Thank you to all the posters who responded to the original thread i suggested. I am yet to finish reading them all, but so far you've provided me with invaluable guidance, books recommendations, ideas.. I am indebted to you all. Thank you so very much, you are all wonderful people and I am so grateful there are mediums like this where people are happy to help and offer advice and guidance.
I have now purchased a number of books, dictionaries, editing software, etc and I have found many websites that offer assistance.

On such site is:
http://writing.colostate.edu/references/sources/working/pop8.cfm

An excerpt from the latter site:
"Paraphrasing Accurately

It is particularly important when paraphrasing to be sure that you do not distort the meaning of the original statement. The wording you choose must convey the same idea to your reader that the original language would have. Thus, effective paraphrasing requires careful attention to the nuances of a word's meaning. Accurate paraphrasing will indicate to your readers that you are respectful of the source material, understand its meaning, and are conducting honest, reputable scholarship. Inaccurate paraphrasing may lead at best to the impression you do not understand the original statement, and at worst to charges that you are trying to manipulate the original passage's meaning to fit your own purposes".
I have been doing some reading and realise that it will take months of practice, but following some of the guidelines I have read, what are your thoughts of my rendition of this paragraph?
From 'Equity, Doctrines and Remedies (by Meagher, Gummow & Lehane", pg 3:

"Equity can be described but not defined. It is the body of law developed by the Court of Chancery in England before 1873. Its justification was that it corrected, supplemented and amended the common law. It softened and modified many of the injustices in common law, and provided remedies where at law they were either inadequate or non-existant". (58 words)
Here's my attempt to summarise/paraphrase this paragraph in MY OWN WORDS. What are your thoughts? It took me HOURS. I used a thesaurus and found the word "germinate", but I really don't know if I have used it correctly.
My attempt:
Equity, a set of laws, germinated in England to improve the rigidity of the common law. (16 words)
Or is this better?:
Equity evolved in the Court of Chancery to improve the harshness of the common law. (15 words)
Which of these do you think comes closer to 'plain simple English'?

Has my first attempt been successful? Any comments or advice? Everyday I'm going to read a passage from an article and re-word it in my own words, summarising/paraphrasing so that the original meaning is retained and not lost.
1 2
I have been doing some reading and realise that it will take months of practice, but following some of the ... the harshness of the common law. (15 words) Which of these do you think comes closer to 'plain simple English'?

You may have missed these items:

1. Equity concerns only property law.
2. Equity law is not "a set of laws" but a reformprinciple bearing on all (property) laws.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Inquisitive wrote on 15 Jan 2005:
Thank you to all the posters who responded to the original thread i suggested. I am yet to finish reading ... My attempt: Equity, a set of laws, germinated in England to improve the rigidity of the common law. (16 words)

"Germinated" doesn't work here. There is no reason to use this biological metaphor when the standard, simple, clear, and direct biological metaphors of "developed" and "evolved" exist. There is no need to change the main verb.
Or is this better?: Equity evolved in the Court of Chancery to improve the harshness of the common law. (15 words)

This is much better, it seems to me. Much clearer. And it's more specific, as it should be, because you replaced "England" with "the Court of Chancery".
Which of these do you think comes closer to 'plain simple English'?

The second.
Has my first attempt been successful? Any comments or advice?

Very good, but there are a couple of problems, IMHO. In addition to those I've already mentioned, I think that "to improve the harshness of the common law" doesn't work either. You might say "to ease the injustices and inadequacies of English common law". That is more specific and summarizes what the original paragraph mentions. I added "English" because you have omitted any reference to where equity law developed, which I think is also an oversight.
Taking your better effort, I might change it to read this way:

"Equity law, developed in England's Court of Chancery, eased injustices and inadequacies in common law." (15 words) "Inadequacies" could certainly be replaced by "omissions".
Everyday I'm going to read a passage from an article and re-word it in my own words, summarising/paraphrasing so that the original meaning is retained and not lost.

Good idea, but forget about the thesaurus unless you use it to jog your memory for simkple, clear, and everyday words that have momentarily escaped you.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Don Phillipson wrote on 15 Jan 2005:
I have been doing some reading and realise that it ... these do you think comes closer to 'plain simple English'?

You may have missed these items: 1. Equity concerns only property law.

It doesn't say that in the paragraph he summarized. Therefore, he couldn't have missed it any more than I missed it. You didn't "miss it" only because you knew it before you read the paragraph and so read it into that paragraph.
This criticism is not reasonable.
2. Equity law is not "a set of laws" but a reform principle bearing on all (property) laws.

Once again you are interpolating what you know into what has not been said in the paragraph the OP summarized. If you look at the second sentence in the above paragraph, the original author claims that "equity" is "a body of law", from which it is reasonable to infer that it is a "set of laws" raqther than merely "a reform principle".

