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Paraphrasing is an intimidating thing to master when it comes to writing essays. Though there are many situations where a direct quote is useful, an essay that quotes too heavily or has too little original writing not only shows little mastery of the subject, but also does a poor job at conveying information from disparate sources.

As such, it’s important to master paraphrasing as it is a way to share the ideas and knowledge of others while still speaking in your voice. Read more to learn how to paraphrase and how to be a better writer and communicator.

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Published on by jbailey.

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 In the last poll of our "OK or not?" series, we asked whether it was OK to cite a source without an author. This week, we are challenging you with a dilemma that students commonly face as they write papers, especially around the need for citation if they've already paraphrased and changed "enough" of the text. What do you think?



"OK or not?" A new poll series about plagiarism





Published on by kennethb.

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Writing Tip #16: Put it in your own words: Paraphrasing

One of my students asked, “Why do I have to reword it when someone else has already said it better than I ever could?” My answer to her was that if she did not paraphrase she would be stealing the material from the original author! This is called plagiarism. Paraphrasing also shows the instructor that you understand the material. Your paper will be more coherent if you completely understand the information. Remember that your professor is a professional and will know whether or not you have comprehended the subject matter.

Paraphrasing also saves you from adding too many quotes. Using a lot of quotes makes you look lazy and is not acceptable in academic writing. One important rule is that if you choose to use more than two words together verbatim from the author, you must use quotation marks.

Use a thesaurus to find different words that mean the same as the author’s if you’re not feeling particularly brilliant. Citing the paraphrased or quoted material will be your next step, but we will get into that in the next tip.

An example of paraphrasing is:

Original: “Brill and Smith (2010) found that the students performed class work more efficiently directly after the teacher finished a lesson.”

Paraphrased version: “The researchers reported that students more successfully completed classroom assignments just after their teacher concluded the lesson.”



Ways to avoid plagiarism


Writing Skills

Published on by bcalvano.

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Paraphrasing is an often misunderstood component of writing. Without fully understanding how to accurately paraphrase, you could find yourself in allegations of plagiarism, even though it may be accidental.

As seen in the WriteCheck Writing Center, here are some tips for how to effectively paraphrase without plagiarizing:

What is paraphrasing? Paraphrasing is putting someone else's writing into your own words and then citing that text.

Why paraphrase? A writer would decide to paraphrase when he or she doesn't want to quote too much. Paraphrasing can make a paper more readable and make it the writer's own. Paraphrasing well also allows the reader the completely understand the material he or she is writing about. A well-written document will be easier to read and make the author more credible.

How do I paraphrase correctly? The first step for the writer is to read and re-read the text to be paraphrased to grasp the entire meaning. When paraphrasing, convey the intended message of the original author.

For example:

Original text: A purpose statement is a declarative sentence, which summarizes the specific topic and goals of a document. It is typically included in the introduction to give the reader an accurate, concrete understanding what the document will cover and what he/she can gain from reading it. To be effective, a statement of purpose should be:

  • Specific and precise - not general, broad or obscure
  • Concise - one or two sentences
  • Clear - not vague, ambiguous or confusing
  • Goal-oriented - stated in terms of desired outcomes (Washington.edu, n.d., para.1)

Paraphrased text: According to Washington.edu (n.d.), an effective purpose statement summarizes the study topic and its goals. The purpose statement is also clear and precise and states what the study will cover and what the reward will be for the reader.

See citation formats and more paraphrasing examples

Another excellent resource to learn about paraphrasing is the Purdue Online Writing Lab: Paraphrase: Write it in your own words. Or get more writing tips and writing instructions in the WriteCheck Writing Center.


Writing Skills

Published on by tiimarketing.

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