel sorry about it. We have a list of academic writing power words that you can use when writing academic assignments. These words and phrases to use in your essay and other papers will help you avoid the dead words that probably deny you the top grade. Together with our team of experts in best essay writing, we have listed essential academic words that you can use in your introduction, body, and conclusion for all your essays and research papers .

Although you might have arguments and ideas that might attract the best grade, using the words we have listed could help you articulate, expound, and present the ideas effectively. Consequently, you will end up with a standard academic paper that any professional can grade, or that attracts your reader's attention and keeps them glued to the end.

After all, academic writing is a formal practice that disdains cliches or dead words such as colloquial expressions, controversial phrases, or casual words/slang. This means that the words you use when texting your friends, such as LOL, OMG, TIA, and the rest, should only end in the messages and not on the PDF or Word document you are typing your essay. As we have mentioned, formal academic writing is very delicate; it requires in-depth skills.

We hope that as you plan, write, and polish your essay, you will consider using the words we have listed here for inspiration and to hone your professional writing skills.

Words to Spice up your Introduction

Crafting a perfect introduction is arguably the most challenging part of academic writing. Whether you write the introduction first or last, it is always the invitation point for your readers to enjoy what is in the body. So, naturally, with adequate planning and structuring, you need to ensure that the introduction counts.

To begin an essay, you need to mind that your reader is uninformed about your arguments and topic, which means that the very first sentence has to summarize the central argument and the topic.

Although there is no preserved set of words to use in your essay introduction, you use the following words and phrases to explain what your essay is discussing (its scope) without losing the formality of your academic writing.

  • For decades
  • Over the years
  • Challenging
  • Significance
  • Complex problem
  • To begin with
  • As far as is proven in the literature
  • From the statistics presented by studies
  • The main objective
  • This topic resonates

This list of phrases is not complete; you can use the other phrases and words we will cover in the following sections of this guide. As long as you have a good reason to use a phrase, do not feel limited : use it for the glory of excellent grades.

General Explanations

When providing general explanations, both in the body, introduction, and conclusion of your essays, either for complex or easy points, you can use these phrases:

  • In order to
  • In other words
  • To that end
  • In another way
  • That is to say

We will see (in the course of this guideline) how else you can use the exact phrases in your essay.

Giving Examples in your essay

Any standard piece of academic writing must include examples. For instance, when presenting an argument in an argumentative or persuasive essay, you must illustrate your essay with examples to make the arguments stand out. Examples help clarify explanations, which makes it easy for the reader to connect the dots. Besides, they create an ideal picture in the mind of the reader. Instead of repeating for example when introducing illustrations in your essay, here are other phrases, transitions, and words that you can use in their place.

  • To illustrate
  • As evidence
  • To elucidate
  • To exemplify
  • On this occasion
  • As in the case of
  • Take the case of
  • In this sense
  • In this situation
  • In another case
  • In this case
  • As a demonstration
  • As a testament
  • To demonstrate
  • As an example,
  • For instance
  • For example
  • To give an illustration

Academic essays that receive top scores always have well-kit paragraphs that entail the topic sentence, arguments, examples (illustration), and closing sentences with the relevant transition words. These academic phrases are helpful when introducing examples. You can ideally use them in any academic piece, including theses, proposals, and dissertations. They help you avoid repeating similar phrases, which facilities readability and smooth flow in your essays.

Showing importance of arguments in an essay

When writing academic essays, it is vital to demonstrate that a given argument or point is fundamental. You can highlight this in your essay writing by using the following phrases:

  • In particular
  • Specifically
  • Importantly
  • Significantly
  • Fundamentally

These words can comfortably be used interchangeably when demonstrating significant ideas that are critical to understanding a topic.

Arguing based on facts from other authors

You can use phrases that acknowledge what others have said concerning a topic at the beginning of your essay. When you begin your essay with such phrases, you are posing your argument based on the authors' findings or a general interest/concern in your area of research. You can use such phrases when the evidence supports or refutes your arguments. Here are the essay phrases to use when acknowledging authors:

  • Considering
  • In light of
  • Taking into consideration
  • On account of
  • All things considered
  • On the whole
  • Insomuch as
  • Inasmuch as
  • Forasmuch as

Introducing the views of an author who is an authority in your area of interest or topic is critical in academic essay writing. For example, when you include a quote but do not want to use parenthetical citation or the exact words, you can use academic phrases such as:

  • According to X
  • X contends that
  • Referring to the views of
  • Drawing from X
  • As argued by Y
  • Findings by Y
  • As hypothesized by X
  • As proposed/shown/demonstrated/suggested by X
  • Studies by X
  • A recent study by X

Although you are referencing a quote here, it is not always advisable to use direct quotes at the start of your essay unless directed by your instructor. This means that using the above phrases can help spice up your essay introduction.

Laying Emphasis

When writing an essay, whether it be an English class essay or any essay, you must emphasize the main argument. The idea behind this is to create coherence within your essay. You can use the transition words below to emphasize your paragraphs. This list of academic essay words can be used in the introduction, body, and even conclusion.

  • In any case
  • Some other words include unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically,

Showing some sequence

When describing ideas or presenting arguments in sequence within an essay, here are the proven phrases and words that can earn you the best grades in school.

  • First, second, third
  • First, secondly, thirdly
  • Following this
  • At this point
  • Before this
  • Consequently
  • Subsequently
  • At this time

It would help if you were extra careful when introducing ideas because each paragraph only has one idea. They are also ideal when giving a list of examples.

You can also show the order of events using the phrases below:

  • Furthermore
  • In the meantime
  • Simultaneously
  • In the first place
  • First of all
  • For the time being
  • With this in mind

These phrases come in handy when writing about a linear event or a sequential occurrence of facts. They further help to maintain a good flow, clarity, and coherence.

Creating Flow and providing further information

Essays, even the short ones, should be as informative as possible. Knowing how to present arguments, points, and facts concisely and helps you avoid bluff in the essay. As the flow of your essay matters to the reader and for your grades, we recommend that you use these phrases or words that denote more information or flow. These words will help you to chronologically and structurally present your arguments and ideas

  • In addition
  • What's more
  • Additionally

These are academic phrases that help you expand your argument; add a point you have made without interrupting the flow of your essay. You can also use them when beginning new paragraphs.

The next set of essay words are a great choice when you want to add a piece of information that corroborates the argument or point you just mentioned. When writing academic essays and papers, it is critical to concur with your arguments. Doing so not only helps you to keep your readers glued but also helps you to contextualize your research.  They also help you avoid repeating also many times. Repetitions are a sure way to score poor grades in your essay : they make your writing predictive and boring. Here are some words to save you grades and embracement.

  • Another key thing to remember
  • Not only but also ( use this when establishing similarity in your arguments- it makes the argument stand out)
  • Coupled with
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly

You can also use the essay phrases below when stating your claim or introducing your claim. When your essay requires you to prove how you will achieve a goal- as is with a problem-solution essay or proposal argument essay , you can use these sentences to expand your points.

  • To this end

You can also use the academic phrases below to improve continuity in your essay write-up. These essay phrases explain a point that you already made but differently. Avoid repetition when elaborating specific points or arguments in your essay by using the phrases below

  • To put it in another way
  • To put it more simply

The phrases above can also be used when rounding up a point that came before the sentence that you begin.

An Example: He was already abusive to both the mother and the kids. In other words, it was a long-term domestic violence case.

Comparing and Contrasting Points

In academic essays, there are instances when you are required to include information that proves or refutes a point. For instance, when writing an argumentative essay, you have to include a counterargument. To show the views of the researchers that disagree with your main argument or point of view, you can use these words to introduce alternative arguments:

  • Nevertheless
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • Even though

These phrases are a seamless way to include an alternative perspective.

An Example: While 35% of the population appears to be living below the poverty line, the remaining 65% seem to be doing well.

You can also use phrases that show contrast, present uncertainty, and compare facts associated with your significant arguments. Here are some of the phrases:

  • By contrast
  • In comparison

The phrases above demonstrate expertise in your topic, authority in writing and help you convince your readers.

When you intend to demonstrate a positive aspect of your subject matter, you can use these phrases in your academic piece:

  • Despite this
  • Provided that
  • Nonetheless

Example : Provided that there is a red flag in a relationship, it is only safe that the victim acts or seeks help.

To add contrast, you can also highlight the relevance of an opinion, argument, point, or fact as regards your research. Here are some academic words that can help you introduce paragraphs or sentences that have big ideas in your essay:

  • Another key point

Perfect words to conclude your essay

An essay conclusion carries as much weight as the introduction. Therefore, you must ensure that you have concluding words for your essay good enough to wrap up your arguments. In addition, considering that your conclusion should have a summary of the main ideas, your final statement and road plan to the conclusion must be evident. Here is a list of categorized phrases to use to conclude an essay effectively:

  • In conclusion
  • To summarize
  • In the final analysis
  • On close analysis
  • As can be seen from the argument above
  • The most compelling finding
  • The outstanding idea
  • The most persuasive point
  • This suggests that
  • It can be seen that
  • The consequence is
  • Subsequent to
  • Most significantly
  • It should be noted
  • It is worth noting

These are essay phrases that you use when articulating your reasons in the essay. Some of them summarize the relevant ideas or arguments, while others emphasize the relevant arguments.

Parting Shot

We have explored the list of useful phrases for writing great essays. When coupled with the correct vocabulary words, an essay easily scores the top grade in a rubric. When you use the words above, you automatically sound smart.

Whether you are writing a narrative, argumentative, or descriptive essay, these are words that you can use to convince your readers. They help you maintain a good flow, play around with other vocabularies, present authors' views, and finalize your essay in a bang.

We hope that these words will transform your essays from better to best. So, stay confident while articulating points, arguments, and ideas in your essays.

If writing an essay is not your thing, and these academic words and phrases sound Greek to you, you can hire an essay writer. Sourcing essay writing help from Gradecrest guarantees you a sample academic essay that is well-formatted. In addition, we have writers who specialize in writing different essays and can deliver within the shortest turnaround time.

big word to use in your essay

Gradecrest is a professional writing service that provides original model papers. We offer personalized services along with research materials for assistance purposes only. All the materials from our website should be used with proper references. See our Terms of Use Page for proper details.

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  • 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

big word to use in your essay

To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

This article is suitable for native English speakers and those who are  learning English at Oxford Royale Academy and are just taking their first steps into essay writing.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”

Summarising

You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of  summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , politics , business , medicine  and engineering .

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ESLBUZZ

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

By: Author Sophia

Posted on Last updated: October 25, 2023

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How to Write a Great Essay in English! This lesson provides 100+ useful words, transition words and expressions used in writing an essay. Let’s take a look!

The secret to a successful essay doesn’t just lie in the clever things you talk about and the way you structure your points.

Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

Overview of an essay.

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

Useful Phrases for Proficiency Essays

Developing the argument

  • The first aspect to point out is that…
  • Let us start by considering the facts.
  • The novel portrays, deals with, revolves around…
  • Central to the novel is…
  • The character of xxx embodies/ epitomizes…

The other side of the argument

  • It would also be interesting to see…
  • One should, nevertheless, consider the problem from another angle.
  • Equally relevant to the issue are the questions of…
  • The arguments we have presented… suggest that…/ prove that…/ would indicate that…
  • From these arguments one must…/ could…/ might… conclude that…
  • All of this points to the conclusion that…
  • To conclude…

Ordering elements

  • Firstly,…/ Secondly,…/ Finally,… (note the comma after all these introductory words.)
  • As a final point…
  • On the one hand, …. on the other hand…
  • If on the one hand it can be said that… the same is not true for…
  • The first argument suggests that… whilst the second suggests that…
  • There are at least xxx points to highlight.

Adding elements

  • Furthermore, one should not forget that…
  • In addition to…
  • Moreover…
  • It is important to add that…

Accepting other points of view

  • Nevertheless, one should accept that…
  • However, we also agree that…

Personal opinion

  • We/I personally believe that…
  • Our/My own point of view is that…
  • It is my contention that…
  • I am convinced that…
  • My own opinion is…

Others’ opinions

  • According to some critics… Critics:
  • believe that
  • suggest that
  • are convinced that
  • point out that
  • emphasize that
  • contend that
  • go as far as to say that
  • argue for this

Introducing examples

  • For example…
  • For instance…
  • To illustrate this point…

Introducing facts

  • It is… true that…/ clear that…/ noticeable that…
  • One should note here that…

Saying what you think is true

  • This leads us to believe that…
  • It is very possible that…
  • In view of these facts, it is quite likely that…
  • Doubtless,…
  • One cannot deny that…
  • It is (very) clear from these observations that…
  • All the same, it is possible that…
  • It is difficult to believe that…

Accepting other points to a certain degree

  • One can agree up to a certain point with…
  • Certainly,… However,…
  • It cannot be denied that…

Emphasizing particular points

  • The last example highlights the fact that…
  • Not only… but also…
  • We would even go so far as to say that…

Moderating, agreeing, disagreeing

  • By and large…
  • Perhaps we should also point out the fact that…
  • It would be unfair not to mention the fact that…
  • One must admit that…
  • We cannot ignore the fact that…
  • One cannot possibly accept the fact that…

Consequences

  • From these facts, one may conclude that…
  • That is why, in our opinion, …
  • Which seems to confirm the idea that…
  • Thus,…/ Therefore,…
  • Some critics suggest…, whereas others…
  • Compared to…
  • On the one hand, there is the firm belief that… On the other hand, many people are convinced that…

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 1

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 1

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 2

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 2

Phrases For Balanced Arguments

Introduction

  • It is often said that…
  • It is undeniable that…
  • It is a well-known fact that…
  • One of the most striking features of this text is…
  • The first thing that needs to be said is…
  • First of all, let us try to analyze…
  • One argument in support of…
  • We must distinguish carefully between…
  • The second reason for…
  • An important aspect of the text is…
  • It is worth stating at this point that…
  • On the other hand, we can observe that…
  • The other side of the coin is, however, that…
  • Another way of looking at this question is to…
  • What conclusions can be drawn from all this?
  • The most satisfactory conclusion that we can come to is…
  • To sum up… we are convinced that…/ …we believe that…/ …we have to accept that…

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 3

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 3

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Monday 21st of February 2022

Become a Writer Today

Top 300+ List of Essay Words To Use

Here is our top list of essay words you can add to your writing.

