The Use your own words question
Self study notes for Paper 2: Comprehension
What does the question test?
You‟ll get zero for using the key words by the author
in the passage.
Question requires you to use your own words.
Type 1 of “Use your own words” questions
First, get the points for the answer from the
Then, rephrase the key words.
(They are factual questions and your own words are
Example past year questions
1. The author criticises the actions of the early
excavators in obscuring the site (line 44). Explain
in your own words what two other criticisms he
makes of them.
2. Explain in your own words why the gaucho‟s
house felt like a prison during the „thistle years‟.
How to answer this type of question?
1. Find the answer in the passage.
2. Find the key words in the author‟s
3. (1 mark =1 key word)
4. Change these key words to synonyms or
phrases with similar meaning.
5. Write in a complete sentence.
How this method works
The chief forest ranger was giving one of his talks on his
favourite animal – the tiger. “Although the tiger would
rather avoid confrontations with humans, it may attack
them under certain circumstances– if a human has
trespassed into its territory, or he is seen as a threat to
the female‟s cubs. The onset of old age, and
consequently diminishing hunting skills may also
encourage a tiger to attack a human,” he explained.
Then, looking directly at the only two tourists into the
audience which had expressed interest in the night
forest trekking, he add, “Since the tigers are nocturnal
hunters, usually attacking from the rear, I would advise all
night forest trekking to keep their eyes and ear open as
they take in the wonders of the forest after dark.”
(a) Using your own words, explain
why aging tigers may attack humans.
(b) Why are the night trekkers advised
to keep their eyes and ears open?
Use your own words in your answer.
a) Using your own words, explain why aging
tigers may attack humans.
Locate the answer in the author‟s words: “the
onset of the old age and consequently
diminishing hunting skills”
Extract the key words: Diminishing + hunting
Express these in your own words: deteriorating +
ability to catch prey + abilities/adept
Arrive at the final answer: Because these tigers‟
ability to catch their prey deteriorates with age.
b) Why are the night trekkers advised to keep their eyes
and ears open? Use your own words in your answer.
The answer in the author‟s words:
“Tigers are nocturnal hunters and
usually attack from the rear.”
Night/after dark Attacking seek out &
usually catch prey rear
In most cases pouncing back/behind
Because more often than not, tigers
seek out and catch their prey after
dark, and in most cases, pounce on
them from behind.
Type 2 of “Use your own words” questions
What do I have to do?
1. Explain what the author means by a word,
phrase, sentence or expression.
2. Analyse the author‟s use of language.
1. A “rosy picture is painted” for the future of the holiday
industry. Explain the author‟s expression here.
2. Winter sports are said to have a “magical appeal” for tourists.
What does the expression “magical appeal” mean here?
3. What is meant by “figures in every stage in between”?
What do I have to do?
Identify key words/ ideas
Substitute each word with a
synonym/phrase or words associated
Consider what these words suggest.
Phrase your answer in a
To help you answer Type(11) questions,
you must be aware of:
2. phrasal verbs