How to write a good essay: Paraphrasing the question


How to write a good essay: Paraphrasing the question

Hi, there. My name is Emma, and in today’s
video I’m going to teach you something very important for if you’re taking any type of
test that has a writing component. So, if you are taking the IELTS, the TOEFL, the CELPIP,
even just a university test, it can be any type of test, but if you’re asked to write
something like an essay or a paragraph, this video is for you. Okay? So I’m going to teach
you a very important skill that will help improve your marks when it comes to
writing on tests. So, let’s get started. So, I have here an essay question. This question
is actually… I’ve seen it on the IELTS. You know, you have similar types of questions
on the TOEFL, sometimes in university. The question is this: “Education is the single
most important factor in the development of a country. Do you agree or disagree?” Or maybe:
“To what extent do you agree or disagree?” So, this is an example of a
question you might be asked. Now, a problem a lot of students have is in
their answer to this question. They see this, and they think: “Okay, education is the most
important factor in the development of a country, yes, I agree.” So then they… Or: “I disagree”,
and they start writing. And what do they write? Usually the very first thing
students will write is this: “I agree that education is the single most important factor in
the development of a country because…” So, what is the problem with this? Is there any problem to start off
your essay with something like this, or to start off your answer? There’s a big problem.
So I want you to take a moment and think: “What could be the problem with starting
your essay off with this sentence?” Okay, well, if you noticed, you have here the word:
“education, education, is, is, the single most important, most important factor”. If you notice, these
are the same. They’re the exact same, except for: “I agree that” and “because”. The student,
here, has used the exact same wording that is in the question. So, if you do this on
the IELTS-and many students do this, same with on the TOEFL-you actually will lose marks,
and same with in university, because you’re not showing your abilities; you’re just copying
what somebody else has said or what the essay question is. So, in this video, I’m going to show you first
off… First off, I’m going to tell you: Don’t do this, don’t copy. And I’m going to teach
you ways in order to improve yourself and your answer by changing this wording. How can
you change your introduction so it’s different than what the question is? Okay? So,
let’s look at how to make these changes. Okay, so what we are going to do in order
to change the question into a proper answer that doesn’t just copy the question, is we
are going to paraphrase. So, the word here is: “paraphrase”. This might be a new word for
you. What does it mean to paraphrase something? Well, when we paraphrase, it means we take a
sentence that, you know… We take somebody else’s sentence and we change it into our
own words. Okay? So, we change the words of a sentence, we also change maybe the sentence
structure, but we keep all the same meaning. Okay? So, the meaning from the sentence you
copy, it stays the same, same meaning, but different words and different sentence structure.
Okay? So it’s in your words, but this other person’s meaning. So, we are going to paraphrase this example
of a question into our own words. So, first we’re going to look at how to do that using
vocabulary and synonyms. So, we have here the same question: “Education is the single
most important factor in the development of a country.” How can we put this into new words
or our own words that keep the same meaning? Well, we can use synonyms. So, this might be a
new word for you, too. A “synonym”. “Synonyms” are words that have the same meaning, but
are different words. So, for example: “big” and “large”, they have the same meaning, just
like: “huge”, “enormous”, these are synonyms of each other; same meaning, but they’re different
words. So, you need to use different synonyms so you don’t just copy these words. You use
synonyms to have words that have the same meaning, but are
different words. So, let’s look at an example. Our
first word, here, is: “education”. What’s another word we can use instead of…? Instead of
“education”? Well, there’s different words we can use. Maybe one could be: “schooling”. Okay? So,
we could change this word to “schooling”. “Schooling is the single most important factor
in the development of a country.” What’s another word we can change? Well, maybe “most important”.
Instead of using the word “most important”, maybe we could use: “most significant” or “most
essential”. Okay? So: “essential”, “significant”. There are many words you can use. But the
point here is: Find a word that has the same meaning, but is a
different word. Okay, here’s another word: “factor”. Can you
think of another word for “factor”? Well, sometimes “factor”, it can be an “aspect” or an
“element”. Okay? You can even say sometimes: “a significant role”. Okay? Or: “a part”.
So, there’s different words we can use that have similar meanings. In terms of the word
“development”, we can change the word “development” to “advancement”, “progression”, “evolution”.
Okay? And in terms of the word “country”, another word for “country”
is “nation”. Okay? So, these are all synonyms, and this is what
you want to do. When you look at the question, think about some new words you can use that
have the same meaning. This is also important throughout your essay, because one problem
a lot of students have is they keep using the same word again, and again, and again
in every sentence. This does not help you with your marks. It’s better to use different
words that have the same meaning. At the same time, you have to be careful, here, because
some students, they find a new word, they think it’s a great word, but there is a little
bit of a difference in meaning. So, you need to be really comfortable with the word you