Any student or academic will tell you writing academic papers requires patience, thorough research, and appropriate words to relay ideas effectively. Below, we have prepared a list of essay words for your essay or academic piece’s introduction, body, and conclusion.

What Are Essay Words?

Essay words printable, essay words for the introduction, essay words for giving examples, essay words for highlighting arguments, essay words for showing sequence, essay words for adding information, essay words for comparing and contrasting ideas, essay words for the conclusion, what is the one word that can be applied to the kind of an essay, what words can i use when writing an essay, what are other words for you in an essay, what are the 5 types of essays.

List of essay words

Along with a paper’s arguments, format, and structure, essay words are used to adequately explain the subject in a formal but clear manner. Picking the correct phrases and words helps your audience realize your key point and persuade them to follow your thinking. 

Plus, applying suitable words to introduce and expound ideas convinces your readers that you’ve done your research correctly. These English essay words are also helpful if you spend time paraphrasing the ideas of other writers and academics. If you need more help, consider using a good essay checker .  Here are essay words you can use:

Essay words list printable

Most academic essays require a formal writing style because using informal writing makes it hard to edit and grade based on a standard the school or university gives. Even personal and narrative essays must stay formal. These are the words to create and enhance your introduction without losing the sense of formality in academic writing.

According to the most recent data, more employees prefer working at home than in the office.

This essay will address the issue of gender inequality in the workforce.

In this essay, we will analyze the various factors that contribute to climate change.

The approach we’ll use in discussing this topic involves a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Some experts argue that human activities are the major contributors to global warming.

The author asserts that the lack of early education is one of the main drivers of economic inequality.

Let’s assume for a moment that we’ve already optimized all renewable energy sources.

Before we begin analyzing the effects of the problem, we must first know the root of it.

This essay takes a broad look at the implications of global warming on agricultural productivity.

  • Challenging

Drug addiction is the most challenging global problem every government must solve.

Mental illness is a topic with many complex issues.

We will consider both sides of the argument before drawing conclusions.

  • Significance

What is the significance of following rules?

In the context of this discussion, “productivity” refers to the output of a worker per hour.

Mental health is a sensitive topic affecting people of all ages.

There is a debate about the effectiveness of the new tax policy in reducing income disparity.

This essay will detail the causes and effects of deforestation.

Our task is to determine the causes of the rise in mental health issues among college students.

We will discuss the ethical implications of genetic engineering in this essay.

This essay will elaborate on the role of social movements in bringing about societal change.

In the next section, the researchers will enumerate the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.

We will evaluate the impact of climate change on biodiversity.

This essay will explore the important aspect of artificial intelligence in modern healthcare.

To understand the subject better, we will first discuss its history.

First and foremost , it’s essential to understand that not all politicians are bad.

We can learn a lot from the book “ The Little Prince ,” such as about the fundamental nature of love.

The essay will highlight the importance of community participation in local governance.

This essay will illuminate the effects of screen time on children’s development.

This essay will introduce the concept of sustainable development and its significance.

The main goal of this essay is to discuss the value of justice in our lives.

There’s a myriad of factors that affect a country’s tourism.

The objective of this essay is to spread awareness about the violence women and children face daily. 

An overview of the current state of renewable energy technologies will be provided in this essay.

We will present an argument in favor of implementing more stringent environmental regulations.

Lack of knowledge in managing finances is a prevalent problem today.

A good speaker delivers their speech without referring to notes.

In this essay, we will review studies related to the impact of social media on teenagers.

Let’s shed some light on the impact of fast fashion on the environment in this essay.

The youth’s mental state today has been disturbed by societal pressures, such as the impossible beauty standards they see on social media. 

Research suggests that adolescent mental health can be severely affected by excessive screen time.

  • To that end

To that end , this essay aims to challenge conventional thinking and inspire more inclusive practices in our communities.

This essay will touch on the issue of gender disparity in corporate leadership.

We will unpack the factors contributing to the rapid development of technology.

My essay aims to validate the hypothesis that a healthier diet can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

This essay will weigh the pros and cons of genetic modification in agriculture.

We’ll zoom in on the specific impacts of pollution on marine ecosystems in this essay.

Essays need examples to present arguments and illustrate cases. Examples support claims and offer evidence, and make complex concepts easier for readers and usually lead to higher grades! Knowing several essay words for giving examples is vital to avoid the repetition of similar words or phrases. 

Akin to the effects of climate change, deforestation also leads to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

To analogize, the effect of deforestation on our planet is like removing the lungs from a living organism.

It appears from recent studies that regular exercise can improve mental health.

Our justice system’s flaws are apparent, such as in the case of O.J. Simpson , who was acquitted despite murdering his wife.

To clarify, this essay argues that renewable energy is more sustainable than fossil fuels.

This essay conveys the importance of cultivating empathy in a diverse society.

  • Corroborate

Recent studies corroborate the theory that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress.

  • Demonstrate

Statistics demonstrate a significant correlation between diet and heart disease.

This essay will depict the socio-economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

Current research discloses a worrying trend of increasing cyber threats.

The data displays a significant increase in the usage of renewable energy sources.

To elucidate, this essay aims to explore the intricate relationship between mental health and social media use.

The evidence suggests that pollution is a major factor contributing to global warming.

The effects of climate change exemplify the urgent need for environmental preservation.

The graphs below exhibit the significant impact of human activities on climate change.

  • For example

For example, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can significantly lower the risk of heart disease.

  • For instance

For instance, aerobic exercises like running and swimming improve cardiovascular health.

  • I.e. (Id est)

A healthy lifestyle, i.e., a balanced diet and regular exercise, can prevent numerous diseases.

This essay will illustrate the ways in which technology has transformed modern education.

Imagine if we could harness all the power from the sun; we would have an unlimited source of clean energy.

  • In other words

In other words, this essay will deconstruct the complexities of artificial intelligence in layman’s terms.

The data indicates a steady decline in the population of bees worldwide.

Like a domino effect, one small change can trigger a series of events in an ecosystem.

This essay will outline the main strategies for maintaining mental wellness amid a pandemic.

This essay seeks to portray the various forms of discrimination prevalent in society.

  • Pretend that

Pretend that each tree cut down is a breath of air taken away; perhaps then we’ll understand the severity of deforestation.

The melting polar ice caps are undeniable proof of global warming.

This essay proposes a holistic approach to dealing with the issue of cyberbullying.

Each data point represents a respondent’s opinion in the survey.

Recent studies reveal a direct correlation between screen time and sleep disorders.

The experts say that practicing mindfulness can help reduce anxiety.

The graphs show a significant increase in the global temperature over the past century.

Similar to how a car needs fuel to run, our bodies need a balanced diet for optimal performance.

The current situation with the global pandemic has underscored the importance of mental health.

  • Substantiate

The studies substantiate the claim that smoking can lead to a multitude of health issues.

In this context, melting ice caps symbolize the urgent need for climate action.

The data tells us that stress levels have spiked during the pandemic.

The increasing global temperatures are a testament to the impact of human activities on climate change.

  • To give an idea

To give an idea, think of the human brain as a super-computer, continuously processing and storing information.

The goal of this essay is to underline the importance of sustainable practices.

The findings verify the hypothesis that meditation can improve mental health.

These words appear throughout the essay but are mainly for the body. You can use these words to effectively show the importance of an argument and emphasize essential paragraphs in your essay.

Above all, it’s essential to maintain a balance between work and personal life for overall well-being.

  • Acknowledge

We must acknowledge the crucial role of teachers in shaping the future of our society.

Environmentalists advocate for sustainable practices to mitigate climate change effects.

The research affirms the beneficial impact of regular exercise on mental health.

The government is taking measures to amplify the reach of digital literacy.

Adding evidence from credible sources can bolster your argument in an essay.

The author cites numerous studies to support his theory of human behavior.

  • Conclusively

Conclusively, the findings suggest a strong correlation between diet and heart health.

The experiments confirm the effectiveness of the vaccine against the virus.

Some experts contend that implementing a carbon tax reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

These new findings contradict the previously held beliefs about the origins of the universe.

The president will declare a state of emergency in a few days.

Exercise can definitely improve your mood and energy levels.

The speaker emphasizes the need for more mental health services.

Many celebrities endorse the idea of adopting a plant-based diet for environmental reasons.

Children, especially, should be taught the value of resilience from an early age.

These viral scandals expose the corruption within the political system.

The law expressly forbids discrimination based on race or gender.

The situation is extremely concerning and requires immediate attention.

The fact is that climate change is a reality we must confront.

We should focus on adopting renewable sources of energy to mitigate climate change.

  • Fundamentally

Fundamentally, equality is a basic human right that everyone deserves.

The data seems to imply a shift in consumer behavior towards sustainable products.

  • Importantly

Importantly, regular check-ups are crucial for early detection of diseases.

  • in light of

In light of recent research, it’s vital to re-examine the previous findings.

Regular exercise, indeed, has been proven to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses.

  • Irrefutable

The damaging effects of plastic pollution on marine life are irrefutable .

We must maintain a commitment to practice sustainability in our daily lives.

  • Make certain of

Before the researchers start any experiments, they must make certain of procedures and goals.

Several factors contribute to climate change, namely deforestation, industrial pollution, and urbanization.

It’s necessary to reduce our carbon footprint to protect the planet.

Notably, the use of renewable energy has been making significant progress in recent years.

Obviously, a balanced diet and regular exercise are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • On the whole

On the whole, implementing green practices can significantly improve our environmental impact.

  • Particularly

Air pollution is a concern, particularly in densely populated cities.

The study points out the beneficial effects of meditation in reducing stress.

The organization is primarily focused on promoting gender equality.

The success stories reinforce the importance of perseverance and hard work.

I would like to reiterate the need for consistent efforts in maintaining mental health.

  • Significantly

Regular physical activity can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease.

The project was singularly successful due to the dedicated efforts of the team.

  • Specifically

The legislation specifically targets unfair practices in the industry.

Ultimately, the decision rests on the collective agreement of the team.

Alice in Wonderland syndrome, or AIWS , is undeniably one of the rarest diseases.

  • Undoubtedly

Undoubtedly, regular reading considerably enhances vocabulary and comprehension skills.

  • Unquestionably

Unquestionably, education plays a pivotal role in societal development.

These words show the order of events or progress in an essay. They are used to give examples to further expound on a point or introduce another concept. However, be careful that each paragraph should only focus on one idea.

After completing the coursework, the students began preparing for the final exams.

The team celebrated their victory, afterwards they began to prepare for the next season.

He accepted the job, albeit with some reservations.

As soon as the rain stopped, we left for our hike.

Before the introduction of modern technology, tasks were manually done.

  • Concurrently

The two events were happening concurrently, no wonder there was a scheduling conflict.

  • Consecutively

She was late for work three days consecutively .

  • Consequently

He forgot his wallet, consequently, he couldn’t pay for lunch.

  • Continually

The organization is continually striving to improve its services.

She loves the beach. Conversely, he prefers the mountains.

The team is currently working on the new project.

During the conference, several new initiatives were announced.

Earlier in the day, we had discussed the pros and cons.

Eventually, she managed to finish her book.

Firstly, we need to identify the root of the problem.

Following the events yesterday, we decided to meet up today.

He was tired, hence he went to bed early.

Henceforth, all meetings will be held in the new conference room.

Hereafter, we must ensure that all protocols are strictly followed.

  • Immediately

He left immediately after the meeting.

  • In the interim

In the interim, we’ll continue with our current strategies.

  • In the meantime

In the meantime, let’s clean up the workspace.

  • Incidentally

Incidentally, I came across this book while cleaning my attic.

With the constant disagreements, the project inevitably failed.

She invariably arrives late for meetings.

We decided to postpone the discussion for later .

Latterly, there has been a surge in the use of online learning platforms.

He will cook dinner. Meanwhile, I will set the table.

  • Momentarily

He was momentarily distracted by the noise.

Next, we need to review the project plan.

  • Periodically

The software updates periodically to ensure optimal performance.

She is presently attending a conference in New York.

Previously, we discussed the risks involved in the project.

Prior to the event, we need to finalize all arrangements.

  • Sequentially

The tasks must be completed sequentially .

  • Simultaneously

We cannot handle multiple tasks simultaneously .

She will arrive soon .

  • Subsequently

He completed his degree and subsequently found a job in the field.

The power suddenly went out.

He got promoted and thereafter received a substantial raise in salary.

Thereupon, he decided to retire and write a book.

Thus, we conclude our discussion.

Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves.

We will begin when everyone arrives.

Call me whenever you need help.

While she cooked the meal, he set the table.

No matter what type of essay you write, it should remain informative. Words used to add information create flow, expand arguments, and incorporate details that support your points.

She’s asking him about that project the boss wants them to do.

The results were not as bad as anticipated; actually, they were quite good.

This is a great product; in addition, it’s very affordable.

  • Additionally

The car is economical; additionally, it’s environmentally friendly.

She tried again after failing the first time.

He worked alongside his colleagues to complete the project.

We will also need to consider the budget.

  • Alternatively

If the plan fails, we could alternatively try a different approach.

She likes to read books and watch movies.

He is open to another perspective on the matter.

She will attend the meeting as well .

The project will assuredly be completed on time.

Besides the main dish, we also have a variety of desserts.

She will certainly appreciate the gesture.

The rules were clearly explained to everyone.

This is a problem commonly encountered in this field.

