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How to Paraphrase: Dos, Don'ts, and Strategies for Success


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Is It Considered Plagiarism If You Paraphrase?

How do i paraphrase a source without running the risk of plagiarizing, paraphrasing vs. quoting: what's the difference, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, how to paraphrase a sentence, direct quotation, omissions and editorial changes,  paraphrasing, all you need to know about paraphrasing, when should you paraphrase information, what is the purpose of paraphrasing, understand the text you are paraphrasing, do paraphrases need to be cited, example of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase,  don't start paraphrasing by picking up a thesaurus , don't copy without quotation marks, paraphrase with a direct quote example, don't paraphrase too closely, example of paraphrases being too similar to their sources.

How to Paraphrase and Tips for Paraphrasing Correctly

Write Down Paraphrases of a Source on Notecards

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As if the research process isn't hard enough already—finding relevant and reliable sources, reading and interpreting material, and selecting key quotations/information to support your findings/arguments are all essential when writing a research essay.

Academic writers and students face the additional stress of ensuring that they have properly documented their sources. Failure to do so, whether intentionally or unintentionally, could result in plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.

That's why we've written this article: to provide tips for proper paraphrasing. We'll start with an overview of the difference between paraphrasing and quoting, and then we'll provide a list of paraphrasing dos and don'ts, followed by strategies for proper paraphrasing. 

We will include paraphrasing examples throughout to illustrate best practices for paraphrasing and citing paraphrased material .

As mentioned in our previous article on plagiarism , "simply taking another writer's ideas and rephrasing them as one's own can be considered plagiarism as well." 

Paraphrasing words is acceptable if you interpret and synthesize the information from your sources, rephrase the ideas in your own words, and add citations at the sentence level. It is NOT acceptable if you simply copy and paste large chunks of an original source and modify them slightly, hoping that your teacher, editor, or reviewer won't notice. 

Passing off another's work as one's own is a form of intellectual theft, so researchers and students must learn how to paraphrase quotes and be scrupulous when reporting others' work.

You might be familiar with all this. Still, you might be concerned and find yourself asking, "How do I paraphrase a source correctly without running the risk of unintentional plagiarism?" 

For many writers, especially those who are unfamiliar with the concepts of a particular field, learning how to paraphrase a source or sentence is daunting.

To avoid charges of plagiarism, you must not only document your sources correctly using an appropriate style guide (e.g., APA, Harvard, or Vancouver) for your reference list or bibliography but also handle direct quotations and paraphrasing correctly.

How Do I Paraphrase

Quoting uses the exact words and punctuation from your source, whereas paraphrasing involves synthesizing material from the source and putting things in your own words. Citing paraphrases is just as necessary as citing quotations.

Even if you understand quoting versus paraphrasing, you might still need some additional paraphrasing help or guidance on how to paraphrase a quote. 

Summarizing is when you're discussing the main point or overview of a piece, while paraphrasing is when you're translating a direct quote into language that will be easy for your readers to understand .

It's easy to see how the two are similar, given that the steps to paraphrasing and summarizing both include putting ideas into your own words. 

But summarizing and paraphrasing are distinctly different. Paraphrasing highlights a certain perspective from a source, and summarizing offers more of an overview of an entire subject, theme, or book.

You can usually tell the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing by the length of what you're writing abore writing about. If you’re writing about a quote, that would be a smaller theme inside a larger work, so you'd paraphrase. 

If you're writing about the themes or plot of an entire book, you'd summarize. Summaries are usually shorter than the original work.

Learn How to Format Quotation Marks here.

When learning how to paraphrase a quote, you first need to consider whether you should be paraphrasing a text or quoting it directly.

If you find the perfect quote from a reliable source that fits your main topic, supports your argument, and lends authority to your paper but is too long (40+ words) or complex, it should be paraphrased. Long/complex quotes can also be shortened with omissions and editorial changes (as discussed below).

Introduce the quote with a signal phrase (e.g., "According to Ahmad [2017] . . .") and insert the entire quotation, indicating the text with quotation marks or indentation (i.e., a block quote).

If you only need to use parts of a long quotation, you can insert an ellipsis (. . .) to indicate omissions. You can also make editorial changes in square brackets [like this]. 

Keep in mind that you need to reflect the author's intent accurately when using this strategy. Don't change important words in a quotation so that it better fits your argument, as this is a form of intellectual fraud.

Changes in square brackets should only be used to clarify the text without altering meaning in the context of the paper (e.g., clarifying antecedents and matching verb tense). They signal to the reader that these changes were made by the author of the essay and not by the author of the original text.


Demonstrate that you clearly understand the text by expressing the main ideas in your own unique style and language. Now, you might be asking yourself, "Do paraphrases need to be cited like quotes?" The answer is a resounding "yes."

Paraphrasing Examples

When deciding whether to paraphrase or use a direct quote, it is essential to ask what is more important: the exact words of the source or the ideas.

If the former is important, consider quoting directly. If the latter is important, consider paraphrasing or summarizing.

Direct quotation is best for well-worded material that you cannot express any more clearly or succinctly in your own style. It's actually the preferred way of reporting sources in the arts, particularly in literary studies.

Shortening a long quote is a great way to retain the original phrasing while ensuring that the quote reads well in your paper. However, direct quotations are often discouraged in the sciences and social sciences, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to paraphrase or quote.

Paraphrasing is best used for long portions of text that you can synthesize into your own words. Think of paraphrasing as a form of translation; you are translating an idea in another "language" into your own language. The idea should be the same, but the words and sentence structure should be totally different.

The purpose of paraphrasing is to draw together ideas from multiple sources to convey information to your reader clearly and succinctly. 

