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Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog

Introductions to Essays - varying vocabulary

Many city centres these days have traffic flow problems, causing congestion and pollution.
One solution is to build fast ring roads on the outskirts of a city, taking traffic away from the
centre. While this is helpful in some ways, it also causes new problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments
with examples and relevant evidence.

Read the question - identify key words

These are the “content” words which relate to the topic of the question. Normally they will
be nouns, verbs and adjectives, but they can also include quantifiers like “many”

city centres
traffic flow
ring roads

Rephrasing the question

One function of the introduction is to identify the question. It is important not to repeat the
same wording so you need to rephrase the question. There are a variety of techniques
available here:

• synonyms
• words in the same family
• related words
Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog

Look for synonyms

The most obvious way to avoid repeating the wording of the question is to find synonyms.
Note, however, that synonyms may mean the same thing and that they may be a phrase
and not just one word

many: several, a number of

city centres: urban areas (not an exact synonym)
congestion: traffic jams
build: construct
outskirts: outlying areas, the suburbs (not an exact synonym)
traffic: cars
causes: leads to, results in
problems: difficulties, issues

Words in the same family

Sometimes there are no very good synonyms. Here you can vary the language by
changing the form of the word from verb to noun for example.

city centres: the central parts of the city

traffic flow: the traffic flows (v)
pollution: pollute
solution: solve

Related words

Sometimes it helps to brainstorm words that are related to words in the question to help
you rephrase its meaning

pollution→exhaust fumes→air pollution→noise pollution

Specialist words

It is important to note that there are frequently some words in the question that are so
specialised that there may be no other natural way to express the idea. In this case it is
generally best not to try and change those words.

ring roads
Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog

A possible introduction

One very common issue in the modern world is the increasing amount of traffic in urban
areas and city centres in particular. This has led to demands for ring roads to be
constructed to reduce both traffic jams and air pollution. This essay examines whether this
would solve the problem or create more difficulties.

Note the combination of:

• synonyms
• words from the same family
• related words
• unchanged specialist words

Note also the structure of this introduction:

• general statement
• explanation of the issue expanding on the general statement
• identification of the writerʼs purpose