6 Easy Steps to Paraphrasing in English

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Charlie Baxterİngilizce
26 Kasım 2015
15703
6 dakika


How satisfying is it when you accurately and coherently tell someone a new and impressive piece of information that makes them go “ahh, I did not know that?"

However, I find that sometimes I can’t remember all the information I learnt and I end up losing the listener's interest or I recall facts in the wrong order and I walk away frustrated and deflated, not having the right vocabulary at hand.

Well, I have found a helpful solution to this problem and I would like to share it with you. It is especially powerful for language learners, as you are exposed to new vocabulary in the right context. This is much better than memorizing lists of words. Why? Because it is applied learning – meaning you are using the new information directly in the way it will be used in the future. A fantastic memory trick!

What is the solution?


It is a step-by-step method of how to properly re-tell or paraphrase a piece of information.

Paraphrasing is when you express the meaning of something written or spoken using different words.

This skill is a very powerful technique to increase not only your vocabulary but also your coherence, fluency, grammar, and even pronunciation. Now string those together and you have a well rounded speaker of English.

However, paraphrasing isn’t always easy because it involves a lot of language processing. Luckily, I have come up with 6 simple steps to help you achieve the perfect paraphrase.

What will you learn in this article?


In this article you will learn how to paraphrase effectively with step-by-step instructions alongside easy-to-understand examples. Let’s go straight into it and show you how to paraphrase!

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Step 1: Separate the information


Choose the relevant paragraph(s) you want to paraphrase.

Separate the sentences.

Step 2: Highlight content words


Choose words that carry the meaning of the sentence.

Content word examples



Step 3: Create new content words


A synonym is a great way to expand your vocabulary and to link those words with correct associations.

What is a synonym? It is another word that is more or less interchangeable with the word at hand.

Synonym examples


  • the picture was hard to describe
  • the picture was difficult to describe

“Hard” and “difficult” in this example have the same meaning, so they are synonyms of one another.

Step 4: Complete the new sentence


Simply string the new words together with whatever you feel goes well, using any different function words you like to complete a full sentence.

Function word examples



Step 5: Review


Now write this complete sentence down and read it back. Does it make sense? If not, ask yourself what you are not happy with and why. This helps your coherency skills.

Then, look at the original and ask yourself if the new sentence is missing any information you want to include. Is the new structure different and starting to lose the original meaning? If so, simply readjust it until you are happy.

Step 6: Record yourself


Once it is perfected, record yourself and listen back. This is very important because you need to become your own teacher. Play it back while listening for pronunciation errors.

Pronunciation error examples


  • Sentence stress – what words you emphasize

  • Word stress – what syllables you emphasize

  • Intonation – how your voice rises and falls while speaking naturally

- e.g. A question in English will usually rise at the end (“Are you *okay*?”)

  • Individual sounds – are you creating the right vibrations in your mouth?

- e.g. “chicken” vs. “kitten”

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Confused?


Lets use a real example to show you what I mean.

Original Paragraph


“As we sailed through the placid channels off Chile’s mid-Pacific coast, all was silent. Our wooden ship—painted yellow and blue and built in the style of a traditional fisherman’s boat—quietly cut through the sapphire waters between the small, low-lying islands of the Chiloé archipelago. On either side, grey, gravelly shores gave way to green hills beyond and nearly cloudless skies above. Here and there, livestock grazed around ramshackle, corrugated-tin farmhouses. Occasionally, a tuxedoed Magellanic penguin would softly swim by.”

Step 1: Separate the information


Choose the relevant paragraph(s) you want to paraphrase and separate them by sentences.

  • As we sailed through the placid channels off Chile’s mid-Pacific coast, all was silent.

  • Our wooden ship—painted yellow and blue and built in the style of a traditional fisherman’s boat—quietly cut through the sapphire waters between the small, low-lying islands of the Chiloé archipelago.

  • On either side, grey, gravelly shores gave way to green hills beyond and nearly cloudless skies above.

  • Here and there, livestock grazed around ramshackle, corrugated-tin farmhouses.

  • Occasionally, a tuxedoed Magellanic penguin would softly swim by.

Step 2: Highlight content words


Choose the words that carry the meaning of the sentence.

  • As we sailed through the placid channels off Chile’s mid-Pacific coast, all was silent.

  • Our wooden ship painted yellow and blue and built in the style of a traditional fisherman’s boat—quietly cut through the sapphire waters between the small, low-lying islands of the Chiloé archipelago.

  • On either side, grey, gravelly shores gave way to green hills beyond and nearly cloudless skies above.

  • Here and there, livestock grazed around ramshackle, corrugated-tin farmhouses.

  • Occasionally, a tuxedoed Magellanic penguin would softly swim by.

Step 3: Create new content words


The synonym is a great way to expand your vocabulary and to link those words with correct associations.

