Paraphrase vs. Inference: “What did he tell you, and what does it mean?”
Added Bonus: How does the quotation fit in?
There are times in our lives when we do not need to attach “meaning” to our words. This could be when we are asked about the plot of a story, which is the chain of events that occur throughout a tale. We can simply list the exact situations that have occurred, in order (sequence), and we would have completed our task. In this way, we would be paraphrasing.
When we paraphrase, it shows we understand the meaning! Other times, however, we need to analyze or figure out someone’s words, a situation, or even a picture. This would involve making an inference.
How do we know the difference between the two?
We could simply look at a picture and talk about its literal meaning, which is the face value of what we see. An example of this could be an image I’m about to show you.
Can you tell me exactly what you see in the photo without attaching any meaning at all to it? Please just provide us with all the facts!
An example could be “A woman in a yellow blouse is closing a suitcase full of clothes.”
Notice that I did not mention what I THINK is happening in this situation or what MAY happen because of what she is doing. This is paraphrasing.
Now, let’s look at that photo again. Let’s pretend it is a writing prompt that I have given you, and I want you to create a story about it. This means that I want you to add meaning to your words. When you do this, you are making an inference. Believe it or not, doing this type of activity is more common (meaning more people want to do this) than paraphrasing. This is because we want to make a connection with the photo. We often think back to something that happened to us, which is part of our background knowledge, and we start asking ourselves specific questions, such as:
Who is this lady?
Why is she packing a suitcase?
Why did she put so many clothes in this suitcase?
Where is she going?
How does she feel?
What will happen next in her life?
When we answer these questions to ourselves, which we would do automatically, we are making inferences. We are adding meaning that we do NOT actually know is correct or incorrect, but we are doing so because we want to connect with the person in the photo.
Have you ever packed a suitcase in your life? Have you ever packed so many clothes in your suitcase that it almost didn’t close? Many of us know what that feels like, and even if we ourselves have not done it, we most likely have seen someone else doing it. We also know what it MEANS to pack a suitcase.
These types of questions invite inferences.
The person is:
Taking a nice vacation
We make inferences like this when we read stories, and we make them all the way through until the very end (and often, beyond!). Sometimes, we make an incorrect inference. We may think a character in a story is the bad guy at first, but then we find out he has donated lots of toys to children at various hospitals, and we change our opinion of him. A mystery story will be filled with clues just waiting for you to make inferences about them, and many of them will not be correct. That is what creates suspense and makes you want to keep reading. You thought you knew what was happening in the story, but then you find out you were wrong! The good thing about inferences is that we can change them at any time!
So let’s go back for a moment to paraphrasing.
Examples of Paraphrasing:
● When we use our Personal Dictionaries to provide the definition of a selected term in our own words.
● When you are asked to explain something we did in class; for example, how a bar graph works. You are not telling me exactly what the person who created the graph said about this diagram. You are using your own words to describe the parts of the graph and what they represent. You do not attach any meaning to this activity at all. ● When you give me a ticket out of class, and you tell me what you learned that day. Often, you wil simply say that you learned about a literary term, or what an antagonist is. Our exit tickets most often are factual, and you have paraphrased some of the things you learned in class that day.
● When someone asks you to relay a message to someone else.
Let’s look at an example together, and then I will ask you to try one out.
Situation: You receive a phone call from the director of a company your son Joe has been waiting to hear from. The director asks you to tell your son to please call her back; she has something she wants to discuss with him.
Paraphrasing could be that your response is: “Tim, the director from that job you applied for called today and wants you to call her back. She wants to talk to you.”
Notice that everything listed here is factual; you are telling your son just what the message was, but you are not using the exact words the director said to you. No opinions are given at all. You did not provide a quotation of what the director said on the phone. (Note: When you copy a quotation into your Writer’s Notebooks, do you add any words to it? No, because you copy EXACTLY what the author wrote!)
If you were to provide your son with a quotation of what was said on the phone, you would have to say the exact words the director said. If you were to write these words down, which punctuation marks would you have to place around these words? What do they mean? When we use quotation marks in this way, we are showing that the words we are speaking about are NOT our own. When you paraphrase, you take someone else’s words and say them your own way without changing the meaning (or adding any meaning to them!). When you say words your own way, and they are your words, you do not need to add quotation marks to them!