  • Complementary

The two studies are complementary, providing a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

  • Correspondingly

The workload increased, and correspondingly, the need for more staff became apparent.

The increased workload, coupled with tight deadlines, created a stressful atmosphere.

The team members contributed equally to the project.

The cake was delicious, and the icing made it even more enjoyable.

  • Furthermore

He is qualified for the job; furthermore, he has relevant experience.

  • In addition

She is a great leader; in addition, she is an excellent communicator.

  • In contrast

He is outgoing; in contrast, his brother is quite shy.

She did not like the book; in fact, she found it boring.

  • In particular

She loves flowers, roses in particular .

It appears simple; in reality, it’s quite complex.

  • In the same way

He treats all his employees fairly, in the same way he would like to be treated.

He enjoys reading; likewise, his sister loves books.

  • More importantly

She passed the exam; more importantly, she scored highest in the class.

The house is beautiful; moreover, it’s located in a great neighborhood.

  • Not only… but also

He is not only a talented musician, but also a great teacher.

  • On the one hand

On the one hand, he enjoys his current job; on the other, he aspires for a higher position.

  • On top of that

The food was delicious; on top of that, the service was excellent.

She has impressive qualifications; plus, she has a lot of experience.

He was disheartened after failing the exam; similarly, she was upset after losing the match.

He woke up late, then rushed to work.

He is a skilled programmer; to add, he has an exceptional understanding of user experience design.

  • Together with

He completed the project together with his team.

She is tired, and she is hungry too .

  • With this in mind

With this in mind, we should proceed cautiously.

These are words used to include information that confirms or disagrees with a point in your essay. Words that compare and contrast ideas are common in argumentative essays. It’s because this type demands a counterargument to fairly present other experts’ take on the issue.

He went to work although he was feeling unwell.

  • Analogous to

The structure of an atom is analogous to our solar system.

  • As opposed to

She prefers tea as opposed to coffee.

  • By the same token

He is a great teacher; by the same token, he is a superb mentor.

  • Comparatively

My new laptop works comparatively faster than the old one.

Upon comparison, his work proved far superior.

  • Contrariwise

The day was hot; contrariwise, the night was chilly.

Contrary to his usual behavior, he arrived on time.

Her efforts are directly correlated to her success.

His words were counter to his actions.

Despite the rain, they continued the game.

  • Different from

His opinion is different from mine.

Their views on the subject are disparate .

  • Dissimilar to

His style of writing is dissimilar to that of his peers.

  • Distinct from

Her dress is distinct from the others.

  • Divergent from

His findings are divergent from the initial hypothesis.

  • Equivalent to

His happiness was equivalent to that of a child.

He failed the test; however, he didn’t stop trying.

  • In comparison

In comparison, his work is of a higher standard.

He gave a donation in lieu of flowers.

  • In like manner

She dresses in like manner to her sister.

  • In opposition to

He voted in opposition to the proposed bill.

  • In spite of

In spite of the challenges, she never gave up.

  • In the same vein

In the same vein, he continued his argument.

He chose to walk instead of taking the bus.

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, success doesn’t come overnight.

Much as I appreciate your help, I must do this on my own.

  • Nevertheless

He was tired; nevertheless, he continued to work.

  • Notwithstanding

Notwithstanding the difficulties, he completed the task on time.

  • On the contrary

He is not lazy; on the contrary, he is a hard worker.

  • Opposite of

Joy is the opposite of sorrow.

His life parallels that of his father.

  • Rather than

She chose to laugh rather than cry.

  • Regardless of

Regardless of the consequences, he went ahead with his plan.

His answer is the same as mine.

  • Set side by side

When set side by side, the differences are clear.

Though he was late, he still got the job.

Unlike his brother, he is very outgoing.

It was a match of experience versus youth.

He is tall, whereas his brother is short.

He is rich, yet very humble.

The conclusion is an essential part of the essay. The concluding paragraph or section reiterates important points, leaves the readers with something to think about, and wraps up the essay nicely so it doesn’t end abruptly. 

  • Accordingly

He performed well on the job; accordingly, he was promoted.

  • After all is said and done

After all is said and done, it’s the kindness that counts.

All in all, the concert was a great success.

  • All things considered

All things considered, I think we made the best decision.

The event, altogether, was a memorable one.

  • As a final observation

As a final observation, her dedication to the project was commendable.

  • As a final point

As a final point, the successes outweighed the failures.

  • As a result

He worked hard; as a result, he achieved his goals.

His actions were inappropriate; as such, he was reprimanded.

  • By and large

By and large, the feedback has been positive.

The event was, chiefly, a success.

In close, I must say the performance was extraordinary.

The evidence was compelling and led to his conviction.

  • Effectively

The team effectively handled the project.

  • Everything considered

Everything considered, the trip was beneficial.

Evidently, he was not involved in the crime.

Finally, she announced her decision.

  • In a nutshell

In a nutshell, the plan was not effective.

  • In conclusion

In conclusion, we need to strive for better communication.

  • In drawing things to a close

In drawing things to a close, I’d like to thank everyone for their contributions.

In essence, we need to focus on quality, not quantity.

  • In retrospect

In retrospect, our methodology was correct.

In summary, the event was a success.

In the end, hard work always pays off.

  • In the final analysis

In the final analysis, the project was a success.

  • Last but not the least

Last but not the least, we need to thank our sponsors.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the process.

On balance, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Overall, it was a productive meeting.

Summarily, we need to focus on our key strengths.

The report summarizes the main findings of the study.

Summing up, we made significant progress this year.

  • Taking everything into account

Taking everything into account, it was a successful campaign.

He was ill; therefore, he couldn’t attend the meeting.

  • To cap it all off

To cap it all off, we had a great time at the party.

To close, we need your continued support.

  • To conclude

To conclude, let’s aim for higher targets next year.

To finish, remember that success comes to those who dare.

To sum up, we achieved our objectives.

  • Without a doubt

Without a doubt, it was an unforgettable experience.

To wrap, it was a journey worth taking.

Learning how to use the right essay words is just one of the many writing skills students and those writing in academia must develop. Others include a good knowledge of grammar and an ability to write an essay that’s readable and accurate. It just takes practice. Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays .

Some words that could be used to describe different kinds of essays include: argumentative, persuasive, expository, narrative, descriptive, analytical, compare and contrast, cause and effect, reflective, and personal.

When writing an essay, it’s important to choose appropriate and effective words to express your ideas clearly and concisely. Here are some words you can use to enhance your essay writing: 1. Firstly, secondly, thirdly 2. Moreover, furthermore, additionally 3. In addition, also, likewise 4. However, nevertheless, yet 5. Although, despite, regardless

Here are some other words that can be used as alternatives for “you” in an essay: yourself, oneself, one, someone, somebody, anyone, everybody, people, individuals, persons, others, them, they, yourselves, thou, thee.

1. Narrative essays 2. Descriptive essays 3. Expository essays 4. Persuasive essays 5. Argumentative essay

big word to use in your essay

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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The Write Practice

How to Use Big Words Without Making a Fool of Yourself

by Guest Blogger | 7 comments

Have you ever used a word for years — like, maybe during your thesis defense or in a high-profile report for work — then realized one day that you had it totally wrong? Those big words you thought were making you look so erudite were, in fact, working against you. Turns out, coif is not the same as coiffure, and you never even realized it.

How to Use Big Words Without Making a Fool of Yourself

No one is immune from this, neither journalists nor poets, essayists nor novelists. The problem often stems from our natural inclination as writers to grab hold of an exciting new word and just run with it. Not only do we end up using big words just plain wrong , our enthusiasm leads to overuse as well.

By slowing down just a little bit, recognizing common pitfalls, and inserting some deliberate practice into your vocabulary usage, you can turn this trend around.

6 Big Word Sins You Can Learn to Avoid

We love those flashy mots , but in the pursuit of better craft, we often make our writing worse. Here are five common slipups writers make with big words:

Sin 1: Confusing Similar Words

You’ve probably come across the idea that only the first and last letters of a word are really important , while those between can be jumbled without losing meaning. This idea seems to contain the seeds of truth, which is bad for us writers who don’t parse vocab carefully enough.

At first glance, enervate and energize may look and sound the same, and seem to mean the same thing. Same with meretricious and meritorious. Unfortunately, these word pairs are opposites. To enervate is to drain energy; to energize is to add it. Meretricious means cheap or tawdry; meritorious means worthy or deserving of praise.

If you’re not careful to examine all of a word, you may end up using it wrong. Once you misapply it a few times, it gets cemented in your brain and will be hard to change. No Bueno.

Sin 2: Assuming You Know What Words Mean From Context

As writers, we’re used to absorbing vocabulary from what we read. That’s great, but only if you monitor the process. Otherwise, you can easily become confused. Take the above example of coif and coiffure. To coif is a verb; a coiffure is a hairstyle. You do the first; you have the second.

Luxuriant and luxurious are also frequently confused. Luxuriant doesn’t mean plush; it means lots of it . You have luxuriant hair; you get luxurious haircuts at expensive salons. If you’re not sure, follow my mom’s oft-repeated advice: Look it up .

Sin 3: Using the Word Multiple Times in Close Proximity

This … annoys me … so much. If you use a distinctive word too many times, I promise you readers will notice.

I’ll give you an example. Of late, fantasy authors have fallen in luuuuurve with the word “eldritch,” meaning bizarre or sinister. Now, this is a great word, but it’s not good enough to justify using more than once in a novel. There are other words for “weird and sinister,” starting with either “weird” or “sinister.” Just sayin’.

This can occur with phrases too. I love the Throne of Glass series, but my pet peeve is Sarah J. Maas’ use of “killing fields.” Yes, it’s a cool, if dark, term. But it’s so distinctive that at ten uses per novel, each new reference begins to grate. No matter how excited you are, keep your shiny new word to one instance.

Sin 4: Using Too Many DIFFERENT Words in Close Proximity

Like the above advice, readers notice when your prose or copy is suddenly crammed with four-syllable words. Keeping the big guys to a minimum is a good way to make those you do use stand out, so stick with one or two per page, at a maximum.

If it’s a word most people don’t know (eyeballing you, “eldritch”), give it even more space. Otherwise your readers will find your writing taxing, and they will get tired of it. You’re not James Joyce. Sorry.

Sin 5: Integrating More Than One Word into Your Vocab at a Time

I’m stoked you like the great authors. I do too. But while reading classic lit is a great way to expand our vocab, it’s also a great way to cram our brains full of words with which we’re only half conversant … and biff it in that thesis defense.

When you read a new word, dog-ear that page or write it down. Don’t just absorb it and conclude you “know” what it means. Then look words up carefully and practice (below) to be sure you know how to use them. If you come across many new words in a short amount of time, write them down in a document and reference it when you have some free writing time.

Sin 6: Using the Word in Dialogue When It’s Out of Character

The occasional professor or lair-bound scientist can fairly employ flowery phrasing, but chances are good your medieval heroines and subversive Nazi soldiers don’t have overflowing vocabularies. You can use that fancy five-syllable exclamation, but they probably won’t. Of course, you know your characters better than anyone else, but for the most part, you should keep their language simpler than your prose.

Choose Your Words

Phew, that was a lot of don’ts.

Luckily there is also a DO! Do use deliberate practice to improve your command of new words you stumble across. If you haven’t stumbled in a while, feel free to head to your favorite writing blog or dictionary, both of which commonly suggest new words to use. Stuck for ideas? Check out some of our favorite big words here .

When you encounter a new word you love the sound of, look it up and absorb its meaning. To deepen your understanding, check out a few examples of it in use — dictionary and encyclopedia sites are a handy way to do this, as they often offer sample sentences.

Big and uncommon words can be the perfect things to make your prose sizzle. By avoiding these egregious sins, you'll ensure each one packs a punch. Don't stop using your fancy vocabulary! Just make sure it's working for you, not against you.

What's your favorite uncommon word to use in your writing? What's a word you often see overused or misused?  Let us know in the comments .

Now it’s your turn: Find a word you're unfamiliar with. Flip through a dictionary, or pick one off this list . Then, take fifteen minutes to write three paragraphs, using the new word once in each.

Post your practice in the comments section so we can all see your work and boost our vocabulary skills along with you! And if you post, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

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ATAR Notes

Using Big Words; a Trickster's Guide to English

Friday 20th, May 2016

Jake Silove

Using big words is one of the best ways you can (seem to) improve any essay or piece of creative writing. Last week, I released an article about dealing with English for those who hate the subject. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here! This week, I thought I’d build on that article by giving you some examples of specific words you could use, and how you can use them.

This is a real thing I did. I found big words that I liked the sound of. I vaguely learnt what they meant, although not in any particular depth. Then, I used them in my essay.

My teachers absolutely frothed over them. These words were golden nuggets.

By having a thesis totally different from everyone else, you already sound bloody smart. You can think for yourself, and maybe your teacher doesn’t quite understand your thesis, but they think to themselves “hmm maybe this student is smarter than me, I can’t mark them down for that!”. To really push yourself over the edge, though, use big words .

My favourite words were vicissitudes and verisimilitude. A google of “Big smart words” yields things like:

Beleaguered

You get the idea. For a great guide vis-a-vis (fancy word, look it up) improving your vocabulary, check this out! Write yourself a list, write yourself definition, put them in a sentence in your essay and memorise that sentence. By sounding smarter, teachers will generally look more favourable on you. Since all English essays are marked dependent on whether the teacher has had their cup of coffee that morning or not, having a few extra silver bullets is always helpful.

Below, I’ve written out some great words you could use, with accompanying definitions and sentences. Within no time, you’ll be writing like a true bullshitter! Here’s an example sentence:

‘ The quintessential aesthetic, given impetus by its assiduously clandestine nature, was a resplendent self-contained duplicitous dichotomy. The piquant sense of ennui generated a foreboding facade that would act as a facsimile, differing only in the comparison of verisimilitude and truth.’ – Jacob Silove, Lyrical Wordsmith

Now, this might be a bit much, but check out the words below for some more idea.