As a student or researcher, your job is to demonstrate that you understand the material you've read by expressing ideas from other sources in your own style, adding citations to the paraphrased material as appropriate. 

If you think the purpose of paraphrasing is to help you avoid thinking for yourself, you are mistaken.

When you paraphrase, be sure that you understand the text clearly . The purpose of paraphrasing is to interpret the information you researched for your reader, explaining it as though you were speaking to a colleague or teacher. In short, paraphrasing is a skill that demonstrates one's comprehension of a text.

Yes, paraphrases always need to be cited. Citing paraphrased material helps you avoid plagiarism by giving explicit credit to the authors of the material you are discussing. 

Citing your paraphrases ensures academic integrity. When you sit down to write your paper, however, you might find yourself asking these questions: "Do paraphrases need to be cited? How do I paraphrase?"

Here is a quick paraphrase example that demonstrates how to cite paraphrased ideas. The opening lines to one of Juliet's most famous speeches are "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? / Deny thy father and refuse thy name; / Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, / And I'll no longer be a Capulet" (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.880–884). 

If you needed to paraphrase these lines in an essay, you could do so as follows:

Juliet muses about why Romeo's family name is Montague and concludes that if either gave up their name (and thereby their family affiliations) for the other, they could be together (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.880–884).

Generally speaking, you must include an in-text citation at the end of a paraphrased sentence. 

However, if your paraphrased material is several sentences long, then you should check with your preferred style guide. Some style guides (such as APA) call for a paraphrase citation after the first paraphrased sentence. Other style guides (such as MLA) call for a paraphrase citation after the last paraphrased sentence. 

Remember, no matter what style guide you use, it is not necessary to cite every single sentence of paraphrased material in a multi-sentence paraphrase.

Don't Start Paraphrasing by Picking Up a Thesaurus

This might shock you, but a thesaurus is NOT the answer to the problem of paraphrasing. Why? Using a thesaurus to swap out a few words here and there from an original source is a form of patchwriting, which is a type of plagiarism.

You shouldn't have to resort to a thesaurus unless you are completely unsure about what a word means—although, in that case, a dictionary might be a better tool. Ideally, you should be able to use clear, simple language that is familiar to you when reporting findings (or other information) from a study.

The problem with using a thesaurus is that you aren't really using your own words to paraphrase a text; you're using words from a book. Plus, if you're unfamiliar with a concept or if you have difficulty with English, you might choose the wrong synonym and end up with a paraphrase like this: "You may perhaps usage an erroneous word."

This is a common mistake among writers who are writing about a field with which they are unfamiliar or who do not have a thorough grasp of the English language or the purpose of paraphrasing.

If you choose to keep a few phrases from the original source but paraphrase the rest (i.e., combining quoting and paraphrasing), that's okay, but keep in mind that phrasing from the source text must be reproduced in an exact manner within quotation marks.

Direct quotations are more than three consecutive words copied from another source, and they should always be enclosed in quotation marks or offset as a block quotation.

A sentence that combines a direct quote with paraphrased material would look like this: 

In "The Laugh of the Medusa," Cixous highlights women's writing as a specific feat and speaks "about what it will do" when it has the same formal recognition as men's writing (Cixous 875).

The paraphrased paragraph of Cixous' essay includes a direct quote and a paraphrase citation.

Did you know that copying portions of a quote without quotation marks (i.e., patchwriting) is a form of plagiarism—even if you provide an in-text citation? If you've reworded sections of a quote in your own style, simply enclose any direct quotations (three or more words) in quotation marks to indicate that the writing is not your own.

When learning how to paraphrase, you need to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate forms of paraphrasing. The Office of Research and Integrity , a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, puts it this way:

Taking portions of text from one or more sources, crediting the author/s, but only making 'cosmetic' changes to the borrowed material, such as changing one or two words, simply rearranging the order, voice (i.e., active vs. passive) and/or tense of the sentences is NOT paraphrasing.

What does paraphrasing too closely look like? Here is an overly close paraphrase example of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' description of plagiarizing:

Using sections of a source, citing it, but only making surface-level changes to the language (such as changing a few words, the verb tense, the voice, or word order) fails as a paraphrase. True paraphrasing involves changing the words and syntactical structure of the original source. Keep reading for strategies for paraphrasing properly.

Get Help with Proper Paraphrasing

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In an article on how to paraphrase , the Purdue University Online Writing Lab suggests that you read the source text carefully and write paraphrases on notecards. You can then compare your version with the original, ensuring that you've covered all the key information and noting any words or phrases that are too closely paraphrased.

Your notecards should be labeled with the author(s) and citation information of the source text so that you don't lose track of which source you used. You should also note how you plan to use the paraphrase in your essay.

If you are a visual learner, the benefit of this strategy is that you can visualize the content you intend to paraphrase. 

Because a notecard is a tangible object, you can physically arrange it in an essay outline, moving the right information to the appropriate paragraph so that your essay flows well. (If you're not sure how to write an outline , check out our article.)

Plus, having a physical copy of paraphrased information makes it harder for you to accidentally plagiarize by copying and pasting text from an original source and forgetting to paraphrase or quote it properly. Writing out your paraphrase allows you to distance yourself from the source text and express the idea in your own unique style.

For more paraphrasing help, Jerry Plotnick from the University College Writing Centre at the University of Toronto provides a similar strategy for paraphrasing.

Plotnick advises that you take point-form notes of text that you want to use in your paper. Don't use full sentences, but instead "capture the original idea" in a few words and record the name of the source.

This strategy is similar to the notecard idea, but it adds another step. Instead of just reading the source carefully and writing your complete paraphrase on a notecard, Plotnick recommends using point-form notes while researching your sources. These notes can then be used to paraphrase the source text when you are writing your paper.

