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June 13, 2024

How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing

How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing

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Paraphrasing is all about being original without being original. It can be an invaluable skill when you borrow an idea, a concept, or a quote to support or strengthen a piece of writing — without having to copy-paste entire paragraphs.

What is paraphrasing? 

Before we dive too deeply into the ‘how’ of it all, let’s first start with some basics. So, what is paraphrasing? Simply put, Paraphrasing is the act of taking someone else's words and expressing them in your own words.

When you learn how to paraphrase, whether it’s for a college essay or just everyday conversation, you can take a complex idea or statement and restate it using different words. This helps to make the idea or statement easier to understand and remember, which can be helpful when communicating with people who may not be familiar with the original terminology. It also helps to ensure that the ideas expressed are accurately represented.

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

While both involve restating a sentence or passage, the difference is in what information you choose to include. Paraphrasing requires you to keep to the same essential meaning, while summarizing requires you to create an overview of the original text by picking out only the most important details. 

For instance, when summarizing a text, you might include the main points, arguments, and conclusions, while when paraphrasing, you would restate the passage in your own words without necessarily including all of the details.

4 steps to paraphrase with AI

1. Read and reread

Read carefully through the text you are trying to paraphrase. Make sure that you understand the author’s point and context. It’s okay to read the text a few times to deepen your understanding and spark new ideas about how you might convey the meaning.

2. Break it down 

Don’t try to paraphrase a lengthy wall of text all at once – you’ll end up missing out on important context and details. Instead, break up the original text into its various components and individual ideas, so you can rephrase each key point before you move on to the next. 

3. Use your own words

Originality is key. To paraphrase well, you need your own words, not the ones that are in the original passage. Rewrite the ideas and keep the meaning intact but also vary your sentence length to make sure your writing flows well

If you’re stuck and can’t think of a way to rephrase a sentence or a paragraph, use an AI writing tool like Wordtune to help you rewrite sentence by sentence. It even highlights the rewritten words in purple so you know exactly how much has been paraphrased. 

4. Compare the two versions

Examine your own writing against the source material to make sure that you’ve retained the original meaning and nothing from the original source has been changed or misrepresented.

5. Run a plagiarism checker 

Check to ensure that you have not used any of the original words. A plagiarism checker will help you identify a string of words or exact sentences that appear in the original text, and even alert you to other sources on the web that happen to have the same text. 

6. Revise

You can either edit your text to remove any instances of plagiarism or put the words in direct quotations and credit the original author (and hyperlink to the source if it’s an online article). In addition, it’s always a good idea to proofread the paraphrased text.

3 handy tips to remember while paraphrasing

1. Lean on synonyms but don’t make it your sole strategy

While synonyms can help you rewrite a sentence without changing its meaning, you can't simply plug in words from the thesaurus. For example, if your original sentence says, "He is a tall man" and you decide to use the synonym "elongated" instead, you might end up with "He is an elongated man," which sounds strange. 

Be careful not to overuse synonyms. It can make your writing sound stilted or unnatural. If you replace the word "happy" with "elated" in every sentence, it will make your writing sound contrived and repetitive.

2. Rearrange the flow of ideas

Reorganize the order of ideas to keep the reader engaged and provide a more cohesive narrative. If you’re sourcing material from a dense research paper, you may not need to follow the same order to explain concepts.

You can add a hook or start with a simple data point to make the quoted material more readable and easier to understand. Then, connect one topic to another in a logical way to keep the flow going. 

3. Change parts of the speech

Try turning nouns into verbs or adjectives into adverbs. This technique, known as conversion, is a great way to add variety and interest to your writing. For example, you could change the noun "idea" to the verb "ideate" or the adjective "beautiful" to the adverb "beautifully."

Conversion helps to make your writing more unique and engaging but be careful not to make sentences unnecessarily convoluting. Another way to change parts of the speech is changing passive voice to active voice.  

How to paraphrase a lengthy quote  

Nothing can put a reader to sleep faster than a long-drawn direct quote. Long quotes are difficult to understand and often contain a lot of extraneous information that is not relevant to the point.

To paraphrase a lengthy quote, break it down into smaller, more manageable sentences. Start by identifying the main idea or theme of the quote, and then rewrite it in your own words.

Pay attention to the sentence structure and word choice to maintain coherence and clarity. Pick a few words that best capture the essence, use quotation marks and paraphrase the rest in a concise manner.

Don’t forget to cite the original source. You can do this by including a footnote or endnote with the author's name and the page number where the quote can be found.

Paraphrasing using Wordtune 

Professionals and students face the challenge of crafting clear, compelling and accurate written text.

Whether you're aiming to communicate with precision and authority at work or a student seeking to impress with an immaculately written essay, Wordtune streamlines your writing experience by letting you focus on what you want to say. Wordtune is an AI-powered writing assistant that offers a range of features, including a paraphrasing tool.

Below, we will walk you through the steps of using an AI paraphrasing tool to effectively rewrite your writing — ensuring it’s plagiarism free and totally unique. 

Step 1: Open Wordtune 

To get started, open the Wordtune editor.

Step 2: Write, paste or generate text with AI 

You have a couple of options for importing your text — you can either copy and paste text into the editor, write directly in the editor or generate text using AI. In the example, we’ve copied and pasted a quote.

Step 3: Paraphrase your text

Once you have your text in the editor, highlight the word or sentence you want to paraphrase and hit the ‘Rewrite’ button. Here we’ve highlighted the entire quote to paraphrase. 

Step 4: Review the suggestions and choose one that works for you

Wordtune will present a range of paraphrase suggestions, along with the original text. Review the suggestions and choose the one that best suits your needs. We selected the first rewrite suggestion as it’s simplified and  perfectly captures the essence of the quote. 

Step 5: Edit and refine 

After you’ve selected the suggestion(s), you want to ensure that the paraphrase flows smoothly within the rest of your copy.

You may want to adjust or refine the paraphrase further by selecting a synonym, changing the sentence structure or changing up the tone. In our example, we’ve changed up the sentence structure to include the author and the quote into one complete sentence.

Effective paraphrasing includes a personal take 

Remember - a personal analysis helps build a connection with the reader and gives your content more originality. Simply paraphrasing a piece of text can save you from plagiarism but it won’t be anything to rave about.

Instead, think about what the author is saying, explore the idea further, and add a personal take to leave the reader with that little bit extra.