Answers to IELTS Writing Task 1 Synonyms Exercise

Hi guys,

Here are the answers to yesterday’s exercise about using synonyms in IELTS writing task 1. I think it was a good exercise because I see many students have different answers and are unclear about collocations. Mistakes in vocabulary will lower your score.

Let me know if the lesson was useful 🙂


Are the verbs correct in the sentences below? Are they Right or Wrong?

  1. More boys than girls enjoyed sport.
  2. Fewer girls participated in tennis than boys.
  3. Almost twice the number of boys played cycling.
  4. More girls took part in swimming compared to boys.
  5. The majority of boys engaged in football.
  6. More girls competed in badminton than boys.


  1. W = Wrong. The chart is about playing sport but about enjoying it. The chart does not give information about how boys or girls felt. This would be marked as a mistake.
  2. R = Right. The verb “participate in” works well as a synonyms for “play” when referring to sport.
  3. W = Wrong. The verb “play” is not possible with the noun “cycling”. This is a mistake with vocabulary – an incorrect collocation. When writing or talking about cycling, we can use the verb “do”.
  4. R = Right. The verb “take part in” works well as a paraphrase for “play” in this context.
  5. W = Wrong. The verb “engage” is incorrect when writing about sport.
  6. W = Wrong. The verb “compete” is about competitions. This chart is about playing sports, not competing in sports. This would be marked as a vocabulary mistake.


You can see that paraphrasing is about deciding if nouns and verbs match. It is about understanding the context. It is about choosing correctly.  Some words will be repeated – this is normal in English.

Paraphrasing Video

Watch this video to learn more about being careful with paraphrases.

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  1. Hi liz,

    Thanks for sharing great knowledge to get good ielts band. I am preparing for IELTS general but i wasn’t able to find witing task 1 for general on your youtube channel or on website as its includes 3 forms of letters. I could only see Academic writing task 1.
    Where can i find this information.

  2. Mam, can I have a doubt, please?
    Is it a good trend to find 2 overall from a graph and put one after the introduction and the other one in the end as by making my examiner realize that am concluding my topic?
    Please do notify… I am a bit confused about this…

  3. GIYO GEORGE says

    You lessson’s are so heplfull me to understand the real fact in ielts exam thanks😊


  5. krishneet says

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your material. I follow your lectures and widely available resources.
    However, I am struggling to find General Training Writing Samples.

    It would be great if you could tell link for the same !

    Your help will be much appreciated 🙂

    Thanks in advance !

  6. Big tanks to u liz! ur lectures are outstanding. God bless u!.

  7. Mojisola Nwankpa says

    Thank you

  8. Pierre Teo says

    You got me there Liz. Haha I only got 2 right answers lol

  9. Keep up the good work Liz u are awesome

  10. Thanks mam for this corrections

  11. The bar chart illustrates how children divided by genders played 6 different sport (tennis, badminton , cycling, swimming, football and hockey) in a town England in 2012.

    Overall, it is noticed that the number of boy playing sport exceeded that of girls in the given period with significant diffrence in terms of football

  12. Diana Georgieva says

    Thank you very much Liz for your time , your great lessons and help! Thank you for the answers and the clear explanation.

  13. This is is a writing task 2 question

    Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world.
    To what extent do you agree or disagree wth this opinion?

    I want to know if this introduction is good or not?
    Yearly, there are numerous people who stop using languages. It hs been suggested that life will go easier if there are fewer languages for communication. In my opinion, people should know about national or international language without forgetting their own native language.
    if you find any mistake, please let me know.

  14. gratefulforLiz says

    Great and beneficial, indeed!
    I was confused to see if the information itself were right forgetting about the collocations! Apologies. You see, this is my problem, many times I engaged in the context to a point that I forget spotting mistakes, which is a real problem as I needed to correct my flaws in the exam, right? What should I do?? HELP!! 🙁

    • This problem is easily fixed. It is all about planning. The entire content of your task 2 essay and your task 1 report should be planned before you write one word. This means you know exact what information will go in each sentence – that’s right – each sentence. When you start writing, you can then focus on grammar and vocab because your content is planned already 🙂

      • gratefulforLiz says

        I’ll try to do this, despite it is really difficult to plan for each sentence, but I’ll try, Wish me luck. Obviously, I’ll need it.
        Massive thanks

  15. Dear Liz, tanks for d correction.

  16. May I ask what word should replace ‘engage’ when referring to sports? Thanks Liz.

    • You can use “play, participate in , take part in” when referring to this particular chart – which means in this context.

  17. You are truly a right solution for IELTS taker. Great job madam. Thanks a lot for your precious efforts.

  18. Hengameh says

    First of all.thanks for your kindness.secondly can use go for cycling?

    • You can write “go cycling” when someone is about to do it or you are mentioning a specific past event – he went cycling, they went cycling. It doesn’t relate to this writing task 1 which is reporting general activities over a period of time.

  19. How useful your lessons are !
    At first, I just think about correction of tenses but collocation also.
    I highly appreciate your time to explain pedagogically each sentence very clear to learner as my own point of view.
    Wordless to express my deep thank to your free stuff such as videos, your tips which are posted so far. I love linguistic at the age of 48, set a small goal to be an English teacher when reaching band 7 to 8 by next year 2018 then I’ll have a chance to come and see you in London in the coming time… I dream that.
    All the best wishes for your kindness !

    Ps: If I raise some unsuitable ideas, please forgive me, Ms.Liz

    • I’m really pleased you are aiming to be an English language teacher and you also love English 🙂 I think passion is one of the most important aspects of teaching language. It helps students become motivated and helps them overcome their insecurities. Good luck!!

  20. Thank you Liz!
    Is it W or R if I Write ( In cycling, boys accounted approximatly for 38 in contrast to girls being 20.)

    • It is informal which is a problem. You should write “In terms of cycling, boys accounted for approximately ….”

  21. Thanks a bunch your clear explaination that how correctly to apply synonyms and paraphrases.

  22. Are you for real…???? This is awesome….so I have a lot to learn about vocabulary…thanks liz

    • I’m so glad this lesson was useful. I’ll try to do more in the future 🙂 I think the main lesson to learn is to be careful. Not to rush into paraphrasing but to be selective. It’s better to repeat a word, than using poor paraphrasing.

  23. Rajdeep Thind says

    Before I gotta 5.5 bands in writing but today I got 6.5 bands in this mock test…. Thnxxxx ma’am

  24. Amadi Hope Azubuike says

    I failed 1 & 6… Thanks for the answers liz

  25. Thanks so much Liz, for clear and useful explanation.

  26. Dear Liz,
    First of all, I’d like to thank you for teaching us all the precious skills we need to succeed in IELTS. The way how you explain turn difficult (or even impossible!) skills into simple and effective strategies to use. I’ve read all your articles, I’ve done -almost- all your exercises and my improvements are definitely evident!
    Secondly, my IELTS exam will be in eight days, could you give me an advice, please?

  27. Bahara sheikibani says

    Thank you liz, it was really helpful. You are working like an angel.

  28. Karshigul says

    Thanks so much.
    Number 5 is really distracting.

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