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Examples of Paraphrasing Without Plagiarizing
Paraphrasing involves taking a passage — either spoken or written — and rewording it. Writers often paraphrase sentences and paragraphs to deliver information in a more concise way, as you'll see in the examples below. When paraphrasing, it is important to keep the original meaning so that the facts remain intact. Basically, you are writing something in your own words that still expresses the original idea.
Paraphrasing is common when writing an essay or research paper. It allows you to explain important ideas in your own writing style and focus on the information that is most useful in making your point. Even when you put someone else's ideas into your own words, you must cite the source of your information. This gives credit to the original author for their ideas.
Paraphrasing is slightly different than summarizing . When you summarize a passage, you focus on restating only the main idea in your own words. Paraphrasing, on the other hand, aims to provide most of the information in a slightly condensed form. Summaries are much shorter than the original passage, while paraphrasing can be shorter, longer or the same length.
Sometimes you only need to paraphrase the information from one sentence. Here are some examples of paraphrasing individual sentences:
- Original : Her life spanned years of incredible change for women as they gained more rights than ever before. Paraphrase: She lived through the exciting era of women's liberation.
- Original : Giraffes like Acacia leaves and hay, and they can consume 75 pounds of food a day. Paraphrase : A giraffe can eat up to 75 pounds of Acacia leaves and hay daily.
- Original : Any trip to Italy should include a visit to Tuscany to sample the region's exquisite wines. Paraphrase : Be sure to make time for a Tuscan wine-tasting experience when visiting Italy.
- Original : Symptoms of influenza include fever and nasal congestion. Paraphrase : A stuffy nose and elevated temperature are signs you may have the flu.
- Original : The price of a resort vacation typically includes meals, tips and equipment rentals, which makes your trip more cost-effective. Paraphrase : All-inclusive resort vacations can make for an economical trip.
- Original : He has tons of stuff to throw away. Paraphrase : He needs to get rid of a lot of junk.
Paraphrasing a longer passage can take a little more effort, as you have to ensure it is different enough from the original to be classed as your own work.
Here is an example of paraphrasing a paragraph from “Family Values and Feudal Codes: The Social Politics of America’s Twenty-First Century Gangster.” Journal of Popular Culture 37.4 (2004) by Ingrid Field Walker, taken from Duke University Libraries .
In The Sopranos , the mob is besieged as much by inner infidelity as it is by the federal government. Early in the series, the greatest threat to Tony's Family is his own biological family. One of his closest associates turns witness for the FBI, his mother colludes with his uncle to contract a hit on Tony, and his kids click through Web sites that track the federal crackdown in Tony's gangland.
In the first season of The Sopranos , Tony Soprano’s mobster activities are more threatened by members of his biological family than by agents of the federal government. This familial betrayal is multi-pronged. Tony’s closest friend and associate is an FBI informant, his mother and uncle are conspiring to have him killed, and his children are surfing the Web for information about his activities.
The main point of this passage is that problems within the family are as bad as, if not worse than, problems caused by the federal government. Details about this betrayal include someone close turning informant, a hit being put out on Tony by family members, and Tony’s kids tracking his activities. As you can see, the main idea and important details are included in the paraphrased version, though the wording is quite different.
Here is a summary of some of the main changes made during the paraphrasing process:
- Early in the series = first season
- Greatest threat = more threatened
- One of his closest associates = closest friend and associate
- His mother colludes with his uncle = his mother and uncle are conspiring
- His kids click through Web sites = his children are surfing the Web
There is a fine line between plagiarism and paraphrasing. If the wording, or even the sentence structure , of the paraphrased text is too close to the wording of the original content, it will look like you are trying to pass off someone else's words as your own. This is plagiarism, which is unethical and even illegal in some cases. The main ideas need to come through, but the wording has to be your own.
If you don't think you can paraphrase a sentence or passage and have the meaning come across as clearly, you can use the original author's exact words if you put them in quotation marks. You will also need to identify the source of the material by giving the author's name. For example:
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
In this example, Dr. King's exact words are quoted, and he is given credit for them in the sentence.
If you choose to paraphrase information and put it into your own words instead, you will still need to give credit to the original author for ideas that are unique and not common knowledge. For example:
- According to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the economy is doing well based on GDP and falling unemployment.
In this case, the writer put Paul Krugman's ideas into their own words, but still gave credit for them by naming him as the source. This is required when the ideas aren't considered general knowledge available to all. Because Krugman is an expert in economics, these ideas are his and should be cited as such.
On the other hand, common facts like historical dates and basic information do not need to be cited. For example, you would not need to find an encyclopedia article to back you up if you wrote that the Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3, 1863, or that the earth revolves around the sun. These are well-known facts accepted by all and do not require sources.
