The ability to paraphrase is one of the most important speaking skills, so let’s consider what paraphrasing actually is and how we can use it effectively.
On a daily basis, we all find ourselves in situations when we can’t find the correct word to say.
You know what you want to say, but it just won’t come out!
Many people refer to the phenomenon as being ‘tongue-tied’.
For foreign English speakers, this problem can be even worse.
You might have heard some news or read an article in a newspaper, and you want to tell the story to others.
The problem arises when you just can’t remember the news word-for-word.
Let’s look into the problem by using an example. The news on the previous evening announced:
– The Prime Minister issued a warning to all opposing his bill.
You want to discuss the implications of the Prime-Minister's warning with your work colleagues or friends, but you can’t remember the exact words.
The solution is to PARAPHRASE the statement. Paraphrasing is defined as:
-verb: express the meaning of something using different words.
-noun: a rewording of a passage.
Therefore, if we paraphrase the statement above, it can be said in many different ways
The Prime-Minister issued a warning to those against his bill, or
The Prime-Minister warned those opposing the bill.
These statements convey the same message in different words.
The statement has been somewhat simplified but does not lose its meaning!
No one to whom you speak will correct you to say that’s not EXACTLY what they said on the news!
No one will even notice that the words have been changed.
There’s no doubt about it, English is a challenging language to learn, and that’s largely because it’s full of bizarre idiomatic expressions that, when you stop and think about them, they don’t appear to make much sense to anybody.
As native speakers, we use them without even thinking about where they come from; but if you are a student trying to learn English, they can be really confusing.
If you know something about the origin of these expressions than it can help with remembering them easier.
In this blog, we’ll look at ten of these interesting idioms and teach you where the expressions came from and more importantly, how to use them.
Before you read the idioms I have provided my 5 best tips to help you learn and use idioms naturally.
My five top tips for learning idioms.
1. Make an effort to listen out for them in films,TV shows and when native speakers speak.
2. Always have a way of recording new idioms and phrases.
3. Try to guess the meaning (if possible) from the context it's used in.
4. Try to understand why that idiom was used in that particular context.
5. Have fun with them. Never be afraid to use them in your own speech.
Matthew & Becky
Native British Teachers
Online English Skills
We help English learners take their English skills to the next level.