How to use paraphrasing in your writing

Paraphrasing, when you use different words to say the same thing, is a key skill for improving your score on the writing tasks. This skill is important as it shows the examiner that you can use a range of words and phrases.

In fact, if you don't paraphrase the words in the instructions for Task 1 and 2 you may lose marks, as copied instructions are not counted as part of the task's word count.

Look at this example of the general information for an Academic Writing Task 1:

The line graph below shows changes in the amount and type of soft drinks consumed by American teenagers between 1990 and 2010.

We can paraphrase this by changing some of the vocabulary as in this example:

The line graph compares the consumption of soft drinks by young people in the United States over a period of twenty years starting in 1990.

The verb ‘shows changes’ is changed to ‘compares’
The verb ‘to consume’ is changed to the noun ‘consumption’
‘American teenagers’ is changed to ‘young people in the United States’
‘Between 1990 – 2010’ is changed to ‘over a period of twenty years starting in 1990.’

Writing Task 2
When answering Writing Task 2 for both Academic and General Training, it is important to paraphrase the words from the question in your introduction.

Look at this example for Writing Task 2:

Some people think that the government should invest in building more hospitals and schools rather than theatres and art galleries. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

I partially agree that the authorities (the government) should fund (invest in) healthcare (hospitals) and education (schools) instead of the arts (theatres and art galleries) as we need a healthy and highly-educated population but at the same time it is important to support (invest in) cultural activities (theatres and art galleries) as well because the arts help us to relax and recharge our batteries after working hard.

Remember, to be able to paraphrase successfully, you need to learn synonyms for a range of words.

Here are some useful examples:

•    Women – Females
•    Men – Males
•    Celebrities –Famous people
•    Actors – Film stars
•    Computers – Technology
•    Transport – Vehicles
•    Renewable energy – Green energy
•    Climate change – Global warming
•    Fossil fuels – Coal, oil and natural gas
•    Dependent – Reliant
•    Avoid – Stop
•    Promote – Support – Develop
•    Put money into – Invest in – Fund
•    Reduce – Lessen - Decrease
•    Rubbish – Waste
•    Education – Schools and Universities - Learning
•    Hospitals – Healthcare – Medical care


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