Synonyms In The Writing Section

Here's why synonyms are absolutely essential in the writing section...

Hi there!

I hope your IELTS preparation is going well! Whatever stage you’re at in your IELTS preparation journey, keep up the good work – it will really pay off!

Here we are going to cover the use of synonyms in the writing section.

What is a synonym?

A synonym is a word with the same meaning as another word.

There’s some examples further down this page.

Why are synonyms important in the IELTS?

Synonyms are particularly important in the writing section.

They show the examiner that you have the ability to paraphrase (very important in the Writing Task 2 Essay Framework).

They also show that you use a wide range of vocabulary.

Being able to use or identify alternative words with the same meaning is a VITAL skill to ensure a higher band score.

Remember, your score in the IELTS is dependent on 4 criteria (band descriptors).

Click below to remind yourself what these are.

One of the band descriptors is ‘Lexical resource‘.

This simply means your VOCABULARY.

(And it’s worth 25% of you overall writing band score).

Synonyms are a way of showing the examiner you have a good range of vocabulary.

That’s a BIG TICK for Lexical resource!

Think of the band descriptors as a recipe for pizza dough…

You need flour, water, yeast and sugar to make a basic dough.

If you fail to include just ONE of these ingredients, your dough will be rubbish.

Similarly, if you fail to perform well in any of the band descriptor categories, you will fail to get a good IELTS score.

How can I use synonyms in the writing section?

By the time you sit the exam, you should be an expert in writing your answers in a structured way.

(We’re experts in teaching students the best way to structure their IELTS answers – and we can pass this information on to you).

Synonyms are one of the building blocks to achieving band 7+ in the writing section.

For example, the introduction of your essay should paraphrase the question (but without repeating the same words).  That means you need to identify the key words in the question and then choose the correct synonyms when paraphrasing.

It is important not to use the same words too many times throughout your essay so you should use synonyms to show the examiner that you have a broad vocabulary.

How can I improve my understanding of synonyms right now?

There are various ways you can help yourself, such as using websites such as https://www.thesaurus.com, which can be used to give you a list of synonyms. (You must be careful though, not all synonyms will work in a sentence).

If you’re after basic, free guidance you can take advantage of our free resources, (such as our FREE Writing Ebook).

However, if you want to take the risk out of failing, we cover EVERYTHING in our premium study guides (see below). 


Synonym Examples

Here are some examples. Can you think of any others?

‘The temperature is due to (fall/drop/plummet) in the next few days.’

‘The pizza delivery boy was very (fast/quick/speedy) tonight.’

‘Passing the IELTS is (important/crucial/vital) to my dreams of moving abroad.’

‘This graph (shows/demonstrates/indicates) the population growth in Canada over the last 10 years.’

‘I have just got back from the cinema. The film was (funny/hilarious/hysterical).’

‘The weather forecast today was (true/accurate/correct). It was very sunny, just as they predicted.’

Understanding the EXACT synonyms is one of the most important ways to excel in the Task 2 Essay.

Look at the Task 2 checklist below which shows the things you should understand before taking the IELTS.

How many can you tick off?


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