Paraphrase: what is it and why do we ask students to do it?

Paraphrase: what is it and why
do we ask students to do it?
Carol Bailey
Senior Lecturer in EFL
University of Wolverhampton
[email protected]
What is paraphrase?
“Paraphrasing involves changing a text
so that it is quite different from the
source, while retaining the meaning.”
Bailey (2006)
Paraphrasing involves changing a text so that it is quite
different from the source, while retaining the meaning.
1. Paraphrasing means altering a piece of
writing so that it is not the same as the
original, while keeping the message.
2. In paraphrase, the meaning of the source
text is retained while its wording is
3. When you paraphrase, you need to alter
the source text completely, without
changing the meaning.
Paraphrase and plagiarism.
“There are two kinds of plagiarism.
1. When you use information from an outside
source without citing the source … you are
guilty of plagiarism.
2. Even when you cite your source, if your
paraphrase is too similar to the original, you
are guilty of plagiarism.”
Oshima and Hogue (2006)
Swales and Feak: where would you
draw the line?
Between 1 and 2
Between 2 and 3
Between 3 and 4
Between 4 and 5
Anorexia essay
1. Pass
2. Fail
Edwin’s essay
1. Pass
2. Fail
Edwin’s changes
Reduce gradually, about 25% of your total caffeine consumption every
week. For this you can use smaller serving size or can combine
decaffeinated beverages with caffeinated ones.
Brew coffee or tea for less time while preparing, or choose herbal teas
where caffeine is absent.
There are chances that unknowingly you might consume more caffeine,
to avoid this check the nutritional label on the products for caffeine
content before you consume them.
Include healthy options like fresh fruit juices, water, milk, flavored seltzer,
decaffeinated soda or tea instead of caffeinated beverages, soft drinks,
sodas and other caffeine rich drinks.
Poona’s paraphrase
1. Pass
2. Fail
What the students say…
Understanding new words and transfer the
data on your own words … are very difficult
for me because the UK study and teaching
method is very different as compared to India.
In India … ready made notes are available and
students need to learn by heart that notes and
write in exam its very easy.
Indian MSc Biomedical Science student
What the students say…
For me the biggest problem was paraphrasing
original tekst because my essay was about
DNA and it was very hard to change
vocabulary or grammar. I could not change
vocabulary because it was specialist and
specyfic and teksts or articles are written by
author in passive so it was the most difficult
point of my essay.
Polish BSc Biochemistry student
What the students say…
Paraphrasing someone's words was the most
difficult part in the assignment, as I need to
find different synonyms for some words and
make sure how to use them. Another
problem was facing me in my writing that I
could not speed up; I spent long hours writing
my essays due to limited vocabularies.
Saudi Arabian MSc Mathematics student
What the students say…
I don't know how to write and I should change
the sentences structure or words so that make
sure no plagiarism. After three hours, I only
write nearly 100 words. I worried about if I
can finish my assignment on time.
Chinese BA Business Management student
NNES students
IELTS 6.0/6.5 or equivalent
Average reading speed 200 wpm
Average vocabulary size 4,000 words
Little experience of reading/writing long texts
in English
Schmitt 2007
Why do we ask students to
1. To show what they have read
2. To demonstrate that they understand
what they have read
3. To avoid overusing quotations
4. To make their text ‘flow’ better
What are the alternatives?