Avoiding plagiarism in writings by paraphrasing


One of the great ways to avoid plagiarism in your writings is to paraphrase the content you want to include. Paraphrasing is changing the text using your own mind. The result will be the text with the same meaning but composed with your own words. Regardless of how you have changed the content, you still need to make an attribution to original text and state it in your References page. Improper paraphrasing is considered to be the most common mistake by writers, which leads to so-called ‘accidental plagiarism’. Let’s review the methods how you can properly paraphrase material in this post.

The following sentence is the one that will be paraphrased as an example. The right and wrong results are presented below for you to understand how it is done.

The Bulls made the playoffs and defeated Brooklyn in seven games.

The sentence is pretty easy to paraphrase. We have to leave the meaning of it which is as follows: the team, Bulls win the series against Brooklyn team and therefore made the playoffs of the tournament. Students sometimes change only the order of words in sentences, which leads to something like this:

Brooklyn was defeated by Bulls in seven games so they made the playoffs.

The paraphrasing in this sentence is pretty weak. First, the writer just moved the title of the second team to the first part of the sentence and left the other part pretty much intact. Therefore, the sentence is more plagiarized than paraphrased because the writer did not use his own words in the writing. Let’s see the correct example of paraphrasing the sentence:

The playoffs for Bulls were the result of their seven games series against Brooklyn.

Here the writer actually changed the first part of the sentence by adding his own words. All information from the original writing remained intact as well as the message. The structure “made the playoffs' was removed as well as new words were added: “result', “series' and “against'. All what is left to do here is to credit the original writer.

The most common mistakes in paraphrasing

One of the most common mistakes that writers made during paraphrasing is that they change the words with synonyms. Don’t forget that the structure of the original sentence is still there so the outcome will be very close to the original. That can easily lead to plagiarism. Another mistake includes not using the quotation. This means that the words don’t indicate that they have come from the original author. You have to include quotation marks around all such sentences. It is also recommended not to use a lot of quotation because the paper should contain your own words rather than words of others, no matter if they indicated properly or not.

Another thing to remember is that you should leave the language of the writer. For example, if you need to paraphrase material about inflation, you should keep economic style to your text and don’t use conventional or conversational words and structures.