Mastering The Art Of Paraphrasing
If you are a writer, you would have heard the term ‘paraphrase’ quite a bit. Even students find themselves using the term ‘paraphrase/paraphrasing’ frequently. But if you are hearing it for the first time, or if you are not quite sure what it is and how it can help your writing, then these are questions we are ready to answer, along with some other ones.
So What Exactly Is Paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is a technique you use to restate an existing piece of writing while keeping the original meaning of the piece, paragraph or sentence completely intact – with no altercation.
Sounds complicated? It is really not. In fact – it is super easy to do.
For instance, let’s take one of Shakespeare’s famous quotes:
‘All that glitters is not gold’
It could be rephrased – or paraphrased – ‘Everything that shines is not valuable’. While we did modify the words, used a synonym or two, we managed to retain the original meaning. That’s what Paraphrasing is all about.
Check out our article on : Grammar Vs Spelling
Is Paraphrasing And Summarising The Same Thing?
No. Many do confuse a paraphrase with a summary, but here’s how you can eliminate the confusion.
Paraphrasing, unlike summarising, does not focus on the word count or the shortening of the length of the text.
Paraphrasing deals with modifying certain sections of a text, whereas a summary looks at the complete content piece and focuses on editing the whole thing, highlighting the most essential sentences and removing any part of the paragraph that is considered not vital to the big picture.
In paraphrasing, you ensure the original meaning remains unaltered while summarising focuses only on retaining the most important sentences and reducing the length of the original text structure.
So Why Use A Paraphrase?
There are loads of benefits to using the paraphrasing technique.
- It helps process the content well
To re-write a paragraph or a sentence without risking copying text requires you to understand what the original text is all about. Especially when you have to ensure that the original meaning is not distorted. This will require you to take notes and re-read several times, and that’ll help process the details much better.
- Avoid problematic wording and use more time relevant words and terms
Language changes with time. Terms that were considered acceptable in the past can be viewed negatively in the present time. While the concept behind the whole writing can be worthy of carrying forward the text used can be problematic. This is where paraphrasing can make a real difference. Because it gives you the opportunity of conveying the whole meaning or carrying the concept forward using more time-relevant wordings and text modifications that suits the readers of today!
- Build your credibility
You might wonder how can anyone build credibility using the information that already exists. Once again, paraphrasing can help. You don’t need to modify the text. You can also relate your personal experience to the content in question and ensure you convey the original meaning through your experience. Not only does it help you to connect with the content but even with the readers too! And that helps build credibility.
- Avoid Plagiarizing
Plagiarism is seen as a sacrilegious act in the world of a writer. Plagiarising any author’s work should feel as bad as finding out that someone plagiarised your work. The bottom line is it’s a big NO. Not only is it wrong, but it will also put you in a very sticky situation if you are found out.
Tips On How To Improve Your Paraphrasing Game
- Stick to a reliable source
A dependable source means reliable information. It overall increases your credibility no matter what the subject approach is. Check when the details were published, who wrote it and what are their credentials, what are their sources. Basically, if the source you used presented the wrong information, you’ve failed the task already.
- Use Synonyms and more relevant terms
Synonyms are something every writer uses way too often (myself included) but, you do what you got to do. That’s why a writer never sets off on a writing journey without their thesaurus in hand. Then there’re terms-the more time-relevant they are, the more many will find themselves reading it.
I.e. take another famous Shakespeare quote ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ with the use of synonyms it can also be expressed as ‘To live or not to live, that is the problem’ – original meaning still conveyed.
- Do not research and write at the same time
When time is the most pressing issue a writer has, they would have given into this toxic technique (guilty!), which more often than not have resulted in problematic, less-quality content. It is because research involves a little extensive digging. So facts can change as you dig deeper. If you write your piece as you research, your content might carry incorrect facts. So research first always. Take notes you and then write last.
- Write a rough draft first!
Once you’re thorough with your research and note gathering. It’s time to put together the very first draft. Unless you are a writing prodigy that has magic powers, chances are your 1st draft can be a little rusty, and it will require further refinement. So don’t worry if your first draft is not your proudest work. It usually evolves with the second and maybe even a third.
- Don’t skip the citations
Even if you are taking a simple quote from another published or unpublished piece of writing, it is always advised to cite the source. It is the ethical way to go – especially in research papers.
So what do you think of paraphrasing now? Here’s the thing, if paraphrasing is done right, it can really do wonders to your writing and even expand your knowledge. It’s a super useful technique that can make or break your final work, so keep in mind that mastering paraphrasing takes time and practice. Good luck!