With regards to an appreciation of beauty.

‘Writing long sentences with big fancy words gives aesthetic pleasure to English markers’

With reference to; concerning.

‘Using big words in essays apropos of textual analysis is always beneficial’

Being very diligent and meticulous.

‘If you are assiduous in learning these words, you will certainly get a Band 6 in English’

Unquestionable.

‘To state that using big words in English will increase your mark is axiomatic’

To have an inconsistent mood.

‘Hamlet’s conduct can be described as capricious and unstable’

Clandestine

Something done in secret.

‘Joshua became the teacher’s pet in a slimy, clandestine manner’

Come together.

‘My plan for HSC success coalesced as I achieved all the results I had hoped for’

The point of a plot in which everything comes together and is explained/resolved.

‘The denouement of Hamlet leaves all significant characters dead, unsurprisingly’

Lacking a purpose or enthusiasm.

‘In the hour before the exam, I was left studying in a desultory manner’

Duplicitous dichotomy

A juxtaposition of two items, with what appears to be deceitful or dire outcomes.

‘Comparing the Board of Studies on one hand with actual learning on the other is a duplicitous dichotomy’

Effervescent

Enthusiastic.

‘If only I could retain the effervescence of Year 11’

A general feeling of dissatisfaction.

‘The HSC has left me with a feeling of ennui’

Delicate and light; not of this world.

‘The day that I get to stop studying appears, in the distance, ethereal’

An external shell hiding something beneath.

‘”Do PDHPE, it’s easy!” they said. And it was, until the façade dropped away and I realised how much I needed to memorise’

An exact copy.

‘Every time I write out my English essay, its essentially a facsimile of one I had written before’

Feeling that something bad will happen.

‘As the HSC drew closer, a sense of foreboding overwhelmed me’

The thing that causes an object or idea to progress/move.

‘My trip to Europe at the end of the year is my impetus to study’

An illusion.

‘The school holidays are merely a phantasm’

Sharp taste, appetising flavour.

‘The taste of success was particularly piquant as I received my paper back, having used many big words’

Pusillanimous

Showing a lack of courage.

‘When the HSC looms before me, I will not be pusillanimous! I will prevail!’

Quintessential

A perfect example of a quality or class.

‘This article is a quintessential example of ways to bullshit your way through English’

Idealistic, unrealistic and impractical.

‘My goal of a 99.95 Atar is likely quixotic’

Resplendent

Attractive and impressive (and usually very colourful).

‘My Art major work was resplendent’

Transcendent

Above normal human experience.

‘And then, for one transcendent moment, I understood what my teacher was talking about’

Found everywhere.

‘The ubiquitous presence of my Principle ensured nobody swore when in the playground’

Verisimilitude

An appearance of truth or reality. ‘Adding big words to English essays lends them a touch of verisimilitude’

Vicissitudes

An unwelcomed change in circumstance. ‘Hamlet’s vicissitudes of fortune lead him to construct a heinous plan’

In relation to.

‘I still have absolutely no idea what I should do vis-à-vis my future’

Attractive, lively.

‘A want my creative writing character to be vivacious; then, she will seem more life-like!’

A gentle breeze.

‘And with that exam, my hopes for a 99.95 Atar floated away, as if on a zephr’

See you on the forum! If you want some high quality, totally free online tutoring, why don’t you check out my services here ?

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How to study in high school - the 'dos' and 'don'ts'

How to study in high school - the 'dos' and 'don'ts'

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big word to use in your essay

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big word to use in your essay

60 Useful Words and Phrases for Outstanding Essay Writing

General explaining.

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage : “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument.

Example : “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage : Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point.

Example : “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage : This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance.

Example : “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage : “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise.

Example : “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage : Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”.

Example : “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument. Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage : Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making.

Example : “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage :This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information.

Example : “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage : This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”.

Example : “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage : Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned.

Example : “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage : Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”.

Example : “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage : Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”.

Example : “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage : Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”.

Example : “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage : This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information.

Example : “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage : Used when considering two or more arguments at a time.

Example : “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage : This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other.

Example : “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage : “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis.

Example : “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage : Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said.

Example : “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage : Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion.

Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage : Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”.

Example : “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage : Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence.

Example : “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage : Use this to cast doubt on an assertion.

Example : “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage : This is used in the same way as “then again”.

Example : “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage : Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea.

Example : “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage : Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence.

Example : “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage : Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else.

Example : “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage : This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing.

Example : “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage : These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else.

Example : “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage : This is similar to “despite this”.

Example : “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage : This is the same as “nonetheless”.

Example : “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage : This is another way of saying “nonetheless”.

Example : “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example : “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example : “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage : Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent.

Example : “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage : This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it).

Example : “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage : Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”.

Example : “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”

Summarising

You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage : Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview.

Example : “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage : Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay.

Example : “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage : This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing.

Example : “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage : Use in the same way as “persuasive” above.

Example : “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage : This means “taking everything into account”.

Example : “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below!

Additional Information ( more examples)

+20 examples of important transition words, additional information.

There are many linking words which can lead us into additional information and while it is useful to vary your vocabulary beyond ‘ and ,’ these words are not mere replacements for ‘ and .’ They have nuanced differences, thus, by these particular meanings, we can offer a more delicate illustration of the relationships between our ideas.

  • ‘Furthermore’ is used to add information that expands upon the previous point. It precedes information that expands upon that already given. It usually occurs at the beginning of an independent clause.
  • ‘Moreover’ and ‘More so’ are both similar to ‘furthermore’ while giving special emphasis to the greater importance of the following clause.
  • “Despite cutting back on other staff, her father gave her a position, furthermore , he gave her an enviable office while still not having a role for her.”
  • Writers also sequence additional information. ‘Firstly,’ ‘secondly’ and ‘thirdly’ are obvious options used to achieve this, however, there are others. For example, we can look into the past with ‘previously,’ ‘until the present’ or ‘preceded by.’
  • “Present growth in the company was *preceded by several quarters of stagnation”*
  • ‘Meanwhile’ and ‘simultaneously’ talk about things which are happening at the same time as another, while ‘concurrently’ does this while emphasising that the two ideas have played out in conjunction with one another.
  • Usually, ‘incidentally’ is used to add relevant information while downplaying its significance compared with that of other ideas.
  • “The priority of the zoo had been to protect species’ from extinction. The panda breeding program was enjoying some rare success, while simultaneously , other programs to increase the numbers of endangered species were being trialled. Meanwhile , the zoo was being visited by an influx of tourists who were, incidentally , able to enjoy seeing the young animals.”
  • ‘Subsequently’ and ‘afterward’ lead into information after the fact.

Compare and Contrast

When writers need to illustrate similarity they can employ words such as ‘in like manner,’ ‘comparatively,’ and ‘correspondingly.’ Whereas , when they wish to highlight difference they have phrases like ‘on the contrary,’ ‘however,’ ‘notwithstanding,’ ‘nevertheless’ and ‘on the other hand.’

Notwithstanding the vehement opposition to online education programs being made available to inmates, considerable improvements were made to the re-employment prospects of many offenders who benefited from the trial. On the contrary, prisoners who were not able to access education while incarcerated were found to be more likely to reoffend and return to prison.

Clarification

When it comes time to clarify an argument or point, some of the transitional phrases which are used are, ‘to reiterate,’ ‘specifically,’ or ‘inasmuch as.’

Consequence and Conclusion

When we have lead our reader through our flow of logic, there might be nothing more rewarding than driving our point home by showing consequence or concluding our arguments. There are a lot of strong phrases such as ‘accordingly,’ ‘hence,’ ‘thus’ and ‘thereupon’ which can do this.

I hope you will feel encouraged, by this article, to continue to further your understanding of how transitional words can work to guide your reader through your flow of logic. When used well, they add power and order to your argument and can add to the result you see from your work.

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Big Words for Your Essay Writing

Essayhelp.io

Year after year of writing assignments, you may notice that you are used to the same constructions and the same words slipping into your essay. It is hard to find expressions that may leave a trace in your teacher’s memory, and with stale words, you writing is bound to become dull. Fear not! Here are some of the most common words you could replace to make your essay shine.

Replace: To Say

The list of synonyms for this word is truly enormous. Concentrate on your setting. How was your statement pronounced? It could have been repeated, added, replied, spoken, told or even revealed. If you are talking about a politician, you may use instead such words as “declared”, “announced”, “proclaimed”. Were there any emotional connotations in the speaker’s voice? If yes, use these words to describe it: “whispered”, “exclaimed”, “sobbed”, “yelled”. Add a little bit more expression to your words and you will immediately feel how a dull statement becomes sharper.

Replace: Because

Marking a clear cause and effect relation in your sentence with “because” is acceptable, but rather boring. There are other conjunctions you may use to state your reasons, such as “as”, “considering”, “on account of”, “due to”, “for” and “owing to the fact”. Switch up your sentence with these words, or even change the subordinate clause with the main, to reach an unexpected stylistic effect. Consider these two sentences:

Kids learn the names of the neighboring countries, because of the Eurovision contest.

Due to the Eurovision contest, kids learn the names of the neighboring countries,

Replace: To Think

Especially in those essays when you need to state your opinion, the phrase “I think” has already planted its roots deeply into our subconscious. It is time to eradicate it, whether by not using it at all, as it gives off an area of self-doubt, or by changing it up for better words. Try it with such gems as “assume”, “consider”, “determine”, “expect”, “feel”, “guess”, “believe”, “judge”, “realize”.

Dictionary

Replace: A Lot

Describing a considerable amount of something can be tough. Not only it is non-specific, but also sounds a little childish. Try to use such words as “myriad”, “tons”, “plethora”, “a bundle” or “an abundance”, especially if they fit your context and the style of your text. The English language is rich for words that are becoming extinct day by day, so it is up to you to help them to live and thrive.

Replace: Good

A word that bores to tears even in everyday life, “good” is no good for your essay. With this word, you want to assess an object or a situation, so why not give it a more precise evaluation? As for the “good” weather, you could say “sunny”, “cloudless” or “bright”. If it is a work of art, it can be “excellent”, “moving”, “valuable” or “wonderful”. If you are talking about a place, ranging from a restaurant to a country it can be “expensive”, “worth visiting”, “notable”, “unique”. A specific quality of the object will not only describe your object, but give your essay the needed lift.

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Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks

Published on February 9, 2015 by Shane Bryson . Revised on July 23, 2023 by Shona McCombes.

This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction , focused paragraphs , clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion .

Each paragraph addresses a single central point, introduced by a topic sentence , and each point is directly related to the thesis statement .

As you read, hover over the highlighted parts to learn what they do and why they work.

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Other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an essay, an appeal to the senses: the development of the braille system in nineteenth-century france.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

In France, debates about how to deal with disability led to the adoption of different strategies over time. While people with temporary difficulties were able to access public welfare, the most common response to people with long-term disabilities, such as hearing or vision loss, was to group them together in institutions (Tombs, 1996). At first, a joint institute for the blind and deaf was created, and although the partnership was motivated more by financial considerations than by the well-being of the residents, the institute aimed to help people develop skills valuable to society (Weygand, 2009). Eventually blind institutions were separated from deaf institutions, and the focus shifted towards education of the blind, as was the case for the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, which Louis Braille attended (Jimenez et al, 2009). The growing acknowledgement of the uniqueness of different disabilities led to more targeted education strategies, fostering an environment in which the benefits of a specifically blind education could be more widely recognized.

Several different systems of tactile reading can be seen as forerunners to the method Louis Braille developed, but these systems were all developed based on the sighted system. The Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris taught the students to read embossed roman letters, a method created by the school’s founder, Valentin Hauy (Jimenez et al., 2009). Reading this way proved to be a rather arduous task, as the letters were difficult to distinguish by touch. The embossed letter method was based on the reading system of sighted people, with minimal adaptation for those with vision loss. As a result, this method did not gain significant success among blind students.

Louis Braille was bound to be influenced by his school’s founder, but the most influential pre-Braille tactile reading system was Charles Barbier’s night writing. A soldier in Napoleon’s army, Barbier developed a system in 1819 that used 12 dots with a five line musical staff (Kersten, 1997). His intention was to develop a system that would allow the military to communicate at night without the need for light (Herron, 2009). The code developed by Barbier was phonetic (Jimenez et al., 2009); in other words, the code was designed for sighted people and was based on the sounds of words, not on an actual alphabet. Barbier discovered that variants of raised dots within a square were the easiest method of reading by touch (Jimenez et al., 2009). This system proved effective for the transmission of short messages between military personnel, but the symbols were too large for the fingertip, greatly reducing the speed at which a message could be read (Herron, 2009). For this reason, it was unsuitable for daily use and was not widely adopted in the blind community.

Nevertheless, Barbier’s military dot system was more efficient than Hauy’s embossed letters, and it provided the framework within which Louis Braille developed his method. Barbier’s system, with its dashes and dots, could form over 4000 combinations (Jimenez et al., 2009). Compared to the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, this was an absurdly high number. Braille kept the raised dot form, but developed a more manageable system that would reflect the sighted alphabet. He replaced Barbier’s dashes and dots with just six dots in a rectangular configuration (Jimenez et al., 2009). The result was that the blind population in France had a tactile reading system using dots (like Barbier’s) that was based on the structure of the sighted alphabet (like Hauy’s); crucially, this system was the first developed specifically for the purposes of the blind.

While the Braille system gained immediate popularity with the blind students at the Institute in Paris, it had to gain acceptance among the sighted before its adoption throughout France. This support was necessary because sighted teachers and leaders had ultimate control over the propagation of Braille resources. Many of the teachers at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth resisted learning Braille’s system because they found the tactile method of reading difficult to learn (Bullock & Galst, 2009). This resistance was symptomatic of the prevalent attitude that the blind population had to adapt to the sighted world rather than develop their own tools and methods. Over time, however, with the increasing impetus to make social contribution possible for all, teachers began to appreciate the usefulness of Braille’s system (Bullock & Galst, 2009), realizing that access to reading could help improve the productivity and integration of people with vision loss. It took approximately 30 years, but the French government eventually approved the Braille system, and it was established throughout the country (Bullock & Galst, 2009).

