10 Tips to Paraphrase
An academic assignment can’t exist without the information from peer-reviewed scientific works. Still, instructors often ask their students to avoid direct quotes. The main reason why they do this is that professors want to see how well you understand the material.
That’s why the best way to handle a quotation is to paraphrase it. However, that process is much trickier than it might seem. Replacing a few words won’t create your own version of someone else’s thought—you need advanced skills no money can buy to succeed. Keep reading to uncover 10 helpful tips that include all stages of paraphrasing.
1. Read the entire article or chapter
That’s what most college instructors will recommend. As tiresome and boring as it seems, your brain needs full context to process the idea. In other words, all excellent essays require more reading than writing.
While many learners complain that education isn’t cheap, your teachers really know how to make it worthwhile. When you understand the key message, you can interpret any quotation you like. The ability to see the bigger picture is what all renowned companies value, so this skill will definitely help you in the future.
2. Identify the keywords in the quote
Students often struggle to remember the long, complex thoughts they need to paraphrase, so they search for ‘simpler” quotes. Still, this gets easier if you divide the idea into several parts with keywords. For example:
- Assistance to war refugees is a humanitarian concept.
- Support can preserve the psychological well-being of those people.
- Such projects help the suffering individuals find jobs.
Every lengthy sentence becomes understandable when it’s written like this. Moreover, you can remember the main points faster by associating them with keywords. Then, you can write the paraphrased version from scratch, using your memory.
3. Try to write what it means in simple words
Sometimes, there are so many terms in scientific articles that you just can’t paraphrase that high-quality research on the spot. If that’s the case, you can start by defining each term and then “deciphering” the implication behind the whole sentence.
Once everything is clear, you can easily create your version. Importantly, you might need to use some original “big words” to sound formal. Just make sure that you know the meaning of all the terms you choose to keep, otherwise the paraphrased version may become a convoluted interpretation instead of a nice quote.
4. Don’t use the same words
Experienced writers know that terminology isn’t everything, so they adhere to three simple rules.
- Use synonyms. Your research should have one style, which is yours, so you can simply go with your intuition and rewrite the quote in your own words.
- Simplify what you can. Review the original quote. If there’s a bulky noun cluster or passive voice, you can write that in a simpler form, making the thought easier to grasp.
- No additional interpretation is allowed. You should comment on quotes but not distort them. It’s a great idea to use the next sentence for your explanation instead.
5. Change the sentence structure, not word order
Academic writing can be tricky, especially when it comes to plagiarism. That’s why you shouldn’t keep the sentence structure the same. For example, moving an if-clause from the beginning to the end can be of service when you’re trying to embed the quotation in your stylistic patterns.
It’s even better to “dress” the thought in different grammatical structures, keeping the message the same. Imagine that your reader is a picky customer who will only accept your work after a top-notch rebranding.
If all of this sounds too complex, and you need an easy-to-follow example, try a professional essay writing company whose expert essay writers can give you any kind of academic paper.
6. Avoid the negative particle
Expert writers understand that using “do not” 10 times in a row will make any text repetitive and boring. Here are some constructions that can change that.
- “Scientists never succeeded.” This expression implies that other researchers are free to try what their counterparts couldn’t do. The phrasing is also cautious, which is a good thing in academic writing.
- “Researchers have failed to locate the ship.” Such statements are usually about specific expeditions. For instance, a business company funded the search operation but it was unsuccessful.
- “The data about this accident is absent.” This might sound a bit like a governmental website, but you can express facts through such phrases without excessive negativity.
7. Use abbreviations consistently
No matter if you're an experienced professional or a student who is just writing their first paper ever, you should not use the same abbreviations with different meanings. If the UN means “United Nations,” it’s not advisable to use it to denote a Korean musical group in the paraphrased quote later on.
While your texts must be personalized, they should also be scientific, which means that you have to consider all details and make a glossary if there are many abbreviations in your essay.
8. Never twist the original thought
English is a superb language that has never lacked words that can express anything that’s on your mind. Still, you must remember a few things while paraphrasing.
- You can’t change the main idea.
- Even if that could help your argumentation, you should stick to what the author said—no more, no less.
- Preserve all precise information. Even if that’s something trite, like “the 4th of July is an important date in the USA,” you should still mention exactly that day.
- Don’t add your own analogies. Academic writing is about precision, which means that no extra metaphors should make it into your paraphrased quote.
9. Create an in-text citation
Once everything is in the proper order, you should mention the author of the quotation you’ve chosen. There are many websites that will help you create an in-text and bibliography citation online. Using them is convenient, but it’s better to double-check all the details and correct possible errors at once. Every responsible writer reviews their quotes to insert the right page number and the year of publication.
10. Proofread the ready sentence
Once you’ve completed all the steps above, make sure that your custom version of the quote has no typos or grammatical errors. That might seem like an insignificant detail, but no good writer will let such things spoil the impression of their work. Surely, many automatic correction services can spot the most obvious mistakes, but only you can ensure that none of them are left in your paper by accident.
Don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts!
You can’t write a great academic essay without quoting, but that’s not the main part. Paraphrasing helps students and scientists alike integrate important information in their own papers, creating something completely original. That’s a useful exercise if you want to become a confident speaker and make all your statements impactful.
Quotes can help accomplish that goal, but your ideas remain foundational to everything that you say or write. That’s why you should never hesitate to craft unique thesis statements and further your own arguments. Just remember—to be persuasive means to be yourself.