A paraphrase is a detailed restatement in your own words of a written or sometimes spoken source material. Apart from the changes in organization, wording, and sentence structure, the paraphrase should be nearly identical in meaning to the original passage. It should also be near the same length as the original passage and present the details of the original.
When should you paraphrase?
You will want to paraphrase or summarize when the wording of the source is less important than the meaning of the source. You may use the paraphrase often for the following reasons:
- To change the organization of ideas for emphasis. You may have to change the organization of ideas in source material so that you can emphasize the points that are most related to your paper. You should remember to be faithful to the meaning of the source.
- To simplify the material. You may have to simplify complex arguments, sentences, or vocabulary.
- To clarify the material. You may have to clarify technical passages or specialized information into language that is appropriate for your audience.