Learn English Writing: Paraphrase Sentences

Paraphrase Writing

Paraphrase writing means you take a sentence and change some words but keep the same idea. It’s a good skill for ESL students because it helps them learn English words and different ways to write a sentence. These ESL teaching materials provide writing students with 4 strategies to paraphrase sentences.

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrase writing is actually quite difficult. It involves several tasks.

  • find and keep the main idea
  • change the key words
  • change sentence order

Paraphrase Practice Questions

Here are 4 sets of paraphrase practice questions. Each set helps students learn and understand a specific paraphrase writing skill.

Part 1. Synonyms

Isolate key words and phrases and replace them with words that express a similar idea.

For example:

  • Several high school students are taking pictures of themselves in front of a coffee shop.
  • Quite a few high school students are taking selfies in front of a cafe.

Practice Writing Questions

  1. Approximately 100,000 people went to the protest on Saturday and Sunday.
  2. Amazon is one of the biggest shops in the world.
  3. The chef judges how much food to cook according to the number of guests she thinks will come to the restaurant.
  4. Why are tweets restricted to 140 characters?
  5. Rubik made a cube to help his students understand


Part 2. From Passive to Active

Change a sentence written on the passive form and make it active.

For example:

  • Many buildings were destroyed by the earthquake.
  • The earthquake destroyed many buildings.

Practice Writing Questions

  1. Our kitchen is cleaned by my father every Sunday morning.
  2. The Christmas toys were delivered to the orphanage by the high school students.
  3. The letter was dropped off by the man in the red truck.
  4. The new Smartphone model will be finished by the design team next year.
  5. A new album will be released by Big Bang in 2017


Part 3. Sentence combining with appositives

Paraphrase two sentences by merging them into one sentence with an appositive.

For example:

  • The Han River runs through Seoul. It is South Korea’s second longest river.
  • The Han River, South Korea’s second longest river, runs through Seoul.

Practice Writing Questions

  1. My friend loves to make Italian food. She is a professional chef.
  2. Ji-sung Park is from Korea. He is a former soccer player for Manchester United.
  3. Kyoto has beautiful temples. It’s a city in Japan.
  4. Have you ever read The Stranger? It’s a novel by Albert Camus.
  5. Jane’s dog sat under a tree and chewed on a bone. Her dog is a husky.


Part 4. Sentence combining with complex sentences

Paraphrase two sentences by merging them into one complex sentence.

For example:

  • The computer was making a loud noise. The fan was broken.
  • Because the fan was broken, the computer was making a loud noise.

Practice Writing Questions

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor. His last move was not very good.
  2. The student studied very hard. His test score was 92%.
  3. We took pictures of the elephant. The elephant was drinking water from a pond.
  4. You can’t watch TV. You have to finish your homework first.
  5. I started to ask a question. The store clerk walked away.



The suggested answers for the paraphrase practice questions are on this pdf file.

Teach writing?

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