17 September 2016


Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting

Paraphrasing is restating the idea in your words.  It can be about the same length or longer than the original text.

Summarizing is restating only the essential points of the text in your words. It is very brief.

Quoting is using the exact words of the author of the text. It gives the author credit for those words.

Avoiding Plagiarism 

There is a fine line between plagiarism and paraphrasing. If the wording of the paraphrase is too close to the language of the original content, then it is plagiarism. The main ideas must come through, but the wording must be your own. 

Using another person’s writing on your own can be accomplished with quotes and citations. A quote must be the exact wording, and the author and source must be identified.
Paraphrasing usually makes the passage shorter than the original.  Another option is to use a summary that is much shorter than the original and is an overview of the main points.

How to Paraphrase Effectively

When you write a paper, you use information you have read in books, journals, on the Internet, etc. Your teacher might have told you, "Use your words." In other words, even when you use someone else's information, you are not allowed to use the words they wrote. You have to use your own. You have to say the same thing differently. This is called paraphrasing.

For example, if the book you are reading from says, "John Adams, who was involved in winning independence for the United States, was the second President." You cannot write those words in your paper. You cannot even write, "John Adams, a man involved in winning independence for the United States, was its second President." One way you could re-write it is to say, "The second American President, John Adams, was also influential in gaining freedom for the country."

However, despite being told to use your own words, you might need to learn how to do it. There are a variety of techniques you can use. You can change the terms for words of similar meaning; you can change the grammar; you can change the grammar or grammatical forms. In this reading, you will learn about ways that you can paraphrase.

Methods of Paraphrasing

Before you even paraphrase, you need to ensure you understand what you are reading. If you do not understand what you read, you cannot paraphrase it.

There are six ways that you can change sentences to paraphrase the information. You may not use all of them in the same sentence, but you can use appropriate ones. (In each of the examples, only one change is made. This is not enough if you are paraphrasing.) Read about each type of change, and look at the examples. Then make that type of change in the sample sentences that follow.

1. Changing Word Order:

One way you can change a sentence for paraphrasing is to change the word order. 
For example, you might change 
"Because I slept too late, I missed my first class," to 
"I missed my first class because I slept too late," or 
"To pass that class, I had to study very hard" to 
"I had to study very hard to pass that class." 

More examples

It is sometimes necessary to change the wording of the parts of the sentences. For example, "Terry wanted more books, but he couldn't afford them" can be changed to 
"Terry couldn't afford more books, even though he wanted them."

If you're going to New York for Christmas, bring warm clothes. 
  Be sure to wear warm clothes if you're coming to New York for Christmas.

Even though the weather was good, Joan was in a bad mood.
  Joan was in a bad mood, even though the weather was good.

I had no money, so I borrowed some.
I borrowed some money because I had none.

2. Changing Parts of Speech:

You can also change parts of speech. If the sentence uses a noun, you can rewrite the sentence to use the verb or adjective form of the word. 


You can change 
"Fifty-four men signed the Declaration of Independence" to 
"Fifty-four men put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence."

The company needs to find a solution to this problem.
The company needs to solve this problem.

The poor economy has been the cause of high unemployment.
The poor economy has caused high unemployment.

If you eat rabbit, you will find it tastes like chicken.
If you eat rabbit, you will find it tastes like chicken.

3. Using Synonyms:

English has many synonyms -- words that have the same or similar meanings -- so another way you can paraphrase is to change one word for a synonym. 


You could change 

"Movies can be divided into three categories" to 
"Movies can be divided into three types."

The way a person dresses affects the impression that other people have.
The way a person dresses influences the image that other people have.
The situation may improve.
There is little possibility that the circumstances will get better.
4. Using Negatives or Opposite Expressions:

Another way to paraphrase is to change a positive expression into a negative expression or a negative expression into a positive expression. 


You could change 
"Rather than building a traditional memorial, the city built a park" to 
"The city did not build a traditional memorial; instead it built a park."

Shaun was disappointed because the movie wasn't very good.
Shaun wasn't satisfied because the movie wasn't very good.
Japan is not a small country compared to European countries.
Japan is a large country compared to European countries.
Geri wanted some candy, but there wasn't any in the bowl.
Geri wanted some candy, but the bowl was empty.

