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What does "to phrase it another way" mean?

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closed as general reference by tchrist, Matt Эллен, RegDwigнt Aug 22 '12 at 9:34

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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This question is tricky: it’s tough to phrase “to phrase it another way” another way! (To quine a phrase.) –  PLL Feb 21 '11 at 6:21
    
@PLL That's a smart answer –  mko Feb 22 '11 at 6:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It means to say the same thing in a different way.

That could mean just using different words, or it could mean using a different example or a different metaphor. Often, it is a matter of summarizing a long explanation with a much shorter version that gets the gist of the matter across without being quite as complete or technically precise. The object, in that case, is to make the statement clearer to anyone who had difficulty understanding it the first time.

It may also involve changing the tone or the language of a statement to make it less confrontational or offensive. In that case, the object of the rephrasing would be to stay within the bounds of community standards.

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'To phrase' something is to put into words, and 'to phrase it another way' means using a different method to explain an idea.

Most commonly, you get someone saying something a bit complicated and/or abstract, and then 'to phrase it another way' they then repeat the same idea but in a simpler, hopefully more understandable answer.

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Phrase, when used as verb, means put into a particular form of words; to phrase it another way means to use a different form of words.

It is important to phrase the question correctly.
The original phrasing carried a different meaning.

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