Questions are sentences that ask for information (or opinions), while statements are sentences that provide information. Sometimes, you might need to turn a question into a statement – when you’re writing an essay, for example, or summarizing and/or paraphrasing a piece of content.
But, is turning questions into statements something we should be sweating? Understanding how to rephrase questions as statements will improve both your writing skills and your verbal prowess.
Mastering this ability will raise the clarity and conciseness of your communication. It also helps reduce plagiarism, which is something we should always be sweating!
This brief guide has everything you need to know about how to flip questions into statements. We’ll also look at slipups to avoid as well as techniques and strategies to help you address the page, the stage, and the mic with confidence.
Flipping And Restating Questions
In the simplest scenario, rephrasing a question as a statement is as easy as removing the question words.
Consider the example of “Why did the chicken cross the road?” All you need to do is remove the question words: “why did”. After that, you’re left with: “The chicken crossed the road”. Now, answer the question…. and there you go! You’ve successfully rephrased the question as a statement: “The chicken crossed the road to get to the other side.”
It can get a little trickier than that, however.
For lovers of acronyms, here are a few neat ones that help in this context.
PQA and TTQA
You may remember using PQA (Put the Question in the Answer) or TTQA (Turn The Question Around) as a kid. These are popular teaching tools that can help you give context to your answers and encourage complete sentences. PQA encourages the learner to respond to: “Why is basketball your favorite sport?” with “Basketball is my favorite sport because…”
RACE and RAPS
RACE is a more advanced framework that involves four steps:
- Restate the question
- Answer the question
- Cite support from the text
- Edit your answer
RACE typically applies to longer-form writing that requires comprehension and evidence, such as essays and assignments.
Let’s look at this example:
- Original question: “Why did the main character in the novel decide to leave home?”
- Rephrased statement: “The main character decided to leave home because he was unhappy with his family situation. The character felt ignored and unloved by his parents and he found school depressing. He thought that leaving home would give him a chance to start a new life.”
After writing the answer, you’ll put your editing cap on and proofread for accuracy, grammar, clarity, and completeness. Remember, when it comes to supporting your work, Smodin Writer is really helpful with in-text citations.
RAPS is a similar technique that also has four steps:
- Restate the question
- Answer the question
- Prove it with evidence
7 Techniques And Strategies For Rephrasing Questions Into Statements
Let’s look at the most common use cases and seven techniques that will help you rephrase a question as a statement like a pro.
1. Change the sentence structure
This boils down to the simple example we used above of removing the question word (what, where, when, why, who, and how) and rearranging the word order to form a statement.
- Question: “Can you help me with this problem?”
- Statement: “You can help me with this problem.”
What we’re doing here is changing the sentence structure from interrogative to declarative.
2. Shift pronouns and subjects
Subjects are nouns or pronouns that drive the action or state of being in a sentence.
Adjusting pronouns and subjects can be a useful strategy to rephrase questions, especially when you are reporting someone else’s words or thoughts.
- Question: “Are we going to find out who is responsible for the decision?”
- Answer: “The person responsible for the decision will be revealed soon.”
3. Synonyms and paraphrasing
A fun way to rephrase questions is to flex your vocab skills – or your online Thesaurus – combined with some smart paraphrasing. Paraphrasing involves rewording a sentence or a passage to express the same meaning in a different way.
Changing the word order, simplifying complex terms, and using synonyms are all paraphrasing hacks.
Complete sentences can be rewritten while retaining the original idea.
- Question: “What steps should we take to address workplace safety?”
- Statement: “Addressing on-the-job safety involves taking specific measures”.
A great paraphrasing resource is the Smodin AI Paraphrasing Tool, which allows you to change a sentence without altering its meaning.
4. Change verb forms
Verb forms are the different ways that verbs can change to show tense, mood, or voice. Verb forms used in questions are often different from those used in statements. When questioning, we often use auxiliary or helping verbs (do, have, be).
Adjusting the verb form (tense) can change the query from: “Did he complete the project?” to: “He completed the project.”
When reframing a sentence, check if it has any helping verbs (e.g. has, have, had).
- Question: “Has the influencer received much abuse?”
- Statement: “The influencer has received much abuse”.
5. Apply inversion
Inversion involves changing the word order of a sentence, typically by placing the auxiliary verb before the subject.
- Question: “Is she presenting her research findings tomorrow?”
- Rephrased statement: “Her research findings will be presented tomorrow.”
6. Use modal verbs
Can, could, may, might, must, should, will, or would are all modal verbs. Modal verbs are words used to express possibility, permission, obligation, or ability. Replacing question words with modal verbs creates a statement that indicates uncertainty or probability.
- Question: “Why do people dream?”
- Statement with a modal verb: “People might dream because of various psychological and neurological factors.”
