According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, paraphrasing is a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form. It is basically an explanation of another person`s writing or speech. It contains the main idea and the details given by the original printed or spoken text.

Benefits of Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing helps improve writing skills. It makes the writer think of other words that express the same message. It exercises the brain to come up with vocabulary words.

By paraphrasing, plagiarism which is copying work that is not done by you, can be avoided. Explaining what you have just heard or read is much plausible than just copying exactly what the original passage is.

From the dictionary Merriam Webster I learn:

Did You Know?

When we paraphrase, we provide a version that can exist beside the original (rather than replace it). We paraphrase all the time. When you tell a friend what someone else has said, you’re almost always paraphrasing, since you’re not repeating the exact words. If you go to hear a talk, you might paraphrase the speaker’s main points afterward for your friends. And when writing a paper on a short story, you might start off your essay with a paraphrase of the plot. Paraphrasing is especially useful when dealing with poetry, since poetic language is often difficult and poems may have meanings that are hard to pin down.

There are four keys to writing a good paraphrase: R,R,R,R.

  • Reword – Replace words and phrases with synonyms whenever you can.Change vocabulary as much as possible. As a general rule, repeat words from the original only when they are necessary for the basic meaning.
  • Rearrange – Rearrange words within sentences to make new sentences. You can even rearrange the ideas presented within the paragraph.Change sentence structure, including word order.
  • Realize that some words and phrases cannot be changed – names, dates, titles, etc. cannot be replaced, but you can present them differently in your paraphrase.Keep the original meaning. Don`t add your opinion.
  • Recheck – Make sure that your paraphrase conveys the same meaning as the original text.

Don`t do a word-by-word translation. Explain the original information.


Extra links:

Learn how to paraphrase in six-lessons.

Watch a video about Paraphrasing.