Proper citation, while paraphrasing, is crucial since it will help you avoid the plagiarism trap that may occur intentionally or unintentionally. However, a citation will not help you avoid plagiarism, but correct and appropriate citation will. You must ensure you document your sources appropriately using the proper style guide. Improper use of citations and wrong style guide will not help you escape plagiarism.
Rephrasing is acceptable if you understand and interpret information from other materials and adding correct citations at the end of a sentence or paragraph. Therefore, it’s not fair to copy information from another source and slightly change some few words or use synonyms.
The main aim of paraphrasing is to show you understand the information you have to write it in your own words. It’s crucial for writers to completely understand how to correctly rephrase content to avoid unintentional plagiarism. If you find it challenging to compose original essays, seek help from unemployed professors for the best essay writing services.
The below guidelines will guide a writer in the proper use of paraphrasing.
The dos of paraphrasing
- Understanding when to quote and when to rephrase
When quoting, you should use the exact words from other materials, whereas paraphrasing, you use the author’s idea but put it in your own words. It’s essential to know when to quote and when to paraphrase. Use direct quotes when it’s more likely to be accurate than paraphrasing or when you need to use the author’s exact words. Use paraphrasing when the meaning of the information is more important than the exact words used by the author. The idea and thoughts from other sources should be the same except the language or sentence structure.
- Understand the purpose of paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is not just about rewriting ideas and thoughts from other sources into your own words. When paraphrasing, you need to show that you completely understand the meaning or concept from other sources to write it in your language and unique style while also adding the relevant citations of the paraphrased material. Rephrasing is often used to simplify the author’s ideas into a language that is clear and easy to understand. You should paraphrase words that are key and relevant to your purpose.
- Understand the content you are paraphrasing.
When rephrasing, it’s essential to understand the information you are paraphrasing to avoid misinterpretation of another author’s ideas. It’s also crucial to understand the meaning of the data to avoid sounding similar to the original material.
The don’ts of paraphrasing
- Avoid paraphrasing by relying too much on the thesaurus
A thesaurus is a reference material that lists the synonyms and words with related concepts. Most students make the mistake of using the thesaurus to change or swap with synonyms to sound different from the source. Most students end up patch-writing that involves making small changes from the source, which is a form of plagiarism. Make sure to avoid patch-writing and understand the meaning of the original work to effectively translate it into your style.
- Don’t forget to include quotation marks.
Directly quoted words copied from another source should be enclosed in quotation marks. Copying words directly without including quotation marks is a form of plagiarism, which is a severe offense. If the quotation used is more than three sentences, it should be block indented without quotation marks. Using quotations is crucial since you acknowledge the information used is not yours.
- Don’t change the original meaning.
When rephrasing, avoid changing the original meaning of the information from other sources. You should only change the language or sentence structure but not the original idea or meaning of the information you have acquired from another author. The central concept is to understand the content and relay it in other words, while still sticking to the original idea or thoughts.
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