IELTS Essay – How to Write an Introduction (Using Paraphrasing)

Hi, I’m Daniel. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn about paraphrasing in IELTS essays. First question: what’s paraphrasing? Paraphrasing means saying the same thing in a different way. But, I’m guessing you already knew that. Probably, you’re watching this video because you think you need to paraphrase the question in your IELTS essay introduction, and you aren’t sure how to do it. We’re making this video because there’s a lot of bad or inaccurate advice about paraphrasing around, and many IELTS students have the wrong idea about what paraphrasing is and how they should use it in their IELTS essay. With our IELTS students, we often have to spend time breaking down bad habits and bad ideas which students have about this. So, in this lesson, you can learn the truth about paraphrasing in your IELTS essay. You’ll see the number one mistake that IELTS students make with paraphrasing, and you’ll learn how to use paraphrase effectively in your IELTS writing exam.

Let’s start with something that might surprise you: What? But wait, I saw this video, and it said I should paraphrase the question in my introduction. But wait, I read this article, and it said I should paraphrase the question in my introduction. But wait, my teacher told me I should paraphrase the question in my introduction. Okay, we know. There’s a lot of IELTS advice out there that says, ‘paraphrase the question in your introduction.’ Why should you listen when we say you don’t need to? Don’t pay attention to us; pay attention to the official IELTS scoring scheme. To save you time, we’ve added links to the official scoring scheme under the video.

You can read it right now! Go ahead; read the scoring scheme and find the word ‘paraphrase’. We can save you some time: it isn’t there. Remember, this is the official scoring system, which the examiners use to mark your IELTS writing exam. The writing mark scheme does not talk about paraphrase AT ALL. Why not? Because you don’t have to paraphrase the question in your introduction. Okay, you think, so how do I start my essay? Surely paraphrasing the question is better than nothing? I don’t know what else to do… Here’s how a lot of students approach paraphrasing.

See if this looks familiar to you. Let’s take a question: Robots, computers, and machines are becoming more advanced, and can perform many jobs which used to be done by people. What problems does this cause, and how can these problems be solved? So, let’s practice bad paraphrasing! Let’s see now, we need to change the words. Let’s find some synonyms: robot = automaton advanced = cutting-edge machine = apparatus job = assignment people = folks Wow, great synonyms, right? Let’s plug them into our sentence to create a bad paraphrase: Automata, computers, and apparatus are becoming more cutting-edge, and can perform many assignments which used to be done by folks. Let’s change a couple of small things so it’s not so close to the original: Automata, computers, and apparatus are more and more cutting-edge, and can do many assignments which were done by folks in the past. Finished! What a great paraphrase! No, no, no! This is terrible, and it will only hurt your IELTS score. Don’t do this! This is what many IELTS students do, but it’s a bad idea. Let’s see why this doesn’t work.

First, a question: what’s a synonym? You probably said something like, “a word with the same meaning as another word.” That’s more or less true. However, a true synonym is a word which can replace another word in any sentence. So, imagine you have two words: A and B. If word A can be replaced with word B in any sentence, they’re synonyms. If word A can be replaced with word B sometimes, but not always, they’re not true synonyms. Maybe they have a similar meaning, but they aren’t the same. What’s the point of all this? The point is that there are very few true synonyms in English, or any language. Just because two words have the same meaning does not mean they can be used in the same way. The words people and folks have the same basic meaning, but that doesn’t mean that you can say folks any time you say people.

They aren’t true synonyms. Why not? Because vocabulary usage depends on more than just meaning. Register and collocation are equally important. Also, many words which have a similar meaning don’t have exactly the same meaning. Machine and apparatus are similar, but they aren’t the same. Job and assignment are similar, but they aren’t the same. So, that’s problem number one. When you use words that you think are synonyms, they probably aren’t true synonyms. That means you’re changing the meaning—which is dangerous—and also making language mistakes, which can hurt your vocabulary score. There’s a second problem: this is a really weird and unnatural thing to do. Imagine someone asks you a question. What do you do? Do you repeat the question back, using different words? Hey! How was your weekend? Ah… You wish to enquire about my recent non-working days? How’s the weather in the US? So… You want to know about the climatic conditions in North America? No! This is weird! When someone asks you a question, you answer the question.

Your IELTS essay is the same. The task asks you a question. Your essay should answer the question. Your answer starts from your first sentence. Bad paraphrase adds nothing to your answer. No paraphrase is better than bad paraphrase. A bad paraphrase is only an empty sentence with language mistakes. That’s all the examiner will see. For your IELTS score, this is only negative.

