Do this when your words are halted

Let’s discuss paraphrasing.

“Para” here means alternative, “phrasing” means selection of words.

I don’t mean using a synonym. I mean using various slightly different words to describe or say the same idea.

A typical reason for paraphrasing is when someone doesn’t understand what you were saying the first time, and you want to help them and say the same using slightly different words.

However, it can also be useful when you suddenly feel blocked speaking English because you can’t say something the same way as in your first language.

And it happens. We sometimes feel blocked when speaking, because a word or expression we really want to say just doesn’t come.

You know, when your native language surfaces first and leaves your mind stuck, because you simply can’t recall the equivalent concept or word in English.

Luckily, many times that word or concept is not the only one you can use there, and there’s probably some other way of saying or describing the same idea, which works just the same.

Let’s take a look what we can do in these situations.


1-Minute Tip ⏳

Add paraphrasing to your skills toolkit

For this you will essentially need:

  • “time making” and related expressions
  • thinking training

The first one is easier. You can find such expressions easily and start using them.

The second one takes some training.

What are “time making” expressions?

The role of a “time making” expressions is to give you some time while you re-think and re-phrase something.

We use them to fill the empty speaking part with something to say.

Some ways to “make time”:

  • Ahm, what I mean is …
  • What was it called? Wait a second …
  • You know … the … what was it …
  • Let me say it in a different way …

I’m convinced you do this perfectly well in your native language.

In English it’s just as simple, you only need to get used to using a handful of similar practical expressions for the purpose.

If you need my help to figure out how to learn paraphrasing, or you need guided help to build better fluency in speaking and you’re not sure how to do it, let me know in a DM, so I can see how to best help you.

This content is authentic and it is not AI generated. I write it weekly for you based on my 20+ years of teaching experience.


👋 Hi, I’m Gábor

I am a pronunciation and speech fluency trainer for English learners.

Talk to you next time 🙂

Gábor 🙂

Connect | Gábor Légrádi | MA, RSA/CTEFLA

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