How to Paraphrase a Paragraph

This article covers,

1. What is Paraphrasing?
           – Definition and Meaning
2. How to Paraphrase a Paragraph?
           – Reading
           – Writing from memory
           – Changing the words
           – Creating new structure
3. Examples of Paraphrasing

What is Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing involves re-wording a set of facts or opinions. In other words, paraphrasing is saying what someone else said in your own words. Paraphrasing is different from summarizing and quoting. Summarizing involves expressing the main idea of the text in brief and quoting involves using identical wording from the original source. Paraphrasing can help to understand and clarify a text better.

How to Paraphrase a Paragraph

Read Carefully

Before start paraphrasing, read the paragraph carefully. Make sure you understand the meaning of the whole paragraph. If there are words and expressions you don’t understand, find their meanings in a dictionary.

Write from Memory

Take a piece of paper, and write the information you read from the original source, without looking at it. Once you have finished writing, check the original paragraph to see whether you have missed any information. Add this information in your own words. If you have used the same words used in the original paragraph, replace them with similar words.How to Paraphrase a Paragraph

Change the Words

You should always change the original words when you paraphrase. If you do not know similar words, you can check for synonyms in a dictionary. But, make sure the words you use have the same meaning as the original word. But remember, the main words, which convey the main ideas, in the paragraph cannot be changed.

Create Your Own Syntax

Paraphrasing is not just about rewriting a text in your own words; it also involves using new syntax and structure. Syntax refers to the structure of a sentence. For example,

Constantine John Phipps was the first to describe the polar bear as a distinct species in 1774.

In 1774 Constantine John Phipps described the polar bear as a distinct species.

The polar bears were described as a distinct species in 1974 by Constantine John Phipps.

Mention the Source

Even though the passage you have rewritten contains your own words, the information contained in it belonged to someone else. Using this information without mentioning the source of information can be considered as a form of plagiarism.

Examples of Paraphrase

1. “For a moment, I wondered how different my life would have been had they been my parents, but I shook the thought away. I knew my father had done the best he could, and I had no regrets about the way I’d turned out. Regrets about the journey, maybe, but not the destination.” – Nicholas Sparks


“Although I imagined briefly how strange my whole life would have been if I was born their child, I didn’t let that thought wander. I was sure my dad had put in his best efforts. In fact, I wasn’t unhappy with my life. I may not like the way I reached here, but I am happy I have reached this point in life.”

2. “Even if the meaning is not changed, bad punctuation, however inconsequential, can cause the reader to lose track of what is being said and give up reading a sentence.”  – Associated Press Style Book (2002) Edited by Norm Goldstein

“Incorrect punctuation may not always result in changes of meanings, but even a small error in punctuation can make it difficult for the reader to understand what is being said. This will make him stop reading the sentence.”

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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