Ok, you think, so how do I start my essay? You have two options, and it depends on your target score. Let’s look. This is going to be a short section. If your target score is 6 or maybe 6.5, and you don’t know how to start your essay, here’s what you do: Write an introduction which is one sentence. Write a thesis statement. That means you explain what you’re going to talk about and what you’re trying to prove with your essay. For example: In this essay, I will discuss possible solutions to the problems caused by robots and computers taking people’s jobs. Or: I intend to show that the problems caused by robots and computers taking people’s jobs are serious, but also possible to solve. Or even: Robots and computers are replacing people at work.

This is a serious problem, and I will discuss how we can solve it. That’s all you need. But, you say, isn’t that too short? No—not at all. First of all, your introduction can be any length. Your introduction can be one sentence. Here’s an important point: your introduction is the least important part of your IELTS essay. Are the example introductions you saw above great? No. They’re not great, but they are easily good enough. Your conclusion is super-important. How you organise your ideas into paragraphs is very important.

How you support and connect your ideas is extremely important. Your introduction is not that important. You can get a high score with a very basic introduction. So, here’s a simple solution: if you don’t know what to write in your IELTS essay introduction, don’t write much at all. Write a short thesis statement, and then start the body of your essay. This is good advice if your target is 6 or 6.5, but what if you’re aiming for a higher score? So, what does effective paraphrase look like? Remember, you’re thinking about writing a strong IELTS essay here. That means an essay which scores between seven and nine. Here’s the thing: when you write a strong essay, you can’t think about it as lots of separate things. Lots of IELTS students write essays in this way: “Ok, first I have to paraphrase the question, then I need to write a thesis statement. Ok, first body paragraph: I need a topic sentence, then a supporting example, then a linking phrase, then a second supporting example… et cetera.” That can work for intermediate IELTS scores: to 6.5, but it’s not a good approach for higher scores.

For higher scores, your essay needs to be one coherent, connected piece. What does that mean, practically? And what does it have to do with paraphrasing? First point: your first sentence should be connected to everything else in your essay. That means you need to know exactly where your essay is going before you start writing. Before you put one word on the page, you need to know all the important things you want to say. Practically, that means you need to know what your conclusion is going to be before you start writing. You also need to know exactly how many body paragraphs you’re going to have, and what you’re going to put in each one.

To be clear, that means when you write your first sentence, you aren’t just thinking, “How can I find a synonym for this word?” Good paraphrasing isn’t about that. You already know the conclusion you want to reach, and you know the ideas you want to discuss. Effective paraphrasing includes this. It shows your reader—the examiners—where your essay is going. Effective paraphrasing shows how you understand the key ideas in the question, and what conclusion your essay is trying to reach. So, the main point: paraphrasing depends on planning. It’s not a simple thing; it’s not just taking some words and replacing them with other words—it’s connected to other parts of your essay.

It’s connected to your ideas and opinions. If you don’t know the conclusion of your essay, you can’t write a good introduction. To write a good introduction, you need to know exactly where you’re trying to go. Let’s see how this can work in practice. To paraphrase effectively, you need to take the ideas in the question and add your own interpretation. Here’s the question you saw before: Some questions: The question talks about robots, computers, and machines. What do these words mean in this context? Can you think of specific examples? What exactly does advanced mean? Advanced in what way? The question mentions jobs which used to be done by people. Like what? The question asks: what problems does this cause? Are these problems serious, or not? Why or why not? Pause the video and think about these. If you want to write a good introduction, you need to have clear answers to all of these questions! Now, let’s see how you could effectively paraphrase this question: Advances in technology have led to the automation of many jobs, especially low-level or manual positions.

This has led to many serious problems, including unemployment and increasing rates of poverty and inequality. This is what a good paraphrase looks like. Here’s a question: which way do you think this essay is going? Do you think the writer will be positive, negative or neutral about the effects of automation? It sounds negative. You can guess that the essay will conclude that automation causes serious problems which are not easy to solve. Someone who reads the first sentence of your introduction should be able to do the same thing; they should be able to guess where your essay is going. Remember: this starts in your head. Everything needs to be clear in your head before you write anything. Another point to notice: our paraphrase doesn’t have the same sentence structure as the task. The paraphrase is two sentences, while the task is just one. The task asks a question: “What problems does this cause?” Our paraphrase replaces this with a statement: “This has led to many serious problems.” Also, our paraphrase replaces general ideas in the question with more specific ideas. The question mentions “many jobs,” but our paraphrase talks about “low-level or manual positions.” The question mentions “problems,” but our paraphrase talks about “serious problems, including unemployment and inequality.” To review, to write an effective paraphrase, you need to do three things: One: have a clear plan in your head, with a clear conclusion, which should be obvious to your reader from the first sentence of your essay.

