How to Paraphrase a Sentence

Learn effective methods to restate sentences and express ideas in your own words through restating techniques.

By: Kaitlyn Arford, Published on: 2024-02-04 , Last Updated: 04-02-24

Reviewed by: Michelle Garrett

Table of Contents

Paraphrasing sentences means rewriting them using different words and structure without changing the meaning. This lets you describe ideas from a source in your own way instead of copying. 

This article talks about what restating involves, helpful methods to paraphrase, good examples of paraphrased sentences, and mistakes to stay away from when rewriting sentences.

What does it mean to Paraphrase a Sentence

To paraphrase a sentence means to restate a sentence using different words. When you paraphrase a sentence, you keep the same meaning but say it in a new way. You don't copy words or phrases from the original sentence. Instead, you rewrite it completely in your own easy words and style.

For example, say you have this sentence: "The brown dog ran quickly across the park to catch the ball." To paraphrase, you could say: "The brown dog sprinted across the park in a hurry to retrieve the ball." This expresses the same idea - that a brown dog ran fast through the park to get a ball. But it uses synonyms and changes the grammar to create a new sentence.

So in simple terms, rewriting a sentence means write it again to express the exact meaning but saying it differently using your own new words and sentence structures. The content stays the same, but the original words, phrasing and style change. Doing this allows you to rewrite ideas without plagiarizing others’ work.

Why is it Important to Rephrase a Sentence

The main reason it’s important to paraphrase sentences is to avoid plagiarism. If you copy a sentence word-for-word from another source, that’s plagiarism. But if you read the sentence and then say the same thing in your own new words and sentence structure, you’ve put the ideas into your own unique style. This shows you really understand the concepts.

Restating sentences also improves your writing abilities. By finding new vocabulary and ways to structure phrasing, you enhance your overall communication skills over time. This helps you shape ideas to effectively match your needs and desired readers while still properly crediting where ideas came from.

Can you Rewrite Multiple Sentences

You can paraphrase more than one sentence at a time. This is known as rephrasing a passage. When you paraphrase multiple sentences, you take a whole paragraph from a source and rewrite it in your own words. You maintain the key ideas and content, but express them through new vocabulary, grammar and sentence structures without copying phrases word-for-word.

For example, you might take a three-sentence paragraph about the benefits of exercise from a research paper. Instead of quoting the full paragraph directly in your report, you would read it and then rewrite those three sentences to say the same thing using completely original sentence structuring and language choices. This shows you understand the complete concepts from multiple sentences while creatively transforming the way they are communicated using your own style.

So rewriting isn’t limited to single sentences. Skilled writers regularly paraphrase clusters of sentences from sources to incorporate research insights. Doing so provides flexibility to reshape those findings to best fit writing objectives. This level of paraphrasing does demand strong comprehension and writing abilities to faithfully represent multiple complex ideas at the same time. But it’s an invaluable skill for original nonfiction writing.

5 ways to Rework a Sentence

Here are 5 different techniques you can utilize to paraphrase existing sentences in your own unique words. By mixing and matching various methods like these, writers can paraphrase existing statements in completely original ways. The key is to accurately convey the original meaning while changing everything about the delivery.

1. Use Synonyms 

The simplest way to paraphrase is to replace words in the original sentence with synonyms, or words that have the same overall meaning.

For example, you can rewrite “Sprinting rapidly across the track, Jeff set a new record” as “Running very quickly across the lane, Jeff established a new top time.”

2. Change Sentence Structure

Change the structure and grammar of a sentence through strategies like expanding phrases into clauses, combining sentences, changing from active to passive voice, adjusting punctuation, etc.

For example, “The excited fans roared” becomes “Roaring with excitement was what the enthused fans did.”

3. Explain Technical Terms 

Take a specialized word or technical concept contained in a sentence and rewrite it using an explanatory phrase to make it more reader-friendly.

For instance, replace “The software interfaced with the FTP” with “The software communicated with the file transfer protocol system...”

4. Change Perspective 

Try changing from third to first person perspective or vice versa by changing pronouns and ownership language.

For example, “Her heart was racing from the shock” turns into “My heart began racing uncontrollably after the surprise announcement.”

5. Use Phrases as Substitutes

 Swap individual nouns, verbs or descriptors out with short phrases of equivalent meaning.

Such as, “The vehicle was moving rapidly” becomes “The swift mode of transportation raced forward...”

How to Rephrase a Sentence Online

Here are some steps to paraphrase sentences online:

  1. Copy/Paste or type the sentence in the input box.
  2. Choose the mode. For example, if you are using the paraphraser, this has three modes:

Standard - Fluency - Formal

As you can see in the picture given below:

  1. Then click on the paraphrase button & let this tool do the rest of the work for you.

Examples of Paraphrased Sentences 

Here are some of the examples of paraphrased sentences given below:

Example 1

Original - Breakfast is the first meal of the day.

Paraphrase - The first meal of the day is breakfast.

Example 2

Original - The sun sets in the evening, and it gets dark.

Paraphrase - In the evening, the sun sets and it goes dark.

Example 3

Original - Sarah is riding her bicycle to the park.

Paraphrase - Sarah rides her bike to the park.

Example 4

Original - The big red balloon floated away into the sky.

Paraphrase - A big red balloon flew into the sky.

Example 5

Original - The dog chased the ball across the grassy field.

Paraphrase - The dog was chasing a ball on a meadow.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Restating a Sentence

When restating a sentence, it's important to follow these simple and easy steps to avoid common mistakes:

1. Understand the Meaning

 Instead of just replacing words with synonyms, focus on understanding the original idea. Understand the message to convey it accurately.

2. Use Simple Language

Keep it straightforward. Avoid unnecessary complexity and opt for simpler words to maintain clarity.

3. Maintain Sentence Structure 

While it's good to rephrase, don't change the sentence structure excessively. Too much change can lead to confusion.

4. Include Essential Details

 Ensure that important information from the original sentence is not excluded. Your paraphrased version should capture the key elements of the message.

5. Avoid Replicating Wording 

Be cautious not to unintentionally reproduce the exact words of the original sentence. Express the idea using your own language.

6. Check for Consistency 

Confirm that your paraphrased sentence effectively communicates the same message as the original. This step ensures accuracy in your rephrasing efforts.

7. Make Sure Your Words Match

Double-check that the words you choose in your paraphrased sentence match the intended meaning. Using incorrect words can lead to misunderstandings.

Final Words

Rewriting sentences in new ways is important for good writing. It lets writers take useful information and make it their own. There are clever ways to rephrase things while keeping the exact meaning. But be careful not to copy bits of the original or forget to cite your sources. If you work hard to completely rephrase things while still being truthful, you can get better at sharing knowledge clearly and making good arguments the right way. Rephrasing helps you find creative ways to present ideas in your own voice while still giving credit. This skill can help your writing be very good.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean to paraphrase a sentence? 

Restating a sentence's meaning using completely new words, phrasing, and sentence structures.

2. Why is rephrasing sentences important? 

It allows expressing ideas in your own words to avoid plagiarism and improve writing skills.

3. What are some techniques to rewrite sentences? 

Using synonyms, changing grammar, explaining concepts differently, adjusting perspective, substituting descriptive phrases.

4. Can you rework more than one sentence? 

Yes, you can paraphrase a whole paragraph by rewriting multiple sentences to convey key ideas in new ways.

5. What mistakes should you avoid when restating sentences? 

Failing to understand meaning, excessive complexity, altered meaning, omitted details, unintentionally copying wording.