How to Master
Advanced English Vocabulary


By Prof. Kev Nair

The most frequent words in English, numbering around 2500-3000, together with the word-combinations they form, can meet around 80% of all your vocabulary needs – both as a speaker and as a writer. This is so, whether you’re having an everyday conversation or an in-depth discussion - or whether you’re writing an informal letter or an in-depth report.

The next group of around 5000 words (words that are the next most frequent ones), together with the word-combinations they form, can help you widen the range of topics that you can speak and write about. And they can help you deal with these topics in great depth, and with great fluency, too - by packing your meaning more specifically, more explicitly and more densely than the first band of 3000 words can. And they can help you express yourself easily and well, even when you’re dealing with extremely difficult ideas.

Advanced vocabulary

Ordinarily, you don’t need any more words (beyond these 7500-8000 words) as production vocabulary – words that help you to produce speech and writing (that is, to speak and write). That is, ordinarily, you’ll need to know more words only to receive what others say during formal talks and lectures or what they write in scholarly books on difficult subjects – that is, to understand what you hear and read.

But if you’d like to reach the highest level of communicative ability, spoken and written, you’ll need to master a few thousands more of words (beyond these frequently-used 7500-8000 words) to meet your productive needs fully. This is especially so -

(a) if you’re someone who has to (or who aims to be able to) speak fluently and in great depth about complex topics in official, semi-official and public situations; or

(b) if you’re someone who has to (or who aims to be able to) write extensively and in great depth about complex topics for use in official, semi-official and public situations.

These words (beyond the frequently-used 7500-8000 words) can make it easier for you to cover an extremely wide range of topics – and to produce in-depth speech and writing, dealing with difficult ideas within those topics. And they can help you state facts, describe events, explain complex concepts, take your stand on issues, present your grounds and arguments, and state your opinions and conclusions clearly and well – even in official, semi-official and public situations.

These words and word-groups are vocabulary items at a higher or more difficult level than the frequently-used 7500-8000 words. So, we’ll call them advanced vocabulary items.

This webpage runs a regular feature on these advanced English vocabulary items.

The great merit of these words and word-groups is this: They’re usable vocabulary items. None of them is archaic or obsolete. Nor obscure, pompous or highly technical. And you’ll find them useful across a wide range of topics – when you’re addressing an educated audience or educated readers.

Words that pack a punch

Master these advanced words and word-groups. And use them in appropriate contexts and situations. Understand this: They’re vocabulary items that are extremely powerful. They pack a punch. When you use them with discretion, they can have a strong effect on your listeners and readers, especially in official, semi-official and public situations. In this way, they can make you effective in communicating serious, meaning-packed content – in a detailed and thorough way. And they can help you command your listeners’ and readers’ attention readily.

Word for the week

Posted on August 14, 2015

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resurgence noun

This word refers to an activity, interest, attitude, idea, etc. that was common in the past, but that has been forgotten for some time. Things like these sometimes reappear and grow quickly in popularity, strength, intensity, influence or effect; they become fashionable or successful again. Their reappearance and growth can be referred to as their “resurgence”.

Take note of this: Often, the contexts in which this word is used are formal contexts. Yes, formal contexts – namely, contexts in which the style preferred is the correct or conventional style, and in which the things you say have to be expressed seriously, and not in a casual, relaxed or friendly way.

There seems to be a resurgence of terrorism/communal violence in that area.

What could be the cause of this resurgence of interest in tragic stories?

That was the period when there was a major resurgence of nationalism/patriotism.

The new measures are likely to bring about an economic resurgence in our country.

That period saw a great resurgence in tourism in our country.

Classical art has started experiencing a great resurgence in popularity.

All this happened before the time of cultural resurgence in our country.

There’s a resurgence of political repression in that country.

Unless there’s a resurgence in demand for these products, we may have to close down our business.

This company had stopped operating a few years ago; but there’s now a resurgence in its fortunes.

Here are a few useful SYNONYMS and NEAR-SYNONYMS for the word resurgence:

comeback, new beginning, new dawn, rally, reappearance, reawakening, rebirth, recovery, renewal, restart, restoration, resumption, resurrection, return, revival.

Copyright © Kev Nair 2015. All rights reserved.

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How to Master
Advanced English Vocabulary

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