Use Precise Vocabulary
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  • Introduction
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Some words in our language are used far too much.

That's a nice dress.

We had a nice evening with our friends.

That was a nice piece of cake.

 

Each of these sentences would be improved by choosing a more precise adjective instead of nice.

That's a pretty dress.

We had a pleasant evening with our friends.

That was a delicious piece of cake.

 

We can also improve our writing by choosing more precise adjectives instead of using the word very.

I was very tired after the match.

I was exhausted after the match.

 

It is often better to choose a precise verb instead of adding an adverb to a common verb.

Kayden walked slowly along the road, swinging his school bag as he went.

Kayden strolled along the road, swinging his school bag as he went.

 

In this worksheet you can practise improving sentences by choosing precise words to use instead of vague or over-used ones. You may find a dictionary or a thesaurus helpful.

  • Question 1
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Choose a more precise adjective from the list to replace the word bad in each of the following sentences.

 

1) Jake had a bad toothache so his mum took him to the dentist.

2) Annie had a bad time at her old school so her parents moved her here.

3) Meena felt bad because she had cheated in the test.

4) It was very bad of him to hit his little brother.

Column A

Column B

sentence 1
unhappy
sentence 2
painful
sentence 3
unkind
sentence 4
guilty
  • Question 2
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This time, choose more precise adjectives to replace the word good in the following questions.

 

1) Andrew is a good guitar player.

2) My little sister was good when she went to the doctor's so my mum bought her a teddy.

3) The film was good. I'd like to see it again.

4) That was a good meal - thanks Mum.

Column A

Column B

sentence 1
well-behaved
sentence 2
skilful
sentence 3
interesting
sentence 4
delicious
  • Question 3
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Choose the best adjective from the list to use instead of very old in the following sentence.

 

There was a very old burial chamber at the top of the hill.

elderly

ancient

ruined

stone

  • Question 4
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Choose the best adjective from the list to use instead of very upset in the following sentence.

 

Jamila was very upset when she broke the window.

disappointed

dissatisfied

disapproving

distraught

  • Question 5
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Choose the best adjective from the list to use instead of very very happy in the following sentence.

 

Mikey was very very happy when he won the competition.

ecstatic

exhausted

expectant

expansive

  • Question 6
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Choose the best adjective from the list to use instead of very loud in the following sentence.

 

The old motor car had a very loud horn, which made them all jump.

sonorous

strident

muted

melodic

  • Question 7
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This time, choose a more precise verb to replace the underlined phrase in the following sentence.

 

The men walked quickly along the road, anxious not to miss their train.

ran

dawdled

hastened

dashed

  • Question 8
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Choose a more precise verb to replace the underlined phrase in the following sentence.

 

"I hate you," Sarah said in a very low voice.

sobbed

cried

muttered

moaned

  • Question 9
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Choose a more precise verb to replace the underlined phrase in the following sentence.

 

The water fell strongly over the edge of the cliff and splashed into the pool below.

slipped

cascaded

dropped

dripped

  • Question 10
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Choose a more precise verb to replace the underlined phrase in the following sentence.

 

"I'm really sorry," Josie said in an unsteady voice, with tears starting to form in her eyes.

muttered

faltered

whispered

murmured

Progress