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Reword vs. Rephrase — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 1, 2023
"Reword" involves changing specific words, while "rephrase" involves altering the structure or way of expressing a statement or question.
Reword vs. Rephrase — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Reword and Rephrase


Key Differences

"Reword" typically means changing specific words within a sentence while largely retaining the original structure. In contrast, "rephrase" suggests a more comprehensive alteration, often modifying the structure or manner of expressing an idea to provide clearer or different meaning.
By choosing to "reword," you might simply substitute synonyms or replace technical jargon with simpler words. "Rephrase" goes beyond mere word replacement and reshapes the entire sentence or statement to convey the same idea, often with the intention of clarity or emphasis.
In editing or proofreading, to "reword" is to adjust certain words to fit a desired tone, style, or context without dramatically changing the sentence's foundation. To "rephrase," however, could mean restructuring the statement or introducing a new way to present the same information.
It's crucial to note that both "rewording" and "rephrasing" aim to maintain the original meaning. Whether one chooses to "reword" or "rephrase," the essence or core message of the statement should remain consistent.

Comparison Chart


Changing specific words in a sentence.
Altering the structure or manner of expressing an idea.

Depth of Change

Usually superficial or minimal.
Can be more comprehensive or structural.


Word replacement or substitution.
Sentence or statement transformation.


Adjust tone, style, or avoid repetition.
Provide clarity, emphasis, or a different presentation.

Retention of Structure

Largely retains original sentence structure.
Might modify the original sentence structure.

Compare with Definitions


Reword means substituting some words in a text for clarity or variation.
The editor chose to reword the title to make it more catchy.


Rephrase means restating a sentence or idea for clarity or emphasis.
The teacher asked the student to rephrase his answer.


Reword denotes minimal textual edits to enhance readability or context.
She reworded the instructions to be more user-friendly.


Rephrase involves altering the structure or manner of expression.
She decided to rephrase the feedback to sound more constructive.


Reword is to adjust specific words for a desired tone or style.
The author chose to reword the dialogue to match the character's personality.


Rephrase is to express something in a different way or style.
Can you rephrase that question? I'm not sure I understood.


Reword implies making textual changes without altering the core message.
To avoid plagiarism, he decided to reword several lines from the original source.


Rephrase aims to maintain the original meaning with a different presentation.
He found the legal language confusing and asked the lawyer to rephrase.


Reword is to change the terms of a sentence while retaining its meaning.
She decided to reword the sentence to avoid using technical jargon.


Rephrase is to reconstruct a statement while retaining its essence.
To ensure everyone understood, she rephrased the complex theory.


To change the wording of.


To phrase again, especially to state in a new, clearer, or different way.


To state or express again in different words.


To say or write something with different wording.


To state or express again in the same words; repeat.


Express the same message in different words


To change the wording of; to restate using different words.


To repeat in the same words; to reëcho.


To alter the wording of; to restate in other words; as, to reword an idea or a passage.


Express the same message in different words

Common Curiosities

Why would someone rephrase?

Rephrasing is often done to provide clarity, emphasis, or a fresh perspective on an idea.

What does it mean to reword?

To "reword" means to change specific words in a sentence while maintaining its original meaning.

When might one choose to reword?

One might reword to adjust tone, style, or to avoid repetition in a text.

What is the definition of rephrase?

To "rephrase" means to express something in a different manner or structure, ensuring the original meaning remains intact.

Are reword and rephrase synonyms?

While they're similar and sometimes used interchangeably, "reword" focuses on changing words, and "rephrase" emphasizes altering the structure or expression.

Which requires more extensive changes: reword or rephrase?

Generally, "rephrase" involves more comprehensive or structural changes than "reword."

Can rephrasing change the meaning of a sentence?

The intent of rephrasing is to retain the original meaning, but careless rephrasing can sometimes alter it.

Is rewording a technique to avoid plagiarism?

Simply rewording might not be enough to avoid plagiarism; understanding and presenting an idea in one's unique style is crucial.

Does rewording always involve synonyms?

Not always. Rewording might involve using synonyms, but it can also be about changing the context or tone.

Can rephrasing help in improving clarity?

Yes, one primary purpose of rephrasing is to enhance clarity or understanding.

Which is more superficial: reword or rephrase?

"Reword" is generally more superficial, focusing on word-level changes, while "rephrase" delves deeper into sentence structure.

Should rewording and rephrasing maintain the original intent?

Yes, both should aim to retain the original meaning or intent of the statement.

Are rewording and rephrasing only applicable to written content?

No, both terms can apply to spoken language as well, especially in clarifying or restating spoken statements.

Can rephrasing be a tool for teaching?

Absolutely. Teachers often ask students to rephrase concepts to ensure understanding.

Is it possible to both reword and rephrase a sentence?

Yes, one can reword specific terms within a sentence and then further rephrase the entire structure or expression.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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