How to paraphrase in your paper

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Paraphrasing can be simply considered as the act of rewording of what was said or written in another source. In other words, it is the statement of what the original author said using your own terms yet maintaining the original idea and point of view as well as giving credit to the original author by citing them. There are certain useful tips that if followed appropriately, could certainly boost your paraphrasing ability. The following tips give an insight into the inner structure of a paraphrase.

Rules of Thumb for Successful Paraphrasing

  1. Form of the paraphrased version

Paraphrasing should never be mistaken for summarizing. In the former, the number of words may be lengthened accordingly; in the latter, it has better be shortened. Hence, expanding slightly upon the original version is highly recommended. It enriches the overall explication of the author’s point of view.

  1. Simplicity

As a matter of fact, using a complicated bunch of words is more likely to take out the essence of the original source and eventually to disengage the reader. The wording and diction have to be within the scope of the semantic field of the original version at the terminological level. For instance, if the author’s language is modern, it should not be paraphrased into Old English using complex lexis. The paraphrased version has to sound reader-friendly and understandable.

  1. Paraphrase the author’s opinion, not yours!

Paraphrasing does not only merely mean rewording the original text differently. It also means paraphrasing the original author’s point of view. It is so easy to alter the author’s opinion when paraphrasing through the use of certain adverbs like ‘completely’, ‘firmly’, ‘considerably’ or certain reporting verbs such as ‘argue’,‘condemn’, or ‘say’, and so on. Maintaining the accuracy of the author’s attitude and belief is an ethical requirement that has better be respected for the sake of honesty.

  1. Avoid intentional and unintentional plagiarism
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Authorship attribution is a main issue in the academic literature that is called into play through the ineffective paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting. As for the former, it should observe the attribution of all the content to the original author. Therefore, the paraphrased text has to give credit to the author through citing their name and publication date. In order to avoid unintentional plagiarism it is recommended to use double quotation marks around the author’s words whenever they are kept in their original form. Additionally, you should use single quotation marks around the words that the original author quoted from another author in their speech, according to the APA style.

  1. Vocabulary

It should be noted that paraphrasing is by no means a mere group of synonyms put together. Yet, synonyms could be helpful if they are carefully handled. However, the paraphrased version should not be reduced to a simplistic piece of work that is void of essence. Equivalent terms are useful provided that they maintain the coherence of the internal meaningfulness of the text.

  1. The linguistic configuration

Effective paraphrasing includes the variation of the sentence structures. Keeping the exact sentence form of the original version might seem awkward and inefficient. Changing the order of words and statements in a strategic way that preserves the original meaning is a clever tip. Indeed, if a paragraph is made up of long complex sentences, one can restructure them in a different way through moving the subordinate clauses and the main clauses to varied positions in the sentence as long as the grammaticality is observed. Adverbs could also take different positions in the sentence. Adjectives that are post-modifiers can be reformulated into compound adjectives, for example. As such the paraphrased version develops its own structure.

  1. Rewrite
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Paraphrasing is not a single-phase operation. It requires writing and rewriting to make sure that it fulfills the requirements of effective paraphrasing. The first writing phase usually includes synonyms of the original author’s words, the second one may include more attention to the structuring of the sentences, and the subsequent ones maybe done to enhance the general form and content of the text through paying attention to the adequacy of terms, coordinators, mechanics, etc.

  1. Reread and scrutinize the meaning

Re-reading is of utmost importance to producing a high-quality paraphrased version. It is an indispensable way to guarantee that the authentic meaning of the original source is not flouted. While you re-read, you should make sure that you check the meaning.

  1. Page number

Adding the page number to the paraphrased text is not mandatory in the APA style, but if you do, you would help your audience locate the original version.

Are There Any Useful Online Sources ?

Learning how to paraphrase is neither simple nor simplistic, but it’s not impossible. There are many online sources that can guide you through the process. For example, such a website as GoParaphrase is a tool to paraphrase in a quick yet efficient way. This source website seems to be an interesting online source for adequate sentence paraphrasing.

Kibin website offers a comprehensive account of how to paraphrase using compensatory strategies, as it points at the importance of not leaving out elements relevant to the original text. Moreover, according to Plagiarism, a well-done paraphrasing should maintain the original idea of the original author yet express it in other words without overlooking thorough citation.

In this context, writers at WriteMyEssay recommend that the paraphrased version needs to be informative and comprehensive; hence, it should not alter the original point of view. Thus, there should be a line between a summary and a paraphrase supporting the explanation with concrete examples of paraphrase.

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All of the previously-mentioned online sources are crucial to the understanding of paraphrase mechanisms; therefore, they are worth exploring.

Paraphrase Examples

Example 1

  • “Question forms in their social context, however, may exhibit functions which can be described in ways other than doing questioning. In fact, a form may realize multiple functions which accomplish a speaker’s goals in interaction” (Weber, 1993, p. 91).
  • Weber (1993) held that apart from questioning, interrogative structures may perform different social actions. The interactant’s conversational purposes may be fulfilled by various dialog acts performed by one structure (p. 91).

Example 2

  • “to control the witness’s answers you need to control your questions” (Mauet, 2005, p. 218).
  • Mauet (2005) maintained that in order to hold sway over the responses of the witness you have to master your “questions” (p. 218).

Example 3

  • “Language itself changes slowly, but the Internet has speeded up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly”. David Crystal
  • According to David Crystal, the Internet has accelerated the course of language variations that they have grown easily noticeable, yet, indeed, language develops at a slow pace (David Crystal, n.d.).


To sum up, the essay at hand has delved deeper into the main rules governing the paraphrasing process. Such tips as the structuring of sentences, rewriting, rereading, maintaining the original author’s point of view, and so on are ubiquitous to the development of paraphrasing skills. A good paraphrased version is the reflection of a keen essay writer who is aware of the crux of the matter when it comes to paraphrasing.



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