Academic Vocabulary Word Lists

These vocabulary word lists can help you find and practice words from the Academic Word List (AWL) in English Detective issues and on this site. The lists below give each English Detective issue, then the reading selections used in that issue, with their uses of the AWL words taught in that issue, then pages that practice AWL vocabulary. (This page gives issue 1-5. For later pages, see the explanation below, then jump to the bottom of the page for links to the rest.)

If you are looking for a specific word, first look at Academic Word List Vocabulary A-B or its following pages.. Each word is listed in alphabetical orde, with its various common forms, followed by the newsletter in which it is practiced.

Return to this page (or one of the following three) for links to the main practice page(s) for the words in each newsletter, along with crosswords, quizzes, and other practice.

To see the newsletter itself (often with discussion of the meaning of some words, and with links to articles or talks in which you can read or hear them), go directly to the Back Issues page.

Some notes to help you use these lists:

  • These lists are only for words from the Academic Word List (awl.) For more information see Academic Vocabulary.
  • Words tahght or first introduced in each issue are listed. (Most of these words also appear in readings in later issues.)  A number after a word shows the number of times it appears in the reading, if more than one.
  • Note that in these vocabulary word lists, unlike in the newsletters, every form (word family variation) of a word is listed separately.
  • Following the readings for each issue are links to pages to practice the vocabulary and check how much you have learned. (Readings with a practice page all their own are starred, as is the practice page.) To read the reading selections themselves, follow the links in each issue of English Detective on the Back Issues page above. (Starred readings are also linked from the practice pages.)  

If you ever want to find a particular word in one of the readings, to see it in context, you can use the “find” command on your browser, so that you don’t have to read through the whole text. For example, for Internet Explorer, Firefox,  or Chrome, press Ctrl +F. That opens a Find box in which to type the word. (To the right of the box are some options, too.)

English Detective Can Increase your Academic Vocabulary

Most people need to see and practice a new word a number of times in several contexts to remember it and "make it theirs."

The purpose of English Detective is to provide that kind of practice, with 2 or 3 readings, explanations of some word uses, a practice activity or two (often including a crossword or other puzzle), and sometimes a quiz to check your understanding.

Sign up using the form on the left (or at the bottom of the page for mobile devices) to get it in your email inbox, free, every month.

Issue 1 Vocabulary Word Lists and Practice

from the 2 Sherlock Holmes extracts (Tuesday and part of Friday week 1)accurate acquired (awl: acquisition) analysis-2 aspects-2 attain inconceivable (awl: conceived) conclusions deduce deduction-4 detective-1 detectives-1 (awl: detected) evidence infer inspection investigation link mental  process  revealed

from the article on Tony Hillerman:  analyze area-5  author authors-2 contributed contribution created-2 culture-4 deductions-3 detective-4 detectives-8 enable-2 evidence-4 experts finally insights-4 investigated investigation investigations investigative investigators motivations motives procedure process-2 professional react series similar techniques tradition traditions-2 unique-2

You can practice these words in Be A Word Detective, in the newsletter itself (see back issues) by writing down your own answers (1B, 2D, etc.) to each question and then checking farther down the page, and with the Investigations Crossword and Answers.

Test your mastery with the Quiz on Detective Vocabulary.

Issue 2 Lists and Practice

Discovery of Penicillin:  available capability chemical-3 compounds computer conducting convinced culture-2 cultures-2 (with the specialized meaning of bacteria being grown-- cultured-- in a dish) furthermore involvement medical-2 method methods obtained potential potentially research-3 researcher researchers structure-2 

Antibiotic resistance: contact exposed-2 inappropriately (awl appropriate) occurs

Scientific Method Vocabulary: accurate -2 affect-2 affecting analyze bias-2 conclusions-2 data design evaluate evidence factor hypothesis-4 method process-2 require research-2researcher researchers similar valid-2 variable-3 versions

Science Discoveries & Inventions:  communications computer major-3  medical revolutionized transportation-2 vehicles 

You can practice this AWL vocabulary at Scientific Method VocabularyTypes of Germs Vocabulary Practice, More Practice with Science Vocabulary Words, Science Discoveries & Inventions (above), A Comprehension Check (on Discovery of Penicillin), and the Methods of Science Word Search

 Test your mastery with the Science Words Quiz.

Issue 3 AWL Lists +

SMART Goalsachievement-2 attain attainable-4 attainment attitudes benefits constraints  creating criteria  establish-3 eventually financial goal-24 goals-8 identify-3 image jobs labor location objective previously specific target

Short U.S. government article on New Yr’s Resolutions with linksresolutions resources achieve goals

Learning from Failure:  attained benefits-4 commencement-2 (awl: commenced) energy foundation inevitable job jobs rejected security 

You can practice these words at Vocabulary for Achievement, New Years’ Resolutions, Future Tense Practice, English Words for Success, Modals Practice, and a Goals for Success Crossword and Answers.

Check your understanding with the Success Vocabulary Quiz.

Issue 4 AWL Lists & Practice

Steve Jobs’ speech:  approach concept dramatic encountered external feature focus generation-2  label notions periods proportionally publication publishing released team  visions

Voice of America on Edison device-5 devices-6 documents  individual projects team                

PBS on Edison:  assistant (awl: assistance) components-2 corporations devices impact individual innovation-3 legal maintained partnerships positive refined 

You can study and practice these words at Product Design Vocabulary, Technology Words, and the Design and Teamwork Word Search, as well as Adverb Clauses. Quiz yourself on them with the Technology Vocabulary Quiz.

Issue 5 Word Lists & related practice pages

Ancient Greececoncentrated-2 (awl: concentration) consumed dominated emerged logical military normal-3 philosophers-2 philosophy-2 physical successor

Ancient Greece and Rome Connections:   assumed classical-3 consistent dominate dominated enormous rational whereas

& Roman science (no new AWL words.)

You can study and practice these words at Greek Roots, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, 50 Latin Word Roots Vocabulary Practice, Classical Roots Crossword, and Words from Greek and Latin Roots-- a Quiz.

>>>For issue 6-10 on, click for issue 11- 17, or here for issue 18 on.


If you want to investigate further on your own, information on the AWL words in any text is available from Lexical Tutor. You can copy fairly short texts (a page or so) into the box provided, click “submit,” and get back your text color coded by level.

The AWL words of your text are in yellow, and after the complete text there is a list of them all showing how many times each form occurs in that text. (This site also has sections enabling you to get definitions and other help for any word you click in one of the stories they provide.)

Home Learn English Vocabulary > Academic Vocabulary Word Lists.

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