Now we will look at more photo prompts, and you will work with a partner (or two!) to write a paraphrase (which is exactly what is in the photo), write down some questions you would like to find out regarding what is happening in the photo, and then create an inference of your own (that is filled with your opinion, your background knowledge, and lots of meaning!).
Good luck, and as always, enjoy the process!! I can't wait to see what you come up with!!
The question above may sound like a strange title for a lesson, but each part of this sentence represents what we do during the comprehension process. "What did he say" would be a paraphrase and "what does that mean" would be the inference we create. This is how we assess a situation and make sense of it. We do it every day of our lives!
But let's go back a bit!
Since our goal today is to understand the most important steps in the comprehension process, and to use them effectively in our work, let's begin by looking at the steps themselves.
1. Access background knowledge
3. Ask questions
4. Make inferences
5. Read more text
6. Repeat #2-5 as needed
At this point you will be able to create a main idea of the entire book or selection.
Now let's go back to our two concepts that will lead us to this understanding. For paraphrase, let's look at a photo and take it from there!
What would you say is the best definition for paraphrase after completing this activity? Write it in your own words (and yes, you are paraphrasing right now!) ______________________________________________________
Now let's look at an example in text.
Example: While shopping for groceries, a man fell down and grabbed his arm.
Paraphrase: While buying food, a man collapsed and clutched his arm.
Note: The meaning is the same, but key words are different. We did NOT add our own point of view.
Which key words did we change? What other words could we have used instead? ___________________________
As you can see, we use paraphrasing in many parts of our lives!
In fact, when you bring in words you have added to your personal dictionaries, and you use your own words to create a definition, you are paraphrasing.
To create an inference, however, we add a layer of meaning to what we put into our own words. Where the paraphrase is more of a surface tool, an inference is a deep underwater device.
When we make inferences, we ask a lot of questions to find clues and to understand something better. But we also bring part of ourselves into the inference. We use our background knowledge, and we form opinions by what we have experienced in the past. This is why we could all read the same book and have very different thoughts and opinions about the plot. We would connect to the story quite differently from each other.
Let's try to create an inference using the situation we paraphrased above. Which questions would you ask if someone collapsed on the floor while you were shopping? What inference would the information help you to make? You may turn to a person near you to talk about your questions and the meaning you would find in this situation. I will give you an index card to write down your questions and ideas.
Now, let's go back to a photo, and let's paraphrase, ask some questions, and make an inference! We will do the first one together. Then we will work with a partner to go through this process for another activity!
Before you leave today, we will use our Writer's Notebooks to add a new component to our Quotation and Inference activities! We will work together in setting it up, and I will check in with each of you to be sure you are comfortable with this activity.
October 30 and 31, 2023 Skills
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend; we were bound to get rain at some point, but at least we were spoiled with fabulous weather before this!
As you know, all October writing prompts are due this week. I have received many students' paragraphs on the Writing Page of this website, as well as in hard copy form. Please make every effort to complete this assignment on time (October 31 for our AM class and November 1 for our PM class). We will be reviewing new activities for November, and it's important to stay on track at all times so that we are always moving forward!
Idiom of the Day:
He does not say much and doesn't seem to enjoy his job; it seems as though he has a chip on his shoulder.
Note: We have to refer to the beginning of this sentence to get an idea of how this person is behaving. This will help us gather some meaning and try to explain what a chip on his shoulder could mean.
My Questions: Does this sentence and the man's behavior seem positive or negative? Why?
Your Inference: ___________________________________________________________________________________
Part One B.
Review of a Past Idiom:
Directions: Please select true or false to indicate whether the figurative meaning of the idiom that has been used correctly.
1. Jana rushed to her friend Carla's house when she realized she was upset; Jana would always help Carla at the drop of a hat. true false
2. Taking the HiSET was a piece of cake; it was easier than expected because the students had studied and practiced every day. true false
3. We are all in the same boat; we will take a trip to Hawaii later on today!
4. The order of events could change at the drop of a hat; this is because it had been well planned and organized carefully. true false
5. This class will meet every goal with success; we are all in the same boat because although our objectives may be different, we all have something we want and will ultimately get!
