Crime: Vocabulary Exercise

Crime is a common topic in IELTS writing task 2 and occasionally it also appears in IELTS speaking part 2 and 3. Below is an exercise to help you practice this vocabulary. This exercise is aiming for students aiming for band score 7 and above. To get a full vocabulary list for crime and punishment, follow the link.


Fill in the gaps using the list of vocabulary provided. You may need to change the form of the words to make the sentences grammatically correct. Words may be used more than once.

arrest  /  suspect  /  guilty  /  convict  /  sentence  /  innocent   /  penalty  /  commit

  1. Before handing out a ………………, the circumstances of a crime should be taken into consideration.
  2. The police should be sure of their facts before ……………. someone for a crime.
  3. Criminals who are found …………….of a major crime should receive a heavy ………………….
  4. Criminals …………. of serious crimes should receive the maximum …………..
  5. If a person is found to be …………., they should receive compensation for wrongful arrest.
  6. People …………. of terrorism should be on a watch list.
  7. Having a fixed …………… for each type of crime does not take into account the motivation for ………… the crime.
  1. sentence
  2. arresting
  3. guilty / sentence
  4. convicted or guilty / penalty or sentence
  5. innocent
  6. suspected
  7. penalty / committing


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  1. Hi Liz , I am preparing for my IELTS on my own and I learnt Englush by myself , yesterday I wrote my first essay under timed conditions , please please please can you assess me so I know my exact position , any advices are welcomed .
    The question is : Prevention is better than cure , researching and treating diseases is too costly so it would be better to invest in preventative measures . To what extent do you agree ?

    The government expenditure on research field and medicament factory to treat diseses is so high . It is often believed by many that it is better to level the investment in preventative actions . Personaly , I think although the investment in taking sanitary measures is crucial , the research field and treatment have a huge effect .

    On the one hand , by investing a lower amount of money in preventing diseases will be highly effective , which will help the government to cover other national issues and to focus on keeping the population safe and healthy as possible as they can before catching any kind of sickness , for instance the sanitary measures on borders and against the entry of dogs in certain European contries didn’t cost the government a huge budget , instead they came finally to reduce or even to eradicate the rage in thoses contries and as a consequence the extinction and eradication of this deadly illness .

    On the other hand , all the national authorities should be aware of the importance of scientific research and pharmaceutical factories , on this basis , an important budget should be destinated to enhance this two sectors alike . By discovering the original of diseses and adopting new methods to treat difficult illnesses will decrease the pressure on the health system and thus will solve so many problems such as deadly epidemics , which means serving the vaccines and medicines before the diseases widespread amongst the population. Finally I am certain these fields can’t be simply ignored.

    Taking everything into consideration , wether funding scientific researches and pharmaceutical factories or investing in preventative sector , the national authorities should do their best to keep the people safe and healthy .

  2. Hello Liz! Could you please explain for me the difference between “penalty” and”sentence”??
    Thanks for your help!

    • “sentence” is both a verb and a noun. The verb means to decide the punishment in a court of law. The noun means a punishment given by a court of law. “A penalty” is a punishment given for something, it might be a punishment given by IELTS for writing under the word count in writing or it might be a punishment given for speeding. But it is not referring to a punishment by a court of law.
      All the best

      • Yin Marlar says:

        Hi Liz,

        Thanks for clarifying the difference between “Sentence” and “Penalty”.

        However, I am still not quite clear for Q3 & Q4. I thought both should be “sentence”. Can you please explain a bit further?

        Thanks in advance..

  3. Dear Liz,
    Thank you very much for your efforts in helping students preparing for IELTS test. I find your website very useful and helpful in my preparation for IELTS. Could you please explain: in the “Instruction” part of the task you wrote: “You may need to be change the form of the words to make the sentences grammatically correct” why it is “to be change” is it erratum or everything is correct? Thank you very much. Aya

  4. Hi Liz!
    In the second parts of 3rd and 4th questions I expected the answers to be the opposite of what you gave. Could you explain why a heavy sentence and maximum penalty?

    • They are interchangeable. They mean the same thing so you could have both. That means your answers are also correct.
      All the best

  5. Hi Liz,
    Thank so much for your very helpful excercise. I need your advice with reading test. I always have problem with True/false/ Not given questions. When i checked the answers, i found them were in the opposite way. How to deal with this Liz?

  6. I got all correct. I have my ielts academic exam after 2 weeks, I am very worried and need your help. I require your assistance for writing section as I am confused regarding the types of question in task 2.

    • Hi,

      Here are the different types of IELTS essays. Teachers do categorise them differently and also give them different names – that’s probably by you are confused. Hopefully the information below will help you:

      1. The opinion essay (Do you agree or disagree? / To what extent do you agree or disagree?), some teachers call this the argumentative essay, persuasive essay or agree disagree essay. It’s the essay where you must give your opinion.
      2. The discussion essay generally has the same name but some teachers include the advantage/disadvantage essay in this category while I like to distinguish it and teach it separately. You need to discuss both sides and give your opinion.
      3. The solution essay is also often categorised similarly by teachers but don’t forget that this also includes a cause/solution essay as well. Read the instructions to know what information to include in your essay.
      4. The direct questions essay is sometimes called the two question essay but as it is possible to get three questions I prefer the name direct questions essay.
      5. The advantage / disadvantage essay – you need to look at the plus points and negative points of one issue.

      I recommend you look through the IELTS Cambridge books 1-9 and see all the types of essays that come in IELTS writing task 2 for yourself.
      All the best

      So, read the instructions carefully and take time getting to know the essay types for yourself by look at the IELTS Cambridge books.

      • Hi Liz, do you have tips and format for writing task 2 with questions like do advantages outweigh disadvantages?

  7. Ahmed abolazm says:

    thanks liz , i am greatly appreciate your help and your teaching style

  8. Very helpful lesson, but I a bit confuse about using verb in infinitive and gerund. Could you please explain how can I use it?

  9. Great practice exercise! Thank you!

  10. Thanks for the exercise, I did manage to get all correct except the 1st one !!
    I have my ielts exam next week and im just very worry !!

    • Well done! It was a tough exercise and aimed at high level students. Let me know if you have an particular worries about your test. I’ll be wishing you luck.
      All the best

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