Although Blind people remained marginalized throughout the nineteenth century, the Braille system granted them growing opportunities for social participation. Most obviously, Braille allowed people with vision loss to read the same alphabet used by sighted people (Bullock & Galst, 2009), allowing them to participate in certain cultural experiences previously unavailable to them. Written works, such as books and poetry, had previously been inaccessible to the blind population without the aid of a reader, limiting their autonomy. As books began to be distributed in Braille, this barrier was reduced, enabling people with vision loss to access information autonomously. The closing of the gap between the abilities of blind and the sighted contributed to a gradual shift in blind people’s status, lessening the cultural perception of the blind as essentially different and facilitating greater social integration.

The Braille system also had important cultural effects beyond the sphere of written culture. Its invention later led to the development of a music notation system for the blind, although Louis Braille did not develop this system himself (Jimenez, et al., 2009). This development helped remove a cultural obstacle that had been introduced by the popularization of written musical notation in the early 1500s. While music had previously been an arena in which the blind could participate on equal footing, the transition from memory-based performance to notation-based performance meant that blind musicians were no longer able to compete with sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997). As a result, a tactile musical notation system became necessary for professional equality between blind and sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997).

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Bullock, J. D., & Galst, J. M. (2009). The Story of Louis Braille. Archives of Ophthalmology , 127(11), 1532. https://​doi.org/10.1001/​archophthalmol.2009.286.

Herron, M. (2009, May 6). Blind visionary. Retrieved from https://​eandt.theiet.org/​content/​articles/2009/05/​blind-visionary/.

Jiménez, J., Olea, J., Torres, J., Alonso, I., Harder, D., & Fischer, K. (2009). Biography of Louis Braille and Invention of the Braille Alphabet. Survey of Ophthalmology , 54(1), 142–149. https://​doi.org/10.1016/​j.survophthal.2008.10.006.

Kersten, F.G. (1997). The history and development of Braille music methodology. The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education , 18(2). Retrieved from https://​www.jstor.org/​stable/40214926.

Mellor, C.M. (2006). Louis Braille: A touch of genius . Boston: National Braille Press.

Tombs, R. (1996). France: 1814-1914 . London: Pearson Education Ltd.

Weygand, Z. (2009). The blind in French society from the Middle Ages to the century of Louis Braille . Stanford: Stanford University Press.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Bryson, S. (2023, July 23). Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks. Scribbr. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/example-essay-structure/

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Shane finished his master's degree in English literature in 2013 and has been working as a writing tutor and editor since 2009. He began proofreading and editing essays with Scribbr in early summer, 2014.

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What is Formal Academic Writing: 104 Words to Use and Avoid

Stefani Holloway

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For an author to tell his readers a story, picking the right word and phrases to include in his manuscript is pivotal. Similarly, using formal and professional words, sentences, and tone while writing your academic writing assignments is equally important.

To have an academic tone, express your ideas clearly, and make it easier for your readers to understand the concepts behind your arguments and points, a carefully segregated and strong word choice is ideal for success.

In this article, we’ll share a list of words you should use and ones you should avoid at all costs.

51 Formal Academic Writing Words to Use

While it is necessary to make sense of your writing, it is also advised to identify what sounds best for your assignment and be able to communicate arguments, ideas, and opinions with your target audience, cohesively and concisely.

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Let’s now understand the five categories of words and phrases that are appropriate and advisable to use in your formal academic writing assessments:

1. For the introduction

The most important and trickiest part of your academic writing is the introduction – the first portion of your essay that your readers will read, so it needs to have a catchy hook to grab the attention of your readers and summarise your topic and thesis statement in layman’s terms, all in one paragraph.

To not seem casual in your writing, as well as score high grades on your formal paper, the usage of appropriate words for your introduction paragraph is crucial. Here are some words you can consider:

  • Considering;
  • In view of;
  • In light of;
  • On the second hand;
  • Referring to the views of X;
  • According to X.

2. To add more information and clarity

The structure, clarity, and flow of your paper are very important. You would want your readers to understand each paragraph, connect the entire paper, and draw up an analysis without any difficulties.

Knowing how to write and add new information to your academic paper with smooth transitions from each paragraph to the other is a skill that is paramount amongst students who are crafting their formal assignments.

  • Furthermore;
  • In addition to;
  • Additionally;
  • On top of that;
  • In order to;
  • To this end;
  • In contemplation of;
  • In other words;
  • To put it another way;
  • To clarify;
  • To simplify;
  • Comparably;
  • In parallel to.

3. To compare and contrast

Most of the time, formal academic writing assignments have differences of opinions to prove an argument, so it's very important to show all sides of an opinion with relevant research and sources.

To show your knowledge of a particular subject, you have to demonstrate your ideas with facts, research and examples. Here are a few ways you can introduce compare and contrast arguments:

  • Alternatively;
  • On the contrary;
  • On the other hand;
  • By contrast;
  • As compared to;
  • Nonetheless;
  • Despite this;
  • In spite of;
  • Importantly.

4. To give examples

Every high-scored academic paper has to include examples. This makes your argument stronger, more plausible and can help simplify an explanation or bring clarity to an argument for your reader.

The term ‘for example’’ is the most commonly used phrase that is used to illustrate examples, but it's always good practice to avoid repeating the same words for a quality read.

  • For instance;
  • To demonstrate;
  • As evidence;
  • To illustrate;
  • To exemplify.

5. To summarise your essay

Lastly, concluding words are pivotal for using in your academic paper to summarise all your arguments, points, and ideas. Each portion of this paragraph requires an appropriate term to clarify the meaning and purpose of the argument.

There are terms to introduce your conclusion, emphasize the relevant argument, and shed attention to important points. That’s why the final paragraph with your core argument that ties up your entire academic paper together should be explained through the following terms:

  • To summarise;
  • In conclusion;
  • To conclude;
  • In closing;
  • For this reason;

53 Formal Academic Writing Words to Avoid

Apart from knowing which words to use, it’s also important to know the words you must avoid to submit a stellar paper.

Here are the seven categories of words and expressions you should avoid at all costs to gain higher scores on your writing assignments.

1. Informal

Every academic writing needs to be written in formal language with the usage of appropriate words. Informal language in your assignments would make your paper seem casual and immature. Usually, these forms of writing also need to be a lot more formal than our everyday speech.

The following words below are considered to be too informal to be included in your academic papers:

  • A couple of;
  • You, your, me, my, us, we (second-person pronouns);
  • Starting sentences with ‘also’, ‘because’, ‘and’, ‘so’.

Using vague words and sentences should be best avoided. To get across clearly and precisely, use specific terms so that the presentation of the academic writing leaves no doubts in anybody’s mind.

Here are some vague words to avoid using in your essays, dissertations, or projects:

  • Big, mall, short, tall;
  • A long time, a while ago, at that time;
  • Things, stuff, objects.

Oft-repeated and overused expressions can prove to be quite ineffectual in formal writing. Cliches rob an assignment or project of its original worth and erode its credibility.

Take a look at some of the frequently used and bland cliches that would only bring unoriginality to your paper:

  • Cream of the top;
  • In today’s society;
  • In this day and age;
  • At the end of the day;
  • A level playing field;
  • At this moment in time;
  • When all is said and done;
  • Throughout history;
  • Last but not the least;
  • Agree to disagree.

4. Abbreviations

Shortened forms of words and phrases should be abjured in writing academic papers. This then brings down the entire gravity and professionalism of your essay.

Imagine crafting a perfect academic assignment only to get a low grade due to unnecessary and easily avoidable abbreviations:

  • Isn’t, wouldn't, couldn't, they’re, won’t, can’t, weren't;
  • ASAP, BRB, Apps, IT, comp., TV;
  • Mgmt. dept., info., grad, PVT;
  • ASAP, TBA, ATM.

5. Complex words

Try to use simple and layman's terms instead of resorting to peppering the assignment with complex words.

Using technical and complex terms will make it difficult for your readers to comprehend your ideas and content. This will, in turn result in you receiving negative feedback for your work.

Here are a few complex words for your reference:

  • Humongous instead of large;
  • Equitable instead of fair;
  • Adjacent to instead of next to;
  • Accomplished instead of carrying out or do;
  • With reference to instead of about;
  • In a timely manner instead of on-time;
  • Effect modifications instead of making changes;
  • Promulgate instead of issue or publish.

6. Exaggeration

Formal academic writing is direct and not ornamental. Hence, exaggerations are best avoided. They may also be lacking in accuracy which could make your assignment lose its authenticity – this then leads to lower grades.

Keep in mind to remove your focus from including exaggerated expressions in your formal writing, such as:

  • Always, never, forever;
  • Extremely, really, very, must, surely;
  • Perfect, best, worst;
  • Literally, completely, absolutely, entirely;
  • Obviously, of course, undoubtedly.

It's always advisable to use formal words in a conversational tone for your academic assignments. Slangs are best avoided in this aspect because using casual and colloquial expressions can bring down your writing scores drastically.

The following slang and colloquialisms should be best avoided to score a perfect grade on your formal academic assessments:

  • Ripped off;
  • Off the hook;
  • Check it out;

Key takeaway

Now, as you start to pen your thoughts and ideas to paper for your formal academic paper, you not only know what words and sentences to avoid that’ll make your efforts go down the drain, but you also know the appropriate, formal, and academic words to use in your writing assessments for scoring high grades.

As word choice is important, writing a flawless academic paper using the list above as your reference will do wonders for your vocabulary, writing style, knowledge, and sentence structure.

If you need help with your academic essays, Writers Per Hour would be glad to help. Our expert writers know exactly the right words to use so you’re able to submit professionally-written papers that are sure to impress.

Last edit at Jul 27 2023

Stefani Holloway

Stefani Holloway

Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.

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Online College Plan

50 Sophisticated Words to Trick Schools into Thinking You’re Classy

big word to use in your essay

Find your degree

Many students are intimidated by the essays that must be written to complete college or scholarship applications. The truth is, you don’t have to use big words or fancy words you don’t understand to write a compelling essay — a few well-placed, sophisticated words will do. College essays should be extremely polished and fluff-free.

sophisticated words

It’s time to get creative and make every word count, so be sure to use sophisticated words rather than slang or Internet acronyms (LMAO). Forget everything Urban Dictionary taught you and add a touch of class to your vocabulary with more sophisticated words in your writing and speech.

When you are ready to choose a school, we recommend you use our ranking of the top 100 best online colleges as your starting point.

  • Advantageous (adjective) beneficial; creating a favorable situation to give an advantage. My volunteer work puts me in an advantageous position over other applicants.
  • Alacrity (noun) pep in your step; lively, cheerful, and eager behavior. She lit up the dull room with her alacrity; her energy was palpable. She was thrilled to have been chosen to help.
  • Amiable (adjective) friendly and good-natured. He was amiable and well-liked in the community prior to the discovery in his basement.
  • Aptitude (noun) talent or ability She discovered her aptitude for real-life math at a young age while shopping with her mother.
  • Assiduity (noun) dedication, diligence, and great focus. I studied with assiduity for the exam and feel confident and fully prepared.
  • Candor (noun) open; honest; sincere. The senator’s candor during his speech won many voters over.
  • Cumulative (adjective) accumulative, all added together. Exercising for one day may not yield results, but the health benefits are cumulative over time.
  • Debase (verb) to corrupt or contaminate. I don’t allow mainstream media to debase my common sense.
  • Deferential (adjective) yielding out of respect. The commissioner became accustomed to deferential treatment.
  • Diligent (adjective) attention to detail; careful and hard-working. My diligent work on the project was critical to its success.
  • Eloquent (adjective) fluent; having a way with words; perfectly said. Her eloquent speech moved the audience to tears.
  • Elucidate (verb) to explain very clearly. She was eager to elucidate the problem to the mechanic so that it could be fixed.
  • Emboldened (adjective) being made bold. We were emboldened by our success and ready to take it to the next level.
  • Ephemeral (adjective) fleeting or short-lived. Summer romance is often ephemeral, as is the season itself.
  • Equitable (adjective) a fair division between all parties. My equitable share of the profit was 45%.
  • Extol (verb) to give high praise. He gave a speech to extol the benefits of online college .
  • Gratuitous (adjective) unnecessary; uncalled-for. Both parties hurled gratuitous insults at each other and nothing was accomplished.
  • Gregarious (adjective) outgoing; extroverted. The gregarious host made us feel welcome and comfortable in her home.
  • Hypocrisy (noun) the insincerity of pretending to believe something you do not believe. My mother’s hypocrisy was exposed when I caught her cursing and smoking after speeding home from a late night out.
  • Incisive (adjective) the ability to identify or draw sharp distinctions. Her incisive remarks were hurtful, mostly because they were pointedly accurate.
  • Industrious (adjective) hard-working and persevering. In order to stand out from others, you must be smart, polite and industrious at your job.
  • Innate (adjective) born with it. He has the innate ability to make people smile and uses it to his advantage.
  • Insular (adjective) isolated; an island unto itself. Small-town life has many advantages, but can also be insular in many ways.
  • Intrepid (adjective) Bold or brave. The intrepid explorer has seen things the rest of us can only imagine.
  • Latent (adjective) there, but not there; having the potential to be realized, but hidden. Since the virus is latent there are no obvious signs of infection.
  • Lithe (adjective) supple, bending easily. The dancers were lithe, yet also very strong.
  • Maxim (noun) a widely known saying that is accepted as truth. Gandhi’s maxim “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is one to live by.
  • Meticulous (adjective) precise attention to every detail. She is always meticulous about her research, leaving no stone unturned.
  • Modicum (noun) a small token amount. We enjoyed only a modicum of success so far, but are optimistic about the next project.
  • Myriad (noun) a large amount; countless. With online college , there are a myriad of career possibilities.
  • Nuance (noun) a very subtle difference. The nuance of her voice added new dimensions to the song she covered.
  • Obsequious (adjective) subservient; brown-nosing. His obsequious behavior failed to flatter his boss and quickly became annoying to everyone.
  • Panacea (noun) a cure-all. Mom’s homemade chicken soup is the ultimate panacea.
  • Pellucid (adjective) clearly understandable. The assembly instructions were surprisingly pellucid, which made the desk easy to put together.
  • Penchant (noun) a strong preference or liking. He has a penchant for antique automobiles and frequently attends car shows.
  • Perusal (noun) studying with the intent to memorize. A perusal of the material the night before made me feel confident about taking the test.
  • Plethora (noun) an abundance or extreme excess. With the plethora of choices, making a decision about which car to buy came down to consumer reviews.
  • Pragmatic (adjective) realistic and practical. Her pragmatic approach offered no frills but worked perfectly.
  • Predilection (noun) a preference or bias. Her predilection for the color blue was evident in her wardrobe choices.
  • Repudiate (verb) to reject or refuse to recognize as valid. He began to repudiate my excuse without even letting me finish.
  • Salient (adjective) something that stands out and is obvious. There may be some advantages to buying in early, but they are not immediately salient.
  • Staid (adjective) dignified and with decorum. I have lived a particularly staid life, so as not to embarrass myself.
  • Studious (adjective) character trait involving diligent study. She was always quite studious; it was not uncommon to find her books lying about.
  • Substantiate (verb) to give facts to support a claim. He said he was robbed, but there is nothing to substantiate his claim.
  • Superfluous (adjective) in excess; more than is needed. Don’t waste your precious breath with superfluous flattery; it will get you nowhere.
  • Surfeit (noun) the quality of overabundance. Considering the surfeit of food in America it is amazing that we still have some of our population go hungry.
  • Sycophant (noun) someone who sucks up to others for personal gain. She often wondered if Bruce really liked her or if he was simply being a sycophant because of her wealthy parents.
  • Taciturn (adjective) reserved or aloof. I tried to talk to my mother about what happened, but she remained taciturn.
  • Venerable (adjective) honorable; highly regarded. I was nervous about performing on opening night because of all the venerable guests in attendance.
  • Zenith (noun) the highest point. Looking back, Bradley realized that winning the tournament was the zenith of his high school career.

