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Paraphrasing
The couple studied French before relocating to France.

Paraphrasing

A paraphrase is a restatement. Paraphrasing is an essential skill to master in the study of English literature. It's not always possible to quote the passages you would like to discuss; sometimes passages are too long and at other times too many quotes make your writing clumsy. It's important to be able to encapsulate the sentence or passage you wish to use, without copying the words. This is difficult because writers choose their words with care, which can make your own words sound poor in comparison. Perseverance is needed.

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1.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

'I'm thinking about you. What else can I say? / The palm trees on the reverse / are a delusion; so is the pink sand. / What we have are the usual / fractured coke bottles and the smell / of backed-up drains, too sweet, / like a mango on the verge / of rot, which we have also.' - From 'Postcards', by Margaret Atwood.
The narrator expresses the disappointment felt when a holiday doesn't match expectations
The narrator describes the holiday scene, which is exactly like a beautiful postcard
The narrator has nothing to say
The narrator writes of the complaint she has made to the hotel staff about the poor accommodation
2.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

Line-drying the washing is better for the environment than using a tumble dryer.
Line-drying the washing is good for the environment, unlike using a tumble dryer
Line-drying the washing is good for the environment, unlike tumble drying
Drying clothes outdoors is more environmentally-friendly than tumble drying
Drying clothes outdoors is better for the environment than using a tumble dryer
This paraphrase has kept the meaning of the original sentence while being worded differently
3.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

'Curley's fist was swinging when Lennie reached for it. The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie's big hand. George ran down the room. "Leggo of him, Lennie. Let go."' - From Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck.
Curley was flopping like a fish because Lennie swung for his hand until George said let go
Lennie reached for Curley and closed his fist in his big hand. George made him let go
Curley, who provoked the fight, turned out to be no match for Lennie, who only stopped when ordered to do so
Curley flopped like a pathetic fish when he tried to pick a fight with Lennie's big hand
4.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

'Quietly the Brother Officer went out. / He'd told the poor old dear some gallant lies / That she would nourish all her days, no doubt. / For while he coughed and mumbled, her weak eyes / Had shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy, / Because he'd been so brave, her glorious boy.' - From Siegfried Sassoon's poem, 'The Hero'.
The officer coughs and mumbles and tells some gallant lies
The dead soldier, her glorious, dear boy, had been so brave
The officer takes pity on the bereaved mother by allowing her to remember her son as courageous
The Brother Officer went out quietly after telling some lies to the poor old dear
Remember that exact quotes, such as 'poor old dear' are not paraphrased and should appear within quotation marks
5.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

The minister and his aides drove away from the fraught meeting with a perceptible air of relief.
The minister and his aides drove away from the difficult meeting with a perceptible air of relief
The minster and his aides left the fraught meeting with a perceptible air of relief
The minister and his aides left the difficult meeting with an air of relief
The minister and his aides seemed relieved as they left the difficult meeting
When paraphrasing, the fewer words you use from the original sentence, the better.  This is within reason, of course:  some key words must be kept (in this case, these are:  'minister and his aides' and 'meeting')
6.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

The ghost of Banquo has entered and sat in Macbeth's place at the table. Macbeth: The table's full. Lenox: Here is a place reserv'd, sir. Macbeth: Where? Lenox: Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your highness? - Macbeth: Which of you have done this? Lords: What, my good lord? Macbeth: Thou canst not say, I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me. From Macbeth, by William Shakespeare.
Macbeth is shocked and frightened by the appearance of Banquo's ghost at his table
Macbeth asks which of you has done this and says never shake your gory locks at me
Which of the lords has played a trick on Macbeth? The table's full and there's no room
You can't say I did it. Which of you is playing a trick on me?
It is especially important to be able to paraphrase well when writing about a play.  Quoting directly from dialogue can sound very clumsy
7.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

'"I think you are tongue-tied," said Scully finally to his son, the cowboy, and the Easterner; and at the end of this scornful sentence he left the room.' - From Stephen Crane's short story, The Blue Hotel.
Scully tells his son, the cowboy and the Easterner that they are tongue-tied, then he leaves the room
Scully says I think you are tongue-tied to his son, the cowboy and the Easterner, then leaves the room
Scully is angry with everyone
Scully insults the three men, making an accusation of their silence, before storming out of the room
8.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

Before making their permanent move to France, the couple spent three years learning the language.
Before making a permanent move to France, the couple spent three years learning French
The couple studied French before relocating to France
Before moving permanently to France, the couple learned the language
The couple spent three years learning the language before their permanent move to France
9.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

'By that time I was shrieking. Jem yanked my hair, said he didn't care, he'd do it again if he got a chance, and if I didn't shut up he'd pull every hair out of my head. I didn't shut up and he kicked me. I lost my balance and fell on my face. Jem picked me up roughly but looked like he was sorry.' - From To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
I was shrieking. Jem pulled my hair. He said he didn't care. He said he'd do it again
Scout was shrieking. Jem pulled her hair. He said he didn't care. He said he'd do it again
Jem and Scout fought viciously, but when when Scout was hurt, Jem felt apologetic
Jem and Scout fought for a while and stopped when Scout was hurt. Then Jem looked sorry
Try to avoid using the same words.  The third answer is a better paraphrase than the fourth because it uses 'felt apologetic' rather than 'looked sorry'
10.
Choose the answer which best paraphrases the following.

'My little horse must think it queer / To stop without a farmhouse near / Between the woods and frozen lake / The darkest evening of the year.' - From Robert Frost's poem, 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening'.
The narrator's little horse thinks he's strange for stopping on the darkest evening of the year
The narrator's little horse is wondering where the nearest farmhouse is
The narrator is afraid of the dark woods and is wondering where the nearest farmhouse is
The narrator contrasts his actions with an animal's desire for basic comforts
If you find poetry especially difficult to paraphrase, don't worry!  The depths and layers of meaning in even the shortest lines of poetry make such worries natural.  When paraphrasing poetry, try to stick to the most literal meaning without neglecting the obvious subtext
Author:  Sheri Smith

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