Paraphrasing Paragraphs – Common Mistakes

Why Do You Need to Paraphrase Paragraphs?

We will often want to use someone else’s work or ideas within our own writing. Sometimes we do this by using a direct quote and repeat word for word what the original author has written, other times we need to rewrite what they have written in our own words. This is done for a number of different reasons:

  • To prove that we fully understand what has been written
  • To make a paragraph easier to understand
  • To better target the audience we are writing for
  • To improve the way the original was written

Not citing the sources however or nor making your paraphrasing different enough to the original could lead you to being accused of plagiarism.

How to Go about Paraphrasing a Paragraph

Paraphrasing is about rewriting a paragraph or even a whole paper in your own words. Unlike summarizing you will tend to keep to roughly the same length as the original. However, many people find it very difficult to paraphrase. Some of the common mistakes are listed here:

  • Going through the original and changing every other word for a synonym using a thesaurus
  • Finding yourself repeating portions of the original
  • Failing to change the structure of the paragraph sufficiently
  • Analyzing what you are paraphrasing

If You Are Paraphrasing Paragraphs You Need to

  • Read the paragraph carefully so that you fully understand it
  • Jot down notes to explain the main points of the paragraph
  • Rewrite using your notes not the original
  • Check and proofread to ensure that it is sufficiently different

Expert Help with Paraphrasing Paragraphs

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