5. Combining or Separating Sentences:

Long sentences can be divided, and short sentences can be combined with other short sentences. 


You can change 
"Ireland is a wonderful country, which has beautiful scenery, friendly people, and an interesting history," to 
"Ireland is a wonderful country. It has beautiful scenery, friendly people, and an interesting history." 
You can also change 
"Ireland is a wonderful country. It has beautiful scenery, friendly people, and an interesting history" to 
"Ireland is a wonderful country with beautiful scenery, friendly people, and an interesting history."

Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII. She is one of England's most famous queens.
Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII, was one of England's most famous queens.
This book is about a woman who pretended to be a man to join the army in World War II. It is one of Lynn 's favorite books.
This book, one of Lynn 's favorites, is about a woman who pretended to be a man to join the army in World War II.
If you go to London, you should be sure to visit Westminster Abbey, where many of the kings and queens of England and other famous people are buried.
If you go to London, you should visit Westminster Abbey. Many kings and queens of England are buried there. Other famous people are buried there, too.
6. Using Different Grammar. Structure, Voice:

You can paraphrase by changing the grammar of a sentence, for example, but changing from active voice ("The dog bit the man") to passive voice ("The man was bitten by the dog") or by making other changes in the grammar. 

More examples

You can change 
"It is not unusual for June to be a rainy month here" to 
"June is often a rainy month here," or 

"It is thought that this new plan will save money" to 
"Many people think that this new plan will save money."

Various languages are spoken in this country.
The people of this country speak various languages.
Frank studied French, and, as a result, he translated for our visitors from France.
Frank could translate for our visitors from France because he had studied French.
Tom McGovern got married three times and had five children.
Tom McGovern had three wives and was the father of five.


Read the following sentences and paraphrase them, combining the techniques you learned in this article.

1. Gone with the Wind, published in 1936, covers 12 years of the life of a woman named Scarlett O'Hara during and after the Civil War. It began when she was 16 and tells the story of her love for two men.

Published in 1936, Gone with the Wind was the story of Scarlett O'Hara and the two men she loved. It covers Scarlett’s life from when she was 16 until she was 28, during the Civil War and the following years.

2. While California's cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are better known, California is fortunate enough to have many beautiful scenery in its mountains and along its coast.

California might be well known for its cities, but it has beautiful mountain and ocean landscapes.

3. The Internet is a vast treasure house of knowledge. Still, it does not have any central organization, so it can be challenging to find information if you are unfamiliar with it.
A great deal of information is available on the Internet. However, because the information could be better organized, people not used to the Internet may have difficulty finding the information they want.

4. Americans consider someone who looks them in the eye, to be honest. In contrast, a person who looks down or looks away is suspected of being dishonest.

For people from the US, not looking someone in the eye indicates not telling the truth while meeting a person’s eyes is a sign that they are telling the truth.
Retrieved from: Paraphrasing. By S. Kathleen Kitao, Kenji Kitao www.msbandas.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/1/6/26160238/paraphrasing.doc 

Read and paraphrase the following passages:

Passage 1.

Language is the primary means of communication between people. But so many different languages have developed that language has often been a barrier rather than an aid to understanding among people. For many years, people have dreamed of setting up a universal language that is simple and obvious to all people. If everyone spoke the same tongue, cultural and economic ties might be much closer, and better relationships will increase between countries.

Source: Kispert, J. (2004). Language and Its Barriers. USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Passage 2.

Of the more than 1000 bicycling deaths yearly, three-fourths are caused by head injuries. Half of those killed are school-age children. One study concluded that wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent. In an accident, a bike helmet absorbs the shock and cushions the head.

Source: Bike Helmets: Unused Lifesavers. (1990, May). Consumer Reports, 55, p.348-353.

Learn How to Paraphrase (Watch and Learn)

English Writing - Paraphrasing. Basic Tips.
Paraphrasing is expressing what you have read or heard in your own words. 
It is a skill you need in academic and professional life:

How to Write a Paraphrase Effectively:

Teach you how to paraphrase in 3 minutes:

APA APA Formatting in MS Word: