The Oxford Phrasal Academic Lexicon (OPAL) is a set of four word lists, which you can download as PDFs: Written single words (1200 words) Spoken single words (600 words) Written phrases (370 phrases) Spoken phrases (250 phrases) According to Oxford, these are the most important words to know in academic English. You can also view… Read more OPAL


ConceptNet is “a freely-available semantic network, designed to help computers understand the meanings of words that people use.” Enter the word dog, for example, and the results include: Related terms (e.g. pet, animal, chinese zodiac) dog is capable of… (e.g. bark, guide a blind person, corner a cat) Types of dog (e.g. poodle, corgi, puppy)… Read more ConceptNet

Brexit collocations

Have something to say about Brexit? You’ll need the right vocabulary! According to the iWeb Corpus, these words are often found near the word Brexit on web pages: affect, aftermath, ahead, amid, backed, border, campaign, campaigners, challenges, concerns, consequences, deal, debate, economic, economy, election, exit, fallout, favour, fears, hard, immigration, impact, implications, independence, looming, mandate,… Read more Brexit collocations

Synonyms for “unkempt”

Two days ago we quoted a letter to The Times from 1968, which described some UEA students as “childishly noisy”, “completely lacking in manners” and “unkempt”. The Oxford English Dictionary has various defintions of unkempt. The one intended by the letter-writer would seem to be: Of a person’s or (occasionally) an animal’s appearance, condition, etc.:… Read more Synonyms for “unkempt”