Academic Vocabulary

The resources here help you build your vocabulary for both academic writing and speaking.

Here are a few resources developed by the English Language Centre:

Vocabulary Exercises for the Academic Word List

Hedging Language

Terms for Essays and Reports

Please check out these other resources, as well:

There are several famous word lists created to guide English learners’ vocabulary learning. These lists are explained well on the New General Service List site and the EAP Foundation’s Vocab Page, and both of these sites have links to the word lists.

Jim Burke’s Academic Vocabulary List has been categorized into the parts of speech by a teacher named Rick Smith.

Just the Word is a useful free resource that helps you choose the right word. It shows you words that commonly go together, also known as “collocations” and “word clusters.” Another free site that is similar is These sites are comparable to a collocation dictionary. The OxfordLongman and Macmillan collocations dictionaries are very popular, for example, and almost every English dictionary company publishes its own collocations dictionary.

Word Building is a short resource summarizing the main affixes in English. is a very useful tool to help you learn vocabulary.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary created the Word Central site for students who want to understand words better and play word games.

Play Quizlet games to learn vocabulary (or anything) faster.

You can also play an English vocabulary game while donating food to the hungry at the Free Rice site.

Here are several popular dictionaries created for learners of English:

To see examples of how English is used, we recommend the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), which is the largest freely-available corpus of English used in the United States; the Corpus of Canadian English (Strathy), which is useful to find examples of how English words have been used in Canadian publications; and the British National Corpus (BNC).