7. Combine sentences
Another trick is to combine the question and its answer into a single statement. We do this by using a conjunction (and, but, or, because) or a punctuation mark (such as a comma) to connect the two sentences.
- Question: “Why are you late?”
- Answer: “I missed the bus.”
- Statement: “I’m late because I missed the bus.”
Common Mistakes When Rephrasing Questions
Turning statements into questions into statements sounds easy, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, there are a few banana peels out there.
Let’s spotlight the common mistakes people make when reframing questions and discuss how to avoid slipping up.
Changing the meaning
One of the most common errors is unintentionally changing the meaning of the original question. It’s important that you fully understand the question before reframing it. You don’t want your statement to bring in new or contradictory information or omit vital details.
Preserving the intended meaning is paramount. This may mean using many of the same words – and that’s okay.
After rephrasing, edit and sense check to ensure that everything aligns.
Be careful about rephrasing only part of the sentence and leaving part of it in a question format. This will create a muddled hybrid of a sentence.
Forgetting pronoun changes
Pronouns must agree with the nouns they refer to. Neglecting to change pronouns to match the new sentence structure may cause confusion. Be sure to button down your pronouns and use them clearly and consistently throughout your text.
Getting the verb wrong
Verb forms may need to be adjusted to match the subject and tense. Grammar gets mangled when you change: “Did it rain yesterday?” to: “It rain yesterday.”
Follow the basic rules of English language verb agreement and tense consistency to avoid such missteps. And on that note, let’s be thankful that English has fewer rules than most other languages!
Most of us have used verbose, overly complex, or inappropriate synonyms when adapting a piece of writing at some point or another. Before we know it, we’ve produced a screed of word salad.
To avoid this, aim for clarity, and focus on retaining the original meaning.
Ignoring context and tone
Failure to recognize context has caused many a communication bungle. Always consider the context, purpose, and tone of your communication to ensure the rephrased statement aligns appropriately.
Benefits Of Turning Questions Into Statements
A confident understanding of framing questions as statements can be super helpful for many reasons, including:
- Improved written and verbal skills: Rephrasing a sentence can improve clarity, conciseness, and effective expression of ideas.
- Effective exam prep: Traditional exams are usually about understanding a question, interrogating it, and formulating the appropriate response. Mastering the relationship between a question and a statement can only benefit anyone tackling comprehension questions.
- Research paper and thesis: Imagine your research question is: “Do students who attend more lectures get better exam results?” This may inform the hypothesis: “Students who attend more lectures have higher exam scores than students who attend fewer lectures.”The question-statement relationship is very relevant in any exercise presenting arguments or stating hypotheses.
- Clear communication in group projects: When working on group assignments, you need to convey every idea clearly to team members. Rephrasing questions into statements can support effective group communication and avoid misunderstandings. It may also save time since the group can jump right into the information provided.
- Improved critical thinking: The process of transforming questions into statements forces you to think critically about the content and structure of the information.
- Preventing plagiarism: Rephrasing questions into statements requires you to internalize and express information in your own words. This invariably reduces the likelihood of plagiarism – and to guard against it even more, Smodin’s All-in-One Writing Essentials tool aids in plagiarism prevention.
Relevance Of Restating Questions In Different Contexts
Turning questions into statements is a skill that serves several different settings. With this skill in your toolkit, you can expect communication wins across the board:
- Academic writing: Academic writing demands clear, concise, and authoritative expression of ideas, arguments, and information. Restating questions serves this purpose well.
- Public speaking: Turning questions into statements is an effective way to engage and captivate an audience. Statements are more compelling and authoritative, and good orators often lean into them to reinforce arguments persuasively.
- Interviews: Using statements in place of questions during an interview can convey expertise, control, and assurance. You might state: “I have to give my current employer a month’s notice; I trust we can work around that time frame,” rather than simply ask: “When do you need me to start the job?”
- Everyday communications: Rephrasing questions as statements during casual conversation has been known to avoid an interrogating tone. For example, there may be circumstances where: “What did you do today?” sounds more approachable when phrased as: “I’d love to hear how your day went”.
- Formal correspondence: In today’s fast-paced business environment, professional communication is all about efficiency – ie: cutting through the clutter. For instance, the stated request: “Please provide additional details on the project timeline,” is more efficient than asking: “Could you please provide more details on the project timeline?”
- Problem-solving: Rephrasing questions into statements can make it easier to break down complex ideas and arrive at solutions.
When writing paragraphs on any topic, the ability to keep the flow fresh and interesting is a sure way to keep your readers engaged whatever your school year. Rephrasing questions as statements is one trick to achieve this.
Sometimes, you just can’t find the perfect pitch. This is where Smodin’s suite of services, from research and writing to feedback and ideation, is an invaluable resource. Smodin’s tools will also gladly rephrase questions as statements for you, too!