How to paraphrase (without plagiarizing anything) (2023)

A paraphrase (or paraphrase) is a reworking of another script with new words or phrases retaining the same meaning, usually to change the language or simplyavoid plagiarism. For example, Shakespeare's famous line "To be or not to be" could be paraphrased as "Is it better to exist or not to exist?"

Paraphrasing is an important communication technique, especially inInvestigation work, to avoid copying an original source word for word. However, learning to paraphrase can take some practice, so here's what you need to know, starting with a simple definition of paraphrasing.

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What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing takes an original passage and uses different words or phrases to express the same meaning. Essentially, a paraphrase simply rewrites the original text in its own way.

A paraphrase always uses single words, something that occurs to you that is different from the original source. because they are uniqueparaphrases do not requirequotation markslike direct dating does.

What is the purpose of paraphrasing?

Why bother paraphrasing when you can just quote theprimaryosecondarySource? With a variety of benefits, paraphrasing is useful in a few different situations. In particular, here are six common reasons to paraphrase:

1Improve word choice

Sometimes you just want to rewrite the original text in your own words; maybe you want to adapt it to your personal writing style, or maybe you just prefer your own.word choice. In both cases, paraphrasing gives you the opportunity to choose your own words or phrases while still keeping the same core message.

2change theme

Paraphrasing is very useful if you like the text of the original passage but want to change the subject to apply it to something else. For example, Will Rogers' famous quote, "I never met a man I didn't like," is often paraphrased, sometimes humorously, as when comedian Jim Gaffigan says, "I never met a cheeseburger I didn't like." Like".

3Avoid plagiarizing

Rewrite someone's textwhichchanging the words is plagiarism. If you want to echo a sentiment or quote someone else's research, you should at least put it in your own words or quote it directly, but excessive use of quotes can also be problematic, as we'll see below.

4Avoid excessive use of quotes

Quotes are great when the author said it best, but use too many quotes and you're basically copying someone else's work. If you're constantly referencing other people's work, it's best to alternate between paraphrasing and direct quotations to do your own writing.

5Avoid problematic language

Occasionally, the language of a direct quote doesn't fit what you're writing. Often this is a mechanical error, such as a partial quote with the errorverb agreement topicogender pronoun.

Other times, it can be insensitive or outdated language. For example, the famous (if old-fashioned) phrase "a good man is hard to find" can be more modernly paraphrased as "a good companion is hard to find".

6shorten long quotes

Finally, paraphrasing works great when you need to condense a long, detailed quote to make it more digestible. Some writers are paid by the word, so to speak, but if you're writing something that you intend to be concise, you can paraphrase your original text more succinctly.

What is the difference between paraphrase and summary?

Paraphrasing and summarizing are two similar and related ideas, so it makes sense that they are often confused with one another.

To tell them apart, think of them this way: paraphrasing is putting an individual passage into your own words, while summarizing is putting the main idea, theme, or story of a text or passage into your own words.

Summarizing deals with the big picture, such as an entire body of work or an entire chapter, while paraphrasing deals with specific passages, from a few words to a few paragraphs, but nothing too long. Summaries are always shorter than the original source, but paraphrases are usually the same length, if not slightly longer, than the source.

Another distinction is that summaries tend to gloss over details, as we mentioned when explaininghow to write a resume, while paraphrases can still incorporate everything as long as they are rephrased.

How to paraphrase, with examples

The paraphrase is one of thefive most effective methods to avoid plagiarism, but how to say the same thing without using the same words? Here are some simple strategies we suggest in combination for an effective paraphrase:


Replace essential words in an original passage with other words that mean the same thing, such as using “scientist” for “researcher” or “elders” for “elders”. This is a common approach to paraphrasing, but it is not sufficient by itself. Combine this strategy with some of the others below to make your writing feel fresh.

Original text:

Some plants release certain scents to alert neighboring plants that they are under attack.


Some plants emit special odors to alert other plants that danger is nearby.

2change parts of speech

Sometimes you can rephrase a sentence by changing parts of speech, such as turning agerundin the operative verb, orturn an adjective into an adverb. This strategy depends on the text of the original passage, so you won't always get the chance; we also suggest using this in combination with other strategies here for more original writing.

Original text:

Polar bears are nearly undetectable by infrared cameras due to the way they conserve heat.


Polar bears cannot be easily detected by infrared cameras due to their unique heat conservation.

3rearrange the structure

You can change the order of certain phrases and clauses, or mix and match them with other phrases, to create entirely new phrases. While it may be tempting to use thepassive voicewhen paraphrasing, try to avoid it unless there is no other option.

Original text:

The observable universe consists of 50,000,000,000 galaxies.


Fifty billion galaxies make up the known universe.

4Add or remove parts

If a part of a quote is not relevant to what you are writing, you can delete it and paraphrase the rest in your own words. Likewise, you can add your personal opinion to an existing quote to help contextualize it or adapt it to your topic. In any case, be sure to rephrase anything that comes from the original source.

Original text:

Human eyes get used to the dark after an hour, but by then they will be 100,000 times more sensitive to light.


If you sit in a darkened room, your eyes will eventually adapt and become 100,000 times more sensitive to light, but be careful turning the light back on!

paraphrasing frequently asked questions

Do you have specific questions about paraphrasing and how to paraphrase? Not alone! Here are some frequently asked questions about paraphrasing others like you.

What is paraphrasing?

To paraphrase is to restate another author's original text in your own words. In essence, it is new writing with the same meaning, as opposed to a direct quote from existing writing.

What is an example of paraphrasing?

The original passage from the United States Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal", can be more progressively paraphrased as "All people are created equal".

How do you paraphrase a sentence?

Some common paraphrasing techniques involve using synonyms, changing parts of speech, rearranging sentence structure, and adding or removing specific sections.

What makes a good paraphrase?

A good paraphrase has the same meaning as the original source, but with new words or phrases. It's best to take another author's sentiments and express them in your own personal style.

Make sure your writing is original.

When writing essays, research papers, and other academic writing assignments, you are expected to submit articles that are completely original and in your own words. However, unintentional plagiarism is a risk that many students face. Enter Grammarly'splagiarism detector, which checks your handwriting against 90 billion texts online to flag any instance of non-original handwriting. Writing with Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism and get better grades in the process.

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