Paraphrase: Basic Meaning and Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing refers to the process of restating and sometimes clarifying…

Paraphrasing refers to the process of restating and sometimes clarifying another’s ideas and arguments in your own words. The process of paraphrasing is the act of producing a new view of a text. It involves restating a text differently while keeping its meaning. This article answers the question, ‘what is a paraphrase in an essay?

What is a Paraphrase in An Essay?

A paraphrase explains an individual’s thoughts in your own words and voice. You can paraphrase to improve your comprehension of the original text and make it more digestible and easier to understand. Paraphrasing in an essay is a way to avoid plagiarism.

Paraphrasing is simply retelling or explaining a subject differently. A good paraphrase of is an accurate, and well-cited rewording of the author’s ideas. It is produced when one takes what was initially written and restates the information in own words while retaining the text’s original meaning.

Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

A paraphrase is when you retell a text’s message in your own words. A paraphrase of an essay will usually contain the general meaning of what was said but a rewording of the argument.

Paraphrased pieces also show your understanding of the argument and make the your message clearer to the reader. The following are steps to effective paraphrasing:

1. Have a basic understanding of the text

To paraphrase effectively, you need to understand the idea the original text conveys. Read the whole essay thoroughly to make sure that you fully comprehend it.

Identify the sentence fundamentals, and understand the author’s argument and main points.

2. Make notes

Re-read the text and write down the phrases you find most important, those that convey the main idea of the piece. Take note of words you’re not familiar with and write them down.

Look up the definitions and meanings of unfamiliar words in the dictionary. Also, take note of the author’s tone, writing style, and sentence structure.

3. Write a Draft

Write out the text using your own words, writing style, and sentence structure. Ensure that you do not change the meaning of the original text. The paraphrase must convey the exact meaning of the original text. Be careful not to leave out any information.

A paraphrase must be unique, do not simply replace one or two words from the original piece with synonyms – this is inappropriate paraphrasing.

4. Use quotation marks when you use direct words from the source

You might need to introduce an explicit statement from the author’s work into yours. An instance is where you need to state claims made by the author or facts and figures. In cases like this, introduce a quotation mark to show that the words are solely that of another person.

5. Revisit the source for crosschecks during the revision process.

This is also an excellent opportunity to go back and look at specific supporting evidence and research. Check the source against your draft to ensure that you have captured all the information appropriately.

If you notice you have used almost the exact words or style as the author, you might need to rewrite your piece.

6. Properly cite and reference the source

Include in-text citations to credit the source of the original idea. If you fail to acknowledge your source, your piece will count as plagiarized work. Remember, you have used your words, but the concept remains that of another person.

person holding on red pen while writing on book
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

A paraphrase is a unique version of a piece of text modified to include significant similarities and likely identity.

A well-written paraphrase will cover the text’s purpose, meaning, or main points in a different way that is even simpler and, most importantly, unique. This article answers the question ‘what is a paraphrase in an essay.’

Paraphrase: Basic Meaning and Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

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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