Like handwriting your paraphrases on notecards, taking notes and coming back to them later will help you distance yourself from the source, allowing you to forget the original wording and use your own style.

The Plotnick method above describes how to use point-form notes while researching a paper to keep your paraphrasing original. To paraphrase in your paper using Plotnick's method above, look at your sources and try the following:

Write down the basic point(s) you want to discuss on a notecard (in your own words).

Take your notecard points and turn them into sentences when you write your essay.

Add the reference for the source.

Compare your paraphrase to the original source to make sure your words are your own.

Practice Two-Step Paraphrasing: Sentence Structure and Word Choice

In an article on how to paraphrase by the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the first two strategies are acknowledged—taking notes and looking away from the source before you write your paraphrase. 

The authors then suggest another two-step strategy for paraphrasing: change the structure first and then change the words. Let's break down this process a bit further.

Sentences in English have two main components: a subject and a predicate . The subject is who or what is performing an action (i.e., a noun or pronoun), and the predicate is what the subject is doing (i.e., a verb). Sentences can be simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex. 

Here are some paraphrase examples using different sentence structures:

Simple: It was difficult.

Compound: It was difficult, but she knew there was no going back.

Complex: Although it was difficult, she knew there was no going back.

Compound-complex: Although it was difficult, she knew there was no going back, so she kept calm and carried on.

Once you have identified the structure of the original sentence, you can reconstruct it using one of the different types of sentences illustrated above.

You can also change passive voice to active voice, or vice versa.

The active voice is structured like this: Subject + Verb + Object (e.g., She learned how to paraphrase.)

The passive voice is structured like this: Object + "To Be" Verb + Past Participle (e.g., How to paraphrase was learned by the girl.)

See how awkward the passive sentence example is? It's best not to force a sentence into an unnatural sentence structure. 

Otherwise, you'll end up with Yoda-speak: "Forced to learn how to paraphrase a sentence, the girl was." (Did you like the unintentional "force" pun?)

Another way to distinguish your paraphrase from the original source is to use different sentence lengths. Often, scholarly articles are written using long, compound, complex, or compound-complex sentences. Use short sentences instead. 

Break down complex ideas into easy-to-understand material. Alternatively, you can combine several ideas from the source text into one long sentence, synthesizing the material. Try to stick with your own style of writing so that the paraphrased text matches that of the rest of your document.

Once the paraphrased sentence structure is sufficiently different from the original sentence structure, you can replace the wording of the original text with words you understand and are comfortable with.

Paraphrasing isn't meant to hide the fact that you are copying someone else's idea using clever word-swapping techniques. Rather, it is meant to demonstrate that you are capable of explaining the text in your own language.

One handy article on word choice by the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill lists some strategies for successful word choice, such as eliminating jargon and simplifying unnecessary wordiness. While this applies to academic writing in general, the "questions to ask yourself" are also useful as great paraphrasing help.

Once you have completed a sentence-long paraphrase, you include an in-text citation at the end of that sentence. However, if your paraphrased material is several sentences long, then you should check with your preferred style guide. 

Some style guides (such as APA) call for a paraphrase citation after the first paraphrased sentence. Other style guides (such as MLA) call for a paraphrase citation after the last paraphrased sentence. 

How to Paraphrase

To paraphrase properly, you need to explain a text in your own words without using a direct quote . Keep in mind, however, that different styles require different formats when it comes to documenting paraphrased sources. Some styles require a citation after the first paraphrased sentence, while others require a citation after the last.

For this reason, we've outlined examples of how to paraphrase in the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles below. Be sure to check with your professor to see which style your essay requires.

APA guidelines for paraphrasing include citing your source on the first mention in either the narrative or parenthetical format. Here's a refresher of both formats:

Narrative format: Koehler (2016) noted the dangers of false news.

Parenthetical format: The news can distort our perception of an issue (Koehler, 2016).

Here's an example of how to paraphrase from a primary source in APA:

Dudley (1999) states that "direct quote" or paraphrase (Page #).

Note: It's not always necessary to include the page number, but it's recommended if it'll help readers quickly find a passage in a book.

Below are a couple of examples of how to paraphrase in APA. Keep in mind that for longer paraphrases, you don't have to add the citation again if it's clear that the same work is being paraphrased.

Short paraphrase:

Stephenson (1992) outlined a case study of a young man who showed increasing signs of insecurity without his father (pp. 23–27).

Long paraphrase:

Johnson et al. (2013) discovered that for small-breed dogs of a certain age, possession aggression was associated with unstable living environments in earlier years, including fenced-in yards with multiple dogs all together for long periods of time. However, these effects were mediated over time. Additionally, with careful training, the dogs showed less possession aggression over time. These findings illustrate the importance of positive reinforcement over the length of a dog's life.

When paraphrasing in MLA, include an in-text citation at the end of the last paraphrased sentence. 

Your in-text citation can be done either parenthetically or in prose, and it requires the last name of the cited author and the page number of the source you're paraphrasing from. Here are MLA citation examples :


Paraphrase (Author's Last Name Page #)

Author's Last Name states that paraphrase (Page #)

In addition to adding a short in-text citation to the end of your last paraphrased sentence, MLA requires that this source be included in your Works Cited page, so don't forget to add it there as well.

Here are two examples of how to paraphrase in MLA:

In an attempt to communicate his love for Elizabeth, all Mr. Darcy did was communicate the ways in which he fought to hide his true feelings (Austen 390).

Rowling explains how happy Harry was after being reunited with his friends when he thought all was lost (17).

