Christine Bauer-Ramazani 

The purpose of a paraphrase is to give the reader (or listener) a restatement of the original lecture or text.  Most importantly, the paraphrase expresses the ideas presented in the original source completely and accurately but does not include the writer's (speaker's) own opinion or any additional information

NOTE: For purposes of academic integrity and to avoid plagiarism, paraphrases must indicate the source in two ways

  1. by including an in-text citation (parenthetical documentation) and
  2. by giving a reference citation at the end.

To write an effective paraphrase, follow these steps:

Before writing the paraphrase:

  1. Note the source (author--first/last name, title, date of publication, volume number, place of publication, publisher, URL, etc.)
  2. Note/highlight the key ideas/key words in the original.
  3. Look up unknown  words in the dictionary.
  4. Note synonyms that the dictionary lists; you may wish to use them in your paraphrase.

Writing your paraphrase:

  1. Change the sentence structure and vocabulary of your sentence so that it does NOT follow the sentence structure of the original.
  2. In your restatement, indicate WHO, IS DOING WHAT, WHY, (WHEN, WHERE), to express the meaning of the original completely and accurately. 
  3. Break a long sentence into two.  Keep your sentences short and simple.
  4. Use one of the following frames to introduce your paraphrase with an in-text citation.  Note the punctuation for each.
  5. Write a reference citation for the in-text citation you used in your paraphrase.


According to ______________ (year), _______________________________________________________________________.
                     (author's last name)                      (restatement of the main idea)


(author's last name)
                 (reporting verb--usually in Simple Present tense)
that __________________________.
      (restatement of the main idea)



_____________________________________________________________________________________________ (author's last name, year).
                                             (restatement of the main idea)

Reminder phrases: If you need to refer to the same source in another sentence, you should remind the reader that you are paraphrasing by using "reminder phrases" like these:

CITING SOURCES: See Citation of Electronic Sources (APA Style). Use a citation engine or the University of North Carolina Library's link to a citation builder to "build" a citation. Some examples of paraphrases and in-text citations can be found here.

2006  Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Saint Michael's College. Last updated: November 10, 2017