Skip to main content
MATC Library logo

How to Paraphrase: Home

This guide will help the student create and incorporate paraphrases into their research papers.

The value of the paraphrase

What is a paraphrase?

Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.

Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material. Anytime you are taking information from a source that is not your own, you need to specify where you got that information


Your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
A more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.


 

Purdue Owl. "Paraphrase: write it in your own words." The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010-04-21 07:48:25 Web. 2012-10-19

Paraphrase Example

Original Quote:

"According to the FDA 80% of the food served in public schools has a fat content higher than is recommended by most doctors. Studies have shown a link between childhood obesity and diabetes" (FDA, 2010).

Paraphrase:

According to the FDA there is a possible correlation between food served in public schools and childhood obesity that may lead to diabetes (2010).

 

With paraphrasing the writer restates the original passage but maintains the meaning while still giving credit to the original source.

What are the differences among quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing?

These three ways of incorporating other writers' work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing.

Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.

Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.

Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.

 Dana Lynn Driscoll, Allen Brizee. "Quoting,Paraphrasing, and Summarizing."
    The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, Last Edited: 2011-12-14 08:19:17

Books on paraphrasing at MATC

Paraphrase example

A paraphrase is written in your own words. It retells the information in roughly the same amount of words.

Original source: Rychnovsky, "Clawing into Controversy" (40)

Californians are encountering mountain lions more frequently because increasing numbers of humans and a rising population of lions are competing for the same territory. Therefore the older lions are forcing younger lions out of the wilderness and into residential areas.

Paraphrase:

Rychonvsky explains that because the mountain lions' natural habitat can no longer sustain the population, older lions "are forcing younger cats into less suitable terrain, including residential areas." (40)

Notice that because a choice phrase was retained, it uses quotation marks so you know later which phrases are not your own.

Note the use of a signal phrase that introduces the source material, usually including the author's name. 

 Hacker,Diane. Rules for Writers, 5th ed. Bedford,St.Martin's. 2004

Paraphrase practice

Click on the link below to try some fun paraphrasing exercises

Paraphrase Example

Original Quote:

"According to the Pew Research Group most Internet users do not maintain adequate anti-virus security on their home systems. Without up to date security software, users leave themselves vulnerable to hacking and reduced performance" (Pew,2012).

Paraphrase:

According to the Pew Research Group many home Internet users do not keep up their security software and are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and slow performance (2012).

 

With a paraphrase quotation marks are not needed, but an in-text citation requires them.

Guide Author

Jeff Beder's picture
Jeff Beder
Contact:
297-7559
bederj@matc.edu
Milwaukee Campus