When writing a report or a research paper, you'll need to master paraphrasing to present relevant information in a clear, concise way. Practice putting facts and figures into your own words, and be sure to cite sources in the format required by your instructor, and you'll have no trouble getting your point across without worrying about plagiarism.
Now you know how to successfully paraphrase, we can show you how to correctly cite your sources with some bibliography examples .
Paraphrase in a Sentence 🔊
Definition of Paraphrase
to take someone else’s words or writing and restate it
Examples of Paraphrase in a sentence
When you paraphrase the work, make sure that you clarify any confusing parts. 🔊
Forgetting to paraphrase, the student was reprimanded for quoting the original work without citing the source. 🔊
The speaker’s botched attempt to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech left the crowd bewildered. 🔊
Since he couldn’t paraphrase the work in his own words, the author decided to start fresh. 🔊
The woman tried to paraphrase the conversation from memory but couldn’t remember the key points. 🔊
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Paraphrasing Examples: Top 5 Ways to Use Paraphrasing
Study these 5 paraphrasing examples to learn how to paraphrase when writing research papers and essays.
When writing a research paper or other project, you often need to work with other people’s writing. While you could easily put together a piece using many direct quotations, learning how to take someone else’s work and paraphrase it in your own words is valuable in your writing toolbox.
A good paraphrase keeps the author’s main ideas intact but says them differently. It shows that you have fully understood the information and can rephrase it to fit your overall piece’s writing style and tone.
As you learn to paraphrase, remember that you must still cite the original author. Unless the idea you are referencing is common knowledge in the field you are writing about, you must tell where the idea came from. In-text citations , as well as a bibliography page, are both essential.
As you consider how to change the wording of the original piece to fit your writing, looking at different paraphrasing examples will help you get a feel for what this rewriting looks like.
1. Paraphrasing Sentences by Changing Verb Tense
2. paraphrasing sentences by using synonyms, 3. paraphrasing an original work by changing the writing style, 4. paraphrasing paragraphs, 5. paraphrasing an entire work.
One way to paraphrase is to change the verb tense of the source material. For example, if it is written in passive voice, you could change it to active voice. If written in the past tense, you could change it to present or future tense.
Here are some examples:
- Original: Giraffes will eat Acacia leaves and hay, eating up to 75 pounds a day. (future tense)
- Paraphrase: A giraffe eats up to 75 pounds daily, including Acacia leaves and hay. (present tense)
- Original: Influenza can cause a runny nose and fever. (active voice)
- Paraphrase: People with influenza have experienced fevers and runny noses. (passive voice)
Changing the tense of the verbs may be all you need to do to adjust the sentence enough for it to be a paraphrase.
Another way to paraphrase your original passage for your research paper is to use synonyms for words. This will convey the same meaning without using the original author’s exact words. Remember that you still need to provide a citation using MLA or APA formatting to avoid plagiarism if the idea is the same as the source, but using synonyms is a great restatement option. Here are some examples:
- Original: In Santiago, COVID-19 dealt the hardest blow to people with low socioeconomic status, because of factors such as crowded households, a lack of health care, and an inability to work from home.
- Paraphrase: Because few people could telecommute, medical care was hard to get, and homes were crowded with people, the coronavirus pandemic hurt Santiago’s poorer people worse than other economic groups.
- Original: Paul McCrory, a prominent researcher whose work on concussions has shaped much of the sporting world’s current policies on diagnosing and treating head injuries, resigned March 5 from his role as chair of the Concussion in Sport Group following allegations of plagiarism.
- Paraphrase: Paul McCrory, concussion researcher who put a lot of work into the athletic world’s policies on head injury diagnostics and treatment, left his position as head of the Concussion in Sport Group on March 5 after accusations of plagiarism.
As long as the source is properly cited, these are appropriate paraphrases in academic writing.
Sometimes the goal of paraphrasing is to improve the accessibility of the work. You can take a scientific research study, for instance, and boil it down into its main points, using a more accessible tone and writing style in your own words to present the information. Again, as long as you use the APA pr MLA format to cite the paraphrased text, you can use this technique to present ideas in your writing.
- Original: When we go to the zoo, we may see penguins if the exhibit is open.
- Paraphrase: If the penguin house is open, we may be able to observe the birds on our visit to the zoo.
- Original: Many people reported symptoms of anxiety after the terrorist attack.
- Paraphrase: The terrorist attack caused anxiety symptoms in a number of the people.
