Thompson Rivers University

How to Paraphrase

  Posted on: February 21, 2017

by Megan Webster

Paraphrase: a restatement of a text or passage giving the meaning in another form. Paraphrasing is using your own words to tell the reader what another author has said while giving credit to that author.

Why is Paraphrasing Important?

  • It allows you to focus on the information relevant to your chosen topic.
  • It demonstrates to your reader that you understand what you have read.
  • It is preferred in APA papers.

Characteristics of a Proper Paraphrase:

  • It is shorter than the original quotation.
  • The main idea of the text is accurately portrayed in your paraphrase.
  • The sentence structure of the original text and your paraphrase are different.
  • Your paraphrase has been properly cited according to the assigned Citation Style Guide.

How to Paraphrase: 

  1. Find the Main Idea
  • Identify the key points or main ideas involved in the author’s work.
  1. Use Different Words
  • Use synonyms when possible.
  1. Change the Order of Ideas
  • Change the sentence structure of the key point(s) you are trying to replicate in your paper.

Paraphrase Example:

Original text: Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature who was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman had a little red riding hood made for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding Hood.

Paraphrase: Little Red Riding Hood is named after a garment she wears, a robe made of red material that was gifted to her by her grandmother (Perrault).

Source: Charles Perrault, Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l’Oye (Paris, 1697).

Image Credit: