How to Paraphrase without Plagiarizing: Strategies for Success

How to Paraphrase without Plagiarizing

Undergraduate or graduate students in any field of knowledge have a recurring difficulty when it comes to citing their academic work. Aside from the need to follow the popular referencing styles, there is invariably little attention to how to quote or paraphrase without infringing copyright. Today, we will be taking a look at how to paraphrase and how it differs from quoting.

What is Paraphrasing?

To put it simply, paraphrasing means to say what has already been said by another person using different words. It is when you use the text of a third party and rewrite it. It is, from the linguistic point of view, intertext. It is not a matter of merely replacing terms with similar ones or synonyms; it consists of reformulating an author’s speech, seeking to make it clearer and more intelligible to those who will read his text. Paraphrasing goes beyond this, it is also.

Paraphrasing a text is always an excellent way to get good support for your ideas. With this, it becomes possible to make statements about some information contained in a source but using your own words.

However, there is no doubt that this can be a somewhat complicated task, especially for those with little practice. This is because it is extremely important to keep the original idea without copying any part or word of it. Not to mention that it is extremely important that you also know how to position your ideas in this quote and still quote the sources correctly. So, let’s go one step at a time and better understand how to paraphrase a text.

A Textual Interpretation

Paraphrasing is also a resource for textual interpretation since it is necessary to understand the central idea of ​​what is intended to paraphrase to convey it in a correct and simplified way to understand other people. Otherwise, one could fall into the error of making the passage, excerpt, or reference fragment more obscure and complex to understand, contrary to the paraphraser’s objectives.

Basic Principles for Paraphrasing a Text 

For a good paraphrase, it is necessary to follow certain basic principles, such as:

  • organizing the ideals as they appear in the original text so as not to lose the logical sequence.
  • do not fail to put the essential information of the reference text, which is essential.
  • it should not include information or ideas of its own that have not been said by the author.
  • seek, whenever possible, to simplify; use words and phrasal constructions that are not the same as the basic text and may otherwise incur plagiarism.

Thus, in the academic environment, the paraphrase means to construct indirect citations, which is when a specific author’s work is used, which will appear indirectly in the text. It is about including in your text part of someone else’s work to support your reasoning without, however, reproducing it exactly. Therefore, it is the process of translating the original idea to the reader, indicating in parenthesis the person who said that.

At first, it seems to be a difficult task, and in fact, it sometimes is. Many texts tend to be complex and almost incomprehensible, especially academic ones, which demand greater scientific rigor and, in some situations, end up being wordy, full of concepts and words that we don’t know. However, this can be quite relative and depends on factors such as, for example, the time when the text was produced; the language used by the author, more or less technical, or more or less refined; the purposes of the text; to whom it is intended; and the production area, which in a way ends up encompassing all the others.

Practical Example of Paraphrasing 

In practice, what needs to be done are two things: USE SYNONYMS and EXCHANGE PLACING of WORDS.

  • The use of synonyms is to substitute words for similar ones. Preferably words made up of simple and vice versa. Example: “together” to “jointly;” “losing” by “causing loss;” “therefore” to “this way.”
  • The exchange of the placing of certain words is of fundamental importance. Example: “is a fundamental value” to “has a value that is fundamental.”

Difficulty in Rewriting an Academic/Scientific text

It is very common in undergraduate and, even more so, in graduate school, to face that moment when it is necessary to write an academic text, be it a short article for presentation at a seminar, symposia or publication in magazines, or a more robust text, like a research project, monograph or thesis. We know how difficult this moment can be since, through no fault of ours, many of us young people entered the university unprepared to write a text that we have no idea how it should be structured.

Often, the lack of adequate teaching guidance makes the process much more complicated, especially when combined with the difficulty of reading the basic texts, the pressure to produce a good job, and the academic requirements that we must meet, such as choosing a topic and a relevant research object, the use of an appropriate methodology and the presentation of coherent results, in addition to the standard text guidelines such as MLA, APA, VANCOUVER or others. All of these concerns together make writing herculean work.

