How to rewrite a sentence without changing its meaning

Is your sentence clunky, repetitive, or just plain boring? Learn how to rewrite it, without changing its meaning.

How to rewrite a sentence without changing its meaning

There are several reasons why you may want to rewrite a sentence. Maybe it's too long. Maybe it's too repetitive. Or maybe it just sounds...wrong.

To save you from major writer's block, we've put together some tips on how to paraphrase a sentence without changing its meaning. Just don't take this advice as a way to absolve yourself of plagiarism (passing off someone else's work as your own is a big no-no).

1. Use stronger synonyms

The easiest way to rewrite a sentence is to reword it. That means scanning your document for any weak or overused words, then replacing them with better synonyms. This technique will make your writing less repetitive, and more interesting entertaining to read.

All you need is a thesaurus, or a writing assistant like Outwrite that can pick up weak vocabulary automatically. Here are some words to look out for:

Weak Word Alternatives
Good Excellent, satisfactory, pleasant
Bad Inferior, poor, deficient
Interesting Compelling, thought-provoking, riveting
Show Portray, illustrate, demonstrate
Use Apply, utilize, employ
Fix Restore, revitalize, repair

A word of warning: before you use a synonym, make sure you know what it means first. Using smarter words won't make you look smarter if you've used them incorrectly.

2. Remove unnecessary words

The phrase "wide variety of" is underlined. A pop up message suggests changing the phrase to "various", "many" or "numerous"
"Wide variety of" is an example of a unnecessary phrase that could be simplified

The best sentences are short and sweet. So cut out anything that doesn't need to be there. These may be redundant words (different words that mean the same thing) or filler words that prevent you from getting straight to the point.

Unnecessary Words Examples
Redundant words merge together, free gift, short summary
Filler words just, basically, really, perhaps
Qualifiers may, often, possibly, probably

However, if you're writing an email, be mindful that your shortened message doesn't come across as curt. Applying a friendly tone and the occasional "please" and "thank you" can help you be assertive without being rude.

3. Change passive voice to active

We've talked about passive voice before. It refers to when the subject of a sentence receives the verb action. Using too much passive voice is often discouraged, particularly among those writing marketing copy, because it makes your work wordy and more difficult to read.

A simple way to address this problem is by rewriting a sentence from passive voice into active voice. This means the subject will perform the action instead of receiving it.

Passive Voice: The book was written by Tanja.
Active Voice: Tanja wrote the book.

Passive Voice: A new "Playlists" feature is being launched by TikTok today.
Active Voice: TikTok is launching a new "Playlists" feature today.

Voilà! As you can see, the active sentences are shorter and more direct, but still mean the same thing.

4. Split up long sentences

Really wordy sentences, like this one, are incredibly difficult to read, and will probably lose your reader's attention if you ramble on for too long without getting to the point.

That sentence was 30 words long. That's too long according to the Oxford Guide to Plain English, which recommends an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words. Shorter sentences are generally easier to understand, regardless of who your audience is.

If you're writing for work, use a tool like Outwrite to check your document's readability score. If it's below 60, scan for any lengthy sentences that could be broken up (hint: look for unnecessary commas or conjunctions, and replace them with a period).

Here's an example of how to split one long sentence into three:

Original: The BoomTunes X3 is the best portable speaker on the market, because it has a cylindrical shape, which delivers a balanced 360 degree sound, and it is also completely waterproof, which means you can take it anywhere outdoors.

New: The BoomTunes X3 is the best portable speaker on the market. Its cylindrical shape delivers a balanced 360 degree sound. It is also completely waterproof, so you can take it anywhere outdoors.

5. Use a paraphrasing tool

The sentence "Want to make your writing easier to understand" is highlighted. A pop up message suggests ways to simplify the sentence.
A paraphrasing tool like Outwrite can suggest ways to rewrite a sentence.

If you're reading this list and thinking to yourself, "surely there's a quicker way to do this?", you would be correct.

Thanks to some powerful AI, you can now use a paraphrasing tool to rewrite your sentences automatically. They can do all sorts of things, like reduce your word count, improve vocabulary, and convert a phrase from passive to active voice.

Intrigued? Click below to try Outwrite's AI paraphrasing tool for free.