Glossary of 'Key Chemistry Verbs' | HSC Chemistry Key Verbs Series

This complete glossary of key chemistry verbs lists the definitions of commonly used verbs you need to answer Chemistry exam questions effectively.

What is the glossary of key Chemistry verbs?

This ‘glossary of key chemistry verbs’ is a list of the definitions of commonly used verbs that appear frequently in the NESA syllabus, performance descriptions and examinations.

The purpose behind this glossary is to help students answer Chemistry exam questions effectively. Each verb includes sample questions to provide context of how it’s used in the Chemistry course.


Go to Chemistry verb:

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Account for

State reasons for, report on.

Module 7 Question (3 Marks)

Account for the different uses of PVC and polystyrene in terms of their molecular structure.



Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and relate implications.



Use, utilise, employ in a particular situation.



Make a judgement of value, quality, outcomes, results or size.

Module 8 Question (4 Marks)

Scientists have the ability to help minimise environmental problems resulting from technology and our need for products and services. 

With reference to the above statement, assess the importance of monitoring the environmental impacts of chemical synthesis industries.



Ascertain/determine from given facts, figures or information.

Module 6 Question (4 Marks)

A student wants to determine the concentration of ammonia in a bottle of household cleaner. She accurately dilutes a 25.00 mL aliquot of the cleaner to 250.0 mL, then titrates 25.00 mL aliquots of the diluted solution against 0.2240 M HCl. The average titre obtained is 21.85 mL. 

Calculate the concentration of NH3 in the cloudy ammonia as %w/w if the density of the original solution is 0.950 g mL-1



Make clear or plain.



Show how things are similar or different.

Module 8 Question (6 marks)

Compare the use of infrared spectroscopy, 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy in the identification of organic compounds.



Show how things are different or opposite.



Draw conclusions from.

Module 5 Question (3 marks)

Colourless hydrogen iodide was placed inside a sealed container and the following equilibrium reaction was established with colourless hydrogen and purple iodine gases:

2HI ⇌ H2(g) + I2(g)

The container was cooled and the intensity of the purple colour increased. 

Deduce whether the forward reaction is exothermic or endothermic, explaining your reasoning.



State meaning and identify essential qualities.

Module 6 Question (1 mark)

Define the term ‘acid-base indicator’.



Show by example.



Provide characteristics and features.

Module 5 Question (3 marks)

Describe the processes occurring when solid sodium sulfate dissolves exothermically in water in terms of intramolecular and intermolecular forces.



Identify issues and provide points for and/or against.

Module 5 Question (3 marks)

Acid rain containing sulfuric acid attacks a marble statue according to the following reaction: 

CaCO3(s) + H2SO4(aq) ⇌ CaSO4(s) + CO2(g) +H2O(l)

Discuss how the equilibrium is affected in the above scenario by the fact that CO2 is gaseous. 



Recognise or note/indicate as being distinct or different from; to note differences between.

Module 7 Question (4 Marks)

Distinguish between soaps and synthetic detergents in terms of their chemical composition and their behaviour in hard water.



Make a judgement based on criteria; determine the value of.

Module 7 Question (5 marks)

A car advertisement states:

“Gibson cars is proud to release its new lean, green, carbon-neutral machine: the VSS-2000 turbo. It runs on 100% ethanol and lays claim to be the first carbon-neutral production car on the market…”

With reference to relevant chemical equations, evaluate this statement about ethanol’s supposed carbon neutrality.



Inquire into.



Relate cause and effect; make the relationship between things evident provide why and/or how.

Module 7 Question (3 marks)

Explain why tertiary alcohols have lower boiling points than primary alcohols with the same molecular mass.

Related: ‘How to answer explain Chemistry questions’



Recognise and name.

Module 6 Question (1 mark)

Identify a property of sodium hydroxide which makes it unsuitable as a primary standard.



Draw meaning from.



Plan, inquire into and draw conclusions about.



Support an argument or conclusion.

Module 8 Question (5 marks)

Compound A is an organic compound commonly found in milk. Analysis of compound A gave the following information:

  1. Elemental analysis: 40.00% C, 6.71% H, 53.29% O
  2. Mass spectrum: molecular ion at m/z = 90 
  3. Infrared spectrum: long absorption at 1750 cm-1 and broad peaks at 2980 and 3520 cm-1.
  4. 1H NMR spectrum:
Peak 1Peak 2Peak 3Peak 4
Chemical shift (ppm)1.324.104.7012.86
Splitting patternDoubletQuartetSingletSinglet


Determine the structure of compound A and justify your proposed structure with reference to the spectra data above.



Sketch in general terms; indicate the main features of.

Module 5 Question (3 marks)

Outline a first hand investigation you conducted to model a system reaching dynamic equilibrium.



Suggest what may happen based on available information.

Module 7 Question (2 marks)

Predict the major product from the reaction of 2-methlyprop-1-ene with HCl, and explain your answer.



Provide reasons in favour.



Express, concisely, the relevant details.


Written by Varisara Laosuksri

Varisara is a 2019 St George Girls High School graduate who achieved Band 6 in her HSC Chemistry and Physics.

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