what is paraphrasing

Definition of Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing refers to the presentation of the ideas and information from another person’s work in your own words. This technique is of much use in academic writing. It makes it possible to review a work written by someone else and creatively restate their ideas so that you can use them to draft your paper.

Term Derivation

The term “paraphrasing” comes from a Greek word that means “another way of expression”. When paraphrasing, you can use synonyms in place of some words. However, you need to be meticulous while doing so to avoid losing the original meaning. Careless swapping of words can lead to a poor-quality paper or work that does not make sense.

Five Examples of paraphrasing

Example 1


Essay writing is a practical way of improving students’ writing skills so that they can logically express themselves and develop their writing careers.


Students use essay writing as an avenue for developing their writing skills and growing their careers as writers.

Example 2


Cows like banana leaves and silage, and they can eat 10 kilograms of feed daily.


Cows can consume up to ten kilograms of banana leaves and silage every day.

Example 3


Abortion is a highly contentious practice that is legal in some countries and prohibited in other states unless the life of the mother is in danger.


Some countries allow abortion while others permit it only if there is the risk of losing the mother’s life.

Example 4


James’ impoliteness made me angry when we were having dinner.


I was infuriated by James’ rudeness during dinner time.

Example 5


Euthanasia refers to the humane killing of a patient suffering from terminal illness by a doctor. Many countries do not allow the practice, and anyone caught doing it may be jailed for life.


Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient by a medic due to an incurable illness. The practice is illegal in most countries, and it can lead to life imprisonment.

In what situations paraphrasing may be useful?

Paraphrasing is essential when you want to use other people’s ideas in your work. It makes it possible for you to retain the original meaning without copying the work. Typically, you will use paraphrasing more than quoting in your writing for several reasons.

Paraphrasing provides a way of avoiding lawsuits and disciplinary actions (for students in colleges and universities) due to copyright infringement through plagiarism. The writing technique allows you to circumvent plagiarism to ensure that your voice is dominant over that of the author of the original text.

Again, paraphrasing is necessary when you want to simplify some information that may be hard to comprehend. Using this method, you can clarify or make the content simple for the reader to grasp the ideas quickly.

Moreover, paraphrasing is essential in establishing your writer’s credibility by providing a more in-depth analysis of sources. You are, therefore, able to win the trust of your readers as they can see that you have a good grasp of the ideas and you can articulate them. It is an indication that you have enough knowledge about the subject matter.

Lastly, paraphrasing is vital for reducing irrelevant information. Now that you are writing in your own words, you can select the salient ideas from a source and omit information that is less relevant.

Automated paraphrasing, is it reality or myth?

Automated paraphrasing is a reality. There are several online tools that one can use to paraphrase text or spin an article automatically. Most of these tools can partially circumvent plagiarism detection software. With the continuous enhancement, the automatic paraphrasing may be able to rout plagiarism checkers in the future.

The primary challenge in using automated paraphrasing is that the end product is a mere swapping of words with less or no meaning. The tools cannot provide an in-depth analysis of information or avoid irrelevant points. What is more, some people argue that it impedes good writing skills among students.

At the same time, automated paraphrasing is easy to detect as the work is full of errors and some words and phrases may be meaningless. The sentences of an automatically paraphrased paper may be incoherent, and the work may not convey the ideas of the original text. However, students are increasingly using it despite all these shortcomings.

Is paraphrasing similar to rogeting?

Paraphrasing and rogeting are similar except for the manner in which you accomplish the two. Rogeting can be termed as reckless paraphrasing as it is mere swapping of terms with synonyms. The swapping is usually extensive, which makes it impossible for plagiarism checker to detect it. Papers produced through rogeting may have a different meaning from the original document.

Paraphrasing, on the other hand, involves careful analysis and interpretation of sources. The author rephrases the ideas in the sources using his or her own words while ensuring the work does not lose the original message.

What is the difference between summarizing and paraphrasing?

The product of paraphrasing usually is about the same length as the source document because the primary goal is to rewrite without omitting any information, and not to make it short.

Conversely, summarizing encompasses writing down the main points of a source text by another person using your own words. The summary is usually shorter than the source text, omits less critical information, and the end product is typically a third of the length of the original work.

What is the difference between a paraphrased and quoted work?

In quoting, you copy the original text word-by-word and put it in quotation marks while in paraphrasing you rephrase the ideas using different words. The quoted work is, therefore, identical to the source text, but in the case of paraphrasing, you retain only the original meaning.