Task 1 & 2: Paraphrasing

March 23, 2017 by Ashlee Hunter Ashlee Hunter

Paraphrasing is essential in the IELTS exam. It's a great skill to have for speaking and it's especially important for the writing section. This skill shows that you not only understand the question but that you can discuss it fully. If you write the original statement in your tasks, it may not be counted and it could hurt your word count.

What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is writing the same information using different vocabulary, phrases, and structures.

How do I paraphrase?

Paraphrasing can be a daunting task. Here are some simple techniques that can help you paraphrase well in your writing:

  1. Use Synonyms

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning. Using synonyms is an easy way to create a new sentence that has the same meaning.

Some people think that parents should teach their children how to be good members of society.

Some individuals believe that parents should teach their children how to be a positive part of their community.

Make sure that the synonyms you are using have the same meaning, and not similar, as this could change the meaning of the sentence.

Some people believe that car emissions have a massive impact on the environment.

Incorrect: Some people believe that car emissions have a large impact on the environment.

Correct: Some people believe that car emissions have an enormous impact on the environment.

Be careful because some synonyms can be used in some situations but not in others.

The amount of fish consumed in the world has increased dramatically.

Incorrect: The amount of fish used in the world has increased dramatically.

The amount of fuel consumed when driving largely depends on the vehicle.

Correct: The amount of fuel used when driving largely depends on the vehicle. 

Also, grammar is important when using synonyms.

Wealth does not necessarily guarantee happiness.

Having money does not necessarily ensure satisfaction.

  1. Change Word Order

Putting words and phrases in different places within the sentence is another simple way to paraphrase.

The percentage of stressed children in western society has increased by 15% in the last ten years.

In the last ten years, the percentage of stressed children in western society has increased by 15%.

Again, the meaning of the sentence may change when changing the word order.

Successful sports professionals earn more money than people in other important professions.

Incorrect: People in other important professions earn more money than successful sports professionals.

Correct: People in other important professions earn less money than successful sports professionals.

 

  1. Change Word Form

Along with word order, you can change word form. This involves changing vocabulary from nouns to verbs, adjectives to adverbs, and so on.

Nowadays, crimes are becoming more violent.

Nowadays, crimes are being committed more violently.

Once again, grammar is important when changing word form.

The level of crime has increased noticeably in different ways.

Incorrect: There was an increase noticeably in the level of crime in different ways.  

Correct: The increase in the level of crime has been noticeable in different ways.

 

  1. Active to Passive

Changing your sentences from active to passive voice can be more difficult than the other techniques; however, it shows a variety in your grammar structures.

Active: Technological advances have replaced people in the workforce.

Passive: People in the workforce have been replaced by technological advances.

Make sure you know how to change the structure of a sentence before trying to use the passive voice.

Children today play very violent video games.

Incorrect: Children today are played by very violent video games.

Correct: Very violent video games are played by children today.


  1. Combine Sentences

The ability to combine sentences gives you more opportunity to change word order as well as shows off more variety in your writing.

Some people believe that animals should have the same rights as humans. Other people believe that animals should be used for various needs such as food and research.

Some people believe that animals should have the same rights as humans, while others believe they should be used for various needs such as food and research.

When combining sentences, make sure that the transitions you are using are correct.

Some people believe that logging is a serious problem. They believe that it may lead to the extinction of animal life.

Incorrect: Some people believe that logging is a serious problem, while others believe that it may lead to the extinction of animal life.

Correct: Some people believe that logging is a serious problem and it may lead to the extinction of animal life.

Practice using these techniques in your writing to become more comfortable with paraphrasing. Paraphrasing can lead to better writing, which in turn, can lead to a better writing score.



Ashlee Hunter

Ashlee has been involved in the ESL world for over ten years and has now planted her roots in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nothing gives her more pleasure than watching students and candidates reach their language and IELTS goals.

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