Level up to C1 with Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing could undoubtedly be ranking the list of the language skills assessed in the Cambridge C1 Advanced exam, as there is a lot of focus on candidates’ ability to express the same meaning in different ways. How come?

  • Let’s take for instance the Speaking paper. When asked a question, candidates must try to rephrase the words from the question, rather than merely repeating them. No English proficiency is shown otherwise. The same happens when the candidates interact – keeping too close to the other interlocutor’s speech patterns would bring no result. 
  • In the Writing paper, the tasks themselves say candidates should use their own words as far as possible. Not doing so means showing a poor language range.
  • The Listening paper requires candidates to interpret the context extremely well, since never will the words heard in the recordings be the same as the ones from the choices provided to the questions in Parts 1,3 and 4, nor in the summary to the monologue in Part 2 (sentence completion).
  • Part 4 in the Reading and Use of English paper is chief among all the exam parts. One single wrong word, or even letter, affects a candidate’s overall mark. 

 Today’s activity will help you enhance your preparation for the Cambridge C1 Advanced exam. Roll up your sleeves and start levelling up your paraphrasing skills.

Step One Get to know the target language

To be good at paraphrasing requires a very good knowledge of the particles used with phrasal verbs, e.g. cut out, the dependent prepositions that certain adjectives or nouns are followed by, e.g. concerned with, as well as the prepositions that are part of fixed phrases, e.g. be all down to.

Read the list of fixed phrases, phrasal verbs, and other expressions below. They are classified into categories, given the preposition/particle they are used with.  Make sure you know what each of them means:

  1. WITH
    • be in accordance with
    • be comparable to/with
    • put up with
    • be content with
  2. OF
    • approve of
    • in respect of
    • dispose of
    • in the event of
  3. TO
    • be attracted to
    • to my surprise
    • owing to
  4. ABOUT
    • be knowledgeable about
    • of/in between two minds about 
  5. INTO
    • talk someone into
    • bump into
  6. BY
    • by heart
    • by profession
  7. Others:
    • come up against
    • get at
    • get behind with
    • kick in
    • lay off
    • pick up
    • put forward
    • put together
    • sell out
    • stem from
    • take after
    • take over

Step Two Transform the sentences

Paraphrase the sentences. Remember to keep the meaning of the original sentence.

I’m attracted to music.

I’m not knowledgeable about his books.

I felt content with myself.

It wasn’t clear whether she approved of what we had done.

She was a teacher by profession.

To my surprise, they offered me the job as a designer.

He could play the whole piece of music by heart.

The album was popular and quickly sold out.

There were fears that robots would take over our lives.

I hoped I might pick up some useful tips.

I got sacked last week, so I got a bit behind with my rent.

We don’t like the temporary office location but we will have to put up with it until June.

Everyone says I take after my father because we look alike and both love jazz.

We bumped into an old school friend while she was visiting the capital city.

I found it hard to work out what the writer was getting at in the poem.

It took a while before the effects of the medication started to kick in.

The company management put forward several proposals for staff to discuss and vote on.

My uncertainty about what to do stemmed from a lack of experience in the field.

The prices in the shop were comparable with those online.

The accounting firm was fined because its actions were not in accordance with the law.

He decided to write to the manager in respect of a colleague’s behaviour.

I’m still in between two minds about taking up diving.

The concert was cancelled owing to lack of interest.

The newly elected president came up against a lot of difficulties.

We must investigate environmentally friendly ways of disposing of rubbish.

Due to the recession, the new company had to lay off several members of staff.

We need to put together a business plan to rescue the company.

After several weeks, I was talked into joining my brother on that trip.

Please leave the building by the nearest exit in the event of a fire.

For many of the above sentences, paraphrasing can be achieved in many other ways, by using other lexical bits or grammar structures. Not providing you with a key word is deliberate, so that you come up with other ways to transform the given sentences. However, the answers provided make use of the C1 vocabulary a potential Cambridge exam candidate must be well familiar with. So, stay hungry, be thirsting for new English vocabulary!

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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