One of the skills that you will be tested on in the IELTS test is the ability to identify parallel expressions – that is, two sentences that have the same meaning but are written using a different structure, vocabulary or grammar.
This involves transforming vocabulary into words or phrases which have the same or similar meaning as the original, which can be done in two ways:
By different word families:
|Our cities are becoming increasingly polluted.||Pollution is increasing in our cities.|
Or with different vocabulary:
|Yet the reality is nowhere near as appealing.||The truth, however, is far less attractive.|
Practice with parallel expressions
Read the text below and answer the questions.
There is a dark corporate conspiracy at work in the petroleum industry. On television and in the media we are constantly bombarded with images of green trees, promised a fuel that is ’97% cleaner than ever before’ and told we are heading towards ‘a healthier future’. Yet the reality is nowhere near as appealing. Our cities are becoming increasingly polluted as the number of cars continues to rise and petrol emissions show no sign of easing. Much like car manufacturers who market their products under the image of freedom and independence, we are being sold a fantasy which simply does not hold true.
Answer the following questions using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS FROM THE TEXT
1. Who is responsible for the shadowy scheme of selling dreams, not the truth? Show answerThe petroleum industry. Consider how the language has changed – ‘dark > ‘shadowy’. ‘sold a fantasy’ > ‘selling dreams’, ‘does not hold true’ > ‘not the truth’
2. Who sells their product as a symbol of independence? Show answerCar manufacturers. This is a little easier as the question uses the word family of one of the words in the question (independent). However, ‘symbol’ has changed to ‘image of”.
3. What images are we constantly bombarded with? Show answerGreen trees. This should be the easiest of the three answers as you can match complete phrases in the text.
In the IELTS reading test, there are three ways you can find answers to questions:
|1. matching exact phrases in the text||Question: What images are we constantly bombarded with? Text: we are constantly bombarded with images of …|
|2. scanning for matching words||Question: Who sells their product as a symbol of independence? Text: car manufacturers who market their products under the image of freedom and independence|
|3. looking for parallel expressions||Question: Who is responsible for the shadowy scheme of selling dreams, not the truth? Text: a dark corporate conspiracy at work …we are being sold a fantasy which simply does not hold true|
As with any useful tip or hint, you need to practice by applying these techniques to an authentic IELTS reading test – take a look at our complete practice tests to try out your new skills.