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Paraphrasing in Academic Writing

Erika Devie Politeknik Negeri Semarang Abstract. Understanding paraphrasing is important when students want to write an academic essay. This paper is addressed to point out the techniques of paraprashing and give models of paraphrasing so that students can understand and practice paraphrasing in doing their academic writing. Key-words: paraphrase, academic writing, plagiarism

Writing an academic essay is one assignment needed by students in higher educations. In higher education. Students are strongly prohibited to copy-paste others work such as papers in journals or books without quoting the sources. In academic writing, copying otherswork without quoting the source is called plagiarism. One way to avoid plagiarism is by pharaphrasing ones written source or ideas. Paraphrasing is not an easy skill, but it is essential for writing a good academic essay.

To paraphrase means to rewrite a piece of source of material in our own way but still retain all the ideas we find in the piece of source materials. In paraprasing the exact meaning of the source is kept, but the expressions are changed. The skill of paraphrasing needs understanding the source and being able to express it in different ways (Hamp and Courter, 1984). For example: Source: China has long been the worlds most populous nation but no one knew exactly how populous it was until last week (Hamp and Courter,1984). Paraphrase: Although China has been the worlds most heavily populated country for many years, the exact population was not known until a week ago.

Rogers ( 2007) states that there are some techniques in paraphrasing: 1. Change the Grammar. The gramatical structure should be changed without changing the meaning by changing active to passive sentences or vice versa, joining up sentences or dividing long sentences and using sentence connectors. Example 1: Trained scientists performed this research. This research was performed by trained scientists. Example 2: Although there is a lot of evidence to support theory Y, not all scientists believe it. Ragam Jurnal Pengembangan Humaniora Vol. 12 No. 1, April 2012 15

There is a lot of evidence to support theory Y; however, not all scientists believe it. 2. Change the word forms. We can change the form of word from noun to adjective or verb, or vice versa. We can also use simpler phrases or complex phrases. Example 1: When we look at a comparison between A and B....... When we compare A and B........ Example 2: There are a variety of solutions to plastic problem. There are various solutions to plastic problem. 3. Replace words or phrases with synonyms. Use different vocabularies whenever possible. Synonyms are commonly used. Some of the words from the original passage may appear in our paraphrase, but we should try to use synonyms. Keep specialised vocabulary which has no synonyms e.g. calcium, plastic, theory, neutron, Europe, World Health Organisation, numbers and formula. Example: X is not allowed. X is not permitted. 4. Change direct quotations to indirect quotations. Another way to paraphrase is by changing direct quotations into indirect quotations or vice versa. Example: He said, The temperature in many desert regions is cold at night. He said that the temperature in many deset regions was cold at night.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Read the source carefully several times until it is fully understood. Make a brief outline or simple list of the relevant points (notes) we remember from the source including the main idea (topic sentence), and the supporting points. Reread the source quickly to make sure we have included all the important points. Look up any words we do not understand and find synonyms for them. Write the paraphrase by joining together the points from the list into proper sentence structure, using suitable grammar to make continuous piece of writing. Use our own words, but do not omit any essential ideas. Reread the paraphrase, correcting the grammar and organisation if necessary. Check the paraphrase againts the source: Does the paraphrase still keep the meaning of the original?

6. 7.

Before paraphrasing, it would be better to make outline or notes to make it easier to do paraphrasing. a) Paraphrasing by making outline Original:


Paraphrasing in Academic Writing (Erika Devie)

When the Maracana soccer stadium in Brazil was opened to the public in 1950, and Brazil lost the World Cup to the Uruguayan team, the Brazillians were so disheartened. One had the impression that the country itself had died. And people died of sadness. Mere threats of defeat in championship match can cause heart attacks and the despair of the public is so great that many beat their heads against the cement posts. Such is the Brazillians passion for soccer (de Moraes and Gullar, 1980). Outline: A. Brazil lost the World Cup in 1950 1. Entire country was sad 2. Some people died B. Possible defeat causes strong reaction 1. Some experienced heart attacks 2. Some beats their heads C. Brazillians were very emotional about soccer Paraphrase: In 1950, Brazil lost the World Cup in soccer to Uruguay. The entire country was overcome by sadness; some people even died from it. Brazillians react very strongly to potential defeat in championship soccer games. Some people have heart attacks, and others beat their heads againts cement posts. Brazilllian were very emotional about soccer. Notice that some words (underlined words) are changed to synonyms e.g., the Brazillians are synonyms to the entire country; disheartened is synonym to sadness; passions is synonym to emotional, public is synonym to people. But some words remain the same, e.g,. Worll Cup, soccer, heart attacks, cement posts. b) Paraphrasing by making list of relevant points (notes): Original: Once every eighty to hundred years the bamboo forests in Chinas Sichuan Province burst into flower and then die off. And that is bad news for the Giant Panda, which depends for its survival on huge amounts of bamboo. But that is just one of the problems facing the Panda. To ensure that it has a future it is vital to preserve the complex ecosystem in which it lives to carry out research its dietary needs and investigate possible alternatives to discover the reasons for its low reproduction rate to study the problem of internal parasites all these factors and many more which threaten its survival (Hamp and Courter,1984). Notes: - Every 80 100 years, bamboo forest flower and die: in danger - Insufficient bamboo - Giant Panda can not survive without bamboo - Giant Pandas ecosystem in danger - Giant Panda has low reproductive rate - Limited diet - Dangers caused by internel parasites Paraphrase:

