HOW TO PARAPHRASE IN ACADEMIC WRITING

The English Dictionary defines the term ‘Paraphrase’ as the restatement of a text in different words, often to clarify meaning. Simply put, paraphrasing simply means taking a word from a text and describing the meaning of the word with an entirely different word or phrase. Hence Paraphrasing can be defined as the act of using different words to express the same idea in an academic or literal piece. Paraphrasing is an important skill which ought to be mastered and effectively used by students in academic writing. This is due to a number of reasons, some of which includes;

  • It is employed in academic writing as a means of avoiding plagiarism.
  • It is used to give clarity and credibility to an academic piece.
  • It is used as a means of best conveying or clarifying the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • It is used to curb out the overuse of direct quotations in an academic piece.

These benefits stipulate that paraphrasing play an all round important role in academic writing. However, before it can be used effectively, one ought to understand the skill and get associated with its pros and cons. This article will tell you all you need to know about paraphrasing.

WHEN TO PARAPHRASE

Paraphrasing should be used in academic writing every time the writer feels like the original source is a bit ambiguous for the information it carries or entails. Under this veil, paraphrasing can be used for the following circumstances in academic writing.

  • To change the organization of ideas as a means of conveying a singular point relating to a particular subject matter.
  • To simplify the complexity of the material, phrase or sentence.

Similarly, paraphrasing should be used alongside direct quotations in an academic piece so that one will not become overused or unnecessary.

Recommended: Avoiding plagiarism in academic writing

HOW TO PARAPHRASE

The sentences or phrases from an academic piece can be altered or changed through different measures or means, some of which includes:

  1. CHANGES IN THE PARTS OF SPEECH

This is a situation whereby the parts of speech in the sentence or phrase(ie, the verbs, pronouns, adjective, conjunction and adverbs) are replaced with different words.

For example, the original sentence:

Chike obtained a severe injury from falling down from a moving bike.

The paraphrased sentence

The boy contacted an ugly cut from the bike accident.

  1. CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE SENTENCE

This is a form of paraphrasing whereby the structure of the sentence is altered or changed. Oftentimes, it involves the changing of the structure of the sentence to an active or passive voice and vice versa. This form of paraphrasing could also stand to signify the author’s interpretation of the proposed quote, phrase or sentence.

For example, the original sentence:

The human heart is the only organ in body that does not rest. It starts to beat from its formation to the demise of the individual bearing the heart.

The paraphrased sentence

The only organ in the body that is incapable of rest is the human heart. It works from its formation to the death of the owner of the heart.

The sentence was changed from an active voice to a passive voice.

  1. USE OF SYNONYMS

A synonym can be defined as a word which shares the same meaning with another word. This form of paraphrasing is the easiest and most commonly used. It involves the replacement of the words in the sentences or phrases with different words bearing the same meaning.

For example, the original sentence;

Taiye Sellassie is the renowned and talented author of the book ‘Ghana Must Go’.

The paraphrased sentence:

Taiye Sellassie is the well known and gifted writer of the novel ‘Ghana Must Go’.

  1. REDUCTION OF CLAUSES

clause is a group of words which contain a subject and a verb.If a sentence or phrase is voluminous or ambiguous, the clauses in the text can be reduced. This is also a form of paraphrasing.

For example, the original sentence;

Timothy, the tall dark boy who sat at the back of the class, punched Jude, who was also as tall and husky as Timothy. Both boys exchanged punches for a while before the fight broke out proper.

The paraphrased sentence:

Timothy punched Jude who was almost the same build as him. Punches were exchanged for some time and a fight broke out after that.

  1. BLENDING ALL FORMS OF PARAPHRASING IN A SINGLE SENTENCE

As fore mentioned in the text, the methods of altering a sentence, phrase or quote of an academic piece includes (I) Changing the parts of the speech in the sentences. (ii) Changing the structure of the sentence. (iii) Making use of synonyms and (iv) Reduction of Clauses. These methods can also be blended and effectively used to completely transform the nature of a sentence, quote, phrase or text.

For example, the original sentence;

The human heart is the only organ in body that does not rest. It starts to beat from its formation to the demise of the individual bearing the heart.

The paraphrased sentence;

The singular organ in the body incapable of rest is the human heart. Its functions commence from its moment of formation down to the day the human draws his/her last breath.

IMPORTANT TIPS TO NOTE WHEN PARAPHRASING AN ACADEMIC PIECE

Important tips to take note of while paraphrasing includes:

  • Always make use of synonyms when paraphrasing.
  • Read the passage, text or quote and understand it properly before altering the wordings in it.
  • Break down the information or ideal point into different sentences if it seems to ambiguous.
  • Acquire basic knowledge on sentence structures, parts of speech and clauses in order to know when and how to properly alter the wordings in a sentence.
  • Always reference the words, sentences or texts which are paraphrased. The idea is to avoid over-usage of direct quotations and plagiarism and not to copy.
  • Always review your paraphrased sentences to be sure that it is free from grammatical errors and the information or singular point in the source is altered and passed down adequately.



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