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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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4.2 Using another word of the same word family

In some cases, it is possible to paraphrase a text by replacing the original word with a word that is part of the same word family. Words are members of the same family if their form is very similar and their meanings are related.

If you look up the word able in the dictionary, for example in Dictionary.com [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , you will find that the following words are part of the family of the word able:

  • able, ability, enable, unable

An important difference between these words is the role they play in a sentence. For example, ability describes a thing and enable describes an action. Able can be used to describe something or somebody (an able student) while unable is mostly used to describe a person or a thing that cannot do something (unable to move).

Knowing all the words that are part of the word family of able allows you to replace the phrase:

  • are able to reproduce

with:

  • ability to reproduce

Similarly, resemble can be replaced with resemblance, identify with identification and reproduce with reproduction.

When you use a word of the same family, you will need to reorganise the original text.