Paraphrasing correctly in Chicago style depends on whether you're using the notes and bibliography system or the author-date system.

The notes and bibliography system includes footnotes or endnotes, whereas the author-date system includes in-text citations.

Below, you'll find the correct way to format citations when paraphrasing in both the notes and bibliography and author-date systems.

Notes and Bibliography

For the notes and bibliography system, add a superscript at the end of your paraphrase that corresponds to your footnote or endnote.

Johnson explains that there was no proof in the pudding. 1


For the author-date style, include the page number of the text you're referencing at the end of your paraphrase. If you mention the author, include the year the source was published.

Johnson (1995) explains that there was no proof in the pudding (21).

In summary, the purpose of paraphrasing is not to simply swap a few words; rather, it is to take ideas and explain them using an entirely different sentence structure and choice of words. It has a greater objective; it shows that you've understood the literature on your subject and are able to express it clearly to your reader.

In other words, proper paraphrasing shows that you are familiar with the ideas in your field, and it enables you to support your own research with in-text citations. 

Knowing when to paraphrase or quote strengthens your research presentation and arguments. Asking for paraphrasing help before you accidentally plagiarize shows that you understand the value of academic integrity.

If you need help, you might consider an editing and proofreading service, such as Scribendi. While our editors cannot paraphrase your sources for you, they can check whether you've cited your sources correctly according to your target style guide via our Academic Editing service.

Even if you need more than just paraphrase citation checks, our editors can help you decide whether a direct quote is stronger as a paraphrase, and vice versa. Editors cannot paraphrase quotes for you, but they can help you learn how to paraphrase a quote correctly.

What Is the Meaning of "Paraphrase"?

Paraphrasing is when you write text from another source in your own words. It's a way of conveying to your reader or professor that you understand a specific source material well enough to describe it in your own style or language without quoting it directly. 

Paraphrasing (and citing your paraphrases) allows you to explain and share ideas you've learned from other sources without plagiarizing them.

You can write things in your own words by taking original notes on the sources you're reading and using those notes to write your paraphrase while keeping the source material out of sight. 

You can also practice putting things in your own words by changing sentences from passive to active, or vice versa, or by varying word choice and sentence length. You can also try Jeremy Plotnick's idea of paraphrasing from your own point-form notes.

When you're paraphrasing something, it means you are putting someone else's writing in your own words. You're not copying or quoting content directly. Instead, you are reading someone else's work and explaining their ideas in your own way. 

Paraphrasing demonstrates that you understand the material you're writing about and gives your reader the opportunity to understand the material in a simplified way that is different from how the original author explained it.

About the Author

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Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing turn into a great one after the editing process. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained nearly 20 degrees collectively. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.

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How to paraphrase (including examples)

Jessica Malnik

Jessica Malnik

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Paraphrasing has gotten a bad reputation due to its association with plagiarism . However, when used correctly, paraphrasing has the potential to elevate your writing and give you a better understanding of the research.

In this post, we’ll discuss what paraphrasing is, why we do it, and 6 steps to walk you through the process. We’ll also share what not to do with paraphrasing, along with some examples.

Paraphrasing definition and rules

Paraphrasing is simply a way of summarizing someone else’s content in your own words. When you paraphrase, you keep the meaning or intent of the original work without copying it word for word. However, paraphrasing can quickly become a form of plagiarism if done incorrectly. This is why it’s crucial to follow the rules of paraphrasing.

When borrowing the ideas from someone else’s content, there’s one important rule to follow: you must correctly cite your source. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the style guide you use. 

Source citing is different for MLA and APA formatting and style guides. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the citation formats for whichever one you follow. However, in some cases, simply hyperlinking the source will be sufficient.

Why do we paraphrase?

There are a number of reasons that professional writers and students alike choose to paraphrase content. Here are just a few of the common reasons that a writer would choose to paraphrase instead of including a quote or summarization.

Process information better 

One benefit of paraphrasing is that it helps you process the author’s ideas. When you have to rewrite the material in your own words, it makes you really think about the context and how it fits into your piece. If you want to really understand the material you’re citing, try rewriting it. If you were to quote the same information, you would miss out on the benefit of analyzing the source material.

For example, if you are writing a research paper all about Shakespeare’s influence on modern-day literature, you don’t want to just use a ton of direct quotes, instead by paraphrasing original passages, it can help you comprehend and analyze the material better.  

Improve your credibility with readers

You can also improve your credibility by association with the sources you decide to paraphrase. 

When you rewrite the material, you create a connection between your content and the knowledge from the source. 

Your audience will have a better understanding of the direction of your piece if you’re paraphrasing a reputable source with established authority on the subject.

Present data in an interesting way

If you’re referencing a data-heavy webpage or study, then paraphrasing is an engaging way to present the information in your own writing style. 

This allows you to tell a story with the source material instead of simply citing numbers or graphs.

Show that you understand the source

Another reason for paraphrasing that’s particularly important in academic writing is to demonstrate that you’ve read and comprehended the source material. 

For example, if all of you are doing is copying and pasting the original words of a textbook, you aren’t really learning anything new. When you summarize the material in your own words, it helps you to understand the material faster.  

How to paraphrase in 6 steps

Paraphrasing is simple when you break it down into a series of steps. 

Here are the 6 steps you can use to paraphrase your sources:

1. Choose a reputable source

First, you need to pick a credible source to paraphrase. A credible source will likely have ideas and concepts that are worth repeating. Be sure to research the author’s name and publisher’s credentials and endorsements (if applicable).

You’ll also want to check the date of the publication as well to make sure it’s current enough to include in your writing.

