Vocabulary for IELTS: Crime, Space, Art

vocabulary for ielts about Crime-Space-Art

Vocabulary for IELTS: Crime, Space, Art

vocabulary for ielts about Crime-Space-Art
vocabulary for ielts about Crime-Space-Art

IELTS Game experts continue working on your vocabulary for the test.

That is why, in this article we will look through three popular IELTS topics and will learn words and expressions that you’ll be able to use while speaking or writing on these topics.

So, these topics are Crime and Punishment, Outer Space and Art.

In our previous articles, we covered the topics Education, Environment, Food and Globalization, Technology, HealthIf you haven’t seen these articles yet, follow the links and read them.

Also, before learning new vocabulary, it would be good to find out about learning techniques.

I recommend you to study the vocabulary on topics Crime and Punishment, Outer Space and Art very carefully, as tasks based on these topics occur really often in different parts of the IELTS test.

For example, in 2020 there was the following essay topic at one of the tests:

Some people think certain prisoners should be made to do unpaid community work instead of being put behind bars. To what extent do you agree?

Or, in Part 2 of the Speaking section you may face the following task:

Describe a piece of art you like Cue Card.

You should say:

  • what the work of art is;
  • when you first saw it;
  • what you know about it;
  • and explain why you like it.

You never know what you will get in the test. [Makkar Guesswork 2020]

That’s why it’s advisable to know the most common words and expressions on all IELTS topics.

If you want your friends to enlarge their vocabulary for IELTS as well, don’t forget to share this article in social networks.

1. Crime and Punishment

We’re going to start with the topic Crime and Punishment.


First of all, it’s necessary to know the word crime.

Its definition is simple: an act against the law.

But it can have many different meanings when used in expressions, so let’s have a closer look at some of them.

  • petty crime – not a serious crime;
  • violent crime – a crime which includes assault;
  • organized crime – organized group of people commits crimes or engages in criminal enterprises for profit;
  • white-collar crime – a term mostly referring to business world crimes. Usually, crimes committed by businessmen or office workers for financial gain.
  • victimless crime – a crime with no apparent victim.

For example,

  • He has a history of violent crime stretching back to his early years.
  • Bribery is a popular type of white-collar crime.
  • In case of victimless crimes prosecution starts within one week.

Now let’s work with some other useful phrases.

If you don’t know any of them, look them up in the dictionary and write them in your notepad for future reference.

  • to carry out a crime – to commit a crime;
  • to investigate a crime – to detect / solve a crime;
  • to fight crime – to tackle crime;
  • to prevent crime – to preclude crime;
  • a crackdown on crime – a serious attempt to punish people for committing crimes;
  • life of crime – criminal way of living;
  • a crime wave – a sudden increase in the amount of crime in an area;
  • circumstances of the crime – conditions under which a crime was committed;
  • the incidence of crime – the number of times crime happens or develops.

Types of Crime

Now let’s move forward and discuss the types of crime.

  • abduction is a very popular word in action movies; it is an act of capturing, carrying away by force. For example, There has been a series of abductions in the area.
  • arson is an act of criminal burning of property. For example, It looked like an accidental fire, not arson.
  • assault – a violent physical attack. For example, His body showed signs of assault.
  • burglary – illegal entrance into premises with criminal intent. For example, They said there was a burglary, but nothing was missing.
  • child abuse – physical or emotional mistreatment of a child. For example, In the United States, the laws defining what constitutes child abuse vary from state to state.
  • drug trafficking – production, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs. For example, The key source of profit of organized criminal groups is drug trafficking.
  • fraud – If you are promised a million dollars on the Internet, it’s fraud. Fraud is trickery intended to gain an advantage. For example, She was found guilty of committing fraud.
  • hacking – a special type of Internet crime. When somebody’s website or server is hacked, it means that the server or website is broken.
  • hijacking – stopping and stealing a vehicle. For example. He hijacked a truck, threatening the driver with a gun.
  • murder – the crime of deliberately killing a person. For example, Her husband was found murdered.
  • manslaughter – also killing a person, BUT accidentally – without the intent to do so. For example, He was back in prison 2 years later, convicted of manslaughter.
  • terrorism – violence or threat of violence as a way of trying to achieve a political goal. For example, International action to combat terrorism should focus heavily on prevention.
  • blackmailing – using secret information to get something in return (usually money). For example, The former Romanian Prime Minister was placed on probation for blackmail.
  • felony – a serious crime such as murder or burglary. For example, Filing false tax returns is a felony.
  • pickpocketing – stealing someone’s belongings from pockets and purses. For example, Any tourist city is a haven for pickpockets and thieves.
  • shoplifting – stealing things from a shop or store. For example, A boy shoplifted a toy from the store.
  • traffic offences – crimes committed on the road. When committing a traffic offence, people usually have to pay a fine. For example, In European countries fines for traffic offences are extremely high.

