How To Paraphrase

how to paraphrase for IELTS

In this post, we will look at the importance of being able to paraphrase. Paraphrasing is very important in your IELTS writing, not only for the writing test but for all of the other parts of the test too. Being able to paraphrase will show the examiner that you have a wide vocabulary, helping you to achieve a higher band score.  

To paraphrase text is to read the question then rewrite it in your own words. You should not copy words straight from the question, instead change the order of the words and choose words with a similar meaning (a synonym). This means you are using different words to write about the same idea. 

Paraphrasing Example 1

Here is an example of a Writing Task 2 Question >>

In current society, many people are struggling with obesity. What is the main cause of this? What are the effects?

Paraphrased >>

In many countries all over the world today, there are many people who are extremely overweight. 


Here the student changed obesity to extremely overweight and then changed current society to many countries all over the world.

Paraphrasing Example 2

Here is an example of a Writing Task 2 Question >>

Many people in society believe that having fixed punishments for all crimes is a more efficient way of dealing with criminals in the justice system.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a fixed punishment?

Paraphrased >>

There is an ongoing debate on the merits of having a rigid discipline system in place for all crimes committed.


Here the student changed the wording, to have a similar meaning, but they have not directly copied words from the question. They have used rigid discipline system to replace fixed punishments.

Paraphrasing Example 3

Here is an example of a Writing Task 2 Question >>

Due to poorer countries experiencing a ‘brain drain’ they are seeing many professionals, such as doctors and teachers, leaving to work in more developed countries.

What problems does this cause? What solutions can be suggested to deal with this problem?

Paraphrased >>

In many developing countries, there are a number of skilled academics leaving in search of better pay, increased socioeconomic benefits, and the chance to earn citizenship in a developed country. 


Here the student has replaced professionals with skilled academics. They have also expanded on the ‘why’ looking at reasons these people might leave.


Synonyms are words you use when you want to write a word that has a similar meaning to the original word in the questionFor example;

  • Society / Community / Humanity
  • Professional / Specialist / Authority
  • Healthy / Active / Lively
  • Economic / Fiscal / Commercial
  • Obese / Fat / Heavy
  • Punishment / Discipline / Retribution

TIP >> When paraphrasing the question, you don’t need to change all of the words, but you should try to change most of them. Be careful though, because choosing a word that has a similar meaning – not the same meaning can make the meaning of the sentence change or become unclear. 

TIP >> The best way to practice this is to have a look at writing task 2 questions and paraphrase/re-write the question in your own words. Whilst practising you can use an online thesaurus tool to help you find synonyms and learn new words.

We hope you found this post useful in helping you to study for the IELTS Test. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

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