Inappropriate Paraphrase: Basic Guide and How to Avoid It

A common form of plagiarism is inappropriate paraphrasing. Inappropriate paraphrase…

A common form of plagiarism is inappropriate paraphrasing. Inappropriate paraphrase involves replacing a few words in an author’s text with similar words without expressing the author’s ideas in your unique style. Even when you appropriately credit the author, you have paraphrased wrongly.

What is an Inappropriate Paraphrase?

Inappropriate paraphrasing is a type of plagiarism in which a writer uses someone else’s ideas in an unoriginal and uncreative way. This can be done subtly, with just a few words changed to their synonyms. In a much more obvious manner, it conveys the author’s entire sentence in a way that is not what the author intended.

When you paraphrase inappropriately, you only make little changes to the source text. These changes may include changing the verb tense, using passive voice instead of active, or rearranging the order of the text. Such paraphrasing is bad paraphrasing and passes off as plagiarism.

What is an Appropriate Paraphrase?

Appropriate paraphrasing involves taking the ideas or thoughts of another person and expressing them entirely in your own words. It goes beyond changing a few words with synonyms – it consists of using your style to convey the author’s original idea. Regardless of how well you paraphrase, you must remember that only the words are yours – the idea belongs to the original author. You must give credit to the author through in-text citations and references.

What is An Effective Paraphrase?

An effective paraphrase demonstrates your understanding of the source. It fully expresses the ideas from the source using your own words and writing style entirely.

An effective paraphrase does not simply rearrange and replace words to make a variation of the original idea. It uses a unique structure to convey the sentences of the original text. Multiple sources that discuss the idea or concept may be used to combine a range of views and perspectives.

An effective paraphrase cites the sources of the original idea correctly and fully references the authors. Where multiple sources are used, all sources are correctly cited.

Tips to Paraphrasing Effectively.

  • Have a general understanding of what you are paraphrasing.
  • Use your own words to write notes about what you read.
  • Close all your sources and write a draft of your paper before you begin writing an original.
  • Make sure your version conveys all the information from the source in a new way.
  • Refer to the source for crosschecks during the revision process. 
  • Properly cite the source of the original idea. Failure to acknowledge your source can be considered plagiarism.
  • Include proper references to attribute the work to the original author.
  • Use quotation marks to identify terms you used precisely from the source.
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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

To Wrap Up 

Inappropriate paraphrasing uses someone else’s ideas but only changes a few words or phrases. If you are paraphrasing someone’s work, you should ensure you do so ethically and appropriately.

You can paraphrase effectively by using your own words, sentence structure and style entirely to convey the original idea of a source. Remember, you must also properly credit the source.

Inappropriate Paraphrase: Basic Guide and How to Avoid It

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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