Lucas Fink

TOEFL Tuesday: Vocabulary – Important Words

In order to do well on the TOEFL, you need to have a broad vocabulary. You will lose points if you repeat the same basic words over and over again. Therefore, knowing a variety of vocabulary words and synonyms is very important!

Today, we’re going over vocabulary words that are “important” in two different ways: they are important to know for the test, and they also happen to mean “important!”

Words that mean “necessary”

One of the meanings of “important” is “necessary.” So let’s begin by talking about words that mean “necessary.” Something that’s necessary is something you need to have. If you don’t have something that’s necessary, there will be a problem. “Necessary” can also refer to something that absolutely must happen. The following three words mean “necessary:”

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  • (to be) vital
  • (to be) crucial
  • (to be) critical

Imagine that you’d like a certain country to be a democracy, where the people who form the government are elected by the public. In order to have a democracy, there must be honest and uncensored news. If the government controls the news, the people won’t know who to elect! So we can say that:

  • In a democracy, honest news is vital.

We could also use the word “crucial” or “critical” instead of “vital.”

Words that mean “main”

“Important” can also mean “main.” So next we will discuss three words that mean “main.” “Main” is an adjective that’s used to describe a thing that is the most significant, largest, or basic within its group. “Main” can also refer to the basic part of a larger idea.  The following three words mean “main:”

  • (to be) core
  • (to be) principal
  • (to be) foundational

Although the most largest religions in the world are different from each other, most of them have something in common: they believe in being good and kind to other people. Many religions are based on this central principle. So we can say:

  • Most religions have a core belief in being kind to other people.

We could also use the word “principal” or “foundational” instead of “core.”

These are a lot of words to learn, but make sure that you remember them! These six words are all very important 🙂



  • Lucas Fink

    Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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