SKILL FOCUS | Writing: How to paraphrase

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is when you express the meaning of something written or spoken using different words.

Why is paraphrasing important?

This skill is a very powerful technique to increase not only your vocabulary but also your coherence, fluency, grammar, and even pronunciation. Now string those together and you have a well rounded speaker of English.
However, paraphrasing isn’t always easy because it involves a lot of language processing. Luckily, I have done a little research and come up with 4 simple steps to help you achieve the perfect paraphrase.

Remember that these techniques should only be used once you have ensured you fully understood the text; do not try to paraphrase a text you have not understood.


1. Using synonyms (words that mean the same)

Here; “may” is replaced with “is likely to” and “put upward pressure on“ is replaced with “push up”.
Be careful when using synonyms. Many words have several meanings, depending on context, and you have to think about the synonym which expresses the right meaning for the particular context.

2. Changing the form of words

In the first paraphrase a verb has been replaced with a noun from the same word family. In the second an adjective has been replaced by a noun.

3. Changing the grammatical structure

Here one grammatical structure for making a comparison (“slower than”) has been replaced with another (“not as rapid as”).

4. Using several techniques

In this final example, you will notice that:

  • the order in which information is presented is different in the paraphrase
  • different word forms in the same word family have been used (effective regulation > regulated effectively)
  • synonyms have been used (in the absence of competition > without competition).

Note that successful paraphrasing requires the use of multiple techniques each time. It is not sufficient to simply replace the keywords with synonyms and in fact this is a common mistake among students learning to paraphrase. Changing the structure of the sentence is also important to fit the sentence into your paragraph effectively.

Source: © University of Reading


I’ve also found these websites which might help you with your paraphrasing

Try them out and let me know what you think about them. 



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