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Useful Collocations For IELTS Writing Task 2 - Topic: Crime

Useful Collocations for IELTS Writing Task 2 – Topic : Crime and Punishment


Criminal acts and related issues always rank among top ten most common IELTS Writing Task 2 topics. Here are useful collocations for this topic that would help you familiarize with this topic and give you some relevant ideas about criminal issues.

This post will cover a wide range of collocations which enable IELTS candidates to boost their band score for IELTS writing to Band  7.0+

Expressing Views About Crime and Punishment

1. The crime rate: a measure of the number of crimes in a particular area during a period of time.

“The reduction of the crime rate is the main goal for lawmakers.

2. To commit a crime: does something wrong or illegal.

“In the US, a young person who commits a crime by stealing a car will almost certainly go to prison.”


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3. Prison sentence: the period of time served in prison under such as a sentence.

“It is the heated debate that government have to pass lenient laws that would avoid the prison sentence while others think it would increase the crime rate in our society.”

4. Deterrent: a punishment makes somebody less likely to do illegal activities.

“The death penalty acts as a deterrent to people who wish to bring drugs illegally into another country.”

5. Loss of freedom: Be not free

“Loss of freedom is a punishment that offenders have to face when they go to jail.”

6. White-collar crime: Crimes committed by “office works”, for example, fraud.

“More and more employees who work in a bank turn into crime as white-collar crime.”

7. Be put on probation: To be under supervision to ensure their good behaviour

“Sometimes first-time offenders are not imprisoned but are put on probation for a set period of time to ensure their good behaviour.”

8 . Social isolation: the state of separating somebody from our society.

“The offenders have to serve the prison sentence as the social isolation to remain safety of society.”

9. A violent criminal: Includes assault, mugging and robbery.

“A student who is bullied at school may turn into a violent criminal when they grow up.

10. Motive for crime: The reason why people commit crimes

” A desire for revenge on his wife is a motive for his crime as murder. “

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11. Allay the fears: to make someone feel less afraid, worried.

“I believe that some solutions could help to allay people’s fears.”

12. Turn to a career of crime: become a criminal

“Nowadays, in the harshly competitive labour market, the unemployment rate is rising rapidly, more and more people cannot meet the basic human’s need that is maybe a reason for them to turn to a career of crime.

13. To be imprisoned: Go to a jail.

Being imprisoned is the best way to punish offenders for their guilty. “

14. To breed future offenders: influence people, especially young people, in such a way that they later commit a crime.

“Parents should give more attention to their offspring in order to avoid breeding future offenders.”

15. Easy money: Money that you get without working hard for it, especially when you do illegal activities to get this money

“To make easy money, the bank robbery have stolen two billion dollars from five international banks in this year.”

16. To break the law: do something illegal

“If a person breaks the law, he is certainly imprisoned.”

17. To resort to crime: to use crime because there is no other solution.

“After losing all money from the game, the men resorted to crime to get easy money.”

18. Illegal activities: the illegal acts.

“It is alarming that more and more youngsters turn into illegal activities.

19. Fall foul of the law: to get into trouble with the police because you are doing something illegal

“In Vietnam, if the company discharges the huge amount of untreated waste into rivers, they certainly fall foul of the law.

20. Juvenile delinquency: Antisocial behaviour committed by people under eighteen years old.

“It is true that juvenile delinquency rate is increasing alarmingly, which could jeopardise the social stability.”

21. Soaring crime rates: crime rates rising very fast

Example: We are facing off soaring crime rates and it’s high time the criminals were brought to justice.

22. Miscarriages of justice: Situation where innocent people are found guilty

Example: There have been a multitude of miscarriages of justice recently.

23. Trumped-up charges: invented and false accusations

24. Face trial

Example: No one in the world should face trial on the basis of unreliable evidence or trumped-up charges.

