Expand Your Vocabulary for IELTS – Key Word: Role


1          Play a role in + verb

Use the correct form of these verbs:

build up           campaign for

educate            influence

open                  remove

  1. President Clinton played a pivotal role in____________ channels of communication between the leaders of the two countries.
  2. Television has a crucial role to play in____________ young people. That’s why we need more documentaries and fewer game shows.
  3. Your kidneys play a vital role in____________ waste products from your blood.
  4. Nobody would deny that the media play a major role in____________ people’s opinions.
  5. He played a key role in____________ the company into the success it is today.
  6. She played a leading role in____________ equal opportunities for women.

Go back and underline all the adjectives used to describe an important role.

2          Common adjective collocations

Use the following adjectives in these sentences:

active               dual

minor              peace-keeping

clear                traditional

  1. He is finding his____________ role as composer and conductor quite demanding.
  2. Most of the top management positions are held by men. Women seem to play relatively____________ roles in the running of the organisation.
  3. Every member of staff must have a ____________ role. Everybody needs to know what is expected of them.
  4. United Nations troops are only deployed in a ____________ role. They do not fight wars, they try to prevent them.
  5. I think our government should be playing a more ____________ role in promoting human rights. It needs to do more.
  6. Many women have abandoned their ____________ role as wife and mother. For many the pursuit of a career is more important.

Go back and underline the adjective collocations.

3          Verb + role

Use the correct form of these verbs:

examine          reverse

see                   play

find                  take on

  1. When my mother died when I was five, my older sister had to____________ her role.
  2. My parents looked after me when I was young, but now the roles are ____________ and I look after them.
  3. I ____________ my role as that of a mediator, helping other people to work out their problems together.
  4. The report____________ the changing role of women in modern society.
  5. Because most parents work nowadays, grandparents are ____________ a more and more important role in bringing up children.
  6. In the reorganisation of the company, my old boss hasn’t really ____________ a role for himself.


1.         Role also refers to an actor’s part in a play or film:

I auditioned for the leading role, but I ended up with only a tiny part in the film.

2.         Note the following examples:

She’s acting in an advisory role.

Sports stars need to remember that they are role models for thousands of young people.

The main role of the police is to enforce the law.

Now that I’m a patient and not the doctor, it feels like role reversal!



Ex 1: 1. opening  2. educating  3. removing  4. influencing  5. building up  6. campaigning for

Ex 2: l. dual     2. minor    3. clear    4. peace-keeping    5. active    6. traditional

Ex 3: 1. take on    2. reversed    3. see    4. examines    5. playing   6. found

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