Plagiarism in Academic Work

About academic requirements, the issue of plagiarism stands out. As soon as they apply for their first job or even on the first day of class, many teachers talk about the subject. However, they rarely define precisely what constitutes plagiarism for academia and how to avoid it. We know that it is about presenting a text that is not yours as if it were. For many referencing styles, it is to quote parts of a text without referencing it, as prescribed:

  • direct citations must be indented, justified and, in parentheses, the author’s name, the year of publication of the text, and the page from which it was taken must be specified.
  • indirect citations (paraphrases) must come with the author’s name and the publication date in parentheses.
  • all citations must be referenced in the bibliography.

But are these norms and actions capable of preventing plagiarism from occurring? Certainly not. When an academic text is being produced, using supporting bibliographies and composing the theoretical foundation of the research, we are faced with concepts, definitions, or even explanations that, due to their importance, we are forced to use. Still, we are not always able to paraphrase. Either because of the factors of difficulty already addressed here previously (complexity of the text and lack of understanding) or because the text is so well constructed that we feel the need to leave it as it is. However, an academic text constructed with many direct citations is not legal since, in the academy’s eyes, the producer of the text is too lazy or unable to write on his own, which we know is not always true. On the other hand, if not properly referenced, it is plagiarism. So, what to do?

The truth is that many students make a real effort and still fail to meet the required standards. For this reason, the paraphrase service we offer serves to prevent any plagiarism and the resulting punishments. Through the analysis and detection of plagiarism, it is possible to avoid this problem.

However, it is not just that. When we read your text and paraphrase it, we make it cleaner, more fluid, and easier to understand, resulting in a much more satisfying text.

Why is it important to master the art of paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing an idea shows that the researcher has understood what the author wanted to say, the meaning of the text and that he can express it in his own words without distorting it. Therefore, the paraphrase’s characteristic is that the reference of the original author must be respected and placed, with the same rigor as in the citation, because, in the end, the idea belongs to the author being consulted and not to the researcher. Otherwise, the result of the research could be labeled plagiarized.

To make a proper paraphrase, one of the reader’s skills must be an adequate understanding of reading. This requires you to identify who is speaking, what they are saying, when they are saying it, and how what they are saying is related to other aspects of reading.

Despite the importance of paraphrase, its use also involves some risks. One of them is the misrepresentation of information: turning the idea into something different from what the author wanted to express. Another risk is manipulation: accommodating the concept to fit particular intentions that were not contained in the original text. A third risk is the addition of ideas and meanings that the original author never contemplated. The fourth risk is an omission, in which the incomplete idea is placed, and therefore, the original meaning is also changed. A fifth risk is a decontextualization that assigns a meaning to the idea disconnected from the context and the situation in which that idea originated, or even from the epistemic model in which it is framed.

If the researcher wants to express his idea based on the idea of ​​the author he is consulting, it is necessary to perceive the difference between what each one poses. In this sense, it is imperative to distinguish paraphrase from analysis and opinion. In the paraphrase, the original meaning of the author’s idea is maintained. In the analysis, the researcher criticizes or makes an interpretation of what the original author says, based on certain criteria. Still, the most important thing is that there is a gap between what the original author says, and the interpretation made by the original author. So that whoever reads the final text, is able to distinguish both. The opinion for its part implies that the researcher assumes a position of agreement or disagreement about what the original author says and, at best, justifies it. Still, it does not imply the existence of an analysis criterion. When issuing an opinion about an idea of ​​the original author, it is also important to distance yourself so that the final reader can distinguish between the original author’s idea and the researcher’s opinion.

In many cases, it is not convenient to place a written quote, on the one hand, because the original author can handle a different literary style from that of the researcher, and on the other hand, because sometimes the idea may be contained in a complex paragraph, where there are other ideas that are irrelevant or surrounded by examples that do not provide new information. Furthermore, it is essential that, when taking the idea, the researcher can paraphrase based on the place that this idea is going to occupy in the text of his research, how he is going to relate it to other ideas, and its relevance to his event of study.