Visit Vocabulary.com for more sophisticated words to expand your vocabulary — and always keep it classy.

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big word to use in your essay

127 big fancy words to sound smart and boost your eloquence

Karolina Assi

Karolina Assi

Everyone wants to sound smart and come across as someone that can express their thoughts eloquently. And even though you might have this fantastic ability in your native language, you may feel limited doing this in English if you’re beginning your journey in expanding your vocabulary with unusual or rarer words.

Fortunately, the English language has thousands of big words that will make you sound instantly more eloquent and knowledgeable.

These words will help you express yourself in a more elegant way by substituting the basic, everyday words with their more fancy synonyms. Learning those “big” words in English is also a great way to impress those around you - whether it’s at school, at work, or during your next date.

To help you take your English vocabulary to the next level, we’re prepared a list of 120+ big words to sound smart, with their meaning and an example of how to use them in context.

Express yourself in a more elegant way by substituting the basic, everyday words with their more fancy synonyms.

The do’s and don'ts of using big words in English

Throwing in a few fancy words into your conversations or monologue is a good idea to sound more eloquent and impress everyone around you.

It’s also a great way to sound smart when you don’t know what to say on a specific topic but want to make a good impression and appear more knowledgeable than you are (like this English student during his literature class ).

But there’s a fine line between using fancy words that truly make you sound eloquent and those that make you sound like you’re trying too hard.

Sometimes, using big words to sound smart may backfire, especially if you don’t really know what they mean. Then, you may end up saying something that makes no sense and leaving everyone in the room perplexed. Plus, using complex words you don’t understand can make you sound pompous - so tread the line between careful and carefree.

Use them only if you truly understand their meaning and know what context to use them in. But don’t use them mindlessly as it will result in an opposite effect to what you intended.

Aside from learning those fancy words and their meaning, another challenge lies in their pronunciation. If you choose those big words that are also hard to pronounce , like “epitome” or “niche,” you might end up saying something that makes everyone laugh (it wouldn’t be such a bad scenario!).

The point is: if you’re going to use fancy words to sound smart, learn their meaning, understand how to use them in context, and practice their pronunciation first.

Big words to sound smart and their meaning

The smartest way of sounding more eloquent when expressing yourself in English is to change basic, everyday words for their fancier versions. For instance, instead of saying “very big,” say “massive.” Instead of saying “detailed.” say “granular,” and instead of saying “not interesting,” say “banal.”

See? Using the word “granular” in a sentence will inevitably add more elegance to your speech and make you appear more fluent and eloquent.

The words we’ve chosen to include in the tables below follow this exact principle. Most of them are just a fancier version of a basic, simple word you’d normally use. Others are words used in a professional or academic setting that simply add more articulacy to your statement.

Fancy words you can use at work

The question isn’t whether you should learn a couple of fancy words you can use at work to impress your boss and coworkers. The question is, how do you use them without coming across as a pompous know-it-all, irritating everyone around you?

Well, it’s all about using them wisely. Don’t cram 10 fancy words into a simple sentence just to sound smarter. Only use them when they help you get your message across. If they don’t bring any value to your sentence, simply don’t use them.

In other words - don’t force it! Be natural.

With that said, here are some big words you can use at work.

Fancy words you can use at work.

Clever words you might use academically

The academic setting does not only encourage you to sound smart. It forces you to. To get higher grades and convince your professors of your knowledge and eloquence, you need to elevate your vocabulary.

Whether it’s in written or spoken assignments, these words will help you express yourself in a more intelligent and elegant way while impressing your colleagues and professors.

Clever big words you might use academically to sound smart.

Big interesting words you might use socially

Being the smartest person among your friends is surely a great boost for your ego. It can help you gain their approval, receive compliments, and maybe even get a date or two while hanging out at the bar with your friends.

But the other side of the coin is that using overly sophisticated words in a casual, social setting can make you appear pretentious and out of place. That’s why you need to be careful and not overdo it! If you do, you might only end up humiliating yourself, and that’s a terrible place to be in.

Here are 20+ big words in English you can use in social situations with their meaning and an example of a sentence you could say.

Big interesting words you might use socially.

Impressive words you might use romantically

Even if you’re not a very romantic person, some occasions require a bit of romanticism. Using elegant words in your expressions of love and affection can make your romantic conversations and gestures more special and memorable.

Still, don’t use big words if you don’t mean them! You should always be sincere and genuine in your expressions. Remember that words hold tremendous power in inspiring emotions in those who receive them.

With that said, here are 30 big words you can use in a romantic setting to express your love and affection for your significant other or to take your relationship with the person you’re currently dating to the next level (congrats!).

Impressive words you might use romantically.

Sophisticated words you might use when discussing art and literature

Are you an art or literature? These two areas often require eloquent vocabulary to describe them. At least, that is the sort of language that people expect to hear from someone who’s an avid reader and art connoisseur.

You might want to express how the allegory in that poem made you feel or the way the plot of the book has enthralled you to keep reading but lack the right words to do it. If so, here’s a list of 20+ words you can use to talk about art and literature in different contexts.

Sophisticated words you might use when discussing art and literature.

Fancy words you might use when talking about your hobbies

When talking about our hobbies, we want to come across as more knowledgeable than others. After all, they’re our special interests, and we naturally possess a greater deal of expertise in these areas.

Whether you’re into literature, movies, or sports, here are some fancy words you can use to describe your interests.

Fancy words you might use when talking about your hobbies.

Make the Thesaurus your new best friend

In this article, we’ve only covered 126 big words. Understandably, we can’t include all the fancy words you might need in one article. There are simply too many!

But luckily, there’s a free online tool you can use to find the synonyms of everyday words to expand your vocabulary and make yourself sound smarter.

Can you take a guess?

That’s right - it’s the online Thesaurus . You’ve surely heard about it from your English teacher, but in case you haven’t, Thesaurus is a dictionary of synonyms and related concepts. It’s a great way to find synonyms of different words to spice up your oral or written statements and avoid repeating the same old boring words time and time again.

Choose your words wisely

Whether you’re using simple, everyday words in casual conversations or those big, fancy words in a professional or academic environment, remember one thing: words have power.

They’re spells that you cast (there’s a reason why it’s called “spelling”) onto yourself and those who you speak them to. The words you speak inspire emotions and shape how other people perceive you. But they also influence your own emotions and shape how you perceive yourself.

So choose them wisely.

Learn more about the fascinating English language on our English language blog here.

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15 Words and Phrases That Will Make Your Essay Sound Smarter

As composing any piece of writing, it’s essential to use appropriate vocabulary to make your essay stand out. Plain language sounds boring and unappealing, so it’s really important to know how to write effective papers. Not only do some words can help you persuade the reader, grab their attention, but they can also make you sound smarter.

“It’s always the language, words and phrases that you use in your writing that make your paper sound smart. Your paper can be well-researched and insightful, but it won’t stand out if it’s written in plain, boring language,” says Adam Simon, a college student and contributor to LegitWritingServices essay writing service review and education blog.

So enjoy our list of 15 words and phrases that will be of great help to make you paper sound smarter. 

In other words

When to Use: To paraphrase something in a simpler manner, thus making it easier to understand;

Exemplary Sentence: Writing an essay isn’t as black as it’s painted. In other words , once you learn the general tips, all is left is the practice.

That is to say

When to Use: To provide additional explanation to your previous point, or to add information to sound more accurate;

Exemplary Sentence: To start writing an essay one needs to do research. That is to say , one should search for materials, read them, examine and take notes.

To that end

When to Use: A synonymous phrase meaning ‘in order to’ or ‘so’;

Exemplary Sentence: He wanted to get straight A’s. To that end , he has been mastering his writing skills recently.

Supporting points with additional info

And, and, and. Using ‘and’ throughout your essay to add points won’t make your paper sound smarter. There are tons of awesome expressions and here are the top of them.

Furthermore

When to Use: To provide additional points, used at the beginning of a sentence (don’t forget a comma);

Exemplary Sentence: Furthermore , you should proofread and polish your paper before handing out the final variant.

When to Use: To add additional information, or offering some ideas that support your point of view in a similar manner;

Exemplary Sentence: Planning the writing process is vital to avoid writer’s block and craft a well-thought paper. Likewise , it is essential to write an outline, so that your essay is well-structured.

Another key thing to remember

When to Use: If you have already overused the word ‘also’, it’s high time to use its synonymous phrase ‘another key thing to remember’;

Exemplary Sentence: When writing an introduction, make sure you hook the reader’s attention and arouse their interest. Another key thing to remember is that crafting an introduction last thing is often more effective, as you have already had the perfect grasp of the chosen topic.

Not only...but also

When to Use: To present two ideas while the latter is often more surprising than the former one. Keep in mind the inversion moment as well;

Exemplary Sentence: Not only should you support your topic idea with several additional ones, but you should also provide great examples to underpin your point of view.

Coupled with

When to Use: To examine two or more arguments at a time;

Exemplary Sentence: He soon realized that choosing the topic he was passionate about, coupled with following all the academic rules and standards, was the key to getting top grades for the essay.

Expressing contrast

It’s essential to present contrasting opinions in argumentative essays, as well as in any essay if you want to develop your point of view and make it sound strong. That is why, here are some phrases to use.

When to Use: To provide a contrasting point of view;

Exemplary Sentence: Putting off your essay until the last minute isn’t the greatest idea. However , there are some students who claim that they do better when they’re pressed for time.

When to Use: To give a contrasting point; often used at the beginning of a sentence for better emphasis;

Exemplary Sentence: Purchasing essays online is regarded as cheating by the majority of people. Yet some believe there is nothing wrong in asking for a bit of assistance with their papers.

On the other hand

When to Use: Often used along with another contrasting point, for example, there are two different interpretations of the same idea ‘on the one hand’ and ‘on the other hand’;

Exemplary Sentence: Crafting an essay may seem like the worst and the most daunting task. On the other hand , once you’ve finished it, you feel satisfied and have this pleasant sense of accomplishment.

Highlighting important information

Emphasizing particular points in your essay also require some useful vocabulary.

When to Use: A synonymous expression to ‘particularly’ or ‘significantly’ to highlight peculiar information;

Exemplary Sentence: After reading this article, one can notably improve their vocabulary and make their writing sound smarter.

Importantly

When to Use: Another synonym to the word ‘significantly’, suggesting a special meaning to the point;

Exemplary Sentence: Polishing her paper with high-brow vocabulary affected her grades importantly.

Providing examples

You won’t surprise you professor ‘for example’, while the following expression will boost your writing skills.

To give an illustration

When to Use: To provide an example that will best illustrate your point of view

Exemplary Sentence: To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s have a look at the final effective phrase to use.

All things considered

When to Use: In other words, ‘taking everything into account’

Exemplary Sentence: All things considered , writing a good essay may be time- and energy-consuming; it may require scrutinizing tons of academic rules and standards; it can be pressuring and scary. However, following some useful tips can ease the whole composing process. To give an illustration of what I mean, try enriching your vocabulary with these 15 words and phrases and see how smarter your paper sounds now.

Summarizing

If an effective essay was a building, it would have a great foundation (an introduction and a conclusion). An introduction grabs the reader’s attention and guides straight to the main body, while a conclusion has the final say that is supposed to leave an aftertaste. For this reason, it’s essential to use persuasive vocabulary when summarizing your ideas.

Words and Phrases to Avoid in your College Essays

When it comes to college essays, sometimes the words you choose not to write make just as much of an impact as the words you do choose to write.

