as the title states, imagine a situation where you enter an air condition shop and the shop keeper ask you "how much BTU do you need in your air condition?", you answer that you don't know what is "BTU" so he rephrase the question using a common terminology such as "what is the size of the room you want to cool in square feet?", what is the right way to describe this evolution of the question?

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    What's wrong with the word you yourself used: "rephrase"? – Mark Beadles Jun 16 '18 at 17:53
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    I get what Daniel is asking, but I don’t think there’s a special name for the process (which is just “rephrasing” or “clarifying”) as much as the descriptor for the rephrased language. In that respect, “plain English” has been suggested, which is quite common nowadays. You could also say he “used non-technical language” or asked in “a layperson-friendly manner.” – ebolamerican Jun 16 '18 at 18:19
  • 'In simple terms, ...' – Edwin Ashworth Jun 16 '18 at 19:15
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    You could say the shop keeper was coming at the question from a different angle, or rephrasing in a more appropriate/customer-friendly context etc. – ralph.m Jun 17 '18 at 2:10

That is to say:

To put it simply or in plain English.

(MacMillan Dictionary)

  • but its not explaining, its using a different words. the shop owner didn't explained what's BTU is, he just used a whole different question. – Daniel Netzer Jun 16 '18 at 17:52
  • @DanielNetzer - he used different words to make you understand what he meant. In order words he put it simply. – user 66974 Jun 16 '18 at 17:54
  • @DanielNetzer, User110518 (who is ranked our #1 of the month) is correct. It can be re-written like this > "how much BTU do you need in your air conditioner?", you answer that you don't know what is "BTU" so he puts it simply and asks, "what is the size of the room you want to cool in square feet?" The right way to describe this evolution, is "he put it in plain English." – Robyn Simpson Jun 16 '18 at 18:53
  • @RobynSimpson I don’t think he did. He asked a different question, the first was about a unit of heat, the second was about a unit of area. Both were aimed at identifying the capacity of A/C but from different angles. – Spagirl Jun 17 '18 at 6:12
  • @Spagirl - yes, since you have difficulty in understanding the question in units of heats, he put it simply referring to the easier and more common concept of unit of area. In any case the seller used simpler, easier, more accessible words to convey the same concept!!! – user 66974 Jun 17 '18 at 6:17


A paraphrase /ˈpærəfreɪz/ is a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words.



In language acquisition theory, there’s the notion of “recasting,” which involves the deliberate rephrasing of something apparently incorrectly or inadequately expressed the first time. It’s usually used in, for example, a parent’s indirect correction of a young child in conversation, but may also cover what I think you’re reaching for.


From the Free Dictionary:

  1. to say (something) in a different way: reframe the question.

You can reframe a question or statement with language, to make it easier for your audience to understand.

But you can also reframe your own ideas and concepts (even worldviews), which is a slightly more complex usage of the word.

From Management Help .org's Blog, Basic Guidelines to Reframing — to Seeing Things Differently:

Reframing is seeing the current situation from a different perspective, which can be tremendously helpful in problem solving, decision making and learning.

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