Life Easier Today Than It Was 50 Years Ago

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Paraphrasing

S. Kathleen Kitao
Kenji Kitao

When you write a paper, you use some information that you have read in books, journals, on the Internet, etc. Your teacher might have told you, “Use your own words.” In other words, even when you use someone else’s information, you are not allowed to use the words they wrote. You have to use your own. You have to say the same thing in a different way. This is called paraphrasing.

For example, if the book you are reading from says, “John Adams, who was involved in winning independence for the United States, was the second President.” You cannot write those words in your paper. You cannot even write, “John Adams, a man involved in winning independence for the United States, was its second President.” One way that you could re-write it is to say, “The second American President, John Adams, was also influential in gaining freedom for the country.”

However, in spite of being told to use your own words, you might not know how to do it. There are a variety of techniques you can use. You can change the words for words of similar meaning; you can change the grammar; you can change the grammar or grammatical forms. In this reading, you will learn about ways that you can paraphrase.

Methods of Paraphrasing

Before you even begin to paraphrase, you need to make certain that you understand what you are reading. If you do not understand what you read, you cannot paraphrase it.

There are six ways that you can change sentences to paraphrase the information. You will probably not use all of them in the same sentence, but you can use ones that are appropriate. (In each of the examples, only one change is made. This is not enough if you are actually paraphrasing.) Read about each type of change, and look at the examples. Then make that type of change in the sample sentences that follow.

Changing Word Order
One way you can change a sentence for paraphrasing is to change the word order. For example, you might change “Because I slept too late, I missed my first class” to “I missed my first class because I slept too late,” or “In order to pass that class, I had to study very hard” to “I had to study very hard in order to pass that class.” It is sometimes necessary to change the wording of the parts of the sentences. For example, “Terry wanted more books, but he couldn’t afford them,” can be changed to “Terry couldn’t afford more books, even though he wanted them.”

1. If you’re going to New York for Christmas, be sure to take warm clothes. __Be sure to take warm clothes, if you’re going to New York for Christmas.___________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Even though the weather was good, Joan was in a bad mood. ___Joan was in a bad mood, even though the weather was good._____________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 3. I had no money, so I borrowed some.

__I borrowed some money, because I had none._____________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

Changing Parts of Speech
You can also change parts of speech. If the sentence uses a noun, you can rewrite the sentence to use the verb or adjective form of the word, for example. You can change “Fifty-four men signed the Declaration of Independence” to “Fifty-four men put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence.”

1. The company needs to find a solution for this problem.
__The company needs to solve this problem.______________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 2. The poor economy has been the cause of high unemployment. ___The poor economy has caused high unemployment.______________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 3. If you eat rabbit, you will find its taste like chicken. __If you eat rabbit,...
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