Court Vocabulary

Another big part of the crime and punishment vocabulary is court vocabulary.

  • a defendant – a person accused of a crime in court. For example, The defendant was convicted of murder.
  • a prosecutor – the lawyer who represents the side that tries to prove the person guilty. For example, The public prosecutor finally decided not to pursue charges.
  • a witness – a person who sees something (such as crime) happening. For example, The defence called its first witness.
  • guilty – responsible for committing a crime or doing something wrong. For example, The jury found him guilty of murder.
  • victim – a person who has been attacked in some way by somebody. For example, Some victims are selected because they seem vulnerable. And here we have some useful expressions with the word victiminnocent victim; unsuspecting [victim]; to portray somebody as a victim.
  • a suspect – a person who is believed to be guilty. For example, The man was arrested as a suspect.
  • an attorney – a lawyer who can sue or defend people. For example, If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the state.
  • evidence – something that can serve to prove something. In our context evidence is usually presented in court to prove that someone is guilty or innocent.
  • hearsay evidence – evidence based not on a witness’s personal knowledge but on another’s statement not made under oath.
  • criminal evidence – evidence related to a criminal case.
  • in the light of evidence / in the face of evidence – considering the evidence.
  • not a scrap of evidence – no evidence.
  • verdict – the decision made by a jury in a trial. For example, The jury reached a verdict after hours of deliberation. And here are some verdict expressions: favorable verdict – positive verdict; adverse verdict – negative verdict; to appeal against a verdict – to protest a verdict; final verdict – definitive verdict.
  • a judge – a public official given the right to decide on questions brought before a court of justice. For example: The judge ordered the company to pay compensation.
  • a panel of independent judges – judicial division / bench High Court Judge – a judge in the High Court.
  • jury – a group of people that decides on a court case. For example, Tell the jury in your own words what happened.
  • trial by jury – to hear the case in a court with participation of jury to serve on a jury – carry out responsibilities of a jury.

Vocabulary Related to Penalties

Now let’s talk about possible penalties or the types of punishment and words and phrases to describe them.

  • death penalty also known as capital punishment is the execution of a person after judgment by a legal system. For example, Our criminal system is very careful in cases of death penalty.
  • suspended sentence – the judge’s decision to delay a prison or jail sentence. For example, A suspended sentence usually remains on the defendant’s criminal record permanently.
  • forfeiture – the loss of property or money because of the legal obligation or as a judge’s decision. For example, The court may also order forfeiture of property in this case.
  • probation – a period of time in which a person who has committed a crime is allowed to stay out of prison if that person behaves well. For example, She was put on probation for 3 years.
  • to suspend a license – usually refers to a driver’s license and means that your license is taken away for a period of time. For example, If you are ticketed for too many violations within a specific period of time, your license will be suspended.
  • corporal punishment – physical punishment. For example, Corporal punishment in some form is still used in schools in some states.
  • prison sentence / custodial sentence / imprisonment – these terms are almost similar in meaning and thus could serve to paraphrase. They all describe a situation when someone is convicted and sent to spend a specified period of time in prison. For example, A court can give a range of prison sentences including suspended, fixed-term, and life sentences.
  • a ban – sometimes a jury can impose a ban which means that you are prohibited from doing something. For example, He was banned from entering the building.
  • a fine – an amount of money an offender must pay. For example, A fine can be given instead of or in addition to imprisonment.
  • community service – sometimes a jury can decide to send a guilty person to perform some community service. Community service refers to unpaid work beneficial for the community. For example, Alternative sentences can include different combinations of the following: a suspended sentence, probation and community service.

