Sublist 1, Group 12 (12)

Vary’ has a similar meaning to ‘different.’ If things vary from one another, they are different.


  • Children of the same age vary in height and ability.
  • Plane fares vary according to the season.
  • Tests can have varying levels of difficulty.

Collocations: When you learn new vocab, make sure that you note collocations too. For this group of words some collocations are:
source of, source material
specifics of, specifications for
structure of, structurally sound
theory of, theory about,
theorise about
vary from, variety of, variation in

Check the meanings of the words if you don’t already know them. Check the meanings of the various forms as sometimes they are different. You can check them at Time4english by clicking the words (

AWL Sublist 1, group 12

Vocabulary for IELTS – Academic Word List 1:12

Complete the sentences below with the correct word and the correct form of the word.

  1. They decided to use a Call Centre instead of employing more staff locally. Do you understand the _______________ behind that? (theory, specific)
  2. Before you buy a computer, you need to decide on the _______________ that will suit your needs. (theory, specific)
  3. The building will be demolished because it is not _______________ sound.  (structure, vary)
  4. Where is the ______________ of the river Nile?  (structure, source)
  5. My writing results are so _______________ ; one day I get an A and next day I get a C. I don’t know why! (vary, structure)

Answers (in the wrong order below)
4. source   3. structurally   2. specifics / specifications  1. theory  5. varied / variable