Also, the way an idea is paraphrased can dramatically change the context assigned to the idea to organize the text. The category must be based on the event and the main topics. The event or topic becomes the entity of which it is spoken. The rest of the idea is what is said. Although the idea of ​​the original author is maintained, the order of the elements changes to give greater force to the content than the researcher wants to emphasize.

How to paraphrase a text?

Like we have already established, a paraphrase is when you read a text, absorb the idea, and then reaffirm what was read using your own words. This way, when making a paraphrase, it is not necessary to replicate sentence by sentence exactly but to present your idea.

So, here are some tips for paraphrasing a text:

  • In a paraphrase, it is interesting to condense the citations, reducing the words until reaching a synthesis of the main idea.
  • Ensure you change the structure of the sentence but maintain the main ideas of the work by establishing a link between them.
  • The paraphrase must be sufficiently different from the original content so that it doesn’t turn to plagiarism. Remember that if you don’t quote the sources of your “own words,” and they are too close to the originals, this is still considered plagiarism.
  • Paraphrase is an excellent resource for avoiding those longer quotes.
  • Remember that paraphrasing does not mean summarizing. This is because a summary can be broader and focuses only on the main points of a whole. The paraphrase focuses on one concept or idea at a time.
  • Make use of alternative words in place of words used by the idea’s author. However, ensure the word being used doesn’t affect the idea of the author.
  • Link the paraphrased idea with your work to ensure that it is free flowing.
  • In fact, paraphrasing a text is not a simple task. What many people still don’t know is that there is a program to paraphrase the text. There is not only one, but several available on the internet.

Does paraphrasing work?

Without a doubt, the number of people who need it is very large, and it is difficult to rewrite a text or paraphrase it. However, this is not a difficult task, but the fact is that it takes practice.

It is certainly not simple to get a text and perform the miracle of modification right away. However, with consistent practice, it can be achieved and there are also programs that help in this task.

With them, you get help searching for synonyms and forming new phrases. Thus, the mission of writing becomes somewhat simpler and simpler. So, don’t waste any more time and start your textual production right now.

How is quoting different from paraphrasing?

It is often necessary to obtain assistance from the work of another author. Mostly, this is done for the sake of scientific research. This is done to use a reference from a scientist’s work as a reference point and to proceed with the study. This helps our knowledge to grow and reach new heights every day.

When the research idea of an author is copied verbatim in another person’s research work, this act is known as quoting. For the researcher to say he is quoting, he must reference the source of the original idea. When the quoted text is not long, it is marked with quotation marks, however, if the quoted text is long, it is marked by indenting from the left margin.

The main features of quote include:

  • Original idea is copied verbatim
  • Quotes are followed by the referencing from the source
  • Quotes are placed within quotation marks
  • In research writing or any form of writing, quoting a text is always used as a form of backup or premise for the idea been researched.

Things to note about paraphrasing

  1. Understand When to Quote and When to ParaphraseThe ideal time to quote is when the material is long, and the ideas cannot be expressed lucidly. However, paraphrasing is for long text that you can express the ideas being communicated by the author. Paraphrasing should be seen as a form of translation, where you translate from one language to the other. Regardless of the structure and words used the idea of the author should remain intact.
  2. Understand the Purpose of ParaphrasingAnother important to note is that paraphrasing is not just about rewriting another person’s work, rather it is an opportunity to display your knowledge of the work being used to support your research. Paraphrasing is aimed at making use of different sources to boost your paper and make it understandable for your readers.
  3. Understand the Text You Are ParaphrasingIt is important to understand the work you want to paraphrase to avoid the risk of plagiarizing the ideas in the text being consulted.
  4. DON’T Copy without Quotation MarksIf you decide to paraphrase and quote directly, ensure you give credit to the author by ensuring that the idea being used is within a quotation mark. Note that when three consecutive words from another’s work has been used that is Direct quotations. Ensure that you put quotes in quotation marks to avoid a form of plagiarism.

In Conclusion

As it has been established, paraphrasing is not changing of words; but the explanation of another person’s ideas in your own words and structure. This shows that you comprehend what the other person is saying by explaining it. We hope these tips will help you as you strive to ensure a unique essay.