Greek or Latin Root of the Day:
Origin: Greek Meaning: next to; side by side; resembling
Examples: parachute, paraprofessional, parallel, AND paraphrase
Today's New Term: Hyperbole
Directions: Can you figure out what a hyperbole is from the sentences that follow?
Sentence: Deshawn said he was so hungry that he could eat a horse!
Sentence: Ariana said she hadn't slept in days; she had been working hard on her persuasive essay.
Why would we use a hyperbole in our sentences?
What is your definition of hyperbole, based on our class discussion AND clues from the sentences above?
Bonus: Can you create a sentence with one of the hyperbole examples above or even think of one we have not used today? _____________________________________________________________________________________
Today's Skill: The Differences Between Your and You're
Definition: Your is a possessive pronoun. This means that it is showing ownership of something else.
Example: You have done so well on your October Writing Prompts!
Defintion #2: You're is a contraction. As we discussed from our last class, a contraction is when we put two words together, remove a letter or two, and insert an apostrophe in their place.
Process: you are youre you're An apostrophe took the place of the letter a.
Example #2: You're all going to have a great class today!
Directions: Please select the correct form of your or you're in the sentences below. Remember to check your answer by seeing if the words you are would fit in the sentence! If they do, then you would use the contraction form!
Directions: Take 5-7 minutes to add three sentences or more to the story I have started writing below. Remember to keep all sentences parallel (correct verb tenses) and continue with the mood you feel (or the tone I provided!) and the point of view I used. Have fun!!!
It was a rather gloomy afternoon in late October. Trini was home alone, working hard on her latest book; she was a prolific mystery writer whose novels were in bookstores everywhere. Trini had just reached the climax of her story when there was a loud thump in the kitchen. At first Trini thought it could be her puppy, but then she realized her son Jake had taken him to the park for the afternoon. When she heard the sound again, her heart started to pound. _________________________________________________________________________________
Bonus: Can you name a word we recently learned that can describe someone who produces a lot of something?
Bonus #2: Can you find the literary term that describes the highest point of action in a story? _________________
Welcome to the Skills Handout for October 25 and 26! I am so happy to see how hard you are working (and how much you are remembering during each class!)! This is a testament to how dedicated you all are, and I know it will bring you the success you deserve!
Idioms of the Day:
1. Actions speak louder than words!
2. I would run over to help you at the drop of a hat.
1. Let's look use the first idiom within a few sentences so that we can get a good idea of its meaning.
Sherry often promised to visit her aunt and uncle in Rhode Island. In fact, she made many plans to see them on specific weekends and holidays. But somehow, she never made it there. So last week, when Sherry had her aunt on the phone, Sherry again told her she would see her soon. But her aunt surprised her and said, "I hope so, Sherry. But actions speak louder than words. I'd like to believe you, but you've said this so many times, and you haven't visited us in months now."
Let's discuss what this idiom means, and what we can learn from it! Is Sherry wrong in this situation? How can she improve her relationship with her aunt and uncle?
2. Now let's put Sherry into another sentence with a different idiom in which she does the right thing!
Sherry learned her lesson that day; in fact, Sherry had an epiphany. She knew that her aunt and uncle had stopped believing her when she told them she would visit, and that this was not the way she wanted them to feel about her. So Sherry began going to Rhode Island--in fact, she went more often than she told her aunt and uncle she would, even surprising them at times. This caused her aunt to say something wonderful to her one day. She told Sherry, "Now we know we can count on you. In fact, I'm sure I could tell you I needed something right now, and you would be here at the drop of a hat!" Sherry was happy that she was now someone whose words could be trusted!
Is this a more positive outcome? How can we tie the two idioms together? Did Sherry also change what the words "actions speak louder than words" meant to her aunt and uncle by her behavior in the second situation?
Take out your notebooks and quickly write down a situation that you can recall in which you did not do what you said you would OR when you were able to help someone immediately, which would be "at the drop of a hat."
