Franck works in a vocational school this year, he thinks that if you change a few words in a quote, you don’t have to quote the author.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines paraphrase as “the same thing written or spoken using different words, often in a simpler and shorter form that makes the original meaning clearer“. It is used to give a general idea of an author in their own words. It is particularly effective in explaining an idea and making it accessible to all. It shows that we have understood what the author means. Additionally, it is widely used in law to interpret legislation.

To practice paraphrasing, it is not enough to change a few words but you must reformulate the whole sentence, including the words and structure.

Paraphrasing with a citation of sources

Paraphrasing is acceptable only if the original author is mentioned. There is no point in appropriating knowledge that is not yours, as readers will always realize this and this undermines the credibility of the entire document. On the contrary, highlighting the original author of the quoted text adds value to your work because it proves that you have done research on your subject.

How to paraphrase correctly?

To avoid using only synonyms of the sentence to paraphrase, we propose 3 techniques. Read the text once and then:

> Pretend you want to explain it to someone > You will have to use your own vocabulary and you will quickly realize if there are any shortcomings in your understanding.

> Make a diagram, a drawing, or a table > The fact of synthesizing or drawing an idea will give it a whole new dimension. From the visual image you have created, you can then construct a sentence to present it.

> Identify the keywords > By visualizing the keywords, you will be able to forumlate the concept and extract the main idea.

To introduce your paraphrased concept, simply write “according to…[name of author]” or “[name of author] argues that…”. Don’t forget to mention where you found the citation, including the name and date of the publication.

Example: According to Erin Myers, editor of the website, watching movies with subtitles can be used to improve your language skills.

Article “Learn a New Language By Turning On Subtitles“, published on 6 June 2018

Alternatives to paraphrasing

There are other ways to transmit other authors’ arguments and information. A part of a sentence can be quoted directly, by putting it in quotation marks and citing its author.

Example: Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius”, so it would all be a matter of will?

The entire sentence can also be quoted if paraphrasing is difficult to formulate or if you realizes that paraphrasing brings the concept too far from the author’s original idea.

Example: According to Albert Einstein “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its life thinking it is stupid.

The use of italics is not mandatory but serves to differentiate the quotation from the rest of the text.


Franck, to validate your year, you must remember to mention the author of the texts found.