- Original: For example, one study showed that food insufficiency was independently associated with all symptoms of poor mental health, but that association was mitigated for those who received free groceries or meals.
- Paraphrase: People who do not have enough to eat may struggle with their mental health, but free groceries or meals can help limit this problem.
These examples keep the sentence’s meaning but change the writing style to make it the writer’s own.
When you need to paraphrase an entire paragraph, you will likely use a combination of these techniques to rewrite the passage in your own words. Keep in mind that without citation, this is still considered plagiarism. Here are some examples:
- Original: The adolescent finds himself faced with multiple questions, contradictory demands, and ideas, which force him to deal with multiple conflicts, especially in light of physical, mental, social, psychological, emotional, and family changes. If these changes are negative, it will result in the failure of the adolescent to successfully form his identity, in addition to facing many problems such as social role disorder, identity confusion, or the adoption of negative identity, harming the adolescent’s life and future.
- Paraphrase: According to a 2021 Heliyon study, teenagers often face questions of identity, and they can have conflicting ideas about who they are and where they fit in society. The changes they face as they grow and develop, if they are negative, can cause them to have a poor identity formation. This problem can lead to challenges as the adolescent grows into adulthood.
- Original: In the immediate wake of a traumatic experience, large numbers of affected people report distress, including new or worsening symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Most people will recover, though that recovery can take some time. A notable fraction of people will develop chronic symptoms severe enough to meet criteria for a mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depressive disorder.
- Paraphrase: The National Institutes of Health warms that a traumatic experience, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, will cause a large number of mental health problems. People often report their symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, getting worse. Though recovery happens for many, it does take time, and some people will have problems like PTSD or major depressive disorder that require mental health treatment.
In these examples, the paraphrased writing seems easier for the average reader to understand, with less industry-specific jargon.
Finally, you can paraphrase an entire work by boiling its main points into a more concise format. If you shorten the work significantly, you are summarizing, not paraphrasing. However, this idea deserves a spot on this list because it is a way to use a source in your writing without using direct quotes. Here are some examples:
- Original: The first book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
- Paraphrase: In this classic piece of children’s literature, a young boy wizard named Harry must go to battle against an enemy, Voldemort, who has been trying to kill him since birth.
- Original: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- Paraphrase: Two star-crossed lovers from opposing families try to find a life together, only to end in tragic death because of their warring families.
When paraphrasing in this way, you can cite by stating the name of the work and the author at the beginning of the passage, then including the work on your bibliography page.
To learn more about paraphrasing, check out our guide on plagiarism vs. paraphrasing .
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10 Examples of Paraphrasing for a Smarter, Better Essay
We all know that when you write a research paper, you need evidence to support your arguments.
That means you throw in a few quotes to prove to your professor that you’ve actually used sources to help write your paper, right?
Sure, it’s important to add some quotes, but too many quotes can mean that your paper turns into one long quotation from other people, leaving no room for your own words.
If your paper turns into one big quote, you’re not even writing the paper. You’re just copying other people’s words. While that may seem like the easy way out, you won’t earn a good grade by doing this.
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After all, your assignment is to write a paper, not copy and paste a paper.
Instead of copying a bunch of quotes to prove that you’ve done your research, try paraphrasing.
When you paraphrase, you’ll include information from sources in your own words, so your professors will still know you’re using sources, but you won’t have to quote everything.
To learn more, keep reading, as this blog post explains the do’s and don’ts of paraphrasing and includes 10 examples of paraphrasing for a smarter, better essay.
What is Paraphrasing?
Contrary to what you might think, paraphrasing is not simply changing a few words.
Yes, in order to paraphrase, you will need to change words, but you just can’t change the word “gathering” to “party” and call it a paraphrase.
A properly written paraphrase expresses the ideas of a source or passage in your own words and sentence structure.
Remember, you’re writing a paper for your class, so you should still use formal, academic language . Don’t use slang or jargon.
Isn’t a Paraphrase Just Like a Summary?
No. A summary is a shortened version of a piece of writing. It is written in your own words and includes only the key points of the writing . A summary is much shorter than the original source.
A paraphrase is similar to a summary because you are rewriting the source in your own words. They key difference is that paraphrases include both key points and subpoints. Because a paraphrase includes detailed information it can sometimes be as long (if not longer) than the original source.
In either case, it’s important to keep the meaning of the original source. You can’t leave out words or add words to make the source fit into your paper if it changes the meaning .
Do I Have to Cite a Paraphrase?
Yes. Always. There’s no question as to whether you should or shouldn’t cite. Always cite a paraphrase.
When you paraphrase, you’re rewriting someone else’s words into your own words. You’re essentially using someone else’s ideas in your paper.