Question and Answer
Directions: Remember, I will give you the answer, and you will provide a question that will fit!!
Answer: There are six days left.
Answer: It's the literary device that is used when you give human qualities to an inanimate object?
Cause and Effect
Directions: In the following sentences, I will provide a cause, and you can provide an effect!
1. Cause: Sandro practiced driving for months before attempting to get his driver's license.
2.Cause: Jen realized it was only 25 degrees one morning in December.
3. Cause: Tomas bought six books at the local Barnes and Noble before he went up to his cabin in Maine.
4. Cause: The coach gave his team a pep talk before the game; he told them he believed each one of them was a great player and would do well.
Now let's try one in reverse!
Effect: Everyone enjoyed their vacation in Florida.
Remember: The cause is what happened first!
Fact or Opinion
Directions: When we present a fact, we are sure that what we are saying is the truth. It is reality. If we had to, we could prove what we are saying is true.
Fact Example: The season we are currently in is autumn (or fall).
Note: No opinion is attached to this statement. We can prove this is true by using a calendar that shows the exact dates of the fall season in 2023. We could go further and research the origin of the four seasons and how they came to be divided.
When we present an opinion, however, we know what we are saying is our point of view (or a point of view from someone else). Your statement may contain an adjective, that often differentiates it from a fact, or it may simply express the way you feel about something.
Opinion Example: Fall is the most beautiful season of all.
Note: This sentence presents a point of view. Even if you agree with it, you are still agreeing with an opinion. The adjective beautiful helps us in deciding this is an opinion; people have various ideas on what is beautiful and what is not. Such an idea would be an opinion.
Decide which sentences are facts and which ones are opinions. Be prepared to defend your answer, which means you can provide a reason for why your answer is correct.
1. Dogs are the best pets you can have. fact opinion
2. Some scientists believe dogs evolved from wolves. fact opinion
3. SCALE is a place where students study and pass HiSETS and GEDs. fact opinion
4. SCALE is filled with wonderful students who work hard. fact opinion
5. The main character in the story is called the protagonist. fact opinion
6. The protagonist is always an interesting person. fact opinion
7. The mechanic gave me a great report on my car. fact opinion
8. The mechanic gave me news about my car. fact opinion
We are paraphrasing when we use our own words to retell a story, relay a message or provide facts about a situation without attaching meaning to it.
Example: Jonah studies the definition of a vocabulary word. His teacher wants to see if he understands that word's meaning, so she asks Jonah to tell her this definition in his own words. She does not want Jonah to give an example of the word or what it means to him.
Jonah's word is epiphany.
The dictionary meaning for epiphany is a sudden perception of the essential meaning of something.
Jonah's paraphrased answer for his teacher is: An epiphany is when a person suddenly realizes something important that he may not have realized before.
Jonah did not add meaning or his own point of view to his answer. He simply restated what the dictionary entry had provided to him, but he said it in his own words. This is what it means to paraphrase.
Can you paraphrase the following sentence that contains a few literary terms? Let's try it!
a. A conflict is a serious disagreement or argument that can occur between the protagonist and antagonist in a story.
b. Your paraphrased definition: ______________________________________________________________________
Did you change the meaning of the word? Did you attach your own opinion to it? A paraphrase is simply something that has been restated using other words. That's it!!
Let's try another way of paraphrasing! But let's use a photo prompt to help us out this time!
Directions: Take a look at this picture. Instead of using it as a story prompt just yet, let's simply talk about exactly what is in the picture. Use facts only!
Take a brief moment to write down what you see on the lines below. Do not ADD anything more!
If you left out any meaning at all and simply stated the facts, you have paraphrased! Since comprehension also includes making sense out of visuals, we are using a comprehension tool to understand this photograph!
Inference Enters the Room!
(By the way, what literary device did I just use when I gave an inanimate literary term a quality a human being has?)
Paraphrasing deals only with restating something in your own words; I like to think of it as a surface tool!
Inferencing, as you know, gets below the surface and allows for analysis while attaching meaning to something. I think of this tool as an underwater device!
An inference, therefore, may start with a fact, but it may then add an opinion!