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2. Read and re-read the source material

You want to be sure that you understand the context and information in the original source before you can begin to rework it into your own words. Read through it as many times as you need so you’re sure that you grasp the meaning.

3. Take some notes 

Once you have an understanding of the passage, you’ll want to jot down your initial thoughts. 

What are the key concepts in the source material? 

What are the most interesting parts? 

For this part, it helps to break up the content into different sections. This step will give you a sort of mini-outline before you proceed with rephrasing the material.

4. Write a rough draft

Write your version of the content without looking at the original source material. This part is important. 

With the source hidden, you’ll be less likely to pull phrasing and structure from the original. You are welcome to reference your notes, though. This will help you write the content in your own words without leaning on the source but still hit the key points you want to cover.

5. Compare and revise

Once you have your initial draft written, you should look at it side by side with the original source. Adjust as needed to ensure your version is written in a way that’s unique to your voice. 

This is a good time to break out a thesaurus if you notice you have used too many of the same words as the original source.

6. Cite your source

Whether you use MLA, APA, Chicago, or another style guide, now is the time to give proper credit to the original author or source. When posting content online, you may only need to hyperlink to the original source.

Keep in mind that the paraphrased text will not change depending on the citation style that you follow. It will just change how it’s cited.

What you shouldn’t do when paraphrasing

Now that you understand the process of paraphrasing and can follow the steps, it’s important that you know what to avoid. When paraphrasing, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Do NOT write while you’re still researching

You might be tempted to start writing during the research phase. However, this sets you up to miss information or restate the copy too closely to the source material. Be sure to do your research first, take notes, and then start writing the piece.

2. Do NOT skip the citations

When you pull a small amount of information from a paraphrased source, you may think you don’t need to cite it. However, any idea or copy that’s taken from another source is considered plagiarism if you don’t give it credit, even if it is only a little bit of information.

Paraphrasing examples

Here are some examples to help you understand what paraphrasing looks like when done correctly and incorrectly

Excerpt from LinkedIn’s Official Blog:

“When reaching out to connect with someone, share a personalized message telling the person why you would like to connect. If it’s someone you haven’t been in touch with in a while, mention a detail to jog that person’s memory for how you met, reinforce a mutual interest and kickstart a conversation.”

Here’s another example. This one is from the U.S. Department of Education:

“ The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the Department provides oversight over the postsecondary accreditation system through its review of all federally-recognized accrediting agencies. The Department holds accrediting agencies accountable by ensuring that they enforce their accreditation standards effectively. ”

Here’s one more example to show you how to paraphrase using a quote from Mark Twain as the source material:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”

Paraphrasing can be a beneficial tool for any writer. It can give you credibility and a deeper understanding of the topic. However, to successfully use paraphrasing, you must be careful to properly cite your sources and effectively put the material into your own words each time.

--> “A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.” -->

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Using Evidence: Effective Paraphrasing Strategies

Effective paraphrasing strategies.

If you are having trouble paraphrasing a text effectively, try following these steps:

  • Reread the original passage you wish to paraphrase, looking up any words you do not recognize, until you think you understand the full meaning of and intention behind the author's words.
  • Next, cover or hide the passage. Once the passage is hidden from view, write out the author's idea, in your own words, as if you were explaining it to your instructor or classmates.
Have I accurately addressed the author's ideas in a new way that is unique to my writing style and scholarly voice? Have I tried to replicate the author's idea or have I simply changed words around in his/her original sentence(s)?
  • Last, include a citation, which should contain the author's name, the year, and the page or paragraph number (if available), directly following your paraphrase.

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This AI-powered paraphraser lets you rewrite text in your own words. Use it to  paraphrase articles, essays, and other pieces of text. You can also use it to rephrase sentences and find synonyms for individual words. And the best part? It’s all 100% free!

What's paraphrasing

What's paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing involves expressing someone else’s ideas or thoughts in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Paraphrasing tools can help you quickly reword text by replacing certain words with synonyms or restructuring sentences. They can also make your text more concise, clear, and suitable for a specific audience. Paraphrasing is an essential skill in academic writing and professional communication.

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  • Save time: Gone are the days when you had to reword sentences yourself; now you can rewrite an individual sentence or a complete text with one click.
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With the Scribbr Paraphrasing Tool, you can easily reformulate individual sentences.

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With one click, you can reformulate the entire text.

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Upload any Microsoft Word document, Google Doc, or PDF into the paraphrasing tool.


Download or copy your results

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The paraphrasing tool uses natural language processing to rewrite any text you give it. This way, you can paraphrase any text within seconds.

How does this paraphrasing tool work?

1. put your text into the paraphraser, 2. select your method of paraphrasing, 3. select the quantity of synonyms you want, 4. edit your text where needed, who can use this paraphrasing tool.


Paraphrasing tools can help students to understand texts and improve the quality of their writing. 


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By using a paraphrasing tool, you can quickly and easily rework existing content to create something new and unique.


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Writers who need to rewrite content, such as adapting an article for a different context or writing content for a different audience.


A paraphrasing tool lets you quickly rewrite your original content for each medium, ensuring you reach the right audience on each platform.

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Frequently asked questions

The act of putting someone else’s ideas or words into your own words is called paraphrasing, rephrasing, or rewording. Even though they are often used interchangeably, the terms can mean slightly different things:

Paraphrasing   is restating someone else’s ideas or words in your own words while retaining their meaning. Paraphrasing changes sentence structure, word choice, and sentence length to convey the same meaning.

Rephrasing   may involve more substantial changes to the original text, including changing the order of sentences or the overall structure of the text.

Rewording   is changing individual words in a text without changing its meaning or structure, often using synonyms.

