Paraphrasing text
Paraphrasing text

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Paraphrasing text

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The following activity uses the text A force in human history. Take a moment to read it now.

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Activity 1 Finding and paraphrasing the main point in a sentence

Much academic study can be seen as a process of turning reading into writing:

Turning reading into ‘your own words’ is called paraphrasing.

In order to paraphrase a sentence, it is important to recognise the main point of the sentence. Look at the following three sentences and identify the main point in each one. Type your answers into the text box below.

  1. AIDS has claimed many lives.
  2. By the year 2001, AIDS had claimed over 21 million lives.
  3. By the year 2001, AIDS had claimed over 21 million lives, in spite of medical inventions, such as antibiotic therapy and mass vaccination, introduced after World War 2.
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In the first sentence, only one point is made: that many people have died of AIDS.

In the second sentence, there is information about time (by the year 2001) and about the number of deaths (over 21 million). The main point is still that many people have died of AIDS but, depending on what information you need for the task you are doing, the other details may also be important.

In the third sentence, the original main point:

AIDS had claimed (many) lives

is now surrounded by extra detail, such as time:

By the year 2001, after World War 2

the number of deaths:

over 21 million lives

and information regarding types of medical intervention which have not managed to deal with the problem:

in spite of medical inventions, such as antibiotic therapy and mass vaccination

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