Paraphrase refers to the act of expressing something again using different and simpler words. The main aim of paraphrasing is to make the content easier to understand. It means to rewrite/reword an existing text/thought in your own words.
Paraphrase has several other names. The words reword, rephrase, rewrite, etc. mean the same.
Points to be considered when rewording/paraphrasing a text:
- Understand the meaning of the text completely before you attempt to reword it
- Use synonyms instead of the original words
- Use simpler words to convey the idea
- Restructure the original text
- Never change the meaning of the original text
- Explain the text as clearly as possible
Paraphrase/rewording is similar to a summary because, in both the cases, you are trying to simplify a text. However, when you reword something, you would reword it without changing the point of view.
"I am starving" can be reworded as "I am very hungry".
But when you summarise it, you would write it as "He (or she) is (or was) very hungry".
Examples from the lesson "A Different Kind of School":
1. Original: When I arrived there was no one in sight but a girl of about twelve.
Reworded: When I arrived, there was no one to be seen except for a twelve-year-old girl.
2. Original: I had heard a great deal about Miss Beam’s school.
Reworded: I had heard a lot about Miss Beam's school.
3. Original: She was being led carefully between the flower-beds by a little boy.
Reworded: A little boy was guiding her carefully through the flower-beds.
4. Original: Miss Beam was all that I had expected — middle-aged, full of authority.
Reworded: Miss Beam looked the same like I had imagined. She was middle-aged and was full of authority.
5. Original: She had the kind of plump figure that is likely to be comforting to a homesick child.
Reworded: Her plump figure made her look more approachable and kind. It felt as if her appearance could comfort a homesick child.
6. Original: I went to the window which overlooked a large garden.
Reworded: I went to the window from where I could see a large garden.
7. Original: The real aim of this school is not so much to teach thought as to teach thoughtfulness.
Reworded: The main aim of the school is to teach the students to understand the needs of other people rather than teaching them the regular subjects.
8. Original: We cannot bandage the children’s mouths, so they really have to exercise their will-power.
Reworded: The children will have to use their determination since it is impossible to bandage their mouths.
9. Original: It pains me, though, to see that they are not all so healthy and active-looking.
Reworded: It disturbs me to see that many students look unhealthy.
10. Original: There is no misery about it.
Reworded: There is nothing to be sad about it.
11. Original: Everyone is very kind, and it is really something of a game.
Reworded: Everyone has a kind heart. They also think of it as some kind of game.
12. Original: But I had no idea it was so awful to be blind.
Reworded: But I didn't know that it was so tough and terrible to be blind.