Literary Devices

Constructive paraphrase characteristics and example in detail

Constructive paraphrase

The constructive paraphrase is a literary device that consists of the reworking of a text that has been originally written by another person. The end product may look completely different; however, it is the same idea expressed from another point of view. In general, the act of using this resource is known by the name of paraphrasing. Constructive paraphrase characteristics and example

However, a constructive paraphrase can also be used when it comes to oral messages. In this case, the message is reformulated in terms of the understanding of its meaning.

Paraphrasing does not imply repeating the speaker’s entire message. Rather, this entails interpreting its meaning in the words of the listener.

On the other hand, the word paraphrasis has its origin in the Latin term paraphrasis which translates “an additional form of expression”. In the case of constructive paraphrase, it can be formed through content development through clarifications, examples, additional explanations, and through the use of synonyms.

The use of constructive paraphrase is a very useful tool in communication processes. Among other reasons, it allows the sender to verify that the receiver understands the message.

It can also be a form of reinforcement that the sender of the message receives to continue as he receives a signal that he is being listened to carefully.



The constructive paraphrase is founded on the basis of originality. Phrases, vocabulary, and sentence structure come from the receiver of the message, even if the original text comes from the sender. When the message fails in its originality, it is considered plagiarism (a substantial copy of other people’s works).

In this sense, plagiarism is considered to exist when a set of identifying characteristics is presented. Among the most representative are:

  1. Reworking of content is limited only to changing the order of words and phrases within sentences without any other noticeable changes.
  2. The substitution of some words for synonyms is the only work that can be appreciated.
  3. The syntactic structure is the same as that of the initial text.
  4. No citations are made of the presenting author of the ideas before the reconstruction of the text.


Constructive paraphrasing accurately reflects the tone, ideas, and intensity of the source text. Although presented differently, the paraphrased content has the same meaning as the original. The ideas presented remain faithful to the original source, despite the change in their presentation.


The paraphrased contents do not represent the ideas coming from the receiver. Although the content that is the object of the paraphrase is a reconstruction of the source, the thoughts expressed there correspond entirely to the original source. Constructive paraphrase characteristics and example

Thus, the tone must be maintained at all times. This means that the reconstructed work has to reflect the same moods (humor, anger, sadness, among others).


The constructive paraphrase handles all the key ideas from the original source. The ideas or thoughts are fully exposed in the reformulated content.

As a general rule, it is customary that the content to be paraphrased is at least as long as the original to ensure that all-important ideas are used.

Key points

There are a number of key points that must be taken into account when preparing a quality constructive paraphrase. Some of these points are:

  1. Complete understanding before undertaking the paraphrasing work. In this way the possibility of meaning changes is reduced.
  2. Identification of exceptional ideas and phrases that will be cited in original in the reformulated text. These appointments are made according to the international standards agreed upon for this type of work.
  3. Definition of synonyms that can be used. These are used in such a way as to maintain the original meaning given by the author to the message.


Constructive paraphrase is of great importance in educational processes. On the one hand, it helps understanding complex issues.

This is possible by converting the meanings to simpler ideas that are easily remembered by the reader or listener. It also helps to improve their reading comprehension.

On the other hand, the synthesis capacity is increased, which facilitates the preparation for more complex topics. Finally, it is an invaluable tool in the translation processes of works written in foreign languages ​​since it reduces the possibility of literal translations.

Examples of constructive paraphrase

Original text: “Refrigerated ships are generally large capacity (more than 4,000 tons) and have efficient systems for air circulation and air exchange rate control.” (Blasco Espinosa, 2015)

Constructive paraphrase: In general, it can be said that refrigerated ships have high load capacity and high efficiency. Its systems allow it to transport up to 4,000 tons and its air exchange speed control and handling systems operate efficiently.

Original text: “1965 elapses when the ISO (International Standard Organization) with headquarters in Geneva is established, which imposes the use of dimensioned standards-setting lengths, width and height of the containers. ”(Sagarra, et al, 2004). Constructive paraphrase characteristics and example

Constructive paraphrase: the standardized characteristics of the containers date from the year 1965. In that year the ISO (International Standard Organization) was established. Since then, this entity has been in charge of standardizing its structural characteristics (length, width, and height).

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