Write Perfect IELTS Academic Task 1 Introductions: How to Paraphrase

write a perfect introduction

Each report should have an introduction. Each introduction has only one role– presenting the information in the task in one or two sentences. If you have several charts or a chart and a table, you may have two sentences, but not more.

The easiest way to write an introduction is to paraphrase the task sentence.

In this lesson, I will teach you how to paraphrase the task in your introduction. This lesson is actually a free preview of my IELTS Academic Pack, which can help you prepare for your IELTS exam in less time and achieve a higher score.

Let’s start with charts.

The chart below shows the levels of employment in different sectors of the UK economy from 1910 to 2010…

My introduction is:

The bar chart illustrates how many people were employed in four major industry sectors in the UK between 1910 and 2010.


If you compare it to the task, my introduction has the same meaning as the first sentence in the task. Let me show you how you can paraphrase each part of your task sentence.

Paraphrasing the subject

Your task may begin with “the chart or charts below show”. In this case, you can add the type of chart:

  • The line chart/graph
  • The bar chart/graph
  • The pie charts

If you have several, beginning your report by saying “the pie chart and line graph” is bulky and unnecessary.

  • The pie chart and line graph

Just say, the graphs or the charts, it’s okay to repeat this word. You can also begin with “the data”.

  • The graph(s)
  • The data

What if you have a diagram? You can use the word diagram. There is no synonym.

  • The diagram

In your report, you must use precise language. Don’t worry about repeating keywords.

Therefore, if you have maps, say “maps” and if you have a table, say “a table or the data”.


Paraphrasing the verb

Next, “the chart/diagram/map shows”. Here are some other alternatives:

  • The diagram illustrates.
  • The chart displays…
  • The data provide information on… (the data is plural)
  • The table gives information about…

To show, to illustrate and to display are more universal and can be used in almost any type of task. The phrases to provide information and to give information work well in some sentences but not in others.

Read your sentences carefully to see which verb works better.


Paraphrasing the object

Now, how can you paraphrase the main part of the task sentence?

The chart shows the top ten countries for oil production and consumption in 2010 and 2015.

How can we rephrase the part in bold? How about this:

I looked for a synonym for each word:

Top = Leading. Ten = Dozen (since 10 is close to a dozen). Countries = Nations.

  • The bar graph illustrates the leading dozen of nations…

Do not do this. You won’t be able to find synonyms with the same meaning for each word. It’s very important to keep your language precise.

Instead, you could look at the main words and see how you could change the form of these words: Production = To produce. Consumption = To consume.

  • The bar graph provides information on the countries that produced and consumed the most oil…

You can also use some question words to change your sentence structure. These are which, what, how much, how, etc. Here are some examples:

  • The bar graph illustrates which countries produced and consumed the most oil in two time periods (2010 and 2015).
  • The bar graph shows how much oil was produced and consumed by the leading countries in two time periods. (passive)

Another way to paraphrase is to add the words changes, amount or level, if they make sense in your sentence:

  • The bar chart displays the amount of oil produced and consumed by the leading countries in the years 2010 and 2015.
  • The bar graph shows the changes in production and consumption of oil by ten leading countries between 2010 and 2015.


Paraphrasing the time period

Lastly, the time period.  Our task ends with “in 2010 and 2015”.

You can say:

  • in the years 2010 and 2015
  • in two time periods (2010 and 2015)
  • in two time periods

Sometimes, you’re given an interval: between 1970 and 2020. In this case, you could say:

  • from 1970 to 2020
  • over/during a fifty-year period

To summarise, the aim of your introduction is to present the information in the task. And the easiest way to do that is to paraphrase the first task sentence.

Don’t try to be original and don’t worry about repeating keywords. As long as you don’t copy long phrases from the task, you’re good.

When writing your introduction think:

Can you change the form of words?

  • Production --> To produce       
  • Consumption --> To consume

Can you add question words?

  • Which
  • What
  • How much
  • How

Can you use the following words?

  • For charts and tables: changes, amount, level
  • For maps: changes
  • For diagrams: a process, stages or how something is made/grown

It’s important to write your introduction quickly, to have more time for the all-important overview and at least two body paragraphs.

That’s what you can learn in my courses. You can also learn how to meet each requirement, plan your report, link your ideas, and we’ll even brush up on verb tenses and the passive voice. You’ll also learn how to write each type of task.

Our today’s blog is the preview of the Task 1 course. In the IELTS Academic Pack, you’ll also get vocabulary for Task 1, courses for Writing Task 2 and Speaking.