WRITING / Paraphrasing

 Academic Paraphrasing Skills

Key steps to effective paraphrasing

  1. Highlight important words / key terms (words that cannot be changed)
  2. Find synonyms / alternative words for high frequency words
  3. Change grammar: active to passive, nouns to verbs, adjectives to adverbs, word order
  4. 4. Check meaning

Paraphrasing Examples (using Synonyms)

Memory Capacity 

Original Sentence: 'Memory is the capacity for storing and retrieving information' (Smith, 2017).

  • a) Memory is the capacity for storing and retrieving information.
  • b) Memory is the facility for storage and recovering data. [paraphrased sentence - ok]
  • c) Data recovery and storage are facilitated in the memory. [paraphrased sentence - good]

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Plant Species

Original sentence: 'There are reckoned to be over 4,000 plant species used by forest dwellers as food and medicine alone' (Wilson, 2017)

  • a) There are reckoned to be over 4,000 plant species used by forest dwellers as food and medicine alone.
  • b) There are calculated to be more than 4,000 plant species utilised by forest inhabitants for food and medicine. [paraphrased sentence - ok]
  • C) Forest inhabitants utilise approximately 4,000 edible and medicinal plants. [paraphrased sentence - good]

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Nonverbal Behaviour

Original sentence: 'Paul Ekman from the University of California has conducted a long series of experiments on how nonverbal behaviour may reveal real inner states' (Jones, 2017)

  • a) Paul Ekman from the University of California has conducted a long series of experiments on how nonverbal behaviour may reveal real inner states.
  • b) Paul Ekman, who works at the University of California, has performed a sequence of investigations on the way nonverbal behaviour may disclose real internal states. [paraphrased sentence - ok]
  • C) A Californian university professor, Paul Ekman, investigated non verbal behaviour to discover a possibility of real internal states. [paraphrased sentence - good]

Practice Exercise

Paraphrases these six sentences

Smith et al., (2010) state that ‘human activities can also change the climate.’

Peterson et al., (2010) point out that ‘climate is controlled by the long term balance of energy of the earth and its atmosphere.’

Smith et al., (2010) note that ‘winds and ocean currents redistribute heat over the surface of the earth.’

Smith et al., (2010) note that ‘winds and ocean currents redistribute heat over the surface of the earth.’

Jones & Smith, (2010) argue that ‘the atmospheric amounts of many greenhouse gases are increasing, especially carbon dioxide, which has increased by 30 % over the last 200 years, primarily as a result of changes in land use (e.g., deforestation) and burning coal, and natural gas (e.g., in automobiles, industry, and electricity generation).’

Lucus et al., (2010) mention that ‘the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities will change the climate by enhancing the natural greenhouse effect, leading to an increase in in the earth’s average temperature.

Paraphrasing Answers

Academic English / Paraphrasing Exercises                    

  • 1) Smith et al., (2010) state that ‘human activities can also change the climate.’
  • It has been suggested that climate change is influenced by human activity (Smith et al., 2010)
  • 2) Peterson et al., (2010) point out that ‘climate is controlled by the long term balance of energy of the earth and its atmosphere.’
  • According to Peterson et al, (2010) the lasting equilibrium of energy between the earth and the atmosphere is regulated by the climate.
  • 3) Smith et al., (2010) note that ‘winds and ocean currents redistribute heat over the surface of the earth.’
  • The continuous distribution of warmth is through wind and ocean currents across the periphery of the planet (Smith et al., 2010).
  • 4) Jones & Smith, (2010) argue that ‘the atmospheric amounts of many greenhouse gases are increasing, especially carbon dioxide, which has increased by 30 % over the last 200 years, primarily as a result of changes in land use (e.g., deforestation) and burning coal, and natural gas (e.g., in automobiles, industry, and electricity generation).’
  • Jones & Smith’s (2010) argument holds validity that over the last 20 years there has been a 30% increase in Greenhouse gases (CO2) due to the manipulation of the environment for the benefit of globalisation.
  • 5) Lucus et al., (2010) mention that ‘the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities will change the climate by enhancing the natural greenhouse effect, leading to an increase in in the earth’s average temperature.’
  • Lucus et al., (2010) argue that the earth’s average temperature is increasing because of human activity through the intensification of atmospheric greenhouse gases.