What is Paraphrasing?
Has your teacher given you a long text to read and only asked you to paraphrase? What does he mean by saying this? What does he expect of you anyway? Well, paraphrasing in simple terms refers to the presentation of somebody else’s ideas in your own words without changing the meaning. When you paraphrase, you rephrase the information without leaving anything behind. The purpose of rephrasing is not to shorten or summarize but to restate the information. People paraphrase for different reasons and to achieve different results. If your teacher asks you to paraphrase, he is definitely testing whether you know the meaning of paraphrasing and why you should paraphrase, among other reasons.
When Should You Paraphrase?
- When You Want to Simplify the Information
People have different levels of speaking, writing, and understanding different languages. Others are just beginning; others can understand but not speak the language; others are fluent while others are native speakers. The author’s language could therefore be difficult to understand and hence the need to paraphrase. Other times, the topic itself could be quite hard to follow. Different subjects, for instance, in school, use different languages. Every discipline such as medicine, law, agriculture, or Information technology has its language. Explaining something like lipid digestion could thus be a bit challenging until paraphrasing is applied.
- When You Want to Prove That You Understand Something
If you are presenting something to a particular audience, the last thing you want is to appear foolish. It is crucial to connect with your audience naturally. This can only happen if you have a good understanding of the subject in question. If you just state or quote the information without analyzing it or explaining it in simple terms, you appear as someone who does not know what he is saying. Clarifying what you mean gives you confidence and presents you as a knowledgeable person whose presentation can be trusted.
- When You Want to Avoid Quoting
Every writer writes in a different and yet unique way. If you want to present their ideas, you will likely interrupt their voice when you keep quoting them. The audience, in particular, will find it hard to follow such a presentation. Paraphrasing will, therefore, help you to communicate important information while at the same time maintaining the writing’s flow.
- When You Want to Present Applicable Statistics
There are times when you may wish to develop your argument based on available statistical information. For instance, statistics about the number of graduates in every university or college could help explain the high unemployment and crime rates. You should avoid quoting such statistics directly and instead paraphrase them.
- When You Want to Avoid Plagiarizing
Plagiarism is a crime that is punishable by law. Some people plagiarize intentionally, while others do it unintentionally. Many people have soft-wares that check for plagiarism. Most likely, your teacher will also check your assignments for plagiarism. He or she can use Turnitin, Grammarly, or Copyscape, among other software. However, if you want to use someone’s words without plagiarizing, paraphrasing comes in handy.