If you claim the information as your own (which is what you do if you don’t cite a paraphrase) you’re plagiarizing.
And, of course, plagiarism means you’ll fail the paper and may even get kicked out of school!
How Do I Paraphrase?
First read the source carefully so you actually know what it means. You can’t use it as a source if you don’t understand it.
Next find the part of the source you want to paraphrase. You’re not rewriting the entire source in your paper, so don’t paraphrase much more than a paragraph.
Finally, and pay attention to this step because it’s important, set the source aside.
Write your paraphrase without looking at the original source. This will help you write in your own words and help you resist the temptation to use the wording and sentence structure of the original source.
Need some help putting this into practice? Read the examples below to learn what you should and shouldn’t do when paraphrasing.
10 Examples of Paraphrasing to Help Your Essay
Example paraphrase 1. “police: man breaks into austin meat business, naps”.
Original source: “AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police have arrested a 28-year-old man who they say broke into an Austin business, stole a couple of sausages and fell asleep.”
This paraphrase uses original wording and sentence structure, but it is plagiarized because it does not cite the original source.
This paraphrase includes a proper MLA in-text citation to give credit to the source.
Example Paraphrase 2. “Police: Man fled crash to avoid yelling girlfriend”
Original source: “VINELAND, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey say a man told officers he fled the scene of an auto accident because he ‘didn’t want to deal with his girlfriend yelling at him.’”
The paraphrase only changes a few words. Most of the words and sentence structure are too close to the original for this to be a good paraphrase.
Example Paraphrase 3. “Plumber Caught Dancing On The Job Has All The Fly Moves”
Original source: “The video of Topen’s dancing has racked up more than 400,000 views since it was posted on YouTube last week, and the plumber says he’s already been approached in public for his autograph.”
This paraphrase has two key problems: it doesn’t cite the original source, and it copies too much of the original wording and sentence structure.
Example Paraphrase 4. “These Are Miley Cyrus’ Crazy Dating Rules”
Original source: “According to Heat magazine, Miley has a list of intense rules for her men-to-be while out on dates. Apparently her assistant arranges what the guy must wear, do, and talk about on the date. She’s also not into flowers, so he’s banned from bringing her those.”
This isn’t even a paraphrase. It just leaves out a few words. Remember, a paraphrase must provide the same information as the original and be written in your own word choice and sentence structure.
Example Paraphrase 5. “Top 12 Bizarre Pet Accidents”
Original source: “Often, a dog will chase an animal with the focus of a heat-seeking missile. But a wheelbarrow planter was not part of Belgian sheepdog Rider’s focus. Rider collided with the wheelbarrow while the squirrel escaped up a cedar tree in Joyce Biethan’s backyard.
“He’s kind of an all-or-nothing dog and he went into ‘all,'” Biethan said. “He chased after that squirrel with total disregard of what might be in front of him.”
His collision left Rider with a broken scapula, a broken rib and a punctured lung.
“He was in so much pain that I think he just tried to lay low,” Biethan said. “He prescribed himself bedrest.”
Biethan said Rider did not need surgery and made a full recovery.”
Can you guess what’s missing from this paraphrase? Details!
The example does paraphrase some information, but it reads more like a summary, as it’s missing key details from the story.
Example Paraphrase 6. “10 Crazy Reasons People Got Rejected From College”
Original source: “College admissions officers all advise against writing a college admission essay about something that an applicant learned while stoned or drunk. “But we still get a few of those essays,” a college admissions officer tells me. “We even got the classic one about how the student, while stoned, realized that the solar system is an atom and the earth is an electron. You’ll remember, that conversation occurred in the movie Animal House .”
Remember what I said earlier about writing an accurate paraphrase? This is a good example.
This attempted paraphrase is about college admissions essays, but that’s where the accuracy stops. Make sure to read the source carefully so you paraphrase correctly.
Example Paraphrase 7. “Over-the-top international fast-food items”
Original source: “For some reason, cheese-topped donuts are quite popular in Indonesia, and in September 2013 KFC decided to get in on the action, offering a glazed donut topped with shredded Swiss and cheddar cheese.”
This example is outright plagiarism. This isn’t a paraphrase at all; it simply omits a few words.
Even though it includes a proper MLA in-text citation, it doesn’t rewrite the original using your own wording or sentence structure.
Example Paraphrase 8. “Original Batmobile, built in 1963, fetches $137,000”
Original source: “DALLAS (Reuters) – Holy Bargain, Batman! The original Batmobile fetched $137,000 at auction on Saturday, a small fraction of the $4.2 million that a buyer paid last year for another version built for the television show that aired during the 1960s.”
