Vocabulary display – Overused words graveyard (with synonyms)

What's included?

PDF and Word docs

Key Stage

KS3, KS4


Years 7-11


This vocabulary display offers an engaging and visually appealing way to encourage students to expand their vocabulary beyond commonly overused words. It features:

Graveyard of deceased vocabulary sign

This sign acts as the entrance to a thematic display that encourages students to “bury” overused words and replace them with more descriptive alternatives. It sets the tone for a fun and educational exploration of language.

Gravestones for ‘dead words’ to avoid using

Each gravestone marks the final resting place of a word that students are often overly reliant on. The words selected for burial include:

  • Happy

  • Sad

  • Cold

  • Hot

  • Small

  • Big
These words, while useful, are frequently overused and can lead to repetitive or simplistic expression.

Synonym bats for each gravestone

Cut out the bats and stick them so they’re fluttering around each gravestone. Each one bears a synonym that can be used in place of the ‘dead’ words. These alternatives encourage students to diversify their vocabulary, enhancing their writing and speaking skills with more precise and varied language.

For example, instead of “happy,” students will find alternatives like “exuberant”, “euphoric” and “blissful” among the bats.

Personalise your vocabulary display

We recognise that you might wish to tailor the content to your specific teaching needs or to the evolving vocabulary of your students. For this reason, we’ve provided an editable version of the display. This allows you to include new ‘dead words’ and their livelier synonyms.

For ease of use and quick setup, a PDF version of the classroom display is also available. You can easily print this and set it up in your classroom, library or learning environment to create an interactive and educational vocabulary display.

This vocabulary display not only decorates your learning environment but also serves as a constant learning tool, encouraging students to think more deeply about word choice and to enrich their language skills in a fun and memorable way.

Laura Holder is an English teacher and Shakespeare lover. You can find her at and on Twitter at @LauraLolder. Find more of her resources on her TES page laurajholder.

Vocabulary display
Vocabulary display – Overused words graveyard (with synonyms)

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