HomeParaphrasing Metaphorical or Figurative Expressions

  • First, recognise the types of metaphors or figurative language are used.
  • If possible, look up the phrases in the dictionary to understand the literal meaning of the metaphors and what they symbolise or represent.
  • Paraphrase the sentence(s) based on the context (of the passage). As we paraphrase the sentence(s) in relation to context, ensure that similarities between the (literal use of the) metaphors and the context are shown. We can use words such as ‘(just) as’, ‘(just) like’, ‘as if’ or ‘as in’ in our paraphrased version to show the similarities.
  • Alternatively, rephrase the literal meaning of each metaphor separately. Then paraphrase the sentence(s) in relation to the context. Both the literal and contextual meaning must demonstrate some similarities.

The earth’s inhabitants far and wide have been rapidly and more intricately knitted together by technology.
→ Technology has made transportation/travel and communication easier / has brought people closer together.

→ Geographical boundaries no longer matter thanks to the annihilation of distance by technology / as technology has annihilated the distance.
→ No longer are we strangers to one other in our local ways of life established before the annihilation of distance.

We have won the war against SARS.
→ The SARS pandemic is over and society has been cleared of the virus / we humans have gotten rid of / eradicated/eliminated/ stamped/wiped out the virus / the SARS virus is no longer a threat, just like winning a war against one’s enemies where the enemies have been destroyed/defeated or have retreated.


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