Paraphrasing a paragraph from another authors work is often necessary if you wish to use another person’s work but do not want to use their specific words. This is often done if the style of the writing is very different from that being employed within your work, is in a foreign language or excessively technical. It can also be done to prove that you have a full understanding of the meaning of the work in question as well as to purely avoid any problems with plagiarism. Being able to paraphrase a paragraph allows you to ensure that you do not get accused of plagiarism or copying; most works are covered by copyright which means that it is illegal for you to just copy them and you may be taken to court if you do.
Rephrasing in its simplest terms is taking a piece of writing or even what someone has said and repeating it back using different words and sentence structures while keeping the meaning of the original. Unlike summarizing which just pulls out the main points and condenses the original considerably, rewritten paragraphs will more often than not be of a very similar length.
Learning how to paraphrase a paragraph
- When you first start to learn how to rephrase a paragraph you will find that it is often very difficult to rewrite something in a very different way without resorting to using chunks from the original paragraph.
- You have to learn how to paraphrase a paragraph by first ensuring that you fully understand everything that is being discussed within the paragraph.
- Start by reading the paragraph a few times and then make a few bullet points about what the paragraph is telling you. Write these bullet points using language that is different to that found within the original paragraph.
- Then without reference to the original rewrite the bullets into a single paragraph; this should give you a paragraph that is both structured differently to the original and using different words.
- If you find that you have repeated many of the main words from the original either change them for similar words if the structure of your rewrite is very different or use your rewrite as the starting point to create another rephrased version.
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