Expand Your English: Essential Vocabulary for ESL Students

Welcome to your guide on how to expand English vocabulary for ESL students! Starting to learn English can be exciting, and knowing the right vocabulary is crucial for every ESL learner. This post will cover vital phrases and essential words that will boost your English speaking and comprehension skills.

Whether you’re looking to improve your everyday conversation or excel in academic English, we’ve got the tips and tools you’ll need.

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Essential Vocabulary for ESL Students

Today’s lesson focuses on expanding your descriptive English vocabulary—essential for ESL students aiming to enhance their language skills beyond basic adjectives like “interesting,” “big,” and “long.”

It’s easy to fall into the habit of repeatedly using the same words. Often, I find that students’ grammar and sentence structure are solid, but their language can be plain or simple, which doesn’t stand out in exams like IELTS or CAE or advanced discussions.

In this lesson, we’ll explore how to use more expressive and varied language. We’ll start with basic statements and progressively introduce more advanced, descriptive, and persuasive ways to express your thoughts. This approach will enrich your English vocabulary and prepare you for more complex language use, making your writing and speaking more engaging.

In the city centre

The best coffee shop is located in the city centre.

✅ In the heart of the city

The best coffee shop, famous for its homemade coffee, is located in the heart of the city.

✅ In the business centre of the city

Many top law firms are situated in the business centre of the city.

✅ Where the old city used to be

A modern art gallery now stands where the old city used to be, attracting visitors from near and far.

A different experience

He was looking for a different experience, focusing on local food and traditions.

✅ A unique experience

He was looking for a unique experience, exploring secluded islands during his holiday.

✅ An unusual experience

She went to a hidden art show in an old train station for an unusual experience.

✅ Off the beaten track/path

Meaning: a place that is not commonly visited or is away from the main areas

She liked going off the beaten track, exploring small villages that few tourists ever see.

He found a quiet beach off the beaten path, perfect for a peaceful afternoon.

High Standards

She maintains high standards, ensuring every aspect of her work is flawless.

✅ Exacting standards

Meaning: very high and precise expectations or requirements that are often difficult to meet

He has exacting standards, which is why he carefully chooses every detail of his projects.

He has exacting standards, often spending extra hours perfecting his work to meet his own strict criteria.

Essential Vocabulary for ESL Students

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The well-trained staff at the hotel provided exceptional service.

✅ Highly trained

Highly trained and skilled, the team delivered outstanding results on the project.

✅ Trained to a very high standard

The surgeons at the clinic are trained to a very high standard, ensuring the best possible outcomes for their patients.

✅ Set the bar very high

Meaning: to have very high standards or expectations that are hard to meet

Her outstanding performance last season has set the bar very high for upcoming athletes.

Make a dish

He decided to make a dish from his grandmother’s old recipe book to surprise his family.

✅ Create a dish

What dish are you going to create this weekend? We have guests coming on Saturday.

For the Masterchef competition, she aimed to create a dish that would impress the judges with its unique flavours and presentation.

We promise to…

We promise to provide an unforgettable experience with luxurious accommodations and exceptional service.

✅ Our commitment to you is…

Our commitment to you is to give you an experience that will be second to none.

Our commitment to you is to deliver the freshest, locally sourced ingredients in every meal we serve.

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Our basic idea

Our basic idea is to provide you with really good accurate customer care and customer satisfaction.

✅ Our core values

Our core values are to look after customers in a very special way. The customer always comes first.

A safe place

They were looking for a safe place where they could grow old together.

✅ A secure home

Their goal was to provide a secure home that felt warm and welcoming.

Their dream was to build a secure home filled with love and laughter.

Essential Vocabulary for ESL Students

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A good place

The city centre hotel is a good place for our annual conference, offering ample space and excellent facilities.

✅ An ideal venue

The rooftop bar overlooking the Thames is an ideal venue for corporate events and celebrations.

The new high-rise in the business district is an ideal venue for our expanding tech firm.

The charming country house, surrounded by blooming gardens, is an ideal venue for a small wedding.

A lot of

She has a lot of books in her collection, ranging from classic literature to modern thrillers.

✅ Plenty

The library has plenty of books on the subject if you need more information.

✅ An extensive range

The kitchenware store offers an extensive range of pots and pans, perfect for upgrading your cooking tools.

This top-class shop has an extensive range of kitchen equipment.

So it’s all about using adjectives and adverbs to get a bit more descriptive. That’s what I emphasize once students master the basics. It’s crucial to have solid grammar and understand how to structure a letter or an email. Once you’ve got that down, the next step is to enrich your language—avoid repetition, use more descriptive terms, and make your communication more interesting. It’s a fun challenge to find the right words and constantly search for synonyms.

If you’re unsure or need more examples, feel free to reach out to me at www.englishlessonviaskype.com, and I’ll be glad to assist you. Improving your writing in emails, letters, and essays is an excellent way to enhance your English skills.

This is Harry, signing off. Thanks for listening, and join me again soon.

speak better English with Harry podcast- episode 484

more information

For more information on English grammar rules, English collocations and English idioms, check out the links below:

English Verbs about Cooking

English Job Idioms

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC and British Council Learn English.

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