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English, French, and Math Support: How to paraphrase

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How to paraphrase

Paraphrase means to express, or restate accurately, a text, passage or work using different words and sentence structure, or another form.


This page describes how to paraphrase and provides an example.

To write a good paraphrase, follow these steps:

  • Read the original material and make sure you understand it.
  • Keep a record of your source, including the page number.
  • Write notes about what you read; restate the content in your own words.
  • Use quotation marks for any terms or phrases that you copy from the original source.
  • Use your own words, sentence structure and writing style.
  • Express the same ideas accurately and differently from the original.
  • Do not offer your personal opinion.

Consider the following tips, too:

  • You may embed your paraphrase in a paragraph. It is essential to mention the author of the original work, either in the paraphrase or in the sentences immediately preceding or following it.
  • You must include all the relevant points of the original; however, you may omit some minor details.
  • You may keep field-specific words and words considered to be in the public domain. For example, you may keep nouns such as "citizens," "geography," "diabetes" and "weather" to ensure clarity.
  • A paraphrase is not a summary; it is a restatement in your own manner.

Example from:

Seidlhofer, Barbara. "Section 1: The Global Spread of English." Controversies in the Applied Linguistics, Oxford UP, 2003, p. 7.

"The global spread of English is not only an issue for teachers and learners of English. The unprecedented spread of one language and the extent of its use as a global lingua franca in many walks of life raises as many questions and concerns as does economic and cultural globalization. A face which must certainly not be overlooked is that talk about 'the global spread of English' does not mean that having access to English in order to gain access to knowledge is a commodity available to all who desire it, not that English as an international means of communication is welcome wherever it is available - far from it" (Seidlhofer 7).


✔ Acceptable paraphrase

The worldwide use of English concerns people outside of language classrooms. The issues raised by the global use of English as a lingua franca are as numerous as the issues raised by the globalization of cultures and economies. In discussions of English as a global language, people should note that English language instruction may not be available to everyone who wants it, and in place where English can be spoken, it may not be the most welcome language for international communication (Seidhofer 7).


✖ Unacceptable paraphrase

The spreading of English worldwide is not only an issue for people who teach and learn English. The spread of this one language is unprecedented and its position as a global lingua franca by many different types of people creates many issues and problems as does economic and cultural globalization. An important fact is that although people talk about English spreading globally, this does not mean that using English to get more knowledge is something available to all who desire it. It also doesn't mean that English as an international means of communication is always welcome (Seidlhofer 7).

  • This paraphrase is unacceptable because the expressions are too similar to the original text in sentence structure and vocabulary.

For additional examples or any questions about how to paraphrase, please see an English Monitor in the Writing Centre.


References for this tip sheet

Burnellet, Carol, et al. The Word on College Reading and Writing. Open Oregon Educational Resources, 2017. Pressbooks,

Seidlhofer, Barbara. "Section 1: The Global Spread of English." Controversies in the Applied Linguistics, Oxford UP, 2003.

University College London IOE Writing Centre. "Paraphrasing for Beginners." UCL, 2019,

University College Writing Centre. "Writing Handouts: Paraphrase." University of Toronto, 2019,

"Writing Paraphrases." Nightingale College, 2012,


Visit the Writing Centre during office hours if you have any questions about how to apply these guidelines.

How to paraphrase -- Printable format

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