Is it okay to use words from the question in your essay?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,065 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited September 2016 in Writing

Can I use words from the question in my essay?

Students often tell me that "their teacher said" you cannot use words from the question in your essay introduction.

My answer to this kind of statement is, "yes you can use words from the question".  In fact, in some cases, it's the only option available to you.  Here are two reasons why:

1. Some words cannot be paraphrased
.  For example, how would you paraphrase Germany or language or supermarket? These words are difficult to find synonyms for.  In fact, you can end up wasting a lot of time on test day trying to come up with synonyms.  This is a misuse of valuable test time.

2. Another reason why you should repeat key words is it helps to build continuity within your essay.  In other words, if you return to the key issues in your essay, you will help the reader to be oriented to the main idea(s) you are trying to convey. Consider this example:  

  • The first reason why we should use key words from the question is....  Another reason why we should use key words from the question is....  A final reason why using key words from the question is important is...

Notice how each sentence uses the same phrase (use key words from the question)?  This pattern of writing helps maintain a flow of ideas and reminds your reader (and you  :)!) of your topic.

In summary, don't be afraid to use some of the key words in your essay question in your written answer.  Trying to paraphrase with too many synonyms can end up making your answer seem unnatural.

Sign In or Register to comment.