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Published by: api-3697552 on Oct 18, 2008
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Skills Focus: Paraphrasing

• Almost all question will ask you to write your answer using your own words as far as possible. • You have to know how to paraphrase ideas and phrases from the text when answering questions. • While word-for-word substitution is a popular choice, this generally causes awkwardness in their language, and could result in the examiner marking them down for language use.

Paraphrasing Strategy 1
Use Synonyms
• Come up with a word from your own vocabulary that comes as close to the meaning of the keyword(s) in the original sentence as possible. • Check that the paraphrased sentence makes sense and is not different in meaning from the original sentence. • If the meaning does not match, replace the words with another possible choice.

Paraphrasing Strategy 1
Use Synonyms: Example
Original  He remained optimistic in spite of adversity. Altered  He continued to be hopeful notwithstanding misfortune. Original  The businessman sympathised with the homeless. Altered  The entrepreneur pitied the destitute.

Paraphrasing Strategy 2
Use the Negative
• This is useful especially if you know the meaning of the word, but just cannot think of any possible alternative.

Paraphrasing Strategy 2
Use the Negative: Example
Original  It is difficult to set realistic objectives. Altered  It is not easy to set goals that are achievable. Original  Only a few attempts are successful. Altered  Most endeavours end in failure.

Paraphrasing Strategy 3
Change the Order of Ideas or the Sentence Pattern
•Use this strategy if the sentence contains two or more parts.

Paraphrasing Strategy 3
Change the Order of Ideas or the Sentence Pattern
Original  Advanced nations provided aid to rebuild the country destroyed by the typhoon. Altered  The state devastated by the hurricane was helped by the developed states in its reconstruction.

Paraphrasing Strategy 4
Change Active Voice to Passive Voice
•You could also change from the active to the passive voice, or passive to active voice.

Paraphrasing Strategy 4
Change Active Voice to Passive Voice
Original  They are going to complete the project before the deadline Altered  The assignment will be finished ahead of time by them.

Use of Paraphrasing Strategies
• While you can use the paraphrasing we have discussed, take note that very often you are required to combine strategies to paraphrase material accurately and appropriately.

When Paraphrasing...
Ask yourself the following key questions:
• Does the altered sentence mean exactly the same as the original? • Is the meaning clear? • Does the altered sentence read smoothly?

Paraphrasing Exercise
Let’s do Exercise 2.2

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