Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In how many ways would you rephrase these sentences?

When my cat went missing I was a wreck.

When my cat went missing I was beside myself with worry.

The purpose of each sentence is twofold: to describe the cat owner's feelings, and to make the sentence as emotional as possible.

share|improve this question

closed as too broad by jwpat7, RegDwigнt Sep 8 '13 at 12:24

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
When my cat went missing I was worried sick. –  John Lawler Sep 6 '13 at 16:06
1  
I'm sorry, are you asking for a whole series of paraphrases (which I'm sure would be contrary to this website's intended purposes), or a comment on your two versions? –  Edwin Ashworth Sep 6 '13 at 16:49
    
No, only for rephrasng/comments on my two vesrions. –  Monica Sep 6 '13 at 16:56
1  
Surely there are only two ways of saying that, your form and reversed: "I was a wreck when my cat went missing". Unless you go for Yoda-speak, "When my cat went missing, a wreck I was," which is hardly commonplace. –  Andrew Leach Sep 6 '13 at 17:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are many ways to rephrase a sentence, and at the same time maintain its original message. I'll limit my answer to the first sentence.

When my cat went missing I was a wreck.

You could add a comma after missing.

When my cat went missing , I was a wreck.

You could invert the two clauses; in which case no comma is needed.

I was a wreck when my cat went missing.

You could add an adjective before the noun, cat.

When my white cat went missing, I was a wreck

You could add an extra adjective.

When my cherished white cat went missing, I was a wreck

You could add another adjective before wreck.

When my cherished cat went missing, I was a nervous wreck.

You could choose to add a noun, known as a noun adjunct, before wreck.

When my cherished cat went missing, I was a walking wreck.

You could add a subordinating conjunction, like, before the dependent clause, "a walking wreck".

When my cherished cat went missing, I was like a walking wreck

You could add an adverb of time either at the beginning or the end of the first clause.

When my cherished cat went missing last week, I was a nervous wreck.

You could add the cat's name, as a personal touch, so readers would feel a greater affinity towards it.

When my cherished cat, snowball, went missing last week; I was a nervous wreck.

And I would stop there before the sentence sounds too artificial and long winded! :)

share|improve this answer
1  
Thank you very much, MARI-LOU A for your answer. :) I think I could also say 'I was frantic' or 'frantic with worry'. –  Monica Sep 8 '13 at 13:02
    
Yes, you can say "I was frantic (with worry)" I quite like that expression, myself. :) –  Mari-Lou A Sep 8 '13 at 13:20
1  
The owner of the cat is me, and to be honest, I don't think there is such a word that can describe what an animal parent feels when something happens to their pets. But I really like rephrasing sentences and I am always looking for different versions. –  Monica Sep 8 '13 at 13:27
1  
Well I guessed the cat in the phrase might be cherished, and you have confirmed it to be so (I hope your cat is OK now). –  Mari-Lou A Sep 8 '13 at 13:32
1  
Thank you, she is doing great now :) –  Monica Sep 8 '13 at 13:33

Based on your question and Edwin Ashworth's question, I'll suggest a couple of versions for each exemplar, but I'll add a few words here and there, since you did not specifically say not to.

"To say the least, I was a complete wreck when my cat went missing."

"My cat went missing just before the 'Miss Meow Competition'; consequently, I was an emotional wreck."

"I was beside myself with worry when my cat went missing."

"To say I was beside myself with worry when my cat went missing would be to engage in understatement!"

"My cat went missing; I was a wreck."

"My cat went missing; I was beside myself with worry."

"When my cat went missing, I remained in a catatonic state for a good five minutes."

My point is (if in fact there is a unifying element in my versions): what is the purpose of your sentence? Or, how does does it fit between what came before and after? Or, what mood are you trying to set? Or, who is your audience? If your audience is kids, then you'd probably not use your example two or my example seven, because kids would understand neither "beside myself with worry" nor "a catatonic state."

Since this website is about English usage, you need to develop your question a bit more. Tell us what's bothering you--if anything--about the sentences you provided. Do you have grammatical concerns? Do you wonder which sentence may communicate better with a specific audience? Do you have stylistic concerns regarding your word choices? And so on.

share|improve this answer
    
The purpose of my sentence was to describe the cat owner's feelings and make the sentence as emotional as possible. –  Monica Sep 8 '13 at 13:11
    
Like the typical stereotypical guy (aka, male of the species, Neanderthal, male chauvinist pig), I simply was not tuned into your emotional frequency. Guess I'm not as good at reading between the lines as someone from the distaff side! –  rhetorician Sep 8 '13 at 21:14
    
Even if you weren't turned into my emotional frequency, as you say it doesn't matter. You suggested a few interesting versions and that's what I was looking for. Thanks for your reply. –  Monica Sep 9 '13 at 8:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.