25. Escape punishment

26. Custodial sentences: a sentence to be served in a prison or similar institution

27. Commit minor offences

Example: While the rich always seem to escape punishment, poor people seem to receive custodial sentences even for committing minor offences

28. Extenuating circumstances: circumstances that lessen the blame

29. Serve out one’s sentence: serve the full amount of time

Courts and Trials

The trial was adjourned: the trial was suspended till a later time or date

To be remanded in custody: send to prison until the trial begins or continues

Dismiss the case: Decide that the case is not worth considering

Unanimous verdict: verdict which all the decision makers agree to

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Contest the verdict: Disagree with the verdict and tried to change it

Other Useful Expressions and Phrases for Crime Topic :

  • Capital punishments | Death penalty
  • To sentence criminals to death
  • A form of revenge
  • A criminal record
  • To engage in unlawful activities
  • To re-offend
  • Criminals = Wrongdoers = Lawbreakers = Convicts = Offenders
  • Rehabilitated prisoners
  • Community service
  • Prison sentences
  • Unlawful actions
  • To deter/discourage people from doing something
  • Inmates
  • To send somebody to prison

Exercises :

Exercise 1: Rewrite the underlined part of each of these extracts from conversations using the collocation below to make them sound more like extracts from newspaper reports.

Soaring crime rates
Escape punishment
was adjourned

1. Why should young criminals get away without being punished for crimes just because of their age?
2. An increasing number of crimes per head of the population have been recorded in the last twelve months.
3 The judge threw out the case because he felt the evidence was not strong enough.
4 The judge said that the trial would now take place next month.

Exercise 2. Choose the correct collocation.

1. If you are remanded in custody, you are kept in prison/ obliged to pay some money/ allowed to go home.
2. Someone might get out of prison early for good/soaring / extenuating behaviour.
3. If you serve out a sentence, you are  kept in prison for the full amount of time / released from prison early /kept in prison for life.
4. If you get a custodial sentence, you  only serve the sentence if you commit another crime / go to prison / have to do some community service.

Exercise 3. Correct the mistakes with prepositions in the collocations.

1 The witness appeared on court for the first time today.
2 He was put in trial for murder.
3 The murderer was soon brought into justice.
4 He was later remanded on custody.
5 The ease against Mr Sharp was proved over reasonable doubt.

Exercise 4. Come up with Answers for the following topics related to Crime in IELTS Writing Task 2 and post it in the comment section below or on to be checked and scored by IELTS experts.

Writing IELTS Task 2 Topic 1 :

Studies show that criminals get low level of education. Some people believe that the best way to reduce the crime is educating people in prison so they can get a job after leaving prison. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
You can read Band 9.0 Sample Answer here.

Writing IELTS Task 2 Topic 2 :

In some countries, a high proportion of criminal acts are committed by teenagers. Why has this happened? What can be done to deal with this?
You can read Band 9.0 Sample Answer here.

Writing IELTS Task 2 Topic 3 :

Some people who have been in prison become good citizens later. Some people think that having these people to give a talk to school students is the best way to tell them about dangers of committing a crime. Do you agree or disagree?
You can read Band 9.0 Sample Answer here.

Exercise 5. Complete each sentence

1 He has been in court on several previous occasions but only for committing offences.
2 Unfortunately, there have been a number of……………………of justice recently.
3 The jury was quick to reach a……………………verdict, finding the accused guilty.
4 This is the sixth time the accused has………………….in court.
5 The lawyer claimed that there were some………………………circumstances.
6 The accused…………………. all knowledge of the crime, but no one believed her.
7 The newspaper said…………………. had been served by the conviction of Joe Lee.
8 Charles Weiss was…………………..damages for the injury he had suffered.
9 The trial has been………………….until next week.

I hope you have found this post informative. If you have any question, please let me know in the comment below or on the Facebook page.

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Written By

Syed Monif is a professional content marketer and IELTS Trainer by day, and a bookworm by night, and sometimes during the day too! He currently works on creating extremely user-friendly and engaging content for the online portal His work involves creating and editing content while making sure they're super interesting and easy to read! And also as a master procrastinator, right now he's probably googling something so arbitrary like 'How rich is Scrooge McDuck?' without realizing that his lunch break is almost over.

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