What comes to your mind when you think about plagiarism? Stealing? Cheating? Troubles? Or you one of those who doesn’t even bother to think about it? Well, in the grand scheme of things it might not seem like a big deal, but it really is. If you’re a student, you might end up with bad grades, serious parent talk and judging looks from your teacher. However, if plagiarism is taking place on a much bigger level, like book writing, it can lead to huge money loss and even jail. That’s right, you can end up spending up to ten years in prison because of plagiarized writing. So, before you thoughtlessly write off somebody else’s work, think twice. Or don’t think about writing off at all.
Judging by the plagiarizing statistics, things are not going that great. Especially in the educational sphere. Students tend to copy stuff here and there all the time, without really being told off. I mean, I myself have also copied materials during tests in school. I know, I know – guilty! But who doesn’t these days? And that’s a really sad fact.
Now, let’s have a look at the statistic itself:
Paraphrasing Plagiarism Is the Answer
You might be wondering now, “how do I fix plagiarism and not get into trouble?”. The easiest way is to simply cite the source, meaning you let the reader know that a certain information in your work comes from another author. It is also can be quite useful if the person reading it wants to know more on the topic. Citations usually include:
- The title of the work
- Information about the author
- Numbers of pages where you found the material
- Name of the publishing company
However, citations aren’t the only way of avoiding plagiarism and not the best one to be fair. A very popular practice in schools and universities is summarizing, i.e. writing a short summary that conveys only the main points of the original text but presented in your own words. This way a student can show his understanding of the original writing and demonstrate the ability to highlight and filter the most important and relevant information, which is quite an essential skill.
Another good way to steer clear of troubles is paraphrasing plagiarism. Paraphrasing and summarizing are similar in the way that in both cases you retell the information in your own words. But when it comes to paraphrasing, your version should be roughly the same length as the original writing. Unlike summarizing.
Alas, even paraphrasing and citing can result in plagiarism if done wrong. So what is considered plagiarism and what not?
Attention! Paraphrasing Pitfalls Are Everywhere!
As many of you probably know, paraphrasing can be really tricky. You can either include too much of original text or go overboard with your own opinions and thoughts. Here are some things that you have to avoid in order to come up with a great paraphrasing:
- Misreading the original text. One of the worst things that may happen during paraphrasing is when you thought that you knew what the article was about, but in reality, you didn’t. And then your paper is a ten pages long misunderstanding and a waste of time. Ouch! So be sure to read the content attentively and do your research on the facts.
- Leaving out the important information. That’s where that filtering ability would come in handy. Don’t omit big chunks of information, otherwise, your writing would look abrupt and all over the place.
- Adding your own opinion. Having an opinion on something is great, but not when it comes to scientific research or some proved facts.
- Substituting words to their synonyms. It may seem like a good idea. It’s not. Simply changing words to their synonyms isn’t gonna work here. You need to rewrite complete sentences, even paragraphs. And switching words order not an option as well. Nuh-uh!
- Summarizing rather than paraphrasing. As it was said earlier, you don’t shorten the original length of the text when paraphrasing.
Mastering the Art of Paraphrasing: A Guide
It is always easier to do something when there is a plan to follow. Below is a paraphrasing online guide that will help you throughout the whole process:
- Getting to know the material. Thoroughly read the text and make sure you get the idea behind it. Try to quickly retell it in your head.
- Spotting the key points. Scan through the text once more and highlight the essential parts that definitely should make it to the paraphrased version.
- Rebuilding. Now start rewriting sentence by sentence. Feel free to change sentences structures and play with word order, but ensure that the meaning of the text stays the same.
- Substitution. You can incorporate synonyms as much as you want, however, keep your hands off of terminology and strict facts.
- Quote. If you’re having trouble with the paraphrasing of some super-twisted-way-too-complicated sentence – quote it. Just make sure that the words are actually worth quoting.
- Add the details. Sometimes the author might reference something he talked about in a previous article or hundred pages earlier, but the reader doesn’t know that. Hence, specify the details where needed to clear things up.
- Record the source. Write down the author’s name and page/chapter where you took the information from. Just in case you need to consult it.
- Compare. Once done, compare your paraphrasing to the original text and see if you managed to transfer all the original ideas to your writing.
Little side note. Before starting to paraphrase your actual work, I’d advise you to take some time to practice. Look up some exercises for paraphrasing online and just go for it. You can ask your teacher to check the result or use online plagiarism checkers.
List of Go-To Plagiarism Checkers
If you’re doubting whether your paraphrasing is good enough to be accepted without any troubles, then try one of the online plagiarism checkers:
- Small SEO Tools. A great free tool that’ll quickly check whether the writing is original and highlight the plagiarized parts.
- PlagScan. You can get your first plagiarism report for free. If you’re planning on using the tool in the future, then you can sign up and continue to use the tool. However, you’ll have to pay for all further reports.
- PlagerismCheck. Free, quick and accurate tool. What more would you want?
- PlagerismChecker. Another free online tool that supports Grammarly checking software.
- SentenceChecker. It will not only check your writing for originality but also highlight grammar and spelling mistakes.
Plagiarizing That Made a Lot of Buzz
There is already a lot of fuss around plagiarizing and authors rights, but when a famous person or company involved, the world will be chewing on this news for a while. Here are some of the most infamous busted plagiarism attempts:
Melania Trump’s Speech
This is the latest controversial boom concerning plagiarism. Many state that Mrs. Trump’s speech was reminding of the Michelle Obama’s speech a lot. Too much even. While there’s no proof that this was actual intentional plagiarism, it still throws some shade on the new first lady. A good example of why you should not plagiarize.
Ilvermorny Houses Designs
Surely you’ve heard about the whole new wizarding school fuss. However, you might have missed a little banter that was going on all over the internet concerning the designs of new houses’ logos. People found drawings to be very similar to designs from other websites. To avoid further misunderstanding, Worner Bros. changed the logos a little and made them more detailed.
“Seeds of Hope”
Jane Goodall is a well-known scientist with a long-lasting successful career. Her reputation was a bit shaken when she was accused of copying multiple passages in her book “Seeds of Hope”. She apologized then and blamed everything on “chaotic note-taking”. The release date was postponed to fix all the plagiarism issues and the book finally saw the daylight in 2014.