The Art of Paraphrasing: How to Not Sound like a Plagiarist
Plagiarism is the bug eating even the best pieces of writing, and that’s what makes paraphrasing so important. This skill is crucial for every student. Penalties for plagiarizing might vary, but it often ends up with expulsion. Find out how to write properly with these recommendations we’ve developed for you.
1) Read the books and take notes. It is important to go through them all and decide which points you would like to include in your own paper. Do not work on individual paragraphs. Instead, go through all of them and grasp the concept. Also, by studying all the sources in advance, you will be able to come up with the concept of your own paper.
2) If there are paragraphs that do not fit into the general structure and are too difficult to comprehend yet contain important information, set them aside. You will work on them on an individual basis after you’re done with the rest.
3) Once your notes are prepared, put all of the sources in a drawer and forget about them. Otherwise, you will be tempted to peek and use someone else’s work instead of doing your own. Also, they might influence your style of writing. When there is no temptation, you have no other option but to set forth the key points in your own words.
4) When you are done with the biggest part of writing, take a look at the remaining paragraphs that have been set aside. To paraphrase each of them individually, pick up the train of thought from a different place (in the middle or even in the end) and use synonyms. Restructure and cut them ruthlessly.
5) When done, take the books out of the drawer. Make sure you didn’t miss any important points. If you did, make corresponding amendments.
6) Use special software to check if your paper is original. Plenty are available online.
7) When the paper is ready, it is time to give credit to the authors you used. Even the best piece of writing can be marked as plagiarism if you skip this step or forget at least one source.
The secret of refraining from plagiarism is not just putting the words in another order, and this is the concept plenty of students don’t get. You have to process the information and then announce what you have found out using your own words. Imagine that you are talking to a person who knows nothing about the subject. How could you tell her about it?
Here is another example. Remember how on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Penny described the Schrödinger’s cat experiment to her date? Clearly, she didn’t know all the scientific words to do it, so she just went for it using her own vocabulary. This is exactly what the ‘art of paraphrasing’ means.