(Restructure) – “The Perfect Couple”

“The Perfect Couple” – Restructure exercise

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In the "Restructure" exercise, we re-write text using similar vocabulary and phrases (synonyms) to keep very close to the original meaning. In this regard, it is different to the "Enrich your writing" exercise.
The text comes from real-world examples in books, articles, websites etc.
This exercise teaches you how to express the same or similar things in different ways - just like native speakers can. We also look at how the tone changes slightly with similar words.


"I was walking in the park and saw a dog chasing a bird."
This could also be expressed as:
"I was strolling in the park when I saw a dog racing after a bird."

Also, notice how the tone changes slightly: 'strolling' feels more care-free and like they were taking their time; 'racing' gives a sense of speed.

You can submit your work to the comments section just below (click on a speech bubble). The teacher chooses certain pieces to correct, re-write or make comments. Students can too.

Click on the numbers to quickly go to excerpts 1, 2 or 3.
Go to Excerpt

Excerpt 1
It was the silence I noticed first. When Danny was around there was always noise, singing or humming, the tap-tapping of a lap-top keyboard, the prolonged clatter of spoon against ceramic mug as he stirred his black coffee vigorously for far too long, in my view, for a man who didn't even take sugar in it - what was he stirring?

Excerpt 1:
It was the peace and quiet that I first perceived. When Danny was there, a cacophony of sound was there too: singing, humming, the clickety-clack of a laptop keyboard, the incessant ringing and chatter of a metal spoon as he whirled it inside his mug for, what I think to be, an unfeasible number of times considering there wasn’t even any sugar in it – I can only imagine what he was stirring for.

Please get involved!
Please rewrite excerpt 1x

You can write your own example, if you would like. Click on the "Speech Bubble" button above to begin. A reply box will open up for you to enter your response.
You'll find all student work and responses for this lesson in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Good student contributions make a better lesson for everybody.

Excerpt 2
No sign of any fresh food. He hadn't even gone shopping? What was going on? Had something happened at work, delaying him? He'd told me he'd be finishing at lunchtime that day, for once, that he'd have plenty of time to do the supermarket run for a change, save me doing it on Saturday morning as I usually did, while he stayed at home to run the vacuum round and flick a duster over the shelves.

Excerpt 2:
Not a morsel of fresh food was to be found. Zip. Nada! Not so subtle evidence that Danny's shopping trip was incomplete at best. Why the delay? Was there some kind of hold-up at work, or did he simply have his head in the clouds? Sigh... He was supposed to down-tools at lunchtime. It wasn't very often that he was able to do the supermarket dash on a Friday. Normally, I would go shopping on Saturday morning while he did a spot of house cleaning. I was so looking forward to a break!

Please share your work.
Please rewrite excerpt 2x

If you join in, we all benefit. Click on the "Speech Bubble" button.

Excerpt 3
'Holy cow. It's like looking at brothers. Coincidence, or not? What do you make of that, guy?' Detective Sergeant Devon Clarke glanced over his shoulder. Behind him, Detective Chief Inspector Helena Dickens nodded slowly, indigo eyes fixed on the two photos on the board. 'I dunno. Not yet, anyway. But yes, they do look spookily similar. Weird, eh?'

Excerpt 3:
'My goodness. They’re the spitting image of one another. A fluke chance or not? What are your thoughts on that guy?' Detective Sergeant Devon Clarke peered over his shoulder. Just in the background, Detective Chief Inspector Helena Dickens acknowledges, her deep blue eyes pinned to the two photos on the board. 'At the moment, I’m not so sure. However, they do have a striking resemblance to one another. Quite bizarre, isn’t it?'

We'd love your participation!
Please rewrite excerpt 3x

Join in by sharing your work. Click on the "Speech Bubble" button to begin.

When students have submitted work, the teacher will choose examples to show here along with corrections and suggestions.

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