It can. One of the two methods of paraphrasing is called “Fluency.” This will improve the language and fix grammatical errors in the text you’re paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing and using a paraphrasing tool aren’t cheating. It’s a great tool for saving time and coming up with new ways to express yourself in writing.  However, always be sure to credit your sources.  Avoid plagiarism.  

If you don’t properly reference text paraphrased from another source, you’re plagiarising. If you use someone else’s text and paraphrase it, you need to credit the original source. You can do that by using citations. There are different styles, like APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. Find more information about referencing sources  here.

Paraphrasing   without crediting the original author   is a   form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.

However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly referencing the source . This means including an   in-text citation   and a full reference, formatted according to your required   citation style.

As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.

Plagiarism   means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own.   Paraphrasing   means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.

So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?

  • Paraphrasing   is   plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
  • Paraphrasing   is   plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should   quote   it instead.
  • Paraphrasing  is not   plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words   and   properly referencing the source .

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Guest Essay

Daniel Barenboim: What Beethoven’s Ninth Teaches Us

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By Daniel Barenboim

Mr. Barenboim is a pianist and conductor.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was first performed exactly 200 years ago Tuesday and has since become probably the work most likely to be embraced for political purposes.

It was played at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin; it was performed in that city again on Christmas 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Leonard Bernstein replaced the word “Joy” in the choral finale with “Freedom”; the European Union adopted the symphony’s “Ode to Joy” theme as its anthem. (These days the Ninth is being played in concert halls worldwide in commemoration of the premiere. The classical music world loves anniversaries.)

Beethoven might have been surprised at the political allure of his masterpiece.

He was interested in politics, but only because he was deeply interested in humanity. The story goes that he originally wanted to dedicate his “Eroica” symphony to Napoleon — it was to be called “Bonaparte” — but he changed his mind after Napoleon abandoned the ideals of the French Revolution and was crowned emperor.

I don’t believe, however, that Beethoven was interested in everyday politics. He was not an activist.

Instead, he was a deeply political man in the broadest sense of the word. He was concerned with moral behavior and the larger questions of right and wrong affecting all of society. Especially significant for him was freedom of thought and of personal expression, which he associated with the rights and responsibilities of the individual. He would have had no sympathy with the now widely held view of freedom as essentially economic, necessary for the workings of the markets.

The closest he comes to a political statement in the Ninth is a sentence at the heart of the last movement, in which voices were heard for the first time in a symphony: “All men become brothers.” We understand that now more as an expression of hope than a confident statement, given the many exceptions to the sentiment, including the Jews under the Nazis and members of minorities in many parts of the world. The quantity and scope of the crises facing humankind severely test that hope. We have seen many crises before, but we do not appear to learn any lessons from them.

I also see the Ninth in another way. Music on its own does not stand for anything except itself. The greatness of music, and the Ninth Symphony, lies in the richness of its contrasts. Music never just laughs or cries; it always laughs and cries at the same time. Creating unity out of contradictions — that is Beethoven for me.

Music, if you study it properly, is a lesson for life. There is much we can learn from Beethoven, who was, of course, one of the strongest personalities in the history of music. He is the master of bringing emotion and intellect together. With Beethoven, you must be able to structure your feelings and feel the structure emotionally — a fantastic lesson for life! When we are in love, we lose all sense of discipline. Music doesn’t allow for that.

But music means different things to different people and sometimes even different things to the same person at different moments. It might be poetic, philosophical, sensual or mathematical, but it must have something to do with the soul.

Therefore, it is metaphysical — but the means of expression is purely and exclusively physical: sound. It is precisely this permanent coexistence of metaphysical message through physical means that is the strength of music. It is also the reason that when we try to describe music with words, all we can do is articulate our reactions to it, and not grasp music itself.

The Ninth Symphony is one of the most important artworks in Western culture. Some experts call it the greatest symphony ever written, and many commentators praise its visionary message. It is also one of the most revolutionary works by a composer mainly defined by the revolutionary nature of his works. Beethoven freed music from prevailing conventions of harmony and structure. Sometimes I feel in his late works a will to break all signs of continuity.

The Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci said a wonderful thing in 1929, when Benito Mussolini had Italy under his thumb. “My mind is pessimistic, but my will is optimistic,” he wrote to a friend from prison. I think he meant that as long as we are alive, we have hope. I try to take Gramsci’s words to heart still today, even if not always successfully.

By all accounts, Beethoven was courageous, and I find courage an essential quality for the understanding, let alone the performance, of the Ninth. One could paraphrase much of the work of Beethoven in the spirit of Gramsci by saying that suffering is inevitable, but the courage to overcome it renders life worth living.

Daniel Barenboim is a pianist and conductor, co-founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and founder of the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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Column: This Mother’s Day, forget the cards and flowers. Women want their rights instead

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When I was young, my father gave me one piece of advice about choosing a career: Stay away from any occupation with a national “appreciation” day.

As a public high school teacher, he believed that those days were a performative substitute for fair wages and social respect.

So what, by that logic, are we to make of Mother’s Day?

I’ve been a mother for 27 years, and was the child of a living mother for 40, so I appreciate the importance of a culturally enforced day in which motherhood is celebrated with breakfast in bed or tea in some fancy garden, with cards and gifts and floral and/or edible arrangements. You will not see me ever turning down any of these things (though I never have been a fan of breakfast in bed, mainly because I know if something spills, and it will, I’m the one changing the sheets).

But if we’re being honest, motherhood is not something this country actually celebrates at all.

