Useful Words and Phrases to Put in your Essays

In order for your essay to be great, you need to use the right vocabulary. To captivate your audience, you need to use the right level of formality and avoid repetitive language. You could have a clever idea, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered. The best thing you can do to help your essay to stand out is simply to improve your vocabulary. In this article, we’re going to share some words and phrases you can include in your writing to help your essays pop!

  • Furthermore,
  • Conversely,
  • Illustrates
  • Alternatively,
  • In contrast
  • Utilise
  • In view of, in light of,
  • According to
  • Myriad (another way to say a lot!)
  • Asserts
  • Catalyst

A girl writing an essay Learn to improve your writing skills and improve your vocab

How to avoid saying "makes the reader want to read on"

This is something that teachers see a lot of in English exams and quite frankly, it drives them nuts! The reason for this is that it comes across as though you have nothing to say about the text and that you are using this to fill space.  Instead, you need to be discussing the connotations of individual words and phrases, considering why the author/poet selected them.  This is a more advanced way of considering a text. If you have to use it, I would say: “The author included the phrase ‘…’, as it engages the reader and makes the theme of ‘…’ explicit.” If this is a particularly tense moment in the book, why is it so? What is happening at this point in the story and why is it significant? All writers want their readers to ‘read on’ and find their work interesting. The question is, why? What ideas and messages might the text contain? Instead of saying "it makes the reader want to read on" try some of these alternatives:

  • It captivates or intrigues the reader
  • Engages the reader
  • Gains/holds the attention of the reader
  • This invokes feelings of X in the reader.
  • This brings about the emotion of…. in the reader.
  • This further elucidates (disconsolate, sad, melancholic) emotions
  • This connotes a sense of (melancholy, sorrowful) feelings for the reader
  • this entices the reader due to…
  • helping to maintain the reader’s interest or just the story remains engaging

What can you use instead of "like" in an essay?

Sometimes it is correct to use like in a sentence, for example as a preposition to demonstrate a resemblance between two things but if you feel like you are using it too much you can try:

  • as
  • as if
  • as though
  • such as

Linking words in Essays

Linking words or transition words help you to connect ideas and sentences and help to bring the reader along in the text. Some examples of linking words include:

  • moreover
  • comparatively
  • not to mention
  • as a matter of fact
  • in the first place
  • additionally
  • in contrast
  • conversely
  • regardless

  What other words or phrases do you like to include in your essays? Share them in the comments and we will add them to the list!

Answers
Instead of saying 'this piece of text makes the reader want to read on, you could alternatively say: 'this piece of text....'intrigues the reader captures the reader's imaginationcommands the reader's attentionencourages further readingsustains the reader's attention and interestenhances the readabilitydemands the reader's attention
catherine_mary
03 October 2014
also :  ...entices the reader's curiosity ... entices the reader to continue ...
Sarah R.
03 October 2014
I would say "the reader experiences a profound and exciting need to continue further into the text". Is this formal enough? Jen
jgreen20
07 October 2014
Thanks! These all helped 
honeybadger
11 October 2014
What about 'draws the reader in' ...'engages the reader'?
louise.harrison
14 October 2014
Engages the read
ksd12326
26 October 2014
There are a few different ways to communicate this in a more formal manner, for example 'entices the reader to continue' or 'grasps every aspect of the readers attention'.
Antonia M.
27 October 2014
I would suggest the following:The reader is enticed to continue reading...The reader's attention is drawn to carry on to the next section because...The text is designed to coax the reader to read further due to...The narrative arc of the text moves the reader from this section to the next by...
askat0ch
31 October 2014
You can simply describe the text as 'compelling' or 'engaging,' which would convey the same message. Other ways of expressing this phrase include:commands the reader's attention engages the reader bolster's the reader's attentionseduces the reader's imaginationcaptivates the reader's attention/imaginationimmerses the reader into the textforges a strong readerly interestabsorbs the reader deep into its textual webs draws the reader in 
Augustine C.
03 November 2014
Entices the reader to continue, engages the sense, provokes curiosity, 
tarab
15 November 2014
Hi Honeybadger. I would advise you against using the phrase at all, even other versions of it. The reason for this is that it comes across as though you have nothing to say about the text and that you are using this to fill space.  Instead, you need to be discussing the connotations of individual words and phrases, considering why the author/poet selected them.  This is a more advanced way of considering a text.If you have to use it, I would say: "The author included the phrase '...', as it engages the reader and makes the theme of '...' explicit."  You then need to go into detail about the quotation; by making vague comments, you are likely to get a D/E grade.I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more specific questions about a text.
kittyhooper
16 November 2014
I would agree with Katherine H. Talk about specific parts in the text. Lead in with "the author invests the reader by/using/discussing/demonstrating". Its always best to avoid ambiguity wherever possible and focus on content. 
twarefineart
19 December 2014
Hello Honeybadger, I know this post is from a while back now, but I really wanted to add my thoughts on your question. I'm sorry to say that this phrase really drives English teachers and examiners to distraction! Remember that a writer has never, in the whole history of writing, written something that they hope "the reader" will give up half-way through. If you do want to give up reading it, it is either terrible writing (unlikely if you are studying it for A Level), or you are reading something that you are not particularly interested in (okay-this could happen!). This means that this comment can (and is, unfortunately. Sigh.) written about every single text that you will ever see in school, college and university. Why would anybody want to study a subject for which every question could be answered with the same answer? That would be tedious beyond belief, surely? The fact is, the authors we are reading are particularly adept at the skills of drawing us deeper into their writing in endlessly varied ways. You need to explore and explain all of this in specific detail.   It is worth remembering that no writer of English Literature did or does so with GCSE or A Level students in mind. I guarantee that Jane Austen never sat down to write thinking "I'd better stick a metaphor in here. That'll make the reader want to read on." It is about much, much more than that and will be as individual as if you had direct access to the author's mind. Which you do. Luckily, you are a human being, so you know what it is like to have a human mind. Think about how complicated it is in your own mind and then try to imagine your author as all that and then add in all their talents, skills and experiences as well.  As you develop in your study of English, you will learn to explain and evaluate an author's skills and the nuances of the resulting work. English Language and literature is beautiful, endlessly rewarding and can also be fiendishly tricky to understand as I'm sure you are discovering. It is very much worth it, not just for the qualifications and so on that you will gain, but the access to the incredibly rich source of human achievement that you are tapping into and which you are part of. Have a lovely 2015! 
Melinda B.
31 December 2014
Hello! I see your problem, I had the same thing doing A level English! Try to use phrases such as "this entices the reader due to..." And "helping to maintain the reader's interest" or just " the story remains engaging". As long as you vary your phrasing you will be fine! :) 
liam_leonard
28 May 2015
Hi,I would scrap the phrase entirely and concentrate on the ideas the writer is conveying, especially at A-level. Ask yourself:-If this is a particularly tense moment, why is it so? What is happening at this point in the story and why is it significant? As others have said, all writers want readers to 'read on' and find their work interesting. The question is, why? What ideas and messages might the text contain?Hope this provides food for thought!
drmck
28 June 2015
Engages the readerGains/holds their attention
Amy C.
05 July 2015
It captivates or intrigues the reader this way you are implying that it "makes the reader want to read on" without actually directly saying it.Hope this helps.Jess
Jessica P.
10 December 2015
Add an answer

