Rephrasing a Paragraph

Updated Jun 19, 2021

How to Reword a Paragraph

By Matthew

Paraphrasing a paragraph well is much more complicated than rephrasing a sentence, because you have to take into account the cohesion between sentences within that paragraph.

Considering the following paragraph:

When we think about how to write an essay, it’s best to keep in mind what the original purpose of them was. Michel de Montaigne created the form of the essay in his Essais, which means “attempts.” De Montaigne was grappling with ideas, attempting to clarify them.

Although this paragraph is reasonably clear, it lacks cohesion, which we achieve when we effectively start with old information at the beginning of sentences and introduce new information only at the end, creating a sense of flow.

Consider the following paragraph rephrase and what paraphrasing can achieve:

It’s best to keep in mind the original purpose of essays when we need to write them. The form of the essay, which means “attempt” in French, was created by Michel de Montaigne, who used it as a way to grapple with ideas, attempting to bring clarity to those ideas.

So you see that rewriting a paragraph requires more than changing the words in a sentence; it requires selecting the best placements for all the clauses and sentences as well.

You may be wondering how many sentences are in a paragraph and how many you should revise at once. Typically it makes sense to write a paragraph with at least three sentences, and try to revise no more than three at a time. Much more than that at one time is too big a cognitive load. To make the best version of each sentence, try our sentence thesaurus.

To learn more, check out this paraphrase how to guide; it's always good to see examples of paraphrase, so you know what to expect.