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Changing the words

People's writing styles and the words they use are very distinct. It is generally easy to tell when someone has copied directly from a textbook, as the language and the words used change from the writer's normal style and vocabulary. To paraphrase a text, follow these steps.

Read the sentence to be paraphrased a number of times

  • Read the sentence / paragraph you want to paraphrase a number of times to get the meaning of the text. Once you understand it, write out the sentence in your own words. If you do not fully understand the text, do not attempt to paraphrase it, as you will just copy it.

Circle the specialised words

  • Circle the specialised words, ie the words that the text is actually about. These will need to be included in your paraphrase, as without these words, the meaning of the paraphrase will change completely.

Underline keywords that can be changed

  • Underline the keywords that can be changed. You now have a starting point to construct your paraphrase.

Find alternative words for the keywords

  • Find other words and phrases that have similar meanings that can be used to replace the keywords in the text. Use a thesaurus or dictionary to help if need be.

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