Here’s a case of not reading carefully!
Reread the original again. You’ll see that the paraphrase is inaccurate. The Batmobile built for the 1960’s TV show actually sold for $4.2 million.
Example Paraphrase 9. “Police: Man Swapped furniture while neighbors away”
Original source: “TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state man is accused of swapping furniture with his neighbors while they were away.
“The News Tribune reports the Lakewood man and a friend who is accused of helping him pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of residential burglary.
“Court papers say a couple who returned to their apartment Monday found their love seat, matching chair and other belongings gone. A recliner and TV stand were left in their place.
Information on a traffic ticket and pizza receipt pointed to the neighbor.
“The man told police he thought the couple had moved and abandoned their furniture. Police say he told them he was drunk when he decided to switch furniture, calling his buddy for help.”
Where do I start with the problems here?
First, there is no citation. Without the citation, the paraphrase is plagiarized.
Second, the paraphrase is too brief and does not summarize the information accurately.
While the man did switch furniture with his neighbors, it’s important to note that he did so without his neighbor’s knowledge and while he was drunk.
Example Paraphrase 10. “Man Scares off Thieves with Gun on Walker”
Original source: “A 68-year-old Gastonia man says he scared off two men in ski masks trying to break in his home with his gun he can keep on his walker. And then he taped a note to his door saying if they try to break in his house again, he will be waiting on them.”
This paraphrase uses too many of the same word choices, but it also contains another error. Simply breaking a paraphrase into multiple sentences does not mean you’re writing it in your own words.
What’s the Takeaway?
Remember these three tips to paraphrase like a pro.
- Include key points and sub-points from the original source.
- Write a paraphrase in your own words and use your own sentence structure.
- Always cite a paraphrase.
Don’t forget to have our Kibin editors review your paper. While they can’t paraphrase your document for you, they can make sure that your paraphrasing makes sense and is grammatically correct!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .
About the Author
Susan M. Inez is a professor of English and writing goddess based out of the Northeast. In addition to a BA in English Education, an MA in Composition, and an MS in Education, Susan has 20 years of experience teaching courses on composition, writing in the professions, literature, and more. She also served as co-director of a campus writing center for 2 years.
- Literary Terms
- Definition & Examples
- When & How to Use Paraphrase
I. What is a Paraphrase?
A paraphrase (pronounced par – uh -freyz) is a restatement or rewording of a paragraph or text, in order to borrow, clarify, or expand on information without plagiarizing. Paraphrasing is an important tool to use when writing research papers, essays , and pieces of journalism.
II. Examples of Paraphrasing
For examples of paraphrasing, consider these possible re-wordings of the same statement:
She angered me with her inappropriate comments, rumor-spreading, and disrespectfulness at the formal dinner table.
She made me angry when she was rude at dinner.
This paraphrase is an example of a rewording which shortens and simplifies while maintaining the same meaning.
Her impoliteness, gossiping, and general lack of respect at dinner infuriated me.
This rephrasing maintains the same meaning but is rearranged in a creative way.
I was mad when she started spreading rumors, making inappropriate comments, and disrespecting other guests at our dinner.
Another paraphrase, this rewording properly and interestingly rearranges the information provided in the original sentence.
III. Types of Paraphrasing
A. change of parts of speech.
Parts of speech ranging from verbs and nouns to adjectives and adverbs are replaced with new parts of speech in this type of paraphrasing. Here is an example:
The boy quickly ran across the finish line, seizing yet another victory.
The quick boy seized yet another victory when he ran across the finish line.
In this example, many parts of speech are changed: the adverb quickly becomes the adjective quick, and the verb phrase with the gerund seizing becomes the verb seized.
B. Change of Structure
This type of paraphrasing involves changing the sentence’s structure, sometimes creating a passive voice from an active voice and vice versa. The change in structure can be used to reflect the writer’s interpretation of the original quote. Here is an example of change of structure paraphrasing:
Puppies were adopted by numerous kind souls at the puppy drive.
Many kind souls adopted puppies during the puppy drive.
In this example, the object of the sentence (kind souls) becomes the subject with an active voice (adopted) rather than a passive voice (were adopted).
C. Reduction of Clauses
Reduction of clauses paraphrases reduce the number of clauses in a sentence, which can be interruptive or confusing, by incorporating the phrases into the sentence. Here is an example of reduction of clauses paraphrasing:
While I understand where you’re coming from, and truly respect your opinion, I wish you would express yourself more clearly, like Clara does.
I understand where you’re coming from and respect your opinion, but I wish you would be more like Clara and express yourself more clearly.
