Reading and Understanding Medical Texts – Paraphrasing Exercise

You will find six definitions below which relate to allergic conditions. Try to follow the steps outlined above as you paraphrase these sentences. You may choose to change the level of language – just make sure you are consistent. This means that for the purpose of this exercise you should avoid combining high level language with very simple terms.

Possible answers are provided to guide you but, again, there could be many suitable responses. Don’t feel obliged to change every word and change the grammatical structure of the sentence if you wish.

You will find some possible answers at the bottom of this page


  1. An allergy is an altered reaction of body tissue to a substance that produces no effect upon a non-sensitive person.
  2. Some people have food allergies and these are likely to cause skin rashes.
  3. Others are allergic to airborne particles (inhalants such as dust or pollen).
  4. Allergies to specific drugs are also common.
  5. Sometimes allergic reactions can be severe and lead to medical emergencies, especially if they interfere with breathing.
  6. Of course, the best way to control an allergic condition is to avoid contact with the antigen, if possible.

Source: Tiersky, E.M. (1992) The Language of Medicine in English, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, pp. 39-44.

Possible answers

  1. An allergy is a changed response of body tissue to matter that causes no result upon someone who is not sensitive.
  2. Some human beings are sensitive to food and are prone to skin complaints as a result.
  3. Other people are sensitive to specks carried in the air (things we breathe in, for example dust or pollen).
  4. Reactions to particular medicines occur frequently as well.
  5. From time to time responses to allergens may be very serious bring about health crises, particularly if they negatively affect respiration.
  6. It goes without saying that the most effective approach to managing an allergic condition is to steer clear of contact with the antigen if you can.