Avoid Plagiarism by Paraphrasing

How to Paraphrase

Paraphrasing allows you to examine the meaning of other people's work and creatively rephrase their statements.

Paraphrasing Process

  1. Review and re-read the text: you will need to read it 3 or 4 times for thorough understanding;
  2. Look up any words you don’t know;
  3. Identify key themes and concepts of the text;
  4. Underline the keywords: this will help you decide what is important;
  5. Put the passage aside and make some notes from memory;
  6. In your restatement, remember to indicate WHO, IS DOING WHAT, WHY, (WHEN, WHERE);
  7. Leave out irrelevant words and information;
  8. Compare your notes with the original text;
  9. Use quotation marks around any unique phrases/technical terms you have taken directly from the source;
  10. Reference appropriately.

Sentence Transformation Techniques

  • “Reword, Rephrase, Restructure”
  • Uses different words to the original text
  • Use your own sentence structure
  • Use synonyms but do not substitute word for word
  • Use sentence stems and frames
  • Break long sentences into shorter ones
  • Use “reminder phrases"

Once you have completed your paraphrase, assess the following:

  • Have technical terms been preserved?
  • Are the key ideas of the original text communicated in the paraphrase?
  • Is the paraphrase too close to the original or does it use too many of the same words?
  • Have direct quotes been appropriately referenced?
  • Is the paraphrase a cohesive and clear piece of writing?
  • Would you make any changes?

Paraphrasing examples

Some good examples of paraphrased sentences.

Original: Her life spanned years of incredible change for women as they gained more rights than ever before.

Paraphrase: She lived through the exciting era of women's liberation.

Original: Giraffes like Acacia leaves and hay, and they can consume 75 pounds of food a day.

Paraphrase: A giraffe can eat up to 75 pounds of Acacia leaves and hay daily.

Original: Symptoms of influenza include fever and nasal congestion.

Paraphrase: A stuffy nose and elevated temperature are signs you may have the flu.

Original: The price of a resort vacation typically includes meals, tips and equipment rentals, which makes your trip more cost-effective.

Paraphrase: All-inclusive resort vacations can make for an economical trip.

Original: He has tons of stuff to throw away.

Paraphrase: He needs to get rid of a lot of junk.

Reporting Verbs

Neutral Verbs

These verbs are used to say what the author describes either factually, refers to, demonstrates, discusses, explains in terms of methodology.

For example: describe, show reveal,observe, go on to say that, examine, study, demonstrate, note, assume, take into consideration, point out, indicate, report, mention, find.

Tentative Verbs

These verbs are used to say what the author suggests or speculates on (without being absolutely certain).

For example: suggest, speculate, postulate, imply, propose, recommend, posit, question the view, intimate, hypothesise, moot.

Strong Verbs

These verbs are used to say what the author makes strong arguments and claims for.

For Example: argue, claim, emphasise, contend, maintain, assert, theorize, support the view that, deny, negate, refute, reject, challenge, strongly believe that, counter the view/argument that, reject.


Consider the attempts at rewording the following statement:

He angered me with his inappropriate comments, rumor-spreading, and disrespectfulness at the formal dinner table.

Example 1 - He made me angry when he was rude at dinner.

This paraphrase is an example of a rewording which shortens and simplifies while maintaining the same meaning.

Example 2 - His impoliteness, gossiping, and general lack of respect at dinner infuriated me.

This rephrasing maintains the same meaning but is rearranged in a creative way.

Example 3 - I was mad when he started spreading rumors, making inappropriate comments, and disrespecting other guests at our dinner.

Another paraphrase, this rewording properly and interestingly rearranges the information provided in the original sentence.