Let's go back to that photo we paraphrased and see if we can now make an inference about it.
Note: Any time you use a photo prompt to write a story, you begin by paraphrasing exactly what is in the picture, but in order to create a story, you then must make an inference about could be happening and attach meaning to this.
To make an inference in the photo we have just seen, we could ask ourselves the following questions:
Who is this lady?
Why is she packing a suitcase?
Why did she put so many clothes in this suitcase?
Where is she going?
How does she feel about this situation?
What will happen next in her life?
How is this different from paraphrasing what you have seen?
A paraphrase deals with the factual nature of something. We simply restate the facts in our own words.
An inference is our way of getting to the heart of the matter and making sense of what has been presented to us by attaching meaning to it!
Let's look at one more photo in which you will work with a partner or two to paraphrase what the photo contains and then to create an inference about it. You can write the ideas you reach together in the spaces below!
And now for our extension activity! Almost every day, we use our Writer's Notebooks to copy an inspiring quotation or poem on the left page and to write an inference on the right one. Well, guess what? We are adding a new element to our notebooks tonight!
Our Writer's Notebook will now have two elements on the left page. Here is an example from a quotation we used last week:
Quotation: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Paraphrase: You will not make any shots if you do not try at all to make one.
Remember: You will not think about what the quotation means; you will simply restate it in other words!
The right page will remain an Inference page!
Inference: It is important to always try hard and to never give up, even if you fail often!
October 19-23 Skills, Lessons, and Resources!
Hello to our RW3 Classes!
I hope you are having a great week! I have lots of new skills and review work planned for the days ahead, so let's get started right away!
Epiphany and Personification
Directions: Some of our students were in class when we talked about the term epiphany, while others may have been testing. We will review this term first and move on to personification right after!
Epiphany: a moment of realization, which often happens suddenly, and causes you (or a character in a story) to change your thinking after this surprise feeling!
Example: Tom thought he could play football forever. When he got to be a certain age, however, he started scoring fewer and fewer touchdowns. After one especially low-scoring game, he had an epiphany; he would have to retire from football by the end of the year.
Short Writing Piece: Have you ever had a life-changing moment such as this one? Take a few minutes to write about such a moment, event, or situation that caused you to think differently about something from that point onward. Write about what things were like before and after your epiphany--what happened to cause such a change? If you cannot think of one, perhaps you know of a character in a book, TV show, or movie who changed in this way. You can write about this character instead!
#2 Personification: the art of giving human qualities to inanimate objects
Note: Inanimate = not alive, as in books, doors, chairs, and anything else that is not human!
Example: The streetlight winked at me as I made my way down a city street one evening in winter.
Think out loud and discuss: A streetlight is not a living thing! If the writer is saying it winked, what exactly is the streetlight doing? What image was in your mind as you read that sentence? Let's discuss this with a classmate before we talk about it as a class!
Directions: Please find an example of personification in each of the sentences below!
1. My alarm clock screeched at me to wake up this morning! _____________________________________________
2. The piece of chocolate that remained on my table just begged to be eaten. _______________________________
3. The tires on my car squealed as I rushed off to work. _________________________________________________
4. That poem spoke to me; it was filled with emotions I often felt. ________________________________________
5. The humid air smothered me; I could not seem to escape from the heat on that July day. ___________________
6. The beautiful fall tree welcomed me back home! _____________________________________________________
BONUS: Which two sentences contain a semicolon? ____________________________________________________
BONUS 2: Can you add a second part to sentence #6 using a semicolon as a connector? ______________________
It's and Its
Explanation #1: The word it's is a contraction. A contraction is a word created by putting two words together to make one new word.
It's is made up of two words: it is
We would put them together: itis
We would then take out the middle i and place an apostrophe in its place: it's
Note: The apostrophe almost always takes the place of the missing letter or letters!
Other examples of contractions include: are not = aren't ________________________
did not = didn't ________________________
is not = isn't ________________________
Now go back and fill in the missing letter from each of the contractions above on the line that follows. We know which letter it would be because the apostrophe took its place!
