To paraphrase is to say a sentence in a different way. Sometimes we break the sentence down into smaller sentences. Sometimes we change the vocabulary. Sometimes we change active sentences into passive sentences or vice versa. Paraphrasing is a good way to make a sentence clearer and also to make sure that you understand the meaning.

Let's take a look at the following examples.

  1. Our present-day energy supply consists largely of fossil fuels.

Which of the following is a paraphrase of the above sentence?

  1. Our present energy supply is made up of fossil fuels that are bigger than usual.
  2. Our present energy supply is mostly made up of fossil fuels.
  3. Our energy supply during the day is mostly made up of fossil fuels.

B is the correct answer because the meaning of the sentence remains the same though some vocabulary has been changed, while A and C are not correct since the meanings of both sentences are different from the original one.

  1. A paraphrase of "Some scientists are now predicting that we will exhaust our supplies of fossil fuels within five decades" is:
  1. Fossil fuels will make scientists tired within 50 years.
  2. Scientists will use up all of our fossil fuels within 50 years.
  3. Within 50 years, scientists say that our fossil fuel supply might be finished.

The correct answer is C.

(The Division of English for Science and Technology,

Chulalongkorn University Language Institute)




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