After years of writing assignments all throughout school, you start to become repetitive when choosing what words to use in your essays. But there is a whole language out there full of words that are sure to impress your English teacher! Teachers grow tired of reading commonplace words like “good” “says” and “thinks” in essay after essay! So next time you walk into English class, keep in mind these great words to use in your essays!
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Definition: (noun) a countless or extremely great number
Replaces: a lot
Myriad is one of the greatest words to use in your essays! We all have a tendency to say things like “a lot of examples” or “many experiences” in our essays, but that doesn’t make your essay stand out to your teacher. If you want to make your teacher perk up, be sure to include this word in your essay! An example sentence could be “The author suggests a myriad of solutions for the problem.”
Definition: (verb) state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully
Another stellar word to add to your mental dictionary is “asserts”. This verb is much more powerful than the alternative “says”, but it doesn’t make you sound like a vocabulary nerd when you write it! Asserts can be used in a myriad of situations, but make sure you don’t say it so frequently that it becomes just as repetitive as “says”! An instance where asserts would fit perfectly is “The author asserts that the issue is lacking simple solutions”.
Definition: (adjective) outstandingly bad; shocking
Why use an adjective like “bad” when you could easily switch it out for a scholarly word like “egregious”! This word is sure to impress your English teacher, so you should remember to use it in your next essay! While there are a myriad of words that can replace “bad”, such as "dreadful", and "terrible", egregious is one of my favorite words! It rolls off the tongue and makes you sound like a literary genius! A sample sentence could be “The author asserts that other solutions to the problem are simply egregious.”
Definition: (adjective) wrong; incorrect
Erroneous is an easy word to remember because the word means what it sounds like - something containing error. Including erroneous in your essays will take your writing to the next level! After reading a myriad of essays containing simple words like “wrong” and “flawed”, your teacher will be refreshed by your vast vocabulary! When you assert your opinions using elevated vocabulary, your teacher will note that you’re a real brainiac, and respect you for that! A perfect opportunity to use this word is when describing an egregious statement from the author : “The author’s solutions for the problem were merely erroneous and absurd ideas.”
Definition: (verb) to cause or give rise to
When you replace “causes” with engenders, you’re sure to knock your teacher’s socks off! While “causes” isn’t the most egregious word to write in an essay, it can still get worn out after too much use. A myriad of students will write about what causes events in their next essay, but you’ll be the only one to describe what engenders events! Here’s a sample sentence so you know exactly what you’re doing: “The author is not at all erroneous when she asserts that solving the problem will engender a better quality of life.”
Definition: (verb) to make use of
For the longest time, I couldn’t think of another word to replace “use”. Eventually I came across “utilize”, but I used it so frequently that it became as egregious as “use”! Finally, I began writing “employs” instead. There are a myriad of ways to use “employs” in your essay, but no matter how you say it, this word will engender more success in your essay! Employ has a double meaning, because it also means to give a job to someone. But it isn’t erroneous to use “employ” in the second sense of the word. For example :“The author employs rhetorical questions in order to assert her beliefs in a more persuasive manner.”
Definition: (adjective) most notable or important
Salient is a great word to employ when writing your next essay. While a myriad of other words can easily replace “important”, I usually rely on this word to take my essay to the next level! Salient can easily replace words like “main” or “important”, just be sure not to use it erroneously! I don’t think anyone could argue that replacing “important” with salient wouldn’t engender a better written essay. A great way to use this word is “The author’s most salient solution is rather egregious, because one can assert that her suggestions would fail to solve the problem.”
Definition: (verb) think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic
Like employs, reasons is a word with two very different definitions. But “reasons” will most likely engender success when you employ the verb form of the word to replace “thinks”. A myriad of instances come up when writing an essay where you’ll need to describe what a person thinks, but we all know variety is a salient component of every good essay! You can switch out “thinks” for “reasons”, but be sure not to switch it out for erroneous words like “extrapolates” just to sound smarter! To-the-point writing with loads of variety is what most teachers crave! So you can definitely write something along these lines in your next essay :“The author reasons that we can solve the problem if we all work together, but the methods she asserts will help us do so are egregious.”
Definition: (adjective) providing an advantage; favorable; beneficial
One word all teachers see far too much is “good”! Teachers all of my high school career have asserted that they do not wish to see “good” in any student essays that year, but the word always sneaks in! Good has become an egregious word that no teacher can escape! While it isn’t erroneous to use “good” to describe pleasing things in your essay, there are a myriad of better replacement words that you can turn to when you need to describe something “good”. My go-to alternative for good is “advantageous”, and employing this word engenders a fabulous essay! You could write “The author’s most salient solution is her most advantageous, as one can reason that it would effectively solve the problem.”
Definition: (verb) shock or excite (someone), typically into taking action
Often times while writing, it's advantageous to address how the author's words and technique affect the reader. If the writer aims to galvanize his readers, he or she is basically calling the reader to action, to stand up against egregious crimes, erroneous accusations, or a myriad of other injustices. If you notice that the author employs intense diction, or asserts outright that his speech is meant to engender change, you should probably us the word “galvanize” at least once in your essay! After seeing that word in your essay, your teacher will reason that you understood the text well and were able to create an essay regarding the most salient theme in the piece.