That’s basically all for the Crime and Punishment vocabulary.

It might seem to be too difficult to memorize all of them in one day, but you don’t have to.

Take your time, memorize basic vocabulary, and remember to use them in your writing and other parts of the IELTS examination.

2. Space

Space exploration is also among popular IELTS topics, though you can probably only encounter it in the Writing Section 2.

Popular questions could sound like: 

“Many people think that the government should spend money to explore the outer space, while others believe that it’s a waste of public money. Discuss both views and include your opinion”.

Well, while you might need some time to generate enough ideas on the topic, I will make sure that you have enough words to talk and write about it.

Vocabulary & Expressions related to SPACE

1. The Big Bang Theory

The first expression is the big bang theory. It’s not only the name of a popular US sitcom, but also astrophysicists’ theory which describes how our universe came to existence. And it is the leading scientific explanation so far.

For example, The Big Bang Theory rather in details describes the first moments of the birth of the Universe and submits to the laws of physics.

2. Black Holes

Black holes are strange objects attracting a lot of attention of modern scientists and not only them. Filmmakers and writers exploit black holes in their interest.

For example, When a larger star collapses, it continues to fall in on itself and creates a black hole.

3. Astronaut

Astronaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft.

For example, Between April, 9 1959 when the first seven U.S. astronauts were presented at a press conference in Washington D.C. and 1978, a total of 73 men were selected as astronauts by the NASA. 

* Please pay attention to spelling as it’s confusing for many ESL students.

4. Constellation

Another good term from outer space is constellation.

Constellation is a group of stars representing a certain figure in the sky.

For example, Constellations are easily recognizable patterns that help people orient themselves using the night sky.

5. Eclipse

Many of you have probably heard of the word eclipse.

But it is not only the name of a chewing gum or a car. In our context eclipse is when the Earth or the moon passes through a shadow of another heavenly body.

For exampleI have never seen a lunar eclipse.

6. Meteorite

Meteorite. I think in most European languages this word sounds the same, but still, I will give a definition of it.

According to Wikipedia, a meteorite is a solid piece of debris from a source such as an asteroid or a comet that originates in outer space and survives its impact on the Earth’s surface.

7. Cosmology

Cosmology – in general, it is defined as a branch of astronomy involving the origin and evolution of the universe.

For example, Cosmologists puzzle over exotic concepts such as the dark matter, the string theory, and dark energy. They question whether there is one universe or many.

8. Light Year

The most confusing fact about the light year is that it actually measures distance rather than time.

A light year is defined by how far a beam of light travels in one year. And it is a very long distance – six trillion miles.

9. Milky Way

It is not only the name of a popular chocolate brand but also the name of a spiral galaxy of which our solar system is a part.

For example, If you are somewhere with a very dark night sky, you can sometimes see the Milky Way as a thick band of stars in the sky.

10. The Solar System

If you are familiar with the meaning of the word solar (something connected with the Sun), you might know that the Solar System is full of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, minor planets, and many other exciting objects.

11.Gravitational force

Have you seen the movie “Gravitation” with Sandra Bullock?

Then you might know that it is the force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth’s mass for bodies near its surface.

12. Space spinoff

An item that has uses on Earth but was originally developed for use in space.

According to Wikipedia, spinoffs are commercial products and services which have been developed with the help of NASA through research and development contracts.

Now, we have discussed major space terms and it is time to go through some important names and facts which you also find very helpful in your preparation for IELTS.

If you find them interesting, you might read more information on the web.

A list of Names and facts related to Space

  • Hubble space telescope – a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation.
  • Yuriy Gagarin was the first person to travel to space.
  • Alan Shepard was the first American in space.
  • Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon.

3. Art

It’s time to study some art words. It is another popular topic in IELTS.

Ready to start? Be attentive, work hard, and you will get your target or an even higher score!

Let’s start with the term Art itself. It’s often used in expressions defining different types of art. There are quite a lot of them.

