Tips to Paraphrasing like a Pro
Paraphrasing is a skill that every student needs to master to avoid plagiarism, which is considered academic dishonest. The problem is that mastering paraphrasing technique takes time and requires extensive practice. It can look like a big challenge, especially for a student who has written very few tasks. However, you can easily start paraphrasing like a pro by following these tricks.
Preserve the Meaning
One of the popular tricks that excellent students use when it comes to paraphrasing is first to understand the material. This involves reading every sentence carefully and noting down key points. Then try to understand the message the author is communicating.
Once you get the main message, you can write it in your own words while preserving the meaning. The easiest way to communicate the original message without plagiarizing is to stick with using the same language but using different words. Synonyms can come in handy but ensure they do not distort the original meaning.
Avoid the Pitfalls of Paraphrasing
While there are numerous paraphrasing mistakes, there are two common ones: forgetting to cite the information and summarizing instead of paraphrasing.
The problem with summarizing is that you often end up using some of the words from the original text with the intention of keeping the original meaning. However, it is best to restructure the patterns of the sentence and paragraph, then blend it with your own sentences.
You also need to change most of the words, and that is where synonyms and a rich vocabulary comes in. Remember, when restructuring the words, avoid changing technical terminology accepted in a particular industry. Other mistakes to avoid while paraphrasing and which can lead to plagiarism includes:
- Substituting words that the author has used with irrelevant synonyms.
- Adding too much of the original text.
- Adding your opinion without supporting it with scholarly sources.
- Leaving out crucial details.
- Misreading the original text.
- Narrowing or expanding the meaning.
The rule of thumb is to change word class. For instance, adverbs to adjectives, nouns to verbs, and adjectives to adverbs. You should also vary the sentence patterns and modify any passive sentences to active. Changing the order of ideas and explaining abstract concepts to make them more concrete are other tricks to ensure you are paraphrasing effectively.
Do not forget to include the authors thinking and views on that topic. After completing the paraphrasing process, compare your text to the original. You can even pass the paraphrases material in a plagiarism checker to ensure that your content is indeed 100% unique. Failure to check your work can result in submitting work with unintentional plagiarism, which can mean having to retake the task. Besides, there are far worse plagiarism penalties for an academician, such as getting expelled from that institution.
Cite the Paraphrased Material
Even good paraphrases text cannot be considered as original work; hence it needs to be cited. The reference style to use depends on your instructor and the type of assignment. To cite the paraphrased material correctly, include an in-text citation and give the full reference in the bibliography page.