Similar questions

What can I write instead of "this makes the reader..."?


How to avoid always writing " this makes the reader" all the time

This is a phrase that all too often slips out without much thought and it is one that teachers are sick of seeing in essays. The reason for that is writing "this makes the reader..." makes it look like you haven't put much thought into your writing and shows a lack of analysis of the text. Here are some better phrases to use instead of "makes the reader":

  • This invokes feelings of X in the reader.
  • This brings about the emotion of…. in the reader.
  • This further elucidates (disconsolate, sad, melancholic) emotions to the reader
  • This connotes a sense of (melancholy, sorrowful) feelings for the reader
  • This results in the reader experiencing…
  • This creates a sad, joyful, frightening... atmosphere
  • This moves the reader
  • This provokes the reader to believe/think/feel…
  • The reader is compelled
  • The reader is therefore made to feel sad, happy, stressed, anxious...
  • This entices the reader
  • This causes a sense of sadness, joy, bewilderment... in the reader etc…
  • The writer is trying to infer that…
  • The reader deduces from this that…
  • The use of the (metaphor/repetition/syntax etc.) demonstrates/ establishes/ highlights/ reinforces that…

It is also a good idea to consider the various interpretations of different readers, as they will differ depending on their social and historical context. As such, you could say: A female reader in the 19th Century may respond to this by feeling…

Descriptions of a fairground


What points can you include when writing about a fairground scene?

When writing a descriptive piece, don't forget to begin by setting the scene. This is a good opportunity to get in some detailed description so the reader can vividly imagine the setting. To start your fairground description off, close your eyes and think about sights, sounds, and smells you notice when you enter the fairground. Fairgrounds are busy places, bustling with activity so it should be easy for you to think of ideas…… eg the smells of chips, hot dogs, etc, the loud music and maybe announcements being made. You would probably hear children screaming and laughing. There would be lots of bright, flashing lights, big crowds of people...

What do you see in the fairground?

When writing about what you can see in the fairground, there would be the various rides – eg the Big Wheel, the Waltzers, etc. It would be a very colourful scene – the painted rides, eg maybe a carousel, flashing lights, and people’s clothes. There’d be a variety of people to see – family groups, teenagers, etc. You could begin your descriptions like, ‘Looking up, I can see the huge big wheel, spinning slowly around.’. (Then you could say a bit more about what it looks like), You could then look another way and see another of the rides, say the walzer, and say about what that looks like – maybe describe a couple of teenagers who are getting on it – what are they wearing, how excited do they look?

What do you smell in the fairground?

Then you could talk about the smells – maybe say something like, ‘I’m standing near the food stall and can smell the tempting aroma of chips’ and then talk about the other food smells mixing with that. Think about the other smells that stand out in the fairground such as doughnuts and candyfloss.

What can you hear in the fairground?

Then you could describe sounds like this; ‘I can hear snatches of conversation around me’ (and then make up something – eg is a child moaning and saying they want to go on another ride, or are people talking about the food they want to buy – just give two or three quotes. Then you could deal with the music, which rides is music coming from? You could say about it being discordant, maybe, if it’s coming from different rides, different tunes, etc! A good ending to your piece could be the fairground closing down for the evening – describe how it gradually goes quiet as people leave, the music stops, the rides stop etc, and then all is quiet.