Readers get bored with seeing the same old clichés and run-on expressions over and over again. And adding in fluffy language or confusing idioms can leave them feeling lost in your words.

You want your college essay to stand out for all of the right reasons. Avoiding certain words and phrases help make your writing more concise and purposeful.

So how do you know exactly which words and phrases you should avoid in your writing assignments?

To start, you can seek inspiration from college essays that worked for other students. But ultimately it's nice to have a list of what not to do to help you avoid potential mistakes along the way.

What you Should Avoid

1. contractions.

Contractions may seem informal or lazy to the reader. Take the time to write the full phrase out.

NO: It's been a journey.

YES: It has been a journey.

Idioms can be confusing and are often overused. Clearly state what you mean in your own words.

NO: I thought the fancy-looking house was going to be awesome, but all that glitters is not gold .

YES: Even though I thought the new house was going to be incredible with its fancy appliances and enormous windows, I was proven wrong as the appliances all broke within the first week and the windows all leaked.

Also, phrases that introduce idioms are overused. Avoid using phrases like: You know what they say ... But we all know ... As we've heard over and over again ...

Clichés are so... cliché. Everyone is using them, and the words have lost their power. Choose specific and illustrative examples to use so your essay isn't lumped into a pile with all the essays that use worn-out clichés.

NO: I knew I had to give 110% if I was going to win the race.

YES: I knew I needed to train harder than I ever had before—before school, after school, every weekend—if I was going to win the race.

Phrases like “ Every cloud has a silver lining ” and “ Better late than never ” have no place in a creative and original college essay. This is your chance to paint a complete picture of yourself and your personality. Use descriptive language to let the reader hear your voice in your writing instead of an overused, out-of-date expression.

4. Slang and Abbreviations

I hope u r 2 smart to write something like this in a college essay. Abbreviations are not at all acceptable in formal writing such as a college essay.

Also, slang needs to be avoided. Use common language that people of all ages will understand. Remember your audience; you're writing for your professor, not your friends. And tone should reflect that.

NO: The party was lit , and everything was Gucci .

YES: The party was lively, the music was loud and fun, and everyone was having an amazing night.

5. Vague or Elementary Words

Use words that show you're capable of a deeper, more thorough understanding of topics. Avoid words that are vague or simple when there is a better way to demonstrate your meaning.

NO: The thing I read showed that the environment is bad .

YES: The article I studied concluded that the environment had been devastated by the recent occurrences of hurricanes and flooding.

If you find yourself using words like thing, stuff, bad, good, shows, and gives , challenge yourself to replace these words with stronger, more descriptive language.

6. Run-On Expressions

A run-on expression is a phrase, usually at the end of a list, that indicates you could add more examples ( and so on, and so forth, etc. ).

Avoiding filler words and run-on expressions will make your college essay more clear and interesting to the reader.

If something needs to be added to your list of examples, add specific examples. Don't add expressions such as etc. and and so on . These are vague and add nothing of substance to your essay.

NO: I love many sports: basketball, baseball, etc.

YES: I love many sports: basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, and lacrosse.

7. Filler Words or Weak Modifiers

Increasing your word count by adding filler words will make your essay actually, very, very, very weak.

If you can get rid of a word and it makes no difference to your writing, get rid of it. Or better yet, rephrase it to demonstrate what you truly are trying to convey.

NO: I totally believe that we should actually make the laws much, much more strict very soon.

YES: I believe we should urgently make the laws more strict.

8. Exaggerated Words

Not everything you write about needs to be about the best or the worst . When you exaggerate in writing, it can come off as being insincere. Words like always and perfect also fall into this category.

NO: My team was the best team ever because we always played well and our shots were always perfect .

YES: My team was gifted at the game and played well. We could make some amazing shots.

9. Unnecessary Words

Sometimes writers don't even realize they are adding words that aren't needed. Compare these two examples:

NO: She has got four little puppies.

YES: She has four little puppies.

NO: This lotion helps to smooth the skin.

YES: This lotion helps smooth the skin.

Eliminating unnecessary words makes writing more clear and coherent. This is also an easy way to cut down when you're trying meet a word count requirement .

10. Grammatical Errors, Fragments, and Run-on Sentences

When your college essay draft is complete, make sure to proofread it thoroughly. And have a teacher or talented writer proof it again for you.

Avoid any spelling and grammatical errors, but also avoid fragments and run-on sentences. When it doubt, use an online sentence fragment checker or a grammar checker such as Grammarly to triple-check your work.

Once your draft is complete, make sure you have an excellent proofreader look over your essay for errors.

When writing, choose your words carefully. Pick the words that will make the greatest impact on your message and keep the reader's attention. Avoid the words and phrases that will make your essay weak and boring.

With careful consideration of your word choices, your essays will stand out for all of the right reasons. You'll be submitting advanced writing assignments that will help you ace your coursework!

How to Write Essay Titles and Headers

Don’t overlook the title and section headers when putting together your next writing assignment. Follow these pointers for keeping your writing organized and effective.

101 Standout Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

Need a topic for your upcoming argumentative essay? We've got 100 helpful prompts to help you get kickstarted on your next writing assignment.

Writing a Standout College Admissions Essay

Your personal statement is arguably the most important part of your college application. Follow these guidelines for an exceptional admissions essay.

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A Confusing New World for College Applicants

How high-school seniors have navigated the supreme court’s landmark ruling against affirmative action..

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email [email protected] with any questions.

From “The New York Times“, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is “The Daily“.

Last summer —

We begin tonight with the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action and reshaping college admissions.

— in a landmark ruling, the US Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of precedent and banned the use of affirmative action in college admissions.

In a 6 to 3 decision, the justices ruled that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violated the Constitution.

In doing so, the court eliminated the single most powerful tool for ensuring diversity on America’s college campuses and forced college admissions officers and high school seniors to figure out what the college admissions process should look like when race can no longer be taken into account.

It’s college application season, a stressful time for high school seniors and their parents. But now, six months since affirmative action was repealed, things are even more uncertain for many Black students across the country.

Today, “Daily” producer, Jessica Cheung, documents how over the past year, both students and college officials tried to navigate the new rules. It’s Friday, January 5th.

So this past July, just two weeks after the Supreme Court ended affirmative action, I flew to Rochester, New York to meet some of the students who are part of this first historic class to apply to college under an affirmative action ban.

How’s it going?

How are you all?

Good. How are you?

I’m good. I’m good.

A group of about 90 high school seniors had also flown in from all across the country to Nazareth University. They were brought here by Pure Forward, a nonprofit that helps mostly Black and Hispanic students from low income communities apply to college. And they had gathered here for a workshop on how to make their college essay stand out.

We’re going in now.

OK. I walked into a small classroom with an instructor and 5 seniors who were sitting facing a whiteboard scribbling into their spiral notebooks with tips on how to write the perfect college essay envisioning that no one else know who you are hundreds of students they’ve never met you. They cannot see who you are. So, what makes you different?

The college essay is a high stakes genre of writing that is supposed to capture everything a 17-year-old is and was and everything he or she could offer to the college of their dreams.

Starting an essay strong —

And with that high stakes genre are rules, rules about what to do.

That’s a good thing that he just said, a hook.

Write a hook.

What exactly do we mean by show and tell?

Show, don’t tell.

Do you guys remember when we were in third or fourth grade, we would have to bring an animal in, and we would have to do what? Well, some schools had to bring an animal, but you had to bring something in —

And rules about what not to do. Many of the students told me about certain edicts around the college essay. Don’t write a sob story. No COVID. No dying grandparents. These are topics that won’t set you apart from the batch.

How can we help — what are some words we should be using to help the reader visualize what we’re saying?

But what about an applicant’s race. Historically, race could offer an edge to these students, but in its ruling banning affirmative action, the Supreme Court said that colleges couldn’t do that anymore. Using race as a factor in admissions is no longer legal, and to play it safe, many of the schools these kids are applying to have decided to hide what they call the race box, which means that while students might still check the box that corresponds with their race, the schools will be blind to it. So, unlike any other applicants before them, this year’s class of high school seniors face a new dilemma.

With the race box gone, the question becomes, should students write about race, or should they avoid it altogether, and could writing about race actually work against them?

I think that was an awesome job. So tomorrow —

But by the end of the session, the instructor never brought any of this up.

Hi, guys. I’m Jess.

So during their lunch break, I walked into the dining hall to ask students of color how they were all thinking about this.

I was wondering — oh, thank you.

I walked over to a table strewn with pizza crust and leftover french fries, and at that table, I met two kids sitting next to each other. Their name tags read Jordan Williams and Francesco Macias from the Bronx.

Some clubs I’m in is peer ministers, drama, mock trial

Jordan told me he wants to be a corporate lawyer, and Francesco wants to be an electrical engineer.

I’ve been, like, really fascinated in electronics and how they work. I really like to build stuff. I like to design things, create things.

Have you designed anything?

I made a mini Tesla coil.

He patiently explained to me that a Tesla coil is a tightly bound coil of wires that can produce a spark. He made it for his eighth grade science fair.

I was watching this documentary on Nikola Tesla, and I like saw it. And I was like, hmm. Maybe some people made a miniature model.

Francesco combs by his passion pretty naturally.

I was born here, but my parents are from Ecuador.

When his grandfather emigrated from Ecuador in the 1960s, he settled in Queens doing laundry at a hospital. Francesco’s dad grew up there and eventually became a technician for buildings around the city, so Francesco grew up tinkering and building stuff with his dad. At one point, they built a computer he found on the sidewalk using spare parts from other computers that were thrown away.

I guess it’s just really affected my life.

When Francesco was 12, he started watching YouTube videos of engineers exploding Coke bottles and making roving hoverboards. And when he looked at where many of these engineers went to college, time and again, he saw one name. MIT. And that became his dream.

I really love engineering.

Francesco did everything right to make himself an attractive candidate. He has a 4.0, and he has more extracurricular activities than he can possibly list on the Common Application, which includes student body vice president, engineering club, community service, woodworking, school theater, and he’s a third degree black belt in taekwondo. But his test scores are lower than MIT’S average, and now he thinks the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action won’t give him the boost normally given to Latino students like him.

Now they’ve taken out the race, which I don’t have that much of an upper hand.

With MIT’S acceptance rate at just 4.8 percent, losing this upper hand feels like a big loss. And so, other parts of his application are rising to a new level of importance. Most crucially, his essay.

So, I’m going to have to write something that is about me.

He told me he’s writing about his leather briefcase —

Because I found that bag at a thrift store for $10.

— that helped him conquer his shyness, helped him gain confidence, and make friends. But he was struggling with whether or not his story should include his race.

Do you think that you might consider working in your racial identity to your essay now that you know that the box is gone.

I don’t know because on one part, it’s like, I can show who I am more. But on the other hand, I don’t want to sound too redundant, and then it’s like — it’s kind of like when they tell you like don’t write about a sob story because they read a sob story all the time. I just want to write about me, myself.

And you don’t want to talk about it?

Not really.

Because although yeah, it’s a part of my identity, but I don’t really let it define me in a sense. So, it’s one of these things. I mean, I’ll ask questions from my other peers and the advisors, see what to do. It is confusing, especially because other generations —

Jordan the aspiring corporate lawyer was sitting next to us quietly listening this whole time.

What did you write about?

I asked what was in his essay so far.

I wrote about one of my favorite movies, and I related it to my life.

What’s the movie?

Training Day.

He said the movie training day taught him to question conventional wisdom.

I always felt like there was a lot of pressure to follow in with the crowd, but if you question, why am I following this crowd when I can stand out myself? So, that’s why I wrote about it.

Jordan told me more about himself. He could have written about a lot of things. As a Black kid raised by a single mom, he knew his biological dad, but his dad chose not to be an active part in Jordan’s life. And so, he would get himself into trouble succumbing to peer pressure, but his grandfather encouraged him to set his own course in life and focus on school. And now, he’s an honor roll student. But none of that was in his Training Day essay.

No, not appearing in my essay at all. Not appearing in my essay at all.

Would you consider working it in your essay?

That I’m Black?

Now that I’m thinking about it, yeah.

How would you do that?

I don’t even know.

I don’t even know. That’s — I would probably have to say that I’m a Black kid from the Bronx, I guess. I don’t know. That’s crazy. I didn’t even think about that. It’s weird. It’s a weird situation.

Francesco and Jordan weren’t the only ones confused. As I talked to more students at the workshop, it was clear that the confusion over the ruling was everywhere.

I am not really too educated on what’s happening in the government right now.

I don’t really know what’s going on.

They told me they were worried and uncertain of what it meant for them.

I was just like, damn. That’s not going to help me, I guess.

Not going to help you.

Because I was kind of hoping it would, but — One of my essays were actually, like, surrounded by my identity, my culture, being Black and Nigerian. And I feel like now that, like, affirmative action is gone, colleges can actually say, well, we don’t really care about your identity now.

And there was panic over news that was being shared on Instagram —

It says here, like, in Missouri, the attorney general director all colleges to immediately stop considering race and scholarships.

— about how the University of Missouri and the University of Kentucky would go beyond the ruling and end race based scholarships.

Some of my peers saying now I can’t apply to this school or now I have to change this option.

And in the absence of answers, some were making up their own, sometimes wrongly.

You think that students might redact that they were part of NAACP and —

And so, it’s leading some students to hide their race.

So, it was a plus before. Now you feel like it’s a minus to be Black?

Yes. In the fear of that’s too race related, so now you’re hiding that side of yourself to make others feel better in a way.

And with all of this misinformation floating around —

Lunch is over.

OK. OK. Thanks.

You’re welcome.

Have a good next session.

You too. I mean, thank you.

— these questions and confusions eventually made their way inside the classroom —

Why is it bad?

— into the next session, when two students sparred over, if you don’t indicate your race in your essay, would colleges know at all?

When you fill out FAFSA, you still have to enter the race question, so it’s not going to be just out of the question entirely. It’s not like race isn’t a question at all.

