What is paraphrasing and why do we need to know how to use it?

by | Feb 10, 2020 | 0 comments

First of all, what is paraphrasing? It is re-writing what you read so that it has the same meaning but different words are used.

In Task 2 of the IELTS exam you need to read and understand the essay topic and then paraphrase. This indicates to the examiner that you understand the topic and have a flexible vocabulary knowledge that allows to re-word the topic. Furthermore, this will help you formulate your ideas in your own words and ensure that you don’t repeat phrases and vocabulary.

In order to be able to successfully paraphrase you need to do the following three things:

  • Find suitable synonyms
  • Transform the verbs
  • Re-structure the sentence

An example:

Unemployment is the one of the most serious problems facing developed nations today. What are the advantages and disadvantages of reducing the working week to thirty-five hours.

First, identify the key nouns and adjectives and provide suitable synonyms. For example,

unemployment = lack of jobs

serious problems = grave issues

developed nations = industrialised countries

advantages and/or disadvantages = pros and/or cons

working week = days of the week that one works at their job

Secondly, identify key verbs and select new verbs or synonyms OR transform the verb. For example

Facing – confronting, being faced with

Reducing – lessening, making the work-week shorter

Thirdly, restructuring the sentences. For example,

Let’s examine the pros and/or cons of…

Let’s look at the pros and/or cons of…

So, how would the original topic look paraphrased using these steps?

Lack of jobs is indeed a grave issue confronting industrialised countries at this time. Let’s examine the pros and/or cons of lessening the days or hours per week that one works at their job from 40 hours to thirty-five hours.

Give it a try. The more you practice the better you will become at paraphrasing.

Isabella the IELTS cat


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