The Dos and Don’ts of Paraphrasing in Academics

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Last Updated on March 12, 2024 by Akwaowo Akpan

Academic writing comes with great essential skills, readability for effective writing, credibility, grammar accuracy, clarity of thoughts, and a lot more.
However, it is not possible for every student to put in all the academic skills for writing a research paper or assignment.

Therefore, students prefer paraphrasing for writing any academic paper. But, paraphrasing is not as simple as it sounds.
Paraphrasing can lead us in great ways and at the same time it can lead us to great trouble. There are some golden rules or we can say dos and don’ts of paraphrasing that every student must know.

In this article, we will discuss some of the common dos and don’t’s of paraphrasing that will empower students’ academic writing skills and lead them towards effective writing through paraphrasing.
So, stick to reading!

What is paraphrasing, and how does it help students in academic writing?

Paraphrasing is defining someone else’s ideas, thoughts, or arguments differently by using your own words. Or, we can simply say paraphrasing is rewriting someone else’s work in your own style and words.
Paraphrasing is helpful for students as students can’t write 1000 pages long research papers with unique ideas, new words and without any plagiarism.
Students can use a Sentence Rephraser for writing a lengthy academic paper because the tool generates unique and plagiarism-free content with just copying and pasting.

Things to do when Paraphrasing

Use a wide range of synonyms

One of the most practiced rules of paraphrasing is to use synonyms. The reason why we should prefer using synonyms while paraphrasing is because synonyms offer semantic variety.
With the use of synonyms, students can make their academic writing more attention-grabbing. However, while picking synonyms for any word, one should be careful.
Because there are multiple synonyms for each word e.g., talk, chat, and speak. And it is important to pick the most identical synonym to the context.
Every word’s synonymous set carries some difference in the sense to the actual meaning therefore, one should choose a synonym that best describes the core meaning.

Change sentence structure

If you are paraphrasing for quite some time, you must know how likely we can get plagiarism while paraphrasing. And, plagiarism is no less than a crime in academic writing.
Replacing words with their synonyms can never be enough to save your academic research papers from plagiarism.
Also, it is an important rule of paraphrasing to change the sentence structure of the original text in order to make it entirely paraphrased.
You must be thinking about how you can change the sentence structure?
Well, it is simple!
You can replace active voice sentences of the source text with passive voice and vice versa. But, you should be careful with the core sense of the sentence.
If changing an active voice sentence into a passive voice does not seem right to understand then do not change it.
In that case, you should prefer to rewrite the sentence with a different style and new words. Also, rewriting some sentences from scratch will make your academic writing more attention-grabbing.

Use quotation marks

A commonly observed mistake that students make while paraphrasing is not to use quotation marks when they add some phrases directly from the source text to the paraphrased text.
Using quotation marks indicates that the phrases are borrowed by someone else’s work and the person is not using them with his name, and is also giving credit to the real author.

Also, there won’t be any legal or academic issues for the students if they use other researchers’ results in their findings with quotation marks.

Don’ts of Paraphrasing

Don’t leave out any information

Most of the students do not read or include all the information when they paraphrase. Students are always in hurry for shortcuts but, this shortcut can cause you trouble.
When you find material for your academic task, do not leave out even a single point. Read all the material and highlight important points that you think might give credibility to your writing.
It is helpful because if you leave out any information while paraphrasing or rewriting, you might be losing some powerful arguments that can actually make your academic paper more interesting than others.

Don’t change the core meaning

It might shock you but most of the students are paraphrasing without maintaining the original meaning of the context.
If you demolish the original meaning, your writing is worthless and you will never secure good grades. Obviously, you don’t want to affect your academic grades, do you?
The easiest way to maintain the original meaning while paraphrasing is to understand the sentence completely before rewriting.
Look for words that can be replaced with perfectly matched synonyms, don’t bother the length, and read the paraphrased sentences to ensure the original meaning.
This way, you can easily find out if the sentences are not portraying the actual sense and you can work on it later.

Don’t include your own opinions

In the introductory section of this post, we have described the term ‘paraphrasing’ as rewriting someone else’s work in your own words, right?
But, that does not mean you can include your own opinions and name it as paraphrasing. The reason why you can’t include your opinions is that no one wants to know what you think or believe.
The same goes for academic papers, academic work is all about finding stats and logic to support your discussion.
If you are writing an academic paper by paraphrasing other researchers’ work and including your personal opinions, your work is zero.
Because you never know what logic and reasons the original work is written and published. Therefore, it is suggested to avoid including your own opinions while paraphrasing.

Last Words

Paraphrasing is students’ best friend when it comes to writing academic papers. However, paraphrasing can be helpful and a troublemaker at the same time.
Students lack the proper understanding of paraphrasing and they make mistakes which leads them to the doors of legal and academic penalties.
In this article, we have discussed some common dos and don’t’s of paraphrasing that can help students in many great ways.
Read them and let us know what you find helpful, Thank you!


  • Akwaowo Akpan

    Hi there, welcome to Online Studying Services. As a fan of authentic information and a student, I devise this means to offer reliable information to international students wishing to either study abroad or online. Thanks for stopping by!

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