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  1. #1
    123alb is offline Newbie
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    Default paraphrasing sentences

    Yesterday we had a test which gave rise to a lot of arguments among the colleagues. The issue was the following: the students had to paraphrase a sentence keeping the original meening, with no limit of the number of words they would use. The sentence was 'Can I borrow your pen?' and the answer was to begin with Will. Here are the variants we came across: 1. Will you lend me your pen? (no doubt this is the right one); 2. Will you give me your pen? 3. Will you let me borrow your pen? 4. Will you allow me to borrow your pen? Variants 2, 3 and 4 all make sense but I need solid arguments to explain which is acceptable and which is not. Please help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: paraphrasing sentences

    Welcome, 123alb.

    All the variants are possible given the right context, and I agree with you here, variant 1. is the best answer. Variant 2. doesn't work, because the verb give could imply keep, not borrow: (Note, can doesn't express ability here; it's synonymous with may.)

    Can/May I borrow your pen?
    1. Will you lend me your pen?
    2. Will you give me your pen? <To keep? No way! >

    Variants 3. and 4. add more meaning to the original form:

    Can/May I borrow your pen?
    3. Will you let me borrow your pen? <Why let?>
    4. Will you allow me to borrow your pen? <Again, why allow?>

    What's the history behind those statements, the need to ask for permission to borrow something? Doesn't the question--a request--already do that?


    Does that help?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: paraphrasing sentences

    Where I live in the Southern US, we say, "Can I see your pen?" to mean, "borrow" or "use for a moment."

    I suppose I'm just muddying the waters with this contribution. :(

    [Disclaimer: I am a native speaker but not a teacher]

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    Default Re: paraphrasing sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    I suppose I'm just muddying the waters with this contribution. :(
    Not at all. It's another possible variant, as is Can I use your pen?

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    Default Re: paraphrasing sentences

    a. "Can I see your pen?"
    b. "Sure." (waggles pen briefly in front of a.'s face) "There it is!"

    This is what passed as a witty rejoinder at my highschool :)

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    Default Re: paraphrasing sentences

    The waters are now muddied.

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