Rephrasing Yourself

In a tutorial I had in Writing for New Media, we were asked to rephrase sentences to make them shorter or passive. It is a tool to help us become better writers, and it enables us to look at our own sentences objectively. While doing this, I couldn’t help thinking that it might take away our own voice in what we write. Of course, we have to aim for objectivity regarding some genres, but it is still important to create your own style. What if your personality gets lost due to rephrasing the text too much?

We all know the feeling of “killing our darlings” – whether it concerns school work, blog post, etc.. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the word count. Some of your best formulations have to go, and it might feel like it takes away a part of you. I think this makes sense as it is your text; it is your words, how you think, and your perspective that comes to life through the text. Rephrasing a text means compromising you.

This is a bit exaggerated, but bear with me; I have a point. If you had to rephrase your thoughts all the time, wouldn’t you lose track of who you are? When you communicate through the medium of text, and you have to rephrase it; how much of your identity do you really show? By rephrasing yourself, you don’t really let other people know exactly what you have to say about something. Whether it is in an academic essay or a blog post, I think a tiny part of your identity gets compromised in the rephrasing. A word count is a restriction. Or is it a challenge that helps you grow and think thoroughly about what you write and how you do it?

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