A paraphrase is a rewording of something written or spoken by someone else. A paraphrase should be true to the original authors idea, but is rewritten in your own words and sentence structure. Paraphrasing can be tricky. You need to make sure that you don’t copy the original author’s style or wording.

How to paraphrase

-Read the source carefully. It is essential that you understand it fully.
Identify the main point(s) and key words.
-Cover the original text and rewrite it in your own words. Check that you have included the main points and essential information.
-Write the paraphrase in your own style. Consider each point; how could you rephrase it?
-Meaning: ensure that you keep the original meaning and maintain the same relationship between main ideas and supporting points.
-Use synonyms (words or expression which have a similar meaning) where appropriate. Key words that are specialised subject vocabulary do not need to be changed.
-If you want to retain unique or specialist phrases, use quotation marks (“ “).
-Change the grammar and sentence structure. Break up a long sentence into two shorter ones or combine two short sentences into one. Change the voice (active/passive) or change word forms (e.g. nouns, adjectives).
-Change the order in which information/ ideas are presented (as long as they still make sense in a different order).
-Review your paraphrase checking that it accurately reflects the original text but is in your words and style.

When to paraphrase

Paraphrase short sections of work only; a sentence or two or a short paragraph.

-As an alternative to a direct quotation.
-To rewrite someone else’s ideas without changing the meaning.
-To express someone else’s ideas in your own words.
-To support claims in, or provide evidence for, your writing.

For more on paraphrasing, check the following video:

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