We often need to borrow an idea or concept from an author to support our position. One way we do this is by paraphrasing; putting someone else’s ideas into our own words.  To avoid plagiarizing we need to always include proper citation – giving credit to the rightful owner.

How to write a paraphrase

  • Read the original passage to understand it fully. Then reread it again
    • Focus on understanding the meaning and not the words
  • Lay aside the original passage, and write the author’s intended meaning on a separate piece of paper
    • Proper nounscommon facts and common knowledge words do not need to be changed
  • Check your paraphrase for accuracy with the original
  • Record your source so you can give proper credit


Original: Many international students come to the United States each year to learn English.

Paraphrase: Every year students travel to the United States from many different countries to study English.

Note: Students, countries, The United States and English are common knowledge words, so they do not need to be changed.

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