  • Fine arts – Type of art that creates beautiful things. It could be painting, sculpture, or music. For example, The museum collection consists of thousands rare original works of fine art.
  • Arts and crafts – the activity of making beautiful and useful objects. For example, You should visit one of the local stores selling arts and crafts, such as pottery and baskets.
  • Visual arts – creations that we can look at. For instance, painting, sculpture, architecture, film. For example, Another good example of popular visual art is film, which includes documentaries and short films.
  • Plastic arts – every type of art we can touch. A sculpture would be a good example.
  • Performing arts – a very wide term meaning anything from cinema, theater, or any other form of visual art to modern computer presentations. The key characteristic is that it’s performed. For example, Participating in performing arts programs helps students develop a stronger sense of individualism, self-reflection, and self-esteem.

I hope you now better understand what is the difference between the various types of art.

Useful Words connected with Art

Now let’s discuss some other vocabulary connected with art.

Let’s start with watercolour. Firstly, it’s a pigment used with water to create paintings. Secondly, a watercolour is a painting created with watercolours.

For example, Watercolours are ideal for landscape painting.

You probably heard the word sketch when discussing some projects, but in art, it is a quick informal drawing to capture the essentials of an object.

For exampleSketches are often done in ink or charcoal.

Portrait – is a portrayal of a person showing the person’s face. (could be a drawing, a photograph, or a sculpture).

For example, Some people say that artists merely paint self- portraits as it solves the problem of having to find a model.

Landscape – is a work of art that features a scene of land or countryside (in other words nature).

For example, Landscapes can range from oil paintings to gauche and pastels.

Still-life painting – is a painting featuring anything that does not move.

For exampleStill-life art was common in the ancient world.

Oil painting – is a technique of painting with oil paints. The second meaning is a picture painted with oil paints.

For example, Fat over lean is one of the fundamental concepts of oil painting.

Figurative art – is any type of art that accurately represents an image from the real world.

For example, Figurative art has a history as long as the history of representation itself.

Contemporary art – a bit controversial term. The easy definition is contemporary to us. It means that it has been created during our lifetimes. Usually, contemporary art refers to artworks made after 1970 by still living artists.

For example, Anything can be done in contemporary art because there is no set way to create this modern art style.

Art Styles

Now let’s talk about which art styles exist.

  • Realism – an artistic movement attempting to portray the lives of ordinary people and their environments. For example, Realism, also known as the Realist school, was a mid-nineteenth century art movement.
  • Abstract art is a genre of art which does NOT depict a person, place, or thing in the natural world. Objects are often simplified or distorted. For example, Abstract art might look as if it were simple to create, with a splash of paint here and a brush stroke there.
  • Another artistic style is impressionism – a style in which the artist captures the image of an object as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. In other words, it’s about the artist’s impression. For example, Manet significantly influenced the development of impressionism.

When talking about art, many people talk about harmony.

Harmony is a pleasing combination or arrangement of things. For instance, a harmony of colours.

For example, Once you understand the basics of color theory, you can start learning how to combine colours into a colourful harmony.

Apart from harmony, it’s important to know what composition is. It is the organization of the elements of design in an artwork done according to principles of design.

For example, Composition rules provide a starting point for deciding on a composition for the painting.

Now let’s discuss what the principles of design are. One of them is unity

Unity is the coherence of an artwork. Unity allows us to feel that all parts of the piece work together.

For example, “The essence of beauty is unity in variety.” (William Somerset Maugham)

In general, the principles of design refer to the ways in which artists organize the visual elements of art.

Traditionally they include balance, emphasis, contrast, unity, movement, and rhythm.

Quite interesting, isn’t it?! Now let’s move on.

What trait of character do you think is important to have to create works of art? That’s right, creativity! 

Creativity is using imagination rather than imitating something.

For example, Creative people are able to look at things and situations in novel ways and from different angles and perspectives.

Another important phrase is a focal point, which is the center of interest or activity in a work of art.

For example, A painter can emphasize a focal point through the composition, color or the range of tones used.

I want to remind you that it’s not the complete list of vocabulary on the topics Crime, Space and Art

Good luck!

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