Paraphrasing gives you the chance to mention someone else’s thoughts when you do not want to directly quote the author. But paraphrasing is like walking on a tightrope. If you do not rephrase the text correctly, the portion will either lose its meaning or amount to plagiarism.
Moreover, you will have to cite the source even after paraphrasing something. Since paraphrasing is a risky business, we professional editors and writers use the 4R strategy of paraphrasing. The 4 R’s of Paraphrasing are – Reading, Rechecking, Restating, and Repairing.
Did you know that 37% of students miss the A+ not because of a poorly-presented assignment but for plagiarism issues? Even when unintentional, plagiarism can cost you valuable grades and more – you can be EXPELLED!!
So, how do you mention the fascinating fact you have come across in your assignment without risking your reputation? While citing and mentioning sources in a bibliography can help you to an extent, paraphrasing is the real MVP here.
Read on to know more about the steps under each of the R!
The 4 R’s of Paraphrasing
Unless you understand the message that the text wants to convey, you will not be able to rewrite the portion and do justice to its purpose. So, you must first read and understand the essence of the content. Here are the steps you can take:
- Step 1: Choose a short quote – Do not paraphrase chunks of information at once. Weed out the data from the content that supports your arguments in the best possible way. Understand its relevance and then condense it into a rephrased statement. For a longer paragraph, you can write a summary that provides an overview of the content as a whole.
- Step 2: Identify the main ideas – Identify the author’s main point or argument. Figure out the quote’s overall meaning by checking how the ideas are supported. Take detailed notes of the quote, and condense these notes to restructure the text.
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- Step 3: Know when to paraphrase –Suppose you find an unusual fact, but the way it has been put is bland.In that case, you can present the idea more creatively using better words. Paraphrasing would be the safest option when you cite data, facts or statistics.You can use paraphrasing when you have already used too many direct quotes in your paper.
- Step 4: When not to paraphrase –When it comes to poetry, dialogue, or a portion of a speech, avoid rephrasing the portion. If you want to maintain the author’s original phrasing, then quote the author. This will not only help you preserve the original meaning but also use the author’s authority on the topic to your advantage. For example, if you are quoting a book or say a political leader’s speech (like Dr Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech), use the actual words.
Once you have a complete understanding of the text, it is time for you to rewrite the quote. On that note, you must remember that rewriting sentences go beyond spinning the content. This holds true for both blogging and writing study materials or assignments. Here are some things you can do:
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- Step 5: Use a different structure – Do not merely use synonyms for the words in the original quote while paraphrasing. That will still count as plagiarism. Instead, the rewritten text should offer something original despite citing the same idea. So, how do you achieve that? You can use a different sentence structure to give it your own voice.
Example: Suppose you have to paraphrase this sentence: “Our results have shown that 60% of voters could not make up their minds until the time they had stepped into the polling place.”
The paraphrased version should be something like: “Did you know that 60% of voters waituntil they enter the polling booth to decide who they want to vote? Yes, you aren’t the indecisive one here.”
- Step 6: Maintain the essence – Do not make the mistake of taking a quote out of context and manipulating it beyond the author’s intent. While this will certainly help you support your arguments, it will be unethical too. The rewritten text must reflect the author’s intent. Since you will have to cite the source, you can get into trouble if your text does not match the original author’s purpose as a whole. Even when using a free paraphrasing tool, make sure the message remains the same.
- Step 7: Do not use quotations – When you paraphrase a quote, you are writing it in your own words. If you put quotation marks around the restructured sentences and mention the author, it will amount to falsified data. Write the section as you would write any other text in your own words. That said, there is a slight exception in this case. You will still need to use quotation marks if you wish to keep certain unique words mentioned by the author in your rewritten version.
This R is the answer to the question: Did you include all the crucial points appropriately? Even when using an online paraphrasing tool for blogging or writing assignments, you must ensure that you have ticked all the right boxes while paraphrasing a quote. Here is what you can do:
- Step 8: Tally the central idea – Read both the original quote and your rewritten passage aloud to make sure that the portions convey the same ideas using different words. Your aim would be to paraphrase content to the extent that it does not come off plagiarism. At the same time, you must not lose sight of the author’s intent.
- Step 9: Revise to perfection – Revise the rephrased content until you feel that it reflects the original quote. If need be, ask someone to read both the passage and your version of it and share how they feel about it. You can also use an online paraphrasing tool to rewrite the original quote. Compare the two results – your rephrased portion and the one churned by the tool. Blend them for the perfect version.
REPAIR – 4 R’s of Paraphrasing
Just because you have paraphrased a portion of the text does not mean that you no longer have to cite the source. So, make sure to hit the final nail by citing the original source. Keep these crucial points in mind when citing sources:
- Step 10: Use the preferred style – You cannot just cite sources any way you like. You must follow a particular style. The most preferred referencing styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago Style. Depending on the subject you pursue and the instructions of your professor, you will have to follow your formatting rules. Also, do not mix up blogging guidelines with citing study materials.
- Step 11: Cite the section right after– When you include the paraphrased passage, you need to cite it right next to it by putting the publication information within parentheses. For MLA, the parenthetical citation must consist of the author’s last name and page numbers. In the case of APA style, you will have to use the author’s name along with the year of publication.
- Step 12: Insert footnotes and bibliography – After you have cited the rephrased content using a subscript number, you will have to insert a footnote at the bottom of the page for the same corresponding number. After you have included the source details in the footnote, include the complete publication information in the Bibliography page.
When it comes to your academic life, your paraphrasing skills can help you showcase your understanding capabilities via your rendition of someone else’s writing. However, do not make the mistake of limiting paraphrasing to word substitution. Use the 4 R’s of paraphrasing to the following crucial points:
- Read the paragraph several times to understand the meaning clearly.
- Identify the main ideas to maintain the essence.
- Know what to paraphrase and what not to.
- Use a different structure but do not change the original meaning.
- Revise the rewritten text and compare it to the original segment.
- Cite the source and include footnotes/bibliographies as per the preferred style.
To get better at paraphrasing, practice by rephrasing sentences from random places. Use an online paraphrasing tool to generate another version and tally your results. With regular practice, you will learn how to use different vocabulary and sentence pattern. All the best!
Emily Moore has worked with several publishing houses as an editor. At present, she is associated with MyAssignmenthelp.com as an academic editor who helps with paraphrasing. Simmons loves to read and go on road trips in her free time.