Ragam Jurnal Pengembangan Humaniora Vol. 12 No. 1, April 2012


The Giant Panda can not survive without bamboo, but the bamboo forest only flower every 80 -100 years. In addition, the Giant Panda has few offspring and danger caused by internal parasites. Morever, the Giant Pandas whole ecosystem is endangered. Notice that: - some words must remain the same, because they have no synonyms or alternative phrases, e.g. Giant Panda, bamboo, ecosystem, internal parasite, forest. - some words can be substituted by synonyms: low production is synonym to few offspring, threaten is synonym to endangered. - the adjective form of survival is changed to verb survive.

1. Paraphrasing by changing the grammar (using passive sentence and joining sentence in participle phrase). Original: Vitamin C in large doses not only protects againts the common cold, but also offers considerable protection againts other infectious diseases, both viral and bacterial. I believe that Vitamin C in adequate amounts could considerably decrease the incidence and severity of the flu (Pauling and Robinson,1977). Paraphrase: Common cold and other infectious diseases caused by either viral and bacterial can be avoided by consuming large doses of vitamin C. In my opinion, consuming sufficient vitamin C could reduce the insidence and severity of the flu. Notice that complex sentence in the form of participle passive in the underlined phrase and passive sentence are used. Also notice the use of synonyms I believe becomes In my opinion, decrease becomes reduce, adequite, becomes sufficient. 2. Paraphrasing by changing the word forms Original: The Smithsonian Institution is an independent establishment dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge. It is a great complex of museums and art galleries, scholars, and experts in many fields. It is devoted to public education, basic research, and national sevice in the arts, sciences and history with the major facilities in Washington, around the country, and overseas (The Smithsonian Institution, 1976). Paraphrase: The Smithsonian Institution was established and is devoted for the development of knowlege. This institution which has major facilities in Washington, around the country and abroad is intended to dedicate to public education, basic research, national service in the arts, science and history. It also has a great resources such as museums, art galleries, scholars and experts in many fields. Notice that the noun establishement is changed to verb establish, the increase and diffusion of is changed to the development of knowledge.


Paraphrasing in Academic Writing (Erika Devie)

3. Paraprasing by changing the grammar (using complex sentence of relative clause and participle phrase). Original: Impulse goods are items that customers buy on sight without having gone out specifically for their purchase. Their unit price is usually low. The purchase of an impulse goods satisfies a need that is strongly felt at the moment. Items that customers will buy on an impulse are store doors or at cash registers. Candy bars, chewing gums, cigarettes and magazines are frequently displayed in this way (Poe, 1978). Paraphrase: Items which are bought on sight without much consideration to satisfy a need strongly felt at the moment are called impulse goods. These items whose price is usually low are often put near the store door or at cash register. Items called impulsed goods are candy bars, chewing gums, cigarrets and magazines. Notice the use of complex sentences using relative pronoun of which and whose. Also notice the use of passive participle phrase felt, called (in the third line from above). 4. Paraphrasing by changing quotation from direct to indirect quotation Original: Howard Van Zand, who studied Japanese business practices extensively, said, The Japanese prefer to work as members of groups rather than individually. This characteristic is often cited as one of the most important in explaining Japans economic success. (Van Zandt, 1970). Paraphrase: Van Zandt maintains that the Japanese people would rather work together in groups not individually. He believes that this trait is one of the most important factors which has contributed to the success of Japans economy.

To avoid plagiarism in writing academic essay, it is important to do paraphrasing that is to change the structure of sentences and words while still keeping the meaning of the original sentences. In this respect, students should notice the techniques of paraphrasing by making outline or making notes of relevant points and then paraphrase by changing the active to passive setence, joining sentences using complex sentence, making simpler sentence, changing direct to indirect sentence or using synonyms.

De Moraes, V., and Gullar, F. 1980. The Joy of Rio. New York: The Vendome Press. Ham, L., and Heasley, B. 1987. Study Writing, Great Britain: Cambridge University. Hamp, L., and Courter, K.B. 1984. Research Matters. Messachussets: Newbury Publisher House. McCarthy, M., and ODell, F. 2008. Academic Vocabulary in Use. UK: Cambridge University. Passar, M.F. 2005. Learning English Effectively 4. Indonesia: Visipro. Poe, E. 1978. Enterprise of American Business. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co. Ragam Jurnal Pengembangan Humaniora Vol. 12 No. 1, April 2012 19

Rogers, B. 2007. The Complete Guide to The Toefl Test Writing. Singapore: Seng Lee Press. Sharpe, P.J. 2007. Toefl IBT. Indonesia: Binarupa Aksara Publshing Co. The Smithsonian Institute, 1976. Official Guide to The Smithsonian. CBS Publication. Inc. Van Zandt, H. 1970. How to Negotiate in Japan. Harvard Business Review Vol. 48.


Paraphrasing in Academic Writing (Erika Devie)