What is paraphrasing or a paraphrase? Paraphrasing is saying the same thing but using different words. For example, the following two sentences contain exactly the same information:
1. ‘At the end of World War 2, the Third Reich was defeated by the combined forces of Britain, North America and other countries’.
2. ‘In 1945, the Allies triumphed over Hitler’s army’.
The second sentence paraphrases the first, that is, the original meaning has not been changed even though different words have been used.
Why paraphrase? Your essay should be a combination of your own thoughts and ideas and those of others. Paraphrasing allows you to write in your own words someone else’s ideas without quotation marks or a block quote. However, you must still acknowledge the author whose ideas you are using, just as you did for the direct quotations in chapter 2.
What should not be paraphrase? Note that you usually should not paraphrase technical vocabulary. Think of the standard or technical vocabulary of your field as ‘words or phrases that belong to everybody’ including you. You do not have to think of new ways to say them.
How do you paraphrase? The basic steps of paraphrasing are:
read the original text carefully
understand it well
rewrite the meaning in your own words.
This chapter will help you learn a range of techniques that will assist you to restate the author’s original meaning in your own words. These techniques include using synonyms, interchanging active and passive sentence forms, changing the part of speech, changing the order of information and condensing sentences. You need a range of techniques because just one technique alone is not usually enough to turn a quotation into an acceptable paraphrase.
After you have worked through the exercises developing your skills at these techniques, the final part of this chapter will give you practice at integrating all the techniques.