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Exercise 4

Paraphrasing

Read this paragraph by Miller (2014) and decide which of these paraphrases of smaller sections are acceptable (paraphrases 1-3 below). When you have done that, use the paragraph to practise your own paraphrasing. Show your results to someone else and compare your version with the original. Is there anything you need to change?

Original paragraph

Many researchers have proved that chocolate improves language learning because it contains sugar and stimulates serotonin levels in the brain, making learners happier. Leche and Melk (2001), for example, assessed 300 students and established that those learning a language often needed to increase their sugar levels. The majority of students in their study (80%) indicated that chocolate was their main source of sugar when they were studying. They benefitted more from dark chocolate than from milk chocolate, and each student required on average 50g of chocolate per thirty minutes of study time. A later study (Leite, 2008) involved 500 university students of Japanese, each of whom was given 100g of milk chocolate every fifteen minutes for three hours. This study was unsuccessful, however, as although these students derived much pleasure from the study few of them actually proceeded to submit their essays, as they were too full of chocolate to complete their assignments. A more recent study of English language students (Amargo, 2013), financed by a chocolate maker, found varying results. Those students who had eaten 100g of dark chocolate daily during the week long study responded to the questionnaire at the end of the study period, but those who had eaten 1kg of white chocolate daily failed to respond, and it was assumed that they were feeling too sick to continue the research. Since dark chocolate is linked to increased serotonin levels those students who ate dark chocolate in the study may have become happier and more motivated. From all these studies it can therefore be assumed that moderate amounts of dark chocolate may be beneficial to study, but that larger amounts of chocolate, particularly milk or white chocolate, may be harmful to general health.

Paraphrase 1 yes no 

The above research indicates that too much white or milk chocolate may be unhealthy, but that small quantities of dark chocolate may lead to more productive work.

Answer to paraphrase 1

This is a good paraphrase. Compare it to the original:

From all these studies it can therefore be assumed that moderate amounts of dark chocolate may be beneficial to study, but that larger amounts of chocolate, particularly milk or white chocolate, may be harmful to general health.

The original information is there, but words have been changed when possible and the order of the ideas has been changed.

Paraphrase 2 yes no 

Many researchers have proved that chocolate is good for language learning because it boosts serotonin levels in the brain and makes learners more cheerful. Leche and Melk (2001), for instance, researched 300 students and found that those learning a language often needed more sugar.

Answer to paraphrase 2

This is not acceptable. The writer has changed only a few words (highlighted in red). They should also state the original source:

Many researchers have proved that chocolate is good for language learning because it boosts serotonin levels in the brain and makes learners more cheerful. Leche and Melk (2001, as cited in Miller, 2014), for instance, researched 300 students and found that those learning a language often needed more sugar.

Paraphrase 3 yes no 

Five hundred students learning Japanese at university ate 100g of milk chocolate four times an hour for three hours.

Answer to paraphrase 3

This is partly acceptable, because the writer has paraphrased the sentence. However, they have not given the source of the study or of the writer they are paraphrasing:

A later study (Leite, 2008, as cited in Miller, 2014) involved 500 university students of Japanese, each of whom was given 100g of milk chocolate every fifteen minutes for three hours.

There are some words in the original sentence that cannot be replaced (100g, milk chocolate, three hours), so the writer is allowed to keep them in their paraphrase. The more technical your writing, the harder it will be to replace words. If you are in any doubt about how much to paraphrase, check with your lecturer.

 

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