Paraphrasing is simply rewording a phrase or sentence so that it has the clone meaning but with varied words. Paraphrasing is one of the significant skills to learn before taking the IELTS test. It significantly facilitates the test taker in handling not only the writing and speaking, but also assist the reading and listening sections. In a nutshell, paraphrasing most certainly helps test takers score the desired band.

To demonstrate what Paraphrasing is and what its effect is, take a look at the example below:

Paraphrasing is one of the most important skills to learn before doing your IELTS test.

Paraphrased: Prior to taking the IELTS test, mastering paraphrasing is one of the most substantial things to do.

As you can see, the second sentence (paraphrased sentence) uses synonyms to change some vocabulary (e.g., ‘important’ for ‘substantial’ and ‘’prior’’ to ‘before’ and changes the grammar (e.g., Paraphrasing is one of the most important skills” for “mastering paraphrasing”). You can also change the word order.

These are the three ways one can use paraphrasing. Ideally, all three are used but sometimes two will only be possible.

In detail, paraphrasing can be explained as follows:

Number 1: Using Synonyms

Synonyms are different words that have the same meaning. For example, ‘plants and animals’ is a synonym of ‘flaura and fauna’ and ‘attractive’ is a synonym of ‘alluring’. This method simply replaces words with the unchanged meaning in order to produce a new sentence.

For example:

My body needs relaxation once I am back from work.

I should relax after work.

This is the most common method that students use and it can be used effectively, but you should be careful. The biggest mistake students make is trying to paraphrase and the word having a similar meaning, but not the same meaning. Similar meanings are not good enough and will lose you marks. Let’s look at some examples of poor paraphrasing because of using similar instead of the same meanings.

Violent crime is at peak among teenagers.

Violent offence is rising among young people.

This student has changed the word ‘teenagers’ for ‘young people’. They are similar words and teenagers are of course young people; however children and young adults, aged between 18-30, could also be described as young people. A more term would be ‘adolescents’ or ‘young people between the ages of 13-19.’ A better way to paraphrase this sentence would therefore be:

Violent offences are increasing among adolescents.

Let’s look at another example:

Global warming is usually occur due to emissions from internal combustion engines.

Climate change is mostly caused by the release of fumes from vehicles.

Method Number 2: Change the Word Order

Changing the word order also enable us to  paraphrase a sentence, again, we have to be careful.

Fortunately, there are two direct ways we can change the word order in most IELTS questions.

  1. the order of the clauses can be easily changed, if the original sentence has more than one clause.

Question: As languages such as French, German and English become globally used, there is a threat that certain minority languages may die out.

Paraphrased by changing word order: There is a fear of extinction of many minority languages, such as French, German and English become globally used.

Paraphrased with changing word order AND synonyms: There is dismay that many lesser used languages may pass away, as languages such as French, English and German become more widely spoken.

  1. If there is an adjective or noun in the question, the word order can be changed. It can be done by simply changing the adjective into a relative clause.

Question: Learning to be decisive about valuing money is one of the vital aspects to adulthood.

Paraphrased using a relative clause: Learning to be decisive about valuing money is one of the aspects to adulthood that is vital.

Method Number 3: Change the Form of the Word

There are many different forms of words such as nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Changing the form of a word allows us to paraphrase effectively.

Question: Extended life spans and bettering in the health of elderly people depicts that people over the age of sixty can live long and active.

Paraphrased by changing word form: Prolonged life spans and enhancement in the health of older people are depicting that people over the age of sixty can be living long and active.

Method Number 4: Change from Active to Passive

The passive voice is generally practiced in academic writing, eventually used in the IELTS academic writing test. Only verbs with an object can be changed into the passive.

Example active sentence: The real estate developers invested $50 million in the development of the shopping malls.

Example passive sentence: $50 million was invested in the development of shopping malls.

The passive voice is often used in academic writing when not giving opinion.

Example active: Majority claims that global warming is caused due to the burning of fossil fuels.

Example passive: Global warming is claimed to be caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Methods to use: The four methods can be demonstrated independently or together.

We suggest students to try and change the grammar (word order and/or word form) and use synonymic words.

We, Option Training Institute Dubai, make exceptional efforts to train our students. We make sure that the students acquire proficiency in answering questions using respective strategies appropriately. IELTS is a test which is taken by non-native speakers all across globe, so we make sure to train in the tips and guidelines that work towards helping students achieve their desired score bands.


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