Sentence 1


  • sailed= navigated/went on a sea voyage/cruised/rode the waves

  • channels = stretch of water/sea passage/waterway/strait

  • Chile’s = Chile’s (as this is a proper noun we do not change it)

  • coast = coastline/seashore/waterside/water’s edge

  • silent = still/hushed/noiseless/peaceful/tranquil/soundless

Sentence 2


  • ship = boat/vessel/craft/ferry/cruiser you

  • painted = coloured/decorated/tinted/dyed/sprayed/coated

  • yellow = lemon/amber/gold/blonde

  • blue = sapphire/sky-blue/azure/cobalt blue/teal/turquoise/cyan/sea blue

  • built = constructed/erected/assembled/put up

  • style = manner/way/technique/method

  • fisherman = angler/fisher/rodman/piscator

  • boat = barge/craft/dinghy/tub

  • cut through = phrasal verb meaning to go through instead of going over it/soar

  • waters = sea/ocean/waves/lake/river

  • islands = archipelagos/islet/isle/ait/

  • Chiloé = Chiloé (proper noun is not possible to change)

  • archipelago = extensive group of islands

Sentence 3:


  • shores = seashore/seaside/beach/coast

  • hills = dune/hillside/mound/bank/ridge

  • skies = heavens/airspace

Sentence 4:


  • livestock = cattle/animals/herd/farmyard animals

  • grazed = eat/bite/chomp/champ/forage

  • farmhouses = cattle ranch/ranch/large house/mansion

Sentence 5:


  • Magellanic Penguin = Magellanic Penguin (proper noun is not possible to change)

  • Swim = paddle/wade/move/float/glide

Remember that this is an exercise to expand your vocabulary. While the most accurate word is the original, what is important is the ability to discover words that closely resemble the meaning.

Step 4: Complete the sentence


Simply string the new words together with whatever you feel goes well, using any different function words you like to complete a full sentence.

  • As we navigated through Chile’s coastline it was very peaceful.

  • Using a vessel tinted lemon with cobalt blue parts, constructed in a manner similar to an anglers barge we soared through the waves between the islet Chiloé group of islands.

  • The view all around was of seaside, beautiful mounds and open to the heavens.

  • We were surrounded by cattle casually chomping away at grass nearby their ranch.

  • Now and then a Magellanic Penguin would paddle past.

Step 5: Review


Now write the complete sentence down and read it back. Does it make sense? If not, ask yourself what you are not happy with and why. Then look at the original and ask yourself if the new sentence is missing any information you want to include. Is the new structure different and starting to lose the original meaning? If so, readjust it until you are happy.

  • As we navigated through straits off Chile’s coastline all was peaceful.

  • Our vessel – tinted lemon and cobalt blue and constructed in a manner similar to an anglers barge – soared effortlessly through the waves between the group of unassuming small islands that are known as Chiloé.

  • A 360 degree view of monotone, stoney seaside bordering rolling hillside and open to the heavens.

  • Scattered cattle casually chomping away at grass nearby rustic old ranch houses.

  • From time to time a black and white Magellanic Penguin would effortlessly paddle past.

Step 6: Record


“As we navigated through straits off Chile’s coastline all was peaceful. Our vessel – tinted lemon and cobalt blue and constructed in a manner similar to an anglers barge – soared effortlessly through the waves between the group of unassuming small islands that are known as Chiloé. A 360 degree view of monotone, stoney seaside bordering rolling hillside and open to the heavens. Scattered cattle casually chomping away at grass nearby rustic old ranch houses. From time to time a black and white Magellanic Penguin would effortlessly paddle past.”

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Conclusion


You just learned a step-by-step method on how to effectively summarise and re-tell a news article in your own words.

So the next time you read an interesting article, take the time to break the information down into understandable chunks. Highlight the content-rich words and phrases. Create a synonym list and then string the words together in a full sentence of your own. Compare the new sentence with the old one, and ask yourself, “is it grammatically correct and coherent?” Then, tell a friend your newly learnt piece of interesting information. Pat yourself on the back for firing and wiring English neurons that have already helped improve your speaking ability.

You are helping your brain connect and increase new vocabulary at a fast rate and truly challenging your coherency skills. This really is a powerful technique that everyone wanting to take their language learning to the next level should do regularly.

What have you learnt from this paraphrasing exercise?


  • How to break up information in bite-size chunks
  • What to look for when searching for key elements (e.g. content words)
  • A way to expand your vocabulary by finding synonyms
  • When to check for structure length
  • How to turn a previously written piece of work into your own coherent passage
  • How to turn a passive learning experience (reading) into an active exercise (writing)

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About the author:

Charlie Baxter is a professional English teacher from the UK. He has a TESOL certificate and coaches adult learners in conversation and IELTS/TOEFL preparation. He has a BSc in Psychology and is a Master Practitioner in NLP. He has taught English online to hundreds of students. For more great hints to maximizing your language learning, book English lessons with Charlie below.


Book a Private Session with Charlie Now!



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İngilizce
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Hello there! I am your newly found teacher, motivator, coach and friend in English. I have all the qualifications needed but more importantly I am PASSIONATE about helping people improve, including you! LET'S DO THIS! - WATCH MY VIDEO NOW -