Paraphrasing and plagiarism are two essential aspects of any research work or study. In the contemporary world, where ethical laws highly protect intellectual and research work, it is rare for people to directly quote someone’s work in its original form. 

When Should You Paraphrase?


Of course, maintaining the work’s ethical value and confidentiality is crucial to maintaining the quality of the research conducted. One tends to tweak and modify the words and restructures any phrase. In layman’s language, this is known as paraphrasing, which is done to avoid infringement on the owner’s rights. Every academic student and researcher should be knowledgeable about the meaning of paraphrasing. One must ensure that the purpose of the restated words is not changed in paraphrasing. This is where paraphrasing tools (Smodin’s Paraphrasing Tool) come into play and act as a lifesaver for any academic student. It is common to paraphrase whether you are writing an essay, an article, a thesis, or a research paper. It helps in delivering your ideas more effectively and coherently.


Should Plagiarism Be Used?


Paraphrasing is done where a direct quotation is irrelevant to the academic paper. While it is essential to paraphrase words, the lack of it leads to plagiarism. Plagiarism is something that every research student must be wary of and never do intentionally, as it can subjugate one’s work to harsh critique by peers. Furthermore, it can even be considered illegal and against research ethics. The very backbone of research is work that is free from any hints of plagiarism, and following the code of conduct is vital for the success of one’s written work. Not only does plagiarism tarnish the tonality of the writing, but it also ruins the writing structure and authenticity. So any time you add someone’s work to your paper, make sure you credit the author properly so that the work is not mistaken for your own in any way, shape, or form. 


Mostly, plagiarism happens by mistake due to the need for the right tools to paraphrase one’s written work. Thankfully, many online tools can help you translate effectively and detect plagiarism that might be “plaguing” your document. Using these tools is encouraged by academic institutions to make your writing error-free. So now that it is evident why these terms are crucial let us understand with examples what the two terms mean and the critical differentiation between them. One must ensure that paraphrasing and plagiarism are distinct so that the quality of the paper is excellent. 


What is Paraphrasing?

Simply put, paraphrasing means conveying somebody’s ideas in words that are entirely your own. According to Cambridge Dictionary, “paraphrasing” means “to repeat something written or spoken using different words, often in a humorous form or in a simpler and shorter form that makes the original meaning clearer.” Thus, even though it might be tempting to paraphrase a quote or a passage, you must be careful that it does not get considered plagiarism. In other words, you should use more synonyms and refrain from using original words and concepts. You can, however, use generic terms such as global warming and globalisation as they are commonly understood and accepted. 


For example, let us take a look at this fact related to the human body:


Original phrase: At birth, infants have about 300 bones. However, some of these bones get fused as they grow older; eventually leading to only 206 bones by the time they attain adulthood.

Paraphrasing: Babies are born with approximately 300 bones in their body, but as they turn older and reach adulthood, the bones tend to amalgamate and decrease to just 206.

Plagiarism: Infants have about 300 bones at the time of birth. These bones get fused as they grow older, leaving them with just 206 bones in total by the time they attain adulthood.

From this, we can clearly understand the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing. 

In the first example (paraphrasing), the text has been paraphrased effectively as there is the usage of synonyms (amalgamate, babies, etc.) Also, the translated text has restated words, and their meaning does not change.

In the second example (plagiarism), a lot of plagiarism occurs as the writer has used exact words from the original text without quotation marks. Additionally, the actual words have been used, and there are a lot of duplicities.


What is Plagiarism?

Using parts of another person’s work and passing it across as your own, intentionally or unintentionally, is plagiarism. Exposure can even lead to a bad grade or cause extreme critique amongst one’s peers, as it is a morally unethical practice. Research allows no room for plagiarized work and can tamper the reputation of the one whose work is “stolen”. One can avoid such instances with the help of many online tools such as DupliChecker, Copyscape, and Plagiarism Detector. However, it is best to understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it manually, as getting exposed can have serious consequences. 


When it comes to providing a proper citation, your local library’s help can help a lot. Also, online software and tools like Zotero, Ref Works, EndNote, and Mendeley can go a long way in ensuring that credit is provided wherever it may be due. It also helps to develop an understanding of the passage and understand the text after reviewing it thoroughly. By doing this, there will be little confusion, eliminating the need for plagiarism.


Types of Plagiarism


Paraphrasing vs plagiarism is a rather broad and versatile topic. There are several types of plagiarism, and having an understanding of each one of them is vital in academics and research. According to the Harvard College Writing Program, these are as follows:


  1. Verbatim Plagiarism: This means copying someone’s work word by word.
  2. Mosaic Plagiarism: Taking parts of text from various sources without crediting the author.
  3. Inadequate Paraphrase: Paraphrasing that still has duplicity. 
  4. Uncited Paraphrase: Sufficiently copying another person’s work without giving credit.
  5. Uncited Quotation: Lack of reference material on a quotation cited from an external source.
  6. Using Another Student’s Work: Misusing someone’s ideas by completely copying them and taking all the credit for their work.


Thus, it is always handy to use RefWorks and Zotero to keep a proper log of all the citations and references used in your research paper or thesis. By doing so, you can go a long way in maintaining your work’s originality and ethical quality. 


Is Paraphrasing The Same As Plagiarism?


Paraphrasing is not the same as plagiarism, as the former encompasses proper citations, quotation marks, and references wherever necessary. However, paraphrasing might count as plagiarism in cases where:

  1. If your text is copied too closely to the original text, it is considered plagiarism. Yes, even if you provide proper citations. Thus, you are encouraged to use restated wording after grasping the passage’s meaning.
  2. Paraphrasing can also be considered plagiarism if you do not provide credit to the original writer.


When is Paraphrasing Not the Same as Plagiarism?


Although the lines between the two concepts may seem blurred, there are instances where paraphrasing and plagiarism are not similar such as the following:

  1.  If you do not copy the original author’s work, word by word, and provide adequate citations, then paraphrasing is not considered the same as plagiarism.


How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarism?


To paraphrase without getting acquitted of plagiarism, follow the given tips:

  • Keep the Original Text at Bay

Once you have read the original text, leave it aside when it is time to write. By doing so, you can avoid confusion and hesitation. Also, use different coloured pens and highlighters while gathering sources for citing. 

  • Gather a Genuine Understanding

Read the text a couple of times till you have acquired an understanding of it by heart. If you understand the concept, it will be a walk in the park for you to paraphrase it later in your words. 

  • Adequately Cite The Sources

Be mindful of the various writing styles, such as the APA and the MLA. Follow the manual’s guidelines and use the format that is in the latest edition. Always use adequate citations and quotations in your writing.

  • Use Anti-Plagiarism Tools

If you are a student, you can benefit from anti-plagiarism tools such as Copyscape and DupliChecker. These tools will allow you to escape accidental plagiarism. You can also use Grammarly’s Plagiarism Tool, which is one of the best.


Smodin’s Paraphrasing Tool

Another excellent paraphrasing tool is Smodin’s paraphrasing tool. Using this tool, you can rewrite any passage using as little as five words. It restates your text with good grammar and ensures high quality simultaneously. Smodin’s paraphrasing tool also comes packaged with a citation generator and a plagiarism checker. In short, it is your one-stop solution for all research-related papers.


On A Final Note

Paraphrasing is essential in any work to convey an original text in one’s own words. Smodin’s Paraphrasing Tool, Grammarly, CopyScape, and, DupliChecker are all handy tools for writing a top-notch academic paper. So check them out through the links given in this article.