Explanation #2: The word its is a personal pronoun that is showing ownership or possession. This means that an object (a noun) that was later used as a pronoun has something belonging to it that we want to talk about.
Examples: The table was on its side so that we could move it more easily.
The owner had a flat tire on his car; he had to use its spare tire in order to drive home.
Jana's water bottle was nearly empty; she turned the bottle over so that she could drain the rest of its water into the sink.
In the examples above, the word its refers to a noun that precedes (or goes before) it. The noun is shown in bold print.
Notice that the word its does NOT have an apostrophe. The apostrophe is only used in the contraction it's because that word means it is.
Now let's see why adding an apostrophe incorrectly would NOT make sense.
If we wrote that "the table was on it's side," this would mean that the table was on it is side. This does NOT make sense. Use this method when checking to see if you have used the correct form of the word.
Directions: Please select the correct form of its or it's in the sentences below. Try to use the way we checked the sentence above to see if you have made the right choice!
1. (Its, It's) a great day for a barbecue!
2. The box was on (its, it's) side when I found it.
3. The dining room table was missing one of (its, it's) legs, so we did not buy it.
4. Using the correct word can be fun; (its, it's) also a good way to ensure your writing is clear and effective!
5. Did you see where I left my phone? (Its, It's) a gold iPhone X that I purchased several years ago
BONUS: I bet you know what this will be! Go back to sentence number one, add a semicolon instead of the exclamation point, and write another part to this sentence! Always remember that the words before and after the semicolon could be sentences on their own! They are separate sentences that we decided to join with a semicolon because they both talk about the same idea!
Persuasive Essay Introduced!
Every type of writing involves persuasion of some type.
Writing a persuasive essay, then, should have one specific goal: to have the reader agree with your point of view.
How do we do this? We begin with a solid sentence that states exactly what you believe.
Example: Hospitals should not charge a fee of any kind for visitors.
Example: Masks should be required for both pitchers and batters during all baseball games.
These statements are opinions, but they are presented as facts!!
Notice also that there is no reason given within this opening sentence. The reasons will follow this sentence; they are never to be placed in the first sentence you write!
Directions: Think about a topic that is important to you and create an opening sentence that states your point of view as we've seen above. Do NOT say "I think" or "I believe." Do NOT even say "In my opinion..." We need to know exactly where you stand from the very beginning of your essay!
Possible topics from which you can create opening sentences are:
your main thoughts about recycling
your favorite season
cellphone use while driving
what it means to pass the HiSET
how you feel about taking vacations
your opinion about taking a nap during the day
Here's something that happened to me that sparked an idea for a persuasive essay:
The other night, I needed to run to the local mall to buy a few extra presents for a birthday. I was shocked to see that the mall was closing at only 8:30 PM. I have not visited the mall often since the pandemic began, so I am not sure how long these closing hours have been in effect. But I do know that I did not like it!
My opening sentence may be: Shopping malls should stay open until midnight every day of the week.
Notice I have not yet explained WHY I feel this way in this sentence. But now that I have taken a stance, I am going to list at least three reasons why shopping malls should stay open later.
1. Customers may be working longer hours these days, and they might not make it to the mall before it closes.
2. Closing so early may not allow customers enough time to find the perfect gift, and they may choose the first store they see because they may feel rushed. This could cause stores tucked away in the mall--especially those located on the second floor--to suffer.
3. Stores may lose business because customers will turn to online shopping on websites such as Amazon because they are open all the time and are more convenient.
Now think of a final closing statement that has to do with your opening topic sentence (and the reasons you provided as support) that can serve as both an ending to your essay as well as a place to make your final comment about the shopping situation.
Example: If malls keep cutting their business hours, customers may eventually cut physical stores out of their lives and turn to online services for a smoother shopping experience.
Another example could be to ask a rhetorical question: How long do you think people will put up with the inconvenience of shorter hours at the mall before they pull out their laptops and go on a shopping spree without leaving the comfort of their own homes?
When you have completed all these parts of your opening paragraph, you will just need to put them all together in the most interesting way!
Remember that we are not done yet! We are going to try to create five paragraphs, so we will have four more to go in the days ahead! I will guide you through each one in this same manner!