D. Synonym Replacement
Synonym replacement paraphrasing is one of the simplest forms of paraphrasing: replacing words with similar words, or synonyms. Here is an example:
The older citizens were honored with a parade for those once in the military.
Senior citizens were honored with a march for veterans.
In this example, many synonyms are used: older citizens are senior citizens, a parade becomes a march, and those once in the military refers to veterans.
IV. The Importance of Using Paraphrase
Paraphrasing is a way of referencing a source without directly quoting it or of further explaining a selected quote. Correct paraphrasing is important in that poor paraphrasing can result in accusations of plagiarism, or copying from a source without correctly citing it. Paraphrasing allows writers to examine the meaning of others’ work, creatively rephrase their statements, and craft information to suit an essay or composition’s goal or focus.
V. Paraphrase in Literature
Paraphrasing can be found in a variety of journalistic sources from newspapers to film documentaries to literary journals. Here are a few examples of paraphrasing in literature:
Someone once wrote that musicians are touched on the shoulder by God, and I think it’s true. You can make other people happy with music, but you can make yourself happy too.
In John Berendt’s nonfiction novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , a character references what someone has once written by paraphrasing their message.
I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.
In this example from the nonfiction novel Into the Wild , Jon Krakauer paraphrases Thoreau’s larger message of transcendence.
So far, Laurance’s critiques of new road-building schemes have been well received, but he expects that to change.
In Michelle Nijhuis’ article “What Roads Have Wrought,” William Laurance is paraphrased rather than quoted to express his general viewpoint.
VI. Paraphrase in Pop Culture
Paraphrasing is often found in pop culture when attempting to translate the language of older plays, poems, and stories, such as Shakespeare’s works. Here are a few examples of paraphrasing in pop culture:
10 Things I Hate About You (1999):
Just a minor encounter with the shrew… the mewling, rampalian wretch herself.
In the modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew , many characters ’ lines paraphrase Shakespeare’s originals. Here is Shakespeare’s version:
A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew.
A Different World: Romeo, Oh Romeo
First, the student reads Shakespeare’s original words:
Oh gentle Romeo. If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully. Or if thou thinkest I’m too quickly won, I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay, so thou wilt woo.
Then, she paraphrases to translate its meaning for modern ears:
It’s all about translation. Oh, sweet thang Romeo. If you think I’m all that, then step to me correctly. But if you think I’m a skeeze, I’ll be dissin’ and dismissin’, then you’ll be workin’ overtime getting’ me back.
VII. Related Terms
Like paraphrases, summaries are rewordings of original statements. Whereas paraphrases are precise and specific, summaries are brief and selective. Summaries report main points in a shortened version of the original, whereas paraphrases simply restate the original statement in a new way. Here is an example of summary versus paraphrase:
At the party we had delicious red punch, a bunch of different appetizers, and a cookout. Since it was at the park, we played volleyball, went swimming, and sunbathed for fun.
At the party we enjoyed food and drink and various outdoor activities.
Here, the summary purposefully shortens the original statement while covering its major points.
At the party we drank some punch, ate a handful of appetizers, and had a cookout. The park allowed us to enjoy a number of enjoyable activities from volleyball to swimming to sunbathing.
As this example shows, the paraphrase rephrases the original statement and keeps more of its original content than the summary.
Although paraphrase sometimes translates difficult phrasing into more understandable phrasing, it is not literally considered translation. For something to be a translation, it must change writing in one language to another language. Here is an example of translation versus paraphrasing:
Translation into French:
C’est la vie.
That’s just how life goes sometimes.
Although we loosely may refer to paraphrase as translating ideas, technically it is not a tool of translation.
VIII. In Closing
Paraphrasing is an important tool for nonfiction writers, journalists, and essayists alike. It is a common proponent of news and reporting. Correct paraphrasing protects writers from plagiarism and allows them to creatively rephrase original works, incorporating them into their own compositions.
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- How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
Published on April 8, 2022 by Courtney Gahan and Jack Caulfield. Revised on November 4, 2022.
Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning.
Paraphrasing is an alternative to quoting (copying someone’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it’s usually better to integrate sources by paraphrasing instead of quoting. It shows that you have understood the source, reads more smoothly, and keeps your own voice front and center.
Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source . Also take care not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism .
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Table of contents
How to paraphrase in five easy steps, how to paraphrase correctly, examples of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase, paraphrasing vs. quoting, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, avoiding plagiarism when you paraphrase, frequently asked questions about paraphrasing.
If you’re struggling to get to grips with the process of paraphrasing, check out our easy step-by-step guide in the video below.