Two: don’t try to stick too closely to the sentence structure in the question. Paraphrasing is about ideas, not just words. Three: interpret and develop the ideas in the task, so that you replace general ideas in the task with your own more specific ones. Now, you should understand more about how to paraphrase in your IELTS essay. Good luck if you have an IELTS exam coming up soon! You can find more free English lessons, including IELTS preparation lessons, on our website: Oxford Online English dot com. Thanks for watching! See you next time! .

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9 Band 9 Verbs for IELTS Writing Task – (2018)

9 band 9 verbs for IELTS writing task hi my name is Ben Worthington in this tutorial we are going to look at 9 band 9 verbs you can use in your IELTS writing task today this tutorial is divided into 3 parts first, we look at the verbs then I will explain why they are band 9 this is quite interesting this useful to help you advance with your IELTS writing thirdly, we look at examples of these verbs in IELTS sentences in IELTS essays and this is really valuable because unless you get the context of the verbs then you could be making a very serious mistake which is forcing the verb which I’ll go into in more detail in a minute of 9 band 9 verbs we have hinder, weaken, translate, intensify, debate conceive, break, delegate, and lobby now some of these verbs have different meanings for example I can say break as in I broke my arm yesterday and that’s probably around A2 or band 4 or 5 level now if I were to say that the media broke the story yesterday then in that context with that usage then it’s a C2 interestingly with these 9 verbs the first four of them are extremely valuable for 3 types of IELTS task 2 questions the 3 types of questions are discuss both views give your opinion and advantages and disadvantages and the reason why these verbs are useful are because they lend themselves very naturally to these types of situations so hinder is to limit the abilities so if we’re discussing the disadvantages we can say that new government regulations for road safety drastically hinder the effectiveness of logistics transport companies for example can you see or new government regulations drastically weakened the effectiveness of logistics companies so just random examples there but they lend themselves very useful for these types of essays the other one, translate, is very useful because it’s quite versatile we can say government resistance for new regulations translates into a lack of enthusiasm and ultimately a lack of protection for the environment so translate is very versatile we can use it in lots of different essays now the other ones have to be used with more caution except conceive conceive, we could definitely use when we’re saying discussing both views when it’s give your opinion because conceive is imagine and I’ll give you examples about how we can use these verbs in IELTS sentences in a second how do I know that these are band 9 and this is really interesting because there’s no other IELTS tutor that I know of who is doing this and it is quite easy I think as you probably know IELTS is owned by 3 organizations it’s owned by the IDP, British Council, and Cambridge English language assessment those 3 organizations Cambridge English language assessments are the experts who decide about the language criteria they deal with all the language aspects of the test not all but pretty much most of it and these IELTS band scores correspond to the common European framework for reference which is basically the European Union’s version of the band scores except they don’t go from band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 they go from A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 now as you can see from the chart a C2 correlates directly to a band 9 I mean not directly but there is a correlation there now if we click on the verbs that I told you before and if we click using the Cambridge English language dictionary remember this is the organization responsible for the criteria of the exams or partly responsible for the criteria we find that the verbs that I give you the verbs that I gave you correspond to certain levels here we go let’s click on hinder I’ve got it linked into the Cambridge dictionary we go there and what would you see look C2 C2 level and as I said before it’s to limit the ability of somebody to do something you can see that C2 look at that C2 to intensify to become greater more serious more extreme and this is the case with all of them I think most of them are C2 now don’t be confused here it says B1 but the meaning that I was giving you okay is C2 to change something into a new form okay so all of these are C2 or at the very very worst C1 okay so conceive pretty certain like as a verb C2 debate now debate as a noun is B2 debate as a verb discuss in a formal way C2 you see hinder okay hinder limit the ability of something abandoning dated school buses would most likely hinder any efforts to improve road safety around schools the main reason is that if each parent brings their own child the traffic around schools would be horrendous so we can see here it’s used correctly and it sounds very natural and likewise disregarding a detailed list of activities for a free day would most likely hinder any efforts to obtain the full potential of the said free day now in both cases it sounds natural we could use these in the body paragraph we could easily use them in the middle or the beginning because it would be a strong start to the body paragraph but nevertheless, they’re still useful and they’re still valid it depends on your writing style I think it would be good actually to use these at the beginning of the body paragraph in a second in a minute I’ll give you an example of a bad example I’ll give you an example of a bad sentence to use at the beginning of your body paragraph let’s have a look at the next one weaken cause something to be less strong hopefully you’d have spotted the similarity between this sentence and this one okay so in this case they are interchangeable but in this one it’s not interchangeable at all and it’s as I’ve noted here it’s grammatically perfect but it sounds forced okay so this one same as before abandoning dated school buses would most likely weaken any efforts to improve road safety around schools the main reason is that if each parent brings their own child the traffic around schools would be horrendous so exactly the same as before here disregarding a detailed list of activities for free day would most likely weaken any efforts to obtain the full potential of the said free day weaken any efforts why does it sound unnatural because there is not a strong force or movement or group of people or any effort for that matter of people like actively promoting that do not make plans for free days okay so this is why it sounds forced okay and the way you start to spot verbs or words that are forced into sentences is by improving your language skills so it almost becomes natural that something sounds off or that it sounds unnatural and this is a long process to get to that ability however if you’re writing for IELTS if you can find more lists and more examples then it’s going to speed up your learning curve or it’s going to speed up your advancement or your learning regarding academic writing it’s going to speed it up considerably let’s have a look at translate abandoning dated school buses would most likely translate into congested and dangerous roads around the school furthermore the air quality could only worsen translate yeah it’s quite straightforward this is very useful to have this verb the reason is it’s because it’s quite versatile i.e.