Oh, we sell motherhood. Hard. We make it abundantly clear in every cultural medium at our fingertips that while having a mom can be a bit of a chore, being one is the best. From “Baby Boom” to “Jane the Virgin” film and television have taught every woman who didn’t think she wanted a child that it was the best thing that could ever happen to her. Even “Succession’s” Shiv Roy was going to have a baby, and you just know it would make her very, very happy.

We greet celebrity baby bumps with unabashed glee, watch YouTube videos of complete strangers’ gender-reveal parties and nod in amused sympathy at all those TikToks about kids’ messy rooms or really stupid texts. Moms: They really do do everything, including shoot hilarious emotional breakdowns in their cars for our general amusement.

And we love, or love to hate, the accouterments of motherhood. Will Crocs ever not be in fashion? Or tote bags? Or “mom jeans”?

Never mind the multibillion-dollar industries aimed directly at mothers, from birthing classes and baby clothes boutiques to test prep and wedding planners. Being a mom means always staying involved!

But when it comes to actually supporting mothers — as in, providing essential services that they actually need — well, that’s another story entirely.

Pregnancy test on pink background

Entertainment & Arts

Column: Fears about ‘Ozempic babies’ show how woeful U.S. women’s healthcare really is

Just as women’s reproductive rights are being restricted, a flurry of troubling reports about ‘Ozempic babies,’ egg freezing and more underscore the male bias in our healthcare system.

May 3, 2024

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, many states have made it abundantly clear that they consider motherhood a legal obligation, if not an actual punishment for having sexual intercourse, consensual or not, that results in pregnancy. Intent, desire, capability matter not at all. Cells are dividing in your body and you will ensure that they result in a child. Or else.

Given that 60% of those seeking an abortion already have at least one child, surely control over their own bodies is a better Mother’s Day present than a gift card to T.J. Maxx.

Not surprisingly, those new laws have resulted in pregnant and miscarrying women being turned away from emergency rooms and clinics, where doctors and nurses are too afraid of being penalized for potentially assisting in or failing to report anything remotely resembling an abortion to do their actual jobs.

According to a recent Yale study, there are approximately 5 million pregnancies each year, at least 1 million of which will end in miscarriage. One. Million. Coming to an emergency room near you.

As someone who had a miscarriage, and eventually required a D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure to stop the weeks-long bleeding, I can tell you that the experience was quite painful and emotionally traumatic enough. I cannot imagine enduring it without fast and appropriate medical treatment or under threat of being prosecuted.

You want to celebrate motherhood? Forget the cards and flowers; guarantee pregnant women access to emergency rooms in every state.

As for those who choose to get pregnant and manage to carry that pregnancy to term, or for those who choose to adopt, well, all those “pro-life” politicians and proselytizers quickly lose interest — their definition of “life” may begin at conception, but it ends at delivery.

Alone among industrialized nations, the United States still does not guarantee paid parental leave or, excepting a brief period during the COVID-19 pandemic, provide any meaningful amount of federally funded childcare.

illustration of a home at night in the rain. A woman can be seen in the brightly lit window reading.

To make peace with becoming an empty-nester, I had to be at peace with myself

For the first time in 25 years, I spent a weekend alone at home without kids, husband or work. In the process, I was reminded that I am not just the sum of my responsibilities.

March 4, 2024

Because we believe that when it comes to motherhood, there is never enough sacrifice involved.

Most mothers (71%) work outside the home and most, particularly those earning the least, continue to pay the “motherhood penalty” of lower wages and significant career interruptions.

Is it any wonder that 70% of Americans living in poverty are women and children ? There are more than 11 million single mothers in this country and 38% of them live below the poverty line.

Every few years, someone suggests that stay-at-home parents should be paid, through either more extensive tax credits or extended parental leave policies, but it has never gotten any real traction in this country. Who would pay for it? , people tend to ask.

I don’t know. Maybe the top companies in the baby diaper, baby formula, baby food, baby wipes and baby gear industries could kick in a few profit percentage points.

How about if every company that uses Mother’s Day as an advertising opportunity uses that money to help fund affordable daycare instead?

Again, I am not saying we should cancel Mother’s Day, which is lovely and important, and I will definitely be expecting French toast and flowers from my adoring children and spouse. But as we all make those champagne brunch reservations or run out for last-minute bouquets at Vons, let’s take a moment to consider how our country actually treats motherhood.

I love being a mother, so much so that I had my third at 43, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. But it is a 24/7, no time off, sometimes physically demanding, often emotionally draining job that should not be forced on anyone, either through legislation or social conditioning. Nor should it be made any harder than it already is.

If we truly celebrate motherhood — or worry about declining birth rates — we should show it by treating all women and their reproductive choices with respect, and by supporting those who choose motherhood with policies that address the reality of the American workforce and those mothers who are struggling in and outside it.

To paraphrase the suffragettes: We may love roses, but we also need bread.

More to Read

A mother swan swims with her babies while a mother and son ride a swan boat in the distance

27 very L.A. ways to spend time with Mom — or not — on Mother’s Day

April 30, 2024

Protesters shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision Friday, June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans' lives after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade. The court’s overturning of the landmark court ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Letters to the Editor: Hey, Arizona, try reducing the need for abortion by helping women and children

April 12, 2024

Burbank, CA - January 10: Husband and wife Xavier Coelho-Kostolny and Beccy Quinn plays with their cat Sofie on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Burbank, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Letters to the Editor: Middle class couples aren’t having kids. Blame American politics and inequality

Feb. 23, 2024

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Get our big stories about Hollywood, film, television, music, arts, culture and more right in your inbox as soon as they publish.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

article for paraphrasing

Mary McNamara is a culture columnist and critic for the Los Angeles Times. Previously she was assistant managing editor for arts and entertainment following a 12-year stint as television critic and senior culture editor. A Pulitzer Prize winner in 2015 and finalist for criticism in 2013 and 2014, she has won various awards for criticism and feature writing. She is the author of the Hollywood mysteries “Oscar Season” and “The Starlet.” She lives in La Crescenta with her husband, three children and two dogs.

