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5 Secrets of Successful Paraphrasing

February 2, 2017| Category: Writing Tips

Paraphrasing is considered as putting a section/piece of paper into other words or writing again in a different way. However, to what extent should the restatement of a text or passage differ from the original? Here you may find five secrets of successful paraphrasing that reveal its meaning.

4writers_5 Secrets of Successful Paraphrasing

1.      Be selective. While reading some text, you should try first to comprehend it all in all, as opposed to recording particular thoughts or expressions. If your task is not to do a literal or formal paraphrase, there is no need to paraphrase the whole section; rather, pick and outline the material that is helpful to get a basic idea. Still, it is not necessary to cut a source text with paraphrase. Moreover, sometimes paraphrase turns out even slightly longer than the original text, depending on words the author uses.

2.      Change the word choice. When paraphrasing, you should replace the source text. It means that as a writer, you should be able to express the idea in a unique way, and therefore, the ability to choose words is of great importance. Actively use synonyms or phrases with the same meaning, not forgetting to adapt them to a specific theme. Though some consider that it is vital to start changing the text by structure first, changing the word choice will help you find approaches to transform the sentence structure afterward.

3.      Use dictionaries. Dictionaries are an important part of successful paraphrasing. First of all, you should choose a dictionary that is useful for picking the correct term and/or evading slang words. For example, Oxford Learner’s Dictionary is popular among students to consult with as it helps in finding proper examples and definitions and avoiding awkward and wrong word choices. Also, the repetition of keywords can become a problem for students who write big papers. Thus, synonyms can be for the benefit of writing style and flow to a great extent. If you cannot remember another word with the same or opposite meaning, you may also use synonyms/antonyms from Oxford Dictionaries Thesaurus. However, it is essential to select only those words that exactly match the meaning.

4.      Change the sentence structure. To paraphrase, you should change not only words but also syntax and sentence structure, i.e. the way sentences and paragraphs are organized in the original. For instance, short sentences can be combined, and long sentences can be broken up into shorter ones. At this stage, some words are usually taken out, and others are changed. Nevertheless, even changing the sentence structure and order of ideas, logical connections should be kept. It means you cannot simply replace all the words of the source text and say that the work is done. You need to restructure it so that there is absolutely new text that preserves the meaning of the original.

5.      Use direct quotations. It is possible to use direct quotes from the source text while paraphrasing. Besides, there is no need to change shared language somehow, including technical phrases and terms, preferred bias-free language, and conventional designations. Yet, the number of direct quotes should not be overused. It means you have to opt the most interesting and important statements to present the author’s point of view and comment on it or use those passages that can lose their meaning in paraphrase. Direct quotations may be helpful, but it is important to note that most of the work should be written in other words to be successfully paraphrased.

Overall, using as a small number of words as possible is a key to successful paraphrasing. Still, you should always compare your paraphrase with the source text. It is important not to lose the meaning and not to miss the significant details of the original. The meaning must be saved, but the sentence structure and word choice should be pretty changed.