choose, and you need to know what it actually means so it doesn’t
sound strange. Okay, so if we wanted to change
this now, instead of saying: “Education is the single most important
factor in the development of a country”, our paraphrase… Our first step in our paraphrase could be
changing these words to: “Schooling is the single most significant
element in the advancement of a nation.” Okay? So that’s just one example.
So, now, let’s look at another thing you can do in order to
paraphrase the question on a test or exam. Okay, another way we can paraphrase is by
changing the structure of the sentence. So, for example, you might have a verb and, you
know, which is an action, and you might change that into its noun form. So, for example, if
your verb is “developing”, you might change that into “development”. You might change,
similarly, a noun into a verb. Okay? So, for example, we just said “development” is the noun,
it can turn into: “develop” or “developing”. You can also change things into adjectives.
So, if, for example, you’re talking about “technology”, which is a noun, you can change this
into the adjective form which is “technological”. So, changing the form of the word
can help you with paraphrasing. Also changing placement of the words can help
you out. So, for example, in our original sentence or the question was: “Education is the single most important
factor in the development of a country.” So, I’ve now changed some of the
wording, as well as the order. Okay? So, here: “Education” is at the beginning.
In my sentence: “The most essential element of a
nation’s development is education.” I’ve changed the order
of the sentence, so now “education” is at the end, instead of at
the beginning. I’ve also started out with: “The most essential”, as my beginning; whereas
here, it was in the middle. You’ll also notice we have, here: “in the development of a country”,
I’ve changed this to: “nation’s development”. I could also change this to: “country’s development”,
instead of “the development of a country”. So, changing the order of the sentence and
changing some of the structures can really help you in terms of paraphrasing. Now let’s
learn one other way in which we can improve our marks by paraphrasing. Okay, so the last tip I have about paraphrasing
a question is using concessions. So, what is a concession? Well, I want you to look
at what the question actually says and my new answer to it. The question,
again, same question as before: “Education is the single most important
factor in the development of a country.” My answer… Okay, so I’ve changed some words and I’ve also changed
the structure a bit, but there’s one other thing I’ve added. “Although many would argue that the economy is
the most important factor in nation-building, I think education has a far greater impact.” So,
what I’ve done here is I’ve added a concession. A concession is where you say what the opposite
opinion is, and then you say what your opinion is. So, you’re giving two opinions; you’re
giving your opinion and also what other people might think. This is a great thing to do,
especially in essays, and this is something you can do at the
beginning of your answer. So, we use here the key word: “Although”.
Okay? And you’ll notice that this has two clauses. I don’t want to get too technical
with grammar on you today, but what I mean is: If you see, we have the red part: “Although
many would argue that the economy is the most important factor in nation-building,” and
then we have a second part. So, we have two parts to this sentence. “…I think education
has a far greater impact.” So, the first part of the sentence is in red and it’s the “Although”
part, and the second part of the sentence is in purple-okay?-and that’s: “I think
education has a far greater impact.” And they’re separated by a comma. So, a concession has
two parts to it. You say what the other people think first, in this case: “Although many”, “many”
meaning people, we could also say: “many people”. “Although many would argue that the economy is
the most important factor in nation-building,” okay? So, this is what some people would
say. Now I’m going to say what I think. “I think education has
a far greater impact.” So, why is this a good idea? Well, one reason
is because when you write a concession, when you’re showing what the opposite opinion of
yours is, you’re showing that you’ve thought about the issue. Okay? You’re looking at both
sides. You’re not just looking at your opinion. You’re looking at both sides, and then you’re
making a judgment. So this shows that you’re thinking about the question, and you’re really
giving it some thought. And by representing both sides, you’re really showing critical
thinking. So this is a very good idea to do. Okay, so the three things we’ve talked about
today in terms of paraphrasing the question is: Changing the words using synonyms, we’ve
talked about changing the sentence structure, and we’ve also talked about adding the other
perspective using concessions. Okay? So, these are three things you can do in order to change
the question so you’re not just copying what is on your test paper. Again, great thing to
do if you’re writing a high school essay, university essay, TOEFL, IELTS, CELPIP, all
of these things – this skill will really come in handy for you. Now, you might be wondering: “Okay, this is
great, but I don’t know any synonyms. Or I… You know, I don’t know much about this.” Well,
what you can do is you can come check out our website at There, you can
find a lot of other resources, including improving your vocabulary, we even have a
video on how to make concessions, you know, we have videos on sentence structure, too.
So, there’s a lot of videos you can check out and a lot of resources. You can also come
visit our website where you will find a quiz, and by taking that quiz, you can actually
practice your paraphrasing skills so you can see, you know: “Am I doing this right? Is
this…? You know, is this the right way to do this?” and get more practice. So, I hope you’ve
enjoyed this video. And until next time, take care.

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70 thoughts on “How to write a good essay: Paraphrasing the question”

  1. Paco says:

    Why not just to be pragmatic and get rid of the question part either copy-paste, paraphrasing or whatever? Something like I agree/disagree with such statement because/due… your exposition of reasons.

  2. Jose Hernandez says:

    Wassup Essay?!

  3. Jose Hernandez says:

    I wrote to ma home boy essays, in prison!

  4. Mohammed Amir says:

    Ms eama nice explaining thank you so much

  5. PG Tryhard says:

    How to bs more page length in a essay lol thank you!!!

  6. sanjeev LL.B. says:

    Very nice lecture mam, (India)

  7. Rahul Tacho says:

    Watch in ×1.25 you'll save time

  8. hina tariq says:

    Thank you Ma'am 😊 very informative 👍

  9. Karma choying says:

    You are the my best teacher

  10. Mirolan says:

    Can I start with

    Education plays a vital role in the evolution of the nation.

  11. Ahmad Milad Zameeri says:

    Please make a video for clauses with all its classification

  12. TimothyWhite360 says:

    I need full time tutoring. Will you marry me?

  13. bugs bunnu says:


  14. Anna Q says:

    Im polish and im struggling with polish sentence structure while writing an english essay…fuck my life

  15. ASH says:

    you can explain this video in 5 min instead of 14 min, just repetition

  16. Tiger ninja BloxPC says:

    This really helps a lot thanks

  17. Natasha Dietrich says:

    The best teacher

  18. Taher elsayed says:

    Thanks Emma

  19. Puneeth Hg says:

    my exam is just starts in two hours
    thanks sister🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳

  20. major naja says:

    Thx bautiful sister i will exam tomoroww

  21. Donghun Lee says:

    She is beautiful lady

  22. Sushmita Subedi says:

    thank you, your video helps me improving my english

  23. Mutaz Abed says:

    I have an exam after 5 days
    I am scared 😂

  24. Climax !!! says:


  25. Shivank Mishra says:

    Thankuu mam i understand a lot

  26. Khushbu Tiwari says:

    Thnx mai if u have some other different words related to the economic words and economic is very difficult subject and their word are very hard sometimes I can't understand meaning of that words

  27. Saurendra Rai says:


  28. Student English says:

    How can l thank you 🌸

  29. Tony Chavez says:

    Looks like I'm totally fucked in my Hope's of becoming a nurse. I never learned how to write essays at my shitty continuation high school. Good thing I found out now how I'll be unable to write a essay before spending the money.

