02 Mar IELTS Writing Task 1 Tip: Paraphrasing (Part 1)
On our previous post on IELTS writing, we talked about how to introduce a graph. Here is the sample graph again to remind you.
The graph below shows the unemployment rates in the US and Japan between March 1993 and March 1999.
Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.
And this was the example introduction paragraph:
The line graph reveals the levels of joblessness in the US and Japan from March 1993 to March 1999. Overall, it is noticeable that the percentage of jobless people in Japan increased, while in the US it decreased
The first sentence tells us what the graph is about, and the second sentence is the overview or the main trend of the graph.
In this post, we are going to focus on the first sentence. You might notice that it is not exactly the same as the sentence in the background information given, although the meaning is similar. That is because the background information has been paraphrased. Why is this important?
In IELTS Writing, there is one assessment criteria called Lexical Resource. That term might sound unfamiliar but it is basically about vocabulary; how able you are in avoiding repeating the same words, phrases, or sentences that you have written previously.
If you introduce the graph by only copying the exact same sentence from the background information, your Lexical Resource score will not be high, so you must paraphrase it because it shows that you are able to avoid being repetitive.
Paraphrasing can be done by simply replacing some words from the background information with their synonyms. In the sample introductory sentence, you can see the paraphrases:
shows → reveals
unemployment → joblessness
rates → levels
between-and → from-to
Replacing words is the easiest way to paraphrase a sentence. If you want to challenge yourself, you can use a different sentence structure while keeping the meaning similar. For example, you can try to use an active subject:
The line graph reveals the percentage of people who were jobless in the US and Japan from March 1993 to March 1999.
In the example above, the word rates was replaced by percentage. You can also use the word proportion. Also, we now we have an active subject,
Is that it?
Not really. The paraphrasing method that we are talking about here is only for introducing the graph. You also need to paraphrase when explaining the details of the graph. We’ll look at that in our next tip.
Below are three examples of data and the background information. Try introducing the graph using your own words
- The line graph below gives information about the amount of coffee exported from three countries between 2002 and 2012.
- The line graph below shows changes in the amount and type of fast food consumed by Australian teenagers from 1975 to 2000.
- The graph presents figures for coffee exports from 3 Latin American countries from 2002 until 2012.
- The graph displays the patterns of teenage fast food consumption in Australia between the years 1975 and 2000.