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Education Resources

Paraphrasing in English Grammar for Business Communication

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paraphrasing is a technique that involves changing a test matter, so that it is quite dissimilar to the main source. But we should be careful to retain all the meaning of the passage. This skill is useful while expanding the taken notes or vice-versa. Effective paraphrasing avoids the risk of plagiarism. You should remember some important points in the process of paraphrasing. They are –

1. Although paraphrasing techniques are used in summary writing, it does not aim to shorten the length of a text, merely to restate the text.

E.g.: Evidence of a lost civilization has been found off the coast of China.

This could be paraphrased as –

Remains of an ancient society have been discovered in the sea near China.

2. A good paraphrasing is significantly different from the wording of the original, without altering the meaning at all. Read the text below and then decide which is the best paraphrase –

Text: Ancient Egypt collapsed in about 2180 BC. Studies conducted of the mud from the River Nile showed that at this time the mountainous regions which feed the Nile suffered from a prolonged drought. This would have had a devastating effect on the ability of Egyptian society to feed itself.

a) The sudden ending of Egyptian civilization over 4000 years ago was probably caused by changes in the weather in the region to the south. Without the regular river flooding there would not have been enough food.
b) Research into deposits of the Egyptian Nile indicate that a long dry period in the mountains at the river’s source may have led to a lack of water for irrigation around 2180 BC, which was when the collapse of Egyptian society began.

3. Techniques:

a) Changing vocabulary – studies > research

Society > civilization

Mud > deposits

b) Changing word class – Egypt (n) > Egyptian (adj.)

Mountainous regions (adj. + noun) > in the mountains (n)

c) Changing word order – Ancient Egypt collapsed > the collapse of Egyptian society began.

The chapter will improve your writing skills. It has been taken from Business Communication book of SMU MBA. It is the next chapter of strategies of note taking.

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