A New England Nun

Restating Ideas

When you restate, you say the same thing in different words. Try restating this passage from Moby Dick: “Having nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about and see the watery part of the world.” An accurate restatement might read like this: “Because I had little reason to stay on shore, I decided to go to sea.” Though worded differently, this sentence means about the same thing as the original.

Questions on the GED test ask you to restate an idea from a passage. To do so, put the idea in your own words. Then check its accuracy.


Shortly after they were engaged he had announced to Louisa his determination to strike out into new fields, and secure a competency before they should be married. She had listened and assented with the sweet serenity which never failed her, not even when her lover set forth on that long and uncertain journey. Joe, buoyed up as he was by his sturdy determination, broke down a little at the last, but Louisa kissed him with a mild blush, and said goodbye.

“It won’t be for long,” poor Joe had said, huskily; but it was for fourteen years.

In that length of time much had happened. Louisa’s mother and brother had died, and she was all alone in the world. But greatest happening of all-a subtle happening which both were too simple to understand-Louisa’s feet had turned into a path, smooth maybe under a calm, serene sky, but so straight and unswerving that it could only meet a check at her grave, and so narrow that there was no room for anyone at her side.

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, “A New England Nun”

  1. Which of the following best restates the first sentence? Soon after they were engaged, Joe told Louisa that he
  • wanted to work in the oil fields
  • wanted to travel before marrying
  • was too po~r to get married
  • didn’t feel he would make a competent husband
  • wouldn’t marry till he was established in a new career
  1. Which of the following best restates the central idea of the last paragraph?
  • Louisa grew so used to living alone she no longer was interested in marrying.
  • After her family died, Louisa left home to strike out on her own.
  • Louisa’s only goal in life is to walk down the aisle with Joe.
  • Waiting so long for Joe to return made Louisa bitter.
  • While Waiting for Joe, Louisa grew ill and is now near death.