Putting an idea into your own words can be easier said than done. Let’s say you want to paraphrase the text below, about population decline in a particular species of sea snails.
You might make a first attempt to paraphrase it by swapping out a few words for synonyms .
Like other sea creatures inhabiting the vicinity of highly populated coasts, horse conchs have lost substantial territory to advancement and contamination , including preferred breeding grounds along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also heating up due to global warming , which scientists think further puts pressure on the creatures , predicated upon the harmful effects extra warmth has on other large mollusks (Barnett, 2022).
This attempt at paraphrasing doesn’t change the sentence structure or order of information, only some of the word choices. And the synonyms chosen are poor:
- “Advancement and contamination” doesn’t really convey the same meaning as “development and pollution.”
- Sometimes the changes make the tone less academic: “home” for “habitat” and “sea creatures” for “marine animals.”
- Adding phrases like “inhabiting the vicinity of” and “puts pressure on” makes the text needlessly long-winded.
- Global warming is related to climate change, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing.
Because of this, the text reads awkwardly, is longer than it needs to be, and remains too close to the original phrasing. This means you risk being accused of plagiarism .
Let’s look at a more effective way of paraphrasing the same text.
- Only included the information that’s relevant to our argument (note that the paraphrase is shorter than the original)
- Introduced the information with the signal phrase “Scientists believe that …”
- Retained key terms like “development and pollution,” since changing them could alter the meaning
- Structured sentences in our own way instead of copying the structure of the original
- Started from a different point, presenting information in a different order
Because of this, we’re able to clearly convey the relevant information from the source without sticking too close to the original phrasing.
Explore the tabs below to see examples of paraphrasing in action.
- Journal article
- Newspaper article
- Magazine article
Once you have your perfectly paraphrased text, you need to ensure you credit the original author. You’ll always paraphrase sources in the same way, but you’ll have to use a different type of in-text citation depending on what citation style you follow.
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It’s a good idea to paraphrase instead of quoting in most cases because:
- Paraphrasing shows that you fully understand the meaning of a text
- Your own voice remains dominant throughout your paper
- Quotes reduce the readability of your text
But that doesn’t mean you should never quote. Quotes are appropriate when:
- Giving a precise definition
- Saying something about the author’s language or style (e.g., in a literary analysis paper)
- Providing evidence in support of an argument
- Critiquing or analyzing a specific claim
A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It’s typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter.
When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing .
Paraphrasing and quoting are important tools for presenting specific information from sources. But if the information you want to include is more general (e.g., the overarching argument of a whole article), summarizing is more appropriate.
When paraphrasing, you have to be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism .
This can happen if the paraphrase is too similar to the original quote, with phrases or whole sentences that are identical (and should therefore be in quotation marks). It can also happen if you fail to properly cite the source.
Paraphrasing tools are widely used by students, and can be especially useful for non-native speakers who may find academic writing particularly challenging. While these can be helpful for a bit of extra inspiration, use these tools sparingly, keeping academic integrity in mind.
To make sure you’ve properly paraphrased and cited all your sources, you could elect to run a plagiarism check before submitting your paper. And of course, always be sure to read your source material yourself and take the first stab at paraphrasing on your own.
To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:
- Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
- Combining information from multiple sentences into one
- Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
- Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning
The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.
Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.
However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .
As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.
Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.
So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
- Paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .
To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.
It’s appropriate to quote when:
- Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
- You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
- You’re presenting a precise definition
- You’re looking in depth at a specific claim
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Gahan, C. & Caulfield, J. (2022, November 04). How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-paraphrase/
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Here is the original source an author might use in a paper:
Differentiation as an instructional approach promotes a balance between a student's style and a student's ability. Differentiated instruction provides the student with options for processing and internalizing the content, and for constructing new learning in order to progress academically.
Here is an example of bad paraphrasing of the source. Even though the student is citing correctly, underlined words are simply synonyms of words used in the original source. You can also see how the sentence structure is the same for both the original source and this paraphrase.
Differentiation is a way to encourage equality between the approach and talent of the student (Thompson, 2009). This type of instruction gives students different ways to deal with and grasp information , and for establishing new learning to move on in education (Thompson, 2009).
Here is an example of a better way to paraphrase the source. In this example, the author has taken the essential ideas and information from the original source, but has worded it in her own way, using unique word choice and sentence structure. The author has condensed Thompson's (2009) information, including what is relevant to her paper, but leaving out extra details that she does not needed.
Teachers use differentiated instruction to help students learn, allowing the teacher to cater lessons to the way each student learns and each student's skill (Thompson, 2009).
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Simple Paraphrasing Examples You Should Know
Table of contents.
