Paraphrasing means formulating someone else’s ideas in your own words. To paraphrase a source, you have to rewrite a passage without changing the meaning of the original text.

Paraphrasing is an alternative to quoting, where you copy someone’s exact words and put them in quotation marks. In academic writing, it’s usually better to paraphrase instead of quoting, because it shows that you have understood the source and makes your work more original.

Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source. You also have to be careful not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism.

How to paraphrase in five steps

  1. Read the passage several times to fully understand the meaning
  2. Note down key concepts
  3. Write your version of the text without looking at the original
  4. Compare your paraphrased text with the original passage and make minor adjustments to phrases that remain too similar
  5. Cite the source where you found the idea