The Best Paraphrasing Hacks From Students Themselves

Did you have a tough concept that you had a lot of trouble understanding? Paraphrasing helps with that. But it isn’t easy to do. So we went out, and we asked students how did your paraphrasing strategy help you? The answers we got were inventive and helpful.

We’ve listed them below. There’s sure to be a suggestion that will help you.

A group of friends at a coffee shop
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

What Is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing translates the ideas in a source into your own words. It does this while keeping all details in the original source. Most students use it for relating short segments of a source’s ideas, as an alternative to quoting.

The Benefits of Paraphrasing

We went out and asked students to tell us how paraphrasing helped them. The responses we received varied.

How Did Your Paraphrasing Strategy Help You

Mary, 17

Mary revealed that paraphrasing helped her to remember what she studied better and for a longer period of time. It also made it easier to show other people what she learned. When exam time came, she did well.

Mary stated that she didn’t have time to write down what she learned and paraphrasing made it possible for her to save time. Mary also pointed out the benefits for taking time to reflect and to learn new things faster. Paraphrasing helped her do that.

Bill, 16

Bill’s teacher would penalize him for using too many direct quotations in his essays. When we asked Bill how paraphrasing helped him solve this problem, he explained this to us.

Bill said he used direct quotes because he never took the time to understand the material himself. “It was a lazy method,” he told us. By learning to paraphrase, he could put the ideas into his own words.

Elaine, 19

Elaine is on her way to college in a few months. She told us paraphrasing helped her really think about what the original author was saying. This is a skill she believes she will use a lot of at university.

She says paraphrasing also helped her improve her vocabulary. “This was because I had to learn synonyms for the words in the passage I was paraphrasing,” she said.

Tom, 14

Tom told us that learning to paraphrase helped him to become a better writer. He told us, because he was forced to express himself in his own words, his writing style had to become equal to the task. When we asked Tom how did your paraphrasing strategy help you, Tom told us he learned to do citations properly as well.

How to Effectively Paraphrase

Of course, they were kind enough to share with us the paraphrasing techniques that brought them such results. We share them here with you now.

  • Identify the statements or major ideas in the original.
  • Keep the logical connections between ideas, while modifying their order.
  • Make sure you use synonyms in place of the original word. The language you used to paraphrase should also align with your audience.
  • Mix and match styles and sentences where necessary. 
  • Remember that the paraphrase must be compared to the original to ensure that it is adequate and has remained the same.

In accordance with your rhetorical purpose, incorporate the paraphrase into your essay. Also, don’t forget to cite your paraphrase.

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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