  30. Akhtar Ali says:


  31. BROWN BROWN says:

    2018.? Hell no. 2019. I NEED HELP. I only have 3 weeks left and only have my agl and thesis statement. Damn it.

  32. Veer Negi says:

    So helpful

  33. Jayed's Diary says:

    Emma is more beautiful than what she teaches! I just see her expressions 😉

  34. Jomar Gabito says:

    Thank you, Emma, for this very helpful video that you made. It helps me a lot for preparing my IELTS exam.

  35. Anu kukreja says:

    Book learning is one of the most essential part in the advancement of the nation.

  36. La Lo says:

    Start ur easy with a striking line: statement, quote or a question .( catch/inspire your examiner with the fisrt glance)
    Emma jus doing "bla bla bla…"

  37. Waqar Sheikh says:

    such a luscious lecture.. love it

  38. raghad Ali says:

    U R amazing Emma👍

  39. Rabah Bousmid says:

    I'm new subscriber in your channel so I wanna thank you for the simplified explication of lesson , I find it so useful and efficient especially for those who do not acquire the writing's techniques .

  40. Trisha Dacanay says:

    thank u

  41. Trisha Dacanay says:

    the most significant to progress on our nation is the education in this case i am agree.

    -sorry im trying

  42. Nunyoung Park says:

    Thank you 😻

  43. jagannath das says:

    Main apka bhut bada fan hu….you are to good teacher and guru

  44. Fofo Fofo says:

    Thank you 😊

  45. HANAD BASHIR says:

    good lesson thank you from somalia

  46. fuad moha says:

    How can I improve of writting

  47. njol nir says:

    I don't even have a test any time soon

  48. Fa Zia says:

    Good explanation and helpful tips.
    Thanks a bunch.

  49. Muhammad Elshoura says:

    This video is fascinating and of course, will help me to write an essay.

  50. America Latina says:

    It's a soup…..

  51. Nashrah Syed says:

    my vocab n grammar is good but I'm always short of content n ideas 😬

  52. bhagavan gurjar says:

    Thks mem

  53. Mahendra Bhaskar says:

    Hindi me bh

  54. victor beltran says:

    My dear Emma you're a great teacher, I love you very much. God bless you forever

  55. Jamie Lee says:

    I like your voice. So soothing!

  56. manson Liu says:

    love your lessons, very helpful.

  57. 11 boy marshall marshal says:

    Gr8 lesson.

  58. İsmail sinbarigov says:

    What if I write like that: Schooling is the significant aspect for advancement of an nation?

  59. ajay chandel says:

    now I have a crush on Emma….. although my English still sucks

  60. itisa gadisa says:

    You're exactly my teacher.God bless you.

  61. Prabina Laishram says:

    I love u mem. It really helpful.

  62. Sonam Khatri says:

    Thats really helpful.. Tqs emma

  63. GameZ music says:

    Am I the only one who doesn't know what synonyms means??

  64. Isobel forsyth says:


  65. Kwan Yen says:

    I thought you said to never use "I think" in academic writing, Emma.

  66. Simtan Sigufah says:

    Ma'am can I paraphrase like this way…..A nation can be developed by the Education which plays vital role.

  67. Nickoy Wright says:

    This really help much on doing essay at skl

  68. Genesia Beharry says:

    Thank you. Was very helpful !

  69. Karan Chani says:

    Although there are plethora of videos, I prefer your videos

  70. Baraa Ahmed says:

    Bruh I learned how to paraphrase in 6th grade thanks for ur advice but my old English teacher had taught me this back in grade six

  71. Ema Ema says:

    99% of American r english teacher

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