You could use it in a lot of different essays the other ones but these ones you could probably use in the discuss both views and your opinion and advantages and disadvantages quite easily whereas this one you could use in most essays okay because it’s basically saying this means this which is an essential part of your paragraph because it’s you developing your argument and your position now second example disregarding a detailed list of activities for a free day would most likely translate into a sloppily organized day replete of spontaneous distractions and unforeseen costs this is writing rather aggressively okay because there’s no doubt in the reader’s mind after reading this about my position on this issue and the issue basically was you know should you plan your day or should you leave it to be spontaneous without planning and replete by the way is a very good word it means full of spontaneous distractions okay a day full of spontaneous distractions and unforeseen costs let’s move on intensify this is my favorite so abandoning dated school buses would most likely intensify any road safety or pollution issues the school district might already be facing so here it just makes it to become stronger it intensifies these issues okay now once again I can’t use intensify because there’s no real sort of like issue around unplanning or not planning a day okay so once again this is why the list is very useful if you want to start using these and also examples and as I said before on the online course there are lots of lists and examples to help speed up the learning process to help you to get you writing better you’re going to improve your writing faster let’s go debate to discuss in a formal way those who debate in favor of abandoning school transport may have forgotten important issues such as air quality, road safety, and dual income families and you see so in this way I’ve used it more as argue in favor of okay and once let’s see this one again not really suitable because there’s no real debate here yes there is no — you cannot imagine two groups of people arguing whereas in this case you could easily imagine a group of parents arguing with another group of parents saying bring back school buses no each to their own everyone’s got their own way of transporting of transport so this is why debate well this is why some verbs are more suitable or more useful than other ones here well as you saw before we could definitely use hinder, translate we can but we could definitely use some of the others for the free activities essays now final one conceive here this is just let me share a useful spelling rule and that’s ‘I before E except after C’ you probably know that already anyway it is difficult to conceive any benefits of abandoning school transport okay I won’t go into it anymore into more detail but here what I wanted to say is that two things this is a useful word because we’re talking about opinions we’re talking about the advantages and disadvantages or we’re talking about discussing both views so here it’s quite versatile we can conceive of the views of that question we can conceive both views can you see how it’s much more versatile than some of the other ones so conceive is definitely useful and as we saw before this is C2 level which equates to band 9 second point if we were starting the body paragraph like this it is it would be terrible — well not terrible but it’s just not good form and the reason why is because it creates reader strain I’m going a bit off-topic now but it’s useful it creates reader strain because I have to wait until the middle of the sentence until I find out what this object pronoun refers to this is why I put those dots and this is why this sentence we couldn’t use it as the topic sentence to introduce the body paragraph or to start the body paragraph we would use the ‘it ‘in the middle of the or would use ‘it’ later on in the body paragraph when it’s clear what the ‘it’ refers to and it would be useful to use ‘it’ because it would improve our cohesion and coherence score because we don’t have to keep repeating the issue that we’re talking about we can just refer to it as ‘it’ so this is why if we do start a sentence with an object pronoun it’s better when it’s crystal clear what that object pronoun is referring to next one here it is difficult to conceive any benefits to planning a valuable free day perhaps a more optimized schedule but the stress of okay so here it’s quite versatile again so this is why it’s quite useful there we go 9 band 9 verbs for your IELTS writing task now my recommendation is that you start using these words in your IELTS essay use them today get familiar with these words write out some example sentences and get some feedback if you do want some feedback have a look at ieltspodcast.com we’ve got an essay correction service there it’s 24 hours so you can improve fast and personally I think the best way to improve is by getting feedback and getting guidance now there are 3 things I want you to do before you stop watching this video number 1 in the comments section can you write out a sentence with one of the verbs and I’ll try and give you feedback on that sentence I’ll try and help you out number 2 and this is very, very serious if you liked the video please give me a thumbs up without these likes I do not sleep at night number 3 if you want some free IELTS materials go to ieltspodcast.com you just sign up and as I said before while you’re there you might as well check out the online course and the essay correction service thank you for watching and have a great day and good luck with your IELTS preparation

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