Definition: (verb) to make or manufacture (an object)) with skill and careful attention to detail.
I love the word “craft” because it instantly fills your teacher’s mind with imagery that will galvanize her to keep on reading! Instead of asserting that a writer “produces a speech” or “writes a story”, employ this artful word! “The speaker crafts his lecture by including a myriad of allusions to other salient speeches” is a great start to a thesis statement! Varied word choice is always advantageous in writing, whereas a limited vocabulary can prove to be egregious! While your peers write essays filled with erroneous grammar and improper uses of diction, you’ll be creating a unique essay! Since “craft” alters the tone of your entire essay, you can reason that it will engender a higher score on your paper!
Definition: (verb) provide evidence to support or prove the truth of
Throughout an analysis essay, you probably craft a myriad of phrases employing the word “prove”. After all, every author’s goal is to prove something, right? However, it’s advantageous to include a greater variety of words, in order to engender an essay worthy of an A! You never want to use this word erroneously, though, or else you’ll have an egregious outcome! Your teacher wants to see that the piece you read galvanized you to assert your opinion with a wider vocabulary, but tossing in big words incorrectly won’t help you. Before you use this word, a very salient step is ensuring that you reason through all of your vocabulary options; does the author vindicate, confirm, justify, or actually substantiate the claim? There are so many words out there, make sure you choose the right one!
Definition: (adjective) able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical
In order to substantiate that an author’s tone is confrontational, sarcastic, or rude, you should use one precise term: caustic. Like “craft”, “caustic” is a word filled with imagery that is sure to engender advantageous results regarding your grade and your teacher’s opinion of you. While it certainly isn’t egregious to replace “caustic” with a word like “bitter”, “abrasive”, or a myriad of other terms, in my opinion, employing caustic stirs a much stronger emotion in the grader. Upon reading that word, one will reason that the caustic person is dangerous and malicious. Make sure you don’t overuse this word though; you should only use it to accurately describe some salient topics, otherwise it may slip out and erroneously describe something. Ultimately though, asserting your opinions with the help of this word will galvanize your teacher to give you an A!
Definition: (verb) to make clear
While writing essays, there's no doubt that you'll be doing some elucidating. You'll want to ensure that your readers clearly understand your ideas and follow your train of thought. At the same time, you can also plug in elucidate in some of your essays to show off your sophisticated vocab!
Definition: (adjective): intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.
Esoteric is one of those words that you probably don't commonly use so it might not exactly replace an overused word but it perfectly captures something that's not so easy to explain. The next time you're trying to explain something to a school friend or teacher, let 'em know that they clearly don't share your esoteric knowledge on the subject.
Definition: (adjective) very weak or slight
Replaces: weak or fragile
Tenuous is often used to describe the state of a relationship or feelings so don't be surprised if you start using this word to relay your feelings about a new guy in your life or maybe even how you feel about your latest impulse purchase.
Definition: (adjective) (of an action or gesture) carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection.
Replaces: hasty, careless
I personally love this word because it's a grown-up way to say "half-ass." I'm certain you've never written an essay in a perfunctory manner but for those times that you want to express how your classmate did a perfunctory job in contributing to your group project or tell your boyfriend that he gave you a perfunctory kiss and he needs to step it up, it's perfect!
Definition: (noun) out of the ordinary; irregular; something different from the norm
Replaces: oddity, abnormality
Anomaly isn't a word you'll probably use very often, but if you can figure out a use for it in your essay, you're sure to impress your teacher. It's a way of saying something is strange or not normal, but has such a class to it so you're not stuck saying, "It's so weird" but instead can say, "That's quite an anomaly."
Definition: (noun) piece or component of something larger; aspect of something bigger
Replaces: face, side, plane
This one is another good word to use, though not sure how you'd configure it into your essay depending on the subject. You could describe someone's personality as "multi-faceted" if you're trying to describe their uniqueness, or if you're trying to kindly imply they're two-faced. The decision is yours how it's used but it's definitely a word to add to your vocab to sound more intelligent.
Definition: (noun) an abundance; wide variety; excess
Replaces: A lot, tons, a bunch
Plethora is a great word to use even if everyday life! If you're trying to say there is a lot of something, you can say you have a plethora, and you'll sound super smart. Throwing that word into a paper, correctly used of course, is bound to impress your teacher because it's basic yet shows you can use larger words.
Definition: (adjective) omnipresent; widespread; everywhere at once
Replaces: all over, everywhere, worldwide
This is a great word to use when you're trying to describe something everywhere. A world-wide flu outbreak is something you could say is ubiquitous. It's a big word to have on hand in your vocabulary and you're bound to sound smarter just by using it.
There you have it! Great scholarly words that are sure to blow away your English teacher! I hope that after adding these words to your vocabulary, your writing will improve, but I know there are plenty of fabulous words I didn’t mention! What are some of your favorite words to use in your essays?
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This article was written in collaboration with editor Sabrina Yates and Lisa Washington