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Paraphrasing often involves producing an abbreviation of your source material - a highly condensed version of it. However, there aren't any hard and fast rules about this. Sometimes it can actually be necessary to focus down on a single point.
Alternatively you might need to provide an overview of the full range of arguments.
Sometimes you may even need to expand on a point in the original extract, perhaps when it's written in such a condensed fashion that you need to unpack its meaning further. In this instance, however, what we want you to do is concentrate on the abbreviated kind of paraphrasing.
The final exercise in "Writing in your own words" is doing just that.
Read through this final extract from "Jamie's Italy" and then have a go at writing a paraphrase of it, focusing on the central issue it raises: the possibility that Italians have retained a stronger sense of what's important in life and why this might be so. You paraphrase should be around 100 words.
I've witnessed so many young people and teenagers in Italy living a 'modern-day life' which we would have seen in Britain seventy years ago - yes, they have mobile phones and computers but they're not seen as an essential part of everyday life and not as many people have them as here. There is also a massive working-class population and a very small proportion of wealthy people.
So I think Italy has managed to retain a lot of its brilliant things because there hasn't been a lot of choice available. . and for me it creates a profound emotion because sometimes when you have too much choice you can lose sight of the things that really matter - your family, your kids and your health. With Italians being the third longest-living nation in the world behind the Japanese and Icelanders, you can see that they're not doing much wrong, even with a lack of choice!
[An extract from Jamie Oliver's book, Jamie's Italy]
Jamie Oliver (2005, p.xiv) argues that Italians continue to have a strong, if fairly traditional, sense of what is important in life. This is, he suggests, due to the fact that, compared with some other countries, they are faced with fewer consumer and lifestyle choices.
As a result, he argues, even those young people who have consumer goods are less likely to view these as central to a full and vibrant existence than would be the case in Britain. The benefits can, Oliver agues, be judged by the fact that life-expectancy is longer in Italy than in most other countries.
When you've finished your version, you can compare it to one we prepared earlier, by clicking 'Show answer'.
Don't worry if your paraphrase looks rather different from the one we have written. There are a lot of ways in which the original could have been changed.
This is how we went about it.
Writing in your own words is important because it is one very good way of understanding other people's arguments and ideas. And, because you understand the ideas better, you can see their strengths and weaknesses better.
This is process to keep in mind when putting other people's ideas and arguments into your words.