This is another unreasonable criticism of the OP's summary. He claimed to be summarizing the paragraph, not the entire chapter or what he might have learned about equity by looking it up in some other source.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
On 15 Jan 2005 15:38:49 GMT, CyberCypher
Don Phillipson wrote on 15 Jan 2005:

You may have missed these items: 1. Equity concerns only property law.

It doesn't say that in the paragraph he summarized. Therefore, he couldn't have missed it any more than I missed ... you knew it before you read the paragraph and so read it into that paragraph. This criticism is not reasonable.

Nor correct. For example, the injunction is an equitable remedy, unknown to the common law.
2. Equity law is not "a set of laws" but a reform principle bearing on all (property) laws.

Once again you are interpolating what you know into what has not been said in the paragraph the OP summarized. ... from which it is reasonable to infer that it is a "set of laws" raqther than merely "a reform principle".

Which it is.
This is another unreasonable criticism of the OP's summary. He claimed to be summarizing the paragraph, not the entire chapter or what he might have learned about equity by looking it up in some other source.

And getting it wrong.

Don Aitken
Mail to the addresses given in the headers is no longer being read. To mail me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com".
Thank you to all the posters who responded to the original thread i suggested. I am yet to finish reading ... I used a thesaurus and found the word "germinate", but I really don't know if I have used it correctly.

"Germinated" is probably inappropriate here. "Developed" might have done better.
My attempt: Equity, a set of laws, germinated in England to improve the rigidity of the common law. (16 words) Or is this better?: Equity evolved in the Court of Chancery to improve the harshness of the common law. (15 words)

Both of these suffer by suggesting that a negative feature, "rigidity" or "harshness" is "improved" by "Equity." The application of law may be improved by mitigating these.
The original passage is not really in need of paraphrase. It is so concise as to suggest that it* is a paraphrase. Although there is might be an occasional quibble about word choice, the only thing really superfluous is the first sentence. It might have served the purpose of alerting the reader that what follows is not a definition *of the sort he might expect, namely, definition by genus and differentia. But that is not true. What follows is of that form.
Consider the functions of the words in this passage: "Equity ... is the body of law"
sets the genus
"developed ..."
tells us that it was a creation
"by the Court of Chancery ..."
by a particular body
"in England ..."
in a particular place
"before 1873."
at a particular time.
"Its justification was that ..."
Justification is perhaps the wrong word here. In fact, I suspect that we are already seeing a paraphrase in which "role" and "justification" have been merged.
"it corrected, supplemented and amended the common law." Correction and supplementation are different things. They are not parallel to amendation. Yet "amended" is important, and it is important that it is the "common law" that is affected. This sentence could have been written more coherently, but only by expansion. "It softened and modified many of the injustices in common law, ..." This clarifies what kinds of correction and supplementation are involved
"and provided remedies where at law they were either inadequate or non-existant".
This is not only a standard phrase, but is in fact a commonly used one-phrase description of equity. It tells us the circumstances under which the correction and supplementation occur.
Compare this to a similar short passage by Andrew Reeve who first treated "equity" in terms of equal treatment for people similarly situated. He continues ...
"An older meaning of equity referred to the need to modify the consequences of a strict application of the law to avoid unfair or unconscionable outcomes. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, some English courts were specifically designated as 'equity' courts in contrast to those dealing with statute or common law: since 1873 all English courts are supposed to follow the legal rules of equity."
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
You may have missed these items: 1. Equity concerns only property law.

This is
(a) untrue and
(b) not in the passage quoted.
He did not miss your untrue assertion, since it was not there to be missed.
2. Equity law is not "a set of laws" but a reform principle bearing on all (property) laws.

Perhaps "set of laws" has a meaning for you that is too rigid. In fact, equity law has its own body of precedent to apply. Equity is not simply a "reform principle," but is, as Ruger Scruton puts it "a system of laws,derived partly from principles of natural justice, and partly from ... peculiar historical circumstances ..."
Your continued assertion that it applies only to property continues to be wrong unless you define property in an extremely broad way that few would recognize in normal discourse.
Most applications for injunctive relief, for example, have their basis in equity law, and need not have any relationship to property.
Perhaps "set of laws" has a meaning for you that is too rigid. In fact, equity law has its own ... applications for injunctive relief, for example, have their basis in equity law, and need not have any relationship to property.

TIMTBLFBMA!

Steny '08!
}> Perhaps "set of laws" has a meaning for you that is too rigid. In fact, }> equity law has its own body of precedent to apply. Equity is not simply }> a "reform principle," but is, as Ruger Scruton puts it "a system of }> laws,derived partly from principles of natural justice, and partly from }> ... peculiar historical circumstances ..."
}> Your continued assertion that it applies only to property continues to }> be wrong unless you define property in an extremely broad way that few }> would recognize in normal discourse.
}> Most applications for injunctive relief, for example, have their basis }> in equity law, and need not have any relationship to property. }
} TIMTBLFBMA!
TYS!

R. J. Valentine
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more