I want to paraphrase a sentence (as opposed to quoting), but I can not seem get any words in my mind for this part. What methods can I use to find ideas and methods for rephrasing well written sentences and include my voice without lowering the quality?

  • There is the potential for a good on topic question here, but it needs to be broader. If you edit it great. If you would like me to rephrase it so it would be on topic, feel free to ask me to in a comment.
    – hildred
    Aug 1, 2015 at 19:56
  • yes please, I appreciate this :)
    – Ali Nasser
    Aug 1, 2015 at 20:01
  • I don't think we're helping Ali by giving him the paraphrases. He is using this document for a source for a report on driverless cars, and because the paraphrases are so close to the original, he could be thought of as plagiarizing. I don't know about his culture, but in mine, taking someone's ideas pretty much in the order in which they wrote them is plagiarism.
    – ewormuth
    Aug 2, 2015 at 14:17

3 Answers 3


A method I use when I get stuck Is to take a clean sheet of paper and copy the problem passage onto the top of the sheet word for word backwards. I then read it, and rewrite it multiple times until it makes sense. often it becomes a different number of sentences.

Other methods I use include expansion and contraction where you add words and ideas or remove words and ideas.

And sometimes I just make tea. And come back later when I am fresh.

  • Usually you are stuck at rephrasing because you see how well-phrased the original is and any alternative phrasing appears to be less eloquent or less concise in comparison. My solution for this problem is to understand and memorize what the passage says (its meaning) and then wait a day or two without looking at the original, and then, when I have forgotten the original words but still remember the meaning, put that meaning into my own words. If you need to, note down the meaning in two or three words so as not to fotget it, or draw a diagram, but do not write sentences.
    – user5645
    Aug 2, 2015 at 6:34

Some methods for finding your own words for others' ideas:

Summarize the important ideas. Here are a few questions that can help summarize a passage:

  • What is the net effect of the actions or events in the passage?
  • What category or categories fit the items mentioned in the passage?
  • What conclusion can you draw from the facts laid out in the passage?

Follow the references. If the author cites where the ideas in the passage come from, read the reference material. This may give you additional ideas for how to phrase what you want to say. At very least, it will give you an example of how the author did what you are trying to do (incorporate someone else's ideas in their own words).

Switch viewpoints. Think of people who would be affected differently by the ideas in the passage.

  • Think of at least one person who would benefit.
  • Think of at least one person who might be harmed.
  • How would each express the ideas in the passage?
  • What opinions would each person have of those ideas?

Explore your own reactions.

  • Which ideas in the passage do you most strongly react to?
  • What is your reaction?
  • What is it about you that contributes to your reactions? What do you care most deeply about that is most affected by these ideas?

Test for stickiness. Set passage aside for an hour or a day. Try to rewrite it from memory. What you write may end up too close or to far from what you're trying to paraphrase, but it will jiggle your brain a little.

Focus on your intentions.

  • What makes you want to write the thing you are writing? What are you trying to say?
  • How does the author's passage relate to your intentions?
  • Which ideas from the passage most strongly relate to your intentions?

Is this your own sentence, or someone else's sentence that you want to paraphrase rather than quote? First, there's a predication problem in that the driverless cars (the subject) cannot be claiming anything (the verb). So I would say, "The International companies designing and testing driverless cars claim that they can navigate roadways, change lanes, observe traffic signals, and avoid pedestrians without human input." Do you want it paraphrased more than that?

"International companies developing driverless cars say that such cars will be able to duplicate the actions of human drivers."

  • Yes please, because I have to avoid similarities and copying words. Many thanks
    – Ali Nasser
    Aug 1, 2015 at 19:09
  • This is someone else's sentence that I want to paraphrase.
    – Ali Nasser
    Aug 1, 2015 at 19:23
  • Why not quote it?
    – ewormuth
    Aug 1, 2015 at 20:10
  • could you please help me also in this
    – Ali Nasser
    Aug 1, 2015 at 23:46
  • History of driverless cars Nowadays, the technologies and science are being developed dramatically every single day. However, the idea of self-driving car was known since decades around the world. In addition, this technology has been passed through plenty of progresses throughout the past years as it’s clear in figure.1 until it becomes a very distinctive facility that would help the entire humanity and the earth as well. Moreover, experiments on this technology have not stopped on here. More trails and tested are being done in order to improve it more and more
    – Ali Nasser
    Aug 1, 2015 at 23:47

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