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Thursday, November 7, 2019

The monotony of paraphrase

One thing I noticed with my grad student papers: when a student paraphrases and summarizes, without quotes from the original text, the paper becomes more monotonous. Direct quotation from the text provides more interest because now we have another voice or two in dialogue. Paradoxically, you have more of your own voice if you can quote other people directly, in judicious amounts, than if you rely too heavily on paraphrase. The prose has more texture if there are quotes in another voice, and the separation between what X thinks and what I think becomes more clear.

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