Paraphrasing is a pivotal skill to have when it comes to the IELTS exam, and you simply must perfect it if you wish to boost your score to an impressive level. The first step is understanding exactly what paraphrasing is and what it involves. Paraphrasing is essentially the process of re-writing a passage, sentence, or phrase in such a way that the words are changed but the meaning is not. This is a useful skill to have, particularly in writing tests, but it also has its merits in speaking, reading, and listening exams too. Being able to take a sentence, dismantle the meaning and rewrite it in your own words is also a fantastic way of ensuring that you understand exactly what is being said.
So, how do you go about paraphrasing for IELTS and what are the best methods to use?
There are a number of different techniques to implement when it comes to paraphrasing and you should familiarise yourself with each and every one. Depending on the words, phrases, and sentences, some techniques will be more applicable that others, so having a wide range of skills to tap into will serve you well.
Synonyms are basically different words that share the exact same meaning, allowing them to be interchanged within a sentence. For example, ‘beautiful’ is a synonym of both ‘attractive’ and ‘stunning’. The word ‘small’ is also a synonym of both ‘little’ and ‘petite’. This is one of the most widely-used techniques when it comes to paraphrasing, as you simply have to highlight a word in the original text and replace it with a relevant synonym.
Another key paraphrasing tool is to change the form of a singular word while adjusting the rest of the sentence accordingly. For example, you may change the tense of a word/sentence from past to present, or you may swap between nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. The important thing to note with this method is that a minor change in the form of one word may render the sentence grammatically incorrect, so you will have to go back and make changes to avoid this.
Active and Passive –
Verbs with an object can be turned into a passive format, which is a perfectly acceptable technique in academic writing, including the IELTS test. The opposite of a passive sentence is an active sentence. For example, an active version of a sentence could be: The dog walker trained 26 dogs in her back garden. The passive equivalent would be: 26 dogs were trained in the dog walker’s back garden. Chopping and changing passive and active sentences is definitely a good paraphrasing tool.