Paraphrasing is a useful tool that students, academics, and professional writers use all the time. If you are writing an academic paper, it can make a big difference instead of using direct quotations constantly.
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Even if you are referring to the opinions of others, you will be doing so in your own voice, which is an invaluable thing. However, if you are new to paraphrasing, you are going to have to do some practice.
For amateur writers, paraphrasing can seem a bit overwhelming. You may not be able to find alternative ways to write what others already wrote.
That’s why, in this article, we are going to show you some simple paraphrasing examples to give you an idea of where to start.
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What is Paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s opinions into your own words . Paraphrasing a source involves altering the original meaning while maintaining the original intent.
This technique is an alternative to quoting (copying someone’s exact words into quotation marks). Academic writing usually requires paraphrasing rather than quoting.
You are shown that you understand the original material, read smoothly, and keep your own voice at your side.
If you don’t comply with the guidelines, you may commit plagiarism unintentionally. Unintentional or not, writing plagiarism-free papers is the second-most important thing you should consider after eliminating all of the grammar errors.
Why Paraphrase Instead of Quote?
There are many reasons to choose to paraphrase rather than use direct quotations from the original material.
First and foremost, it simplifies your text. The original material you are using can go into extensive detail, and including all of that can bog down the reader. On the other hand, when you paraphrase, you are free to include the details that are related to your topic and leave others.
You can maintain the flow of the writing by paraphrasing. Direct quotes interrupt the voice of a writer, and this voice is unique to each author. Too many quotes can make an essay sound discontinuous and challenging to follow. Paraphrasing can convey an important concept in a passage or source without interrupting the essay flow.
Another use of paraphrasing is to relay statistical data. In many instances, sources cover statistical information about a topic that an author may find useful for developing his or her own argument. For example, statistics about the percentage of smokers may be useful in explaining the increase in lung cancer cases. It isn’t recommended to quote statistics like this directly.
How are Paraphrases Different Than Summary?
Paraphrases are similarly rewriting their source in their words. The most important aspect of paraphrases is that they include both key points and sub-points.
Paraphrases can sometimes be as long (if not longer) as their original source since they have detailed information.
When you summarize, on the other hand, your goal is to make the sentence shorter and simpler by changing it.
Summarizing deals with the big picture, such as a complete body of work or a whole chapter. On the other hand, paraphrasing deals with specific passages, from a few words to a couple of paragraphs, but nothing really long. Summaries are usually shorter than their original source, but paraphrases typically have the same length or more than their origin.
Keep the original text in mind, regardless of how you use it. It is forbidden to leave out words or add words to make the source fit into your writing.
Tips and Tricks for Paraphrasing
First, read the source carefully so you understand what it means. If you do not understand it, it cannot be used as a source.
Paraphrase the portion of the source you want to paraphrase. Don’t paraphrase much more than a paragraph. You’re not replacing the entire source in your paper.
Paraphrase your article without looking at the source. You will learn how to write in your own words while resisting the temptation to use the original wording and sentence structure.
Keep things simple. Make no use of esoteric language to confuse things; instead, keep your readers at the forefront of your thinking when writing.
Avoid plagiarism by correctly citing the source material. When you rewrite the sentence, it doesn’t mean you can claim it was your idea.
If you are still having problems, look at more examples we’ll share below, as well as other examples on the Internet.
Use appropriate synonyms for the sentence you would like to paraphrase. If the source is a text on marine biology, don’t refer to marine animals as creatures of the sea. This undermines the academic and scientific tone of the sentence.
Simple Paraphrasing Examples
Let’s take a look at examples of paraphrasing to solidify the idea.
- The social structure of West African hyenas is matriarchal, unlike most mammals.
- Hyenas in West Africa, different from many mammals, are matriarchal.
- I am trying hard to be successful.
- I am making an effort to succeed.
- The threat of nuclear annihilation resulted in an uneasy truce between the United States and the Soviet Union.
- The possibility of nuclear annihilation led to an uneasy truce between the US and the USSR.
- The teacher gave her students some examples of paraphrasing to help them learn.
- She taught her students examples of paraphrasing to assist them in learning.
Paraphrasing is a great way to convey a detail while at the same time incorporating your own opinion .
Make sure you have the main concept of the original article as well as sub-points. Paraphrase your own sentences in your words. Always cite the original material you used when paraphrasing.
As with most communication activities, when done poorly, paraphrasing creates misunderstandings on the part of the audience. You have to keep in mind that the meaning should never change from the original text.
With some practice, the benefits of using paraphrasing to convey your opinion to your audience become apparent.
Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.
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