And if you apply for financial aid as students said, they would know, wouldn’t they?

But then now the concern comes in is, will they tackle that as well because they’re already having —

And if the schools knew their race, what would they do with that information? There was a pause. I waited for the adults in the room to give some sort of answer.

So, we’re in our second session.

But, no. The writing coach gently guided their attention back to class.

— writing. Let’s make sure that we’re being attentive. We want to be an active listener, so —

I eventually looked into this, and the schools in fact wouldn’t know a student’s race from financial aid forms, but no one at the workshop told the kids this.

So, the writing workshop continued business as usual. Between classes, I’d asked the head of Pure Ford, which is guiding all these kids, how their guidance would change as a result of the affirmative action ban. He said it doesn’t. He told me they were still waiting to hear more from colleges themselves about how the ruling might change their admissions formula.

So after the workshop, I started reaching out to those admissions offices, and it turns out the people charged with implementing the court’s decision are just as confused as the students applying.

We’ll be right back.

After my trip to the writing workshop in Rochester, I wanted to get a better understanding of how admissions offices around the country were going to change. Out of the thousands of universities and colleges in the US, a small percentage, some put the number around 10 percent, are actually affected by the decision, the ones who are practicing affirmative action in the first place. But the small percentage are the most selective in the United States. Think the top 100 colleges in the US News and World Report, colleges that are known for their outsized ability to help students from poor backgrounds become high earners after graduation. So, these were the colleges I started to call.

Hi. How’s it going?

Hey, Jeff. How are you?

Hey, Jess. Hi, how are you?

Gary, thank you so much for taking the time to talk. How are you doing today?

I called over 30 people inside the admissions world.

So, what we’re still trying to understand, I would say the ruling specifically for Carleton, and we’re working with our legal counsel to ask some of these specific questions.

Some admissions offices never responded to my requests. Some admissions offices wanted to talk, but were vetoed by their general counsel. Some would only talk to me off the record.

A college can be sued for many, many reasons. In a time when there’s a substantial movement in the United States that seems to be reacting against even the mere idea of diversity.

And that’s because colleges are treading this new terrain cautiously. No school wants to end up in a legal battle like Harvard did, who was a defendant on the case that led to the overturning of affirmative action. The trial unearthed embarrassing discoveries about Harvard’s notoriously opaque admissions system, including something called a personal score, which admissions officers use to rank traits like an applicant’s self-confidence and likability and routinely scored Asian applicants near the bottom. And Harvard is still being investigated for its admission practices.

But the other admissions officers that did talk to me started to give me a sense of what it’s like inside the schools.

Hello, hello.

Matt McGann is the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Amherst College, a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts. It has an acceptance rate of seven percent.

Because we do want to attract a diverse applicant pool, we do believe that a diverse student body makes for a better residential liberal arts education.

Currently, about half of its student body are students of color.

Even before this decision, race was never by itself the reason why someone would be admitted.

McGann told me that before the ruling, Amherst achieved this diverse student body in part by considering race among a variety of factors. Do you play a sport? Do you play the French horn? Did you grow up white and on a farm, or Black in an inner city? Race was just one piece of the puzzle.

It was always one of many parts of a whole person review to better understand a student’s context, to better understand a student’s life, but never it by itself, never a determining factor.

What McGann told me is something I heard from every admissions office I talked to, that race by itself was not determinative. But the Supreme Court disagreed, saying that race was determinative for a significant percentage of admitted Black and Hispanic students at Harvard and UNC. And now places like Amherst have lost their ability to consider race.

We’re going from a time where we can consider everything that a student wants us to consider to there being one aspect that remains important in society that we must ignore.

When the affirmative action cases got to the Supreme Court’s door, McGann along with many administrators at Amherst sent an amicus brief to the court and predicted that without affirmative action, the number of Black students on their campuses will drop from seven percent to two percent.

— lawyers. I don’t have a law degree, although the longer I do this, I feel like my legal expertise certainly is increasing.

And after the court’s ruling, McGann and his team at Amherst pored over the decision, which came in the form of a 237 page PDF.

You know, like, we didn’t get the chance to ask the Supreme Court, like, right, so we do this. Like, so what now? Like, it’s not a step by step manual, so we’re left with the work to figure out how we make sure that we’re compliance with everything.

But what does being in compliance mean exactly? Unlike with sports, orchestra, and geographic status, race is now off the table. But what if participating in an extracurricular like the Black Student Union has to do with race? How would that work?

And so, just to get specific, like with an extracurricular activity, for instance, where a student says that they were a member of the BSU. How could that have been considered before the affirmative action ruling, and what changes about it after?

So, that cannot be put in the context of —

well, so, understanding a student’s participation in an activity through a lens of racial status is something that at the very least cannot be as easily done anymore. We’re still working on our training and guideline language on how the admissions staff should approach these questions. We’re still working on that.

All right. Well, thank you so much for your time and good luck with the next admissions cycle. And again, thank you for the time.

It’s been an interesting conversation, and I appreciate your thoughtful approach to it, so best wishes. Cheers. All right. Bye.

The Dean at Amherst isn’t the only one scratching his head over this ruling. In several on and off the record conversations with current and former deans of admissions, they expressed tremendous uncertainty about how all of this was going to work. How do you not consider race when it can be so apparent in things like a student’s extracurriculars, their last name, their essay topic?

But as I continued to talk to admissions officers, I finally started to get somewhere. They seemed to all point to a key passage in the decision that was in this moment of darkness a kind of north star. Chief Justice Roberts wrote it, and it goes, nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise. But he says, a benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination, or a benefit to a student whose heritage or culture motivated him or her to assume a leadership role or attain a particular goal must be tied to that student’s unique ability to contribute to the university. In other words, the student must be treated on the basis of his or her experiences as an individual, not on the basis of race.

So, what does that mean? Roberts says that if a student does write about race, you as the admissions officer will now have to connect race to a lived experience, like overcoming discrimination. Then, you’d have to explain how overcoming discrimination uniquely connects to the mission of the college, like how overcoming discrimination shows resilience and promise. And these are the students that we’re looking for. The distinctions between race and race as a lived experience is a granular distinction, and I wasn’t sure how it would play out.

But by the fall, as colleges launched their applications on the Common App, I began to notice a new kind of essay question pop up.

Over and over again, I kept seeing schools introduce new supplemental essay prompts that draw words directly from Roberts passage. Prompts like, talk about lived experiences and how you could uniquely contribute to their campus. It was a subtle change, but a change nonetheless.

For example, Brown University used to ask its applicants to write, quote, about a time when you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. Here, it allowed applicants to argue that by simply belonging to a minority group, other students can learn from them and vice versa. It relied on a previous Supreme Court precedent that says colleges can use affirmative action to create a diverse learning environment. But after the overturning of that precedent, Brown replaced it with a new prompt this year with words drawn directly from Roberts. It read, share how an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you and what unique contributions this might allow you to make to the Brown community.

The key change here is that there is now a right kind of race essay and a wrong kind. And in the end, I found that at least 20 selective colleges, including several in the Ivey League, had changed their essay questions this year using words from Robert’s passage. But the students this year will have a hard time understanding this distinction on their own.

The plaintiffs will look at any institution that doesn’t see a dip and wonder, were you like, wink, wink, using a proxy but really going against the law. So, I want to be really clear, and I would want you to print that Colorado College is going to follow the law. I know that it’s an optimistic goal to try to maintain compositional diversity, and we probably won’t, to be honest with you. But I don’t want to set a goal that we will. We know we’ve got to set aspirational goals, but you’re right that our numbers probably will decline.

In my conversations with admissions deans, they told me their schools were still committed to diversity, but the schools are in a bit of a bind. If they produce the same level of racial diversity in the incoming year as the year before the ruling, they put themselves at legal risk. The anti-affirmative action opposition are on the lookout for schools that, behind the closed doors of admissions offices, are practicing a kind of under-the-table affirmative action.

I talked to Jeff Brenzel who was the Dean of Admissions at Yale but is now working with Morehouse College to figure out what this new world of admissions is starting to look like. He crunched the numbers. He estimates that there will be a 20 to 30 percent drop in Black enrollment in the top 100 colleges. He says he expects HBCUs like Morehouse to catch some of those 20 to 30 percent, but it’s unclear how many of those students those colleges can actually support.

And as for Latino students, no one I talked to has speculated on where they might wind up. I asked McGann at Amherst, given all of this, whether students of color are applying this year will have a harder time getting into schools, schools like Amherst.

I would hope that that student would know that nothing about this changes who they are, and it’s incumbent upon the colleges. It’s not the student’s job. The student should present themselves as wholly and fully and as best they can, and it’s on the colleges to lawfully consider and have an admission process that allows them to live up to their mission.

OK. I have it on the recording thing.

OK, great. And you’re holding it to your ear like you’re on the phone?

Just weeks before Francesco submitted his application to MIT, I call him after school.

To start, I would just love to know how you’re feeling about the applications you have so far.

Oh, I really like it. I feel that it speaks to who I am.

I wanted to know where he landed, whether he ended up mentioning race in his application essay.

No. I don’t think I did. I did try to stay away from it.

He says even though race is still a big part of who he is, it’s not the thing he wants admissions officers to see.

I don’t want to be categorized saying, oh, he’s a Hispanic. Then saying like, oh, look at what he’s done. He’s done this. He’s done that. I was actually speaking to one of my friends about it. We were saying it’s essentially being, I guess, confined to a box. And it’s like, oh, what race are you? Like, Hispanic. Right? And I have pride for my race. I’m not saying like, oh, I’m ashamed, but specifically pertaining to college application, I want to show them who I am as a person, what my dreams are, what I like, what are my aspirations, who I am.

When you think about someone boxing you in because they know your racial background, what do you think that boxing in is, or what do you think that boxing in means?

I don’t want to be confined by saying, oh, they have this preconceived notion of me being Hispanic. OK. And I don’t know their attitudes or their feelings, but whether I like it or not, there are people in the world who don’t like my race or just they have differing opinions. And that’s OK. People have their right to have their own opinions, but I want to go in saying who I am so if I ever were to be confined in that box, essentially an issue for me.

It’s a way to play safe.

Yeah. Just play it safe.

You know, in a world where affirmative action was still practiced by colleges and by admissions officers where it would actually be a favor to you, would you have mentioned your racial background?

If it were an advantage to me, then I’d take it. But now that it’s gone, I’d rather play it safe.

His decision is fueled in part by the same narrative I heard from the other students at the workshop six months ago, which is this feeling of increasing distrust. Francesco knew that affirmative action guaranteed that his race could only help him, but now that that protection is gone, he’s worried that the discrimination he sees everywhere else in the world could now enter the admissions process.

Because at the end of the day, the world is not a kind place. As much as I don’t like it, I got to deal with it, and especially heading into the adult world.

It’s kind of scary and confusing, but I’m also trying to keep an open mind and just figure my way out through this world, this new world I’m entering.

A few weeks ago, I met up with Jordan, who if you remember was working on his essay on the movie Training Day. He ended up scrapping that all together. He said he thought more about the court’s ruling, and unlike Francesco, he decided he would not only mention his race, but he was going to dedicate the topic of his essay to his identity about growing up as a Black kid in the Bronx, he said. If the Supreme Court ruling says race doesn’t matter, he’s saying race matters to me and this is how.

And that’s the choice a generation of 17-year-olds is having to make in a moment as formative as applying to college. Do they choose to define themselves by their race like Jordan, or do they hide their race like Francesco? And while that choice may or may not mean the difference between getting in and not, it will almost certainly shape how they see themselves and how they think the world sees them.

Here’s what else you need to know today. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombing attack that killed 84 people in Iran on Wednesday, a claim that according to the Times aligns with an intelligence assessment by American officials. The claim is significant because some Iranian leaders had initially sought to blame Israel for the attack, raising fears that Israel’s war in Gaza could widen into a regional conflict. Now that ISIS has said it was responsible, that possibility seems less likely.

And new documents released by congressional Democrats show that during Donald Trump’s presidency, his businesses received at least $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments, most of it from China. The transactions offer concrete evidence that Trump engaged in the kind of conduct that congressional Republicans allege that President Biden did as they try, so far without success, to build a case for impeaching him.

Today’s episode was reported and produced by Jessica Cheung with help from Will Reid. It was edited by Lynsea Garrison and Michael Benoist, fact checked by Susan Lee, contains original music by Marion Lozano, Pat McCusker and Rohini Niemisto, and was engineered by Alyssa Moxley. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly.

That’s it for The Daily. I’m Michael Barbaro. See you on Monday.

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  • January 3, 2024   •   27:25 Biden’s 2024 Playbook
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  • December 29, 2023   •   25:01 Baseball’s Plan To Save Itself From Boredom: An Update
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In a landmark ruling last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of precedent and banned the use of affirmative action in college admissions.

The decision eliminated the most powerful tool for ensuring diversity on America’s college campuses and forced college admission officers and high school seniors to figure out what the college admissions process should look like when race cannot be taken into account.

Jessica Cheung, a producer on “The Daily,” explains how, over the past year, both students and college officials have tried to navigate the new rules.

On today’s episode

big word to use in your essay

Jessica Cheung , a producer on “The Daily” for The New York Times.

Students sit around a wooden table, mid conversation.

Background reading

The first high-school seniors to apply to college since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision have had to sort through a morass of conflicting guidance .

From June: The Supreme Court rejected affirmative action programs at Harvard and U.N.C.

There are a lot of ways to listen to The Daily. Here’s how.

We aim to make transcripts available the next workday after an episode’s publication. You can find them at the top of the page.

Jessica Cheung contributed reporting.

Fact-checking by Susan Lee .

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Lisa Tobin, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sofia Milan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddy Masiello, Isabella Anderson and Nina Lassam.

Jessica Cheung is a senior producer at “The Daily,” focusing on politics and education. More about Jessica Cheung

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