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INGLEWOOD, CALIF. - DEC. 25, 2022. Rams running back Malcolm Brown get a big gain against the Broncos in the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

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The KTLA Morning News team on the set in 1999. From left: Carlos Amezcua, Sam Rubin, Barbara Beck and Mark Kriski.

At KTLA, Sam Rubin was a local morning news pioneer who covered Hollywood with zeal

LEFT: Former US basketball player Shaquille O'Neal poses for photographers upon his arrival for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, USA, 24 June 2019. RIGHT: Former NFL football player and current sports analyst Shannon Sharpe poses at a special screening of the Netflix documentary film "The Redeem Team," Sept. 22, 2022, at Netflix Tudum Theater in Los Angeles.

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Sam Rubin, KTLA journalist and longtime entertainment anchor, dies at 64


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    Paraphrasing means putting someone else's ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning. Paraphrasing is an alternative to quoting (copying someone's exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it's usually better to integrate sources by ...

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    Key features of our AI paraphrasing tool. Incorporated into translator: Translate your text into English or German, and click "Improve translation" to explore alternate versions of your translation. No more copy/paste between tools. Easy-to-see changes: When you insert the text to be rewritten, activate "Show changes" to see suggested edits.

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    In an article on how to paraphrase by the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the first two strategies are acknowledged—taking notes and looking away from the source before you write your paraphrase. The authors then suggest another two-step strategy for paraphrasing: change the structure first and then change the words. ...

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    Paraphrasing is simple when you break it down into a series of steps. Here are the 6 steps you can use to paraphrase your sources: 1. Choose a reputable source. First, you need to pick a credible source to paraphrase. A credible source will likely have ideas and concepts that are worth repeating.

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  13. Back Button

    QuillBot AI is a paraphrasing tool that helps you rewrite any text in your own words. You can choose from different modes, such as Standard, Fluency, Creative, and Formal, to suit your needs and preferences. QuillBot AI also offers other features, such as plagiarism checker, citation generator, and summarizer, to enhance your writing skills and productivity.

  14. 10 Examples of Paraphrasing for a Smarter, Better Essay

    Example Paraphrase 7. "Over-the-top international fast-food items". Original source: "For some reason, cheese-topped donuts are quite popular in Indonesia, and in September 2013 KFC decided to get in on the action, offering a glazed donut topped with shredded Swiss and cheddar cheese.".

  15. Academic Guides: Using Evidence: Effective Paraphrasing Strategies

    Effective Paraphrasing Strategies. If you are having trouble paraphrasing a text effectively, try following these steps: Reread the original passage you wish to paraphrase, looking up any words you do not recognize, until you think you understand the full meaning of and intention behind the author's words. Next, cover or hide the passage.

  16. Paraphrasing Tool

    Accurate: Reliable and grammatically correct paraphrasing. No sign-up required: We don't need your data for you to use our paraphrasing tool. Super simple to use: A simple interface even your grandma could use. It's 100% free: No hidden costs, just unlimited use of a free paraphrasing tool.

  17. AI-based Paraphrasing Tool

    Strengthen Your Communication Skills. Try out the best paraphrasing tool for free and discover how LanguageTool can elevate your writing. Enhance your writing with LanguageTool's AI-based paraphrasing tool. Discover a smarter way to rewrite and refine your text for improved clarity and uniqueness.

  18. Free AI Paragraph Rewriter

    Paraphrasing Tool. Quickly rephrase and reword any text for essays, articles, emails, and more. Rewording Tool. Swiftly reword and rephrase sentences or paragraphs for posts, emails or articles. Sentence Rewriter Tool. Enhance the quality and clarity of any sentence and improve its construction with this powerful free tool.

  19. Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

    Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing. This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. This handout compares and contrasts the three terms, gives some pointers, and includes a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.

  20. Free AI Rewording Tool

    Academic and Research Writing: Students, researchers, and academics often need to paraphrase content from various sources while conducting research or writing papers. Ahrefs' Rewording Tool can be valuable in this context by helping individuals rewrite research findings, quotes, or other textual information in their own words.

  21. QuillBot Review

    QuillBot's tools are available online, but they can also be integrated into your favorite apps and programs for seamless proofreading and paraphrasing. QuillBot Paraphraser review. QuillBot's paraphrasing tool rephrases sentences, paragraphs, or entire essays and articles. Not only does it improve the text's fluency and strengthen your ...

  22. Basic principles of citation

    APA Style uses the author-date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation directs readers to a full reference list entry.The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication.

  23. Top 6 Benefits of Paraphrasing Tools in 2024

    #4. Humanizes AI-Generated Academic Text. Paraphrasing tools have evolved beyond basic rewriting capabilities. They now serve as invaluable aids for students seeking to humanize AI text to AI-generated content. Platforms like ChatGPT, Jasper, and Bard, which are popular for their AI content generation, can be enhanced with the use of these tools, making the content more relatable and engaging.

  24. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.

  25. Daniel Barenboim: What Beethoven's Ninth Teaches Us

    One could paraphrase much of the work of Beethoven in the spirit of Gramsci by saying that suffering is inevitable, but the courage to overcome it renders life worth living.

  26. Mother's Day gift guide: abortion rights, paid leave, daycare

    To paraphrase the suffragettes: We may love roses, but we also need bread. More to Read . 27 very L.A. ways to spend time with Mom — or not — on Mother's Day . April 30, 2024.