Is Paraphrasing Plagiarism? Can You Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing?

School life is complicated because tutors demand that every student must ensure they submit original work. If you forward copied work, you attract heavy penalties such as failing the assignment and suspension. To avoid these consequences, most prefer changing the words and sentence structure to make the work look original (paraphrasing).

However, even after paraphrasing, your instructor may still declare your work is not original. So, is paraphrasing plagiarism? The following article will enlighten you about the close association between the two. I will also give you tips on how to paraphrase without plagiarizing. Read on for a detailed review.

Is Paraphrasing Plagiarism?

Paraphrasing is plagiarism because you utilize another individual’s words or ideas to make them seem like your own. A huge assertion exists about paraphrasing because most lecturers advise students to explain existing content in their own words to avoid plagiarism. However, as long the idea you base your content on is not yours, you have utilized another person’s work.

Additionally, you will be committing plagiarism if you paraphrase existing content and fail to cite your sources. Avoid committing this mistake by making sure you use different words and sentence structures to avoid familiarity. Copying similar words is high-level plagiarism. Ensure you use references and citations to credit the original owner, and your work will be free of plagiarism.

Most people narrow down plagiarism to just words because even the most efficient plagiarism checking tools cannot detect the use of another person’s idea. However, your lecturer can unearth an existing idea. Consequently, you may end up attracting heavy penalties like failing an assignment.

You should, therefore, learn how to paraphrase without plagiarizing (covered in detail below) to have an easy time while doing your work.

Can Paraphrasing Be Considered Plagiarism?

Paraphrasing can be plagiarism if you;

  • Only change a few words and maintain specific keywords from the original content. If possible, alter all the phrases, but preserve the idea.
  • Maintain the same sentence structure. Most plagiarism checking tools can detect similar sentences based on the flow. It is wise to alter the sentence completely.
  • Fail to cite your sources after paraphrasing. Proper citation and referencing let your instructor know that you have based your argument on someone else’s thoughts.

Counter plagiarism by writing your assignment in your own words and using quotations and proper in-text citations.

Is Paraphrasing The Same As Plagiarism?

Paraphrasing is not the same as plagiarism. However, if not done accurately, it can ultimately lead to plagiarized content.

A properly paraphrased assignment should use different words, preferably synonyms conveying the same idea. Additionally, make sure you change the various sentence structures across the original document.

Most instructors advise against using numerous quotation marks while writing your assignment. They insist that you use your own words to put across the key idea. Afterward, observe proper citation and referencing to show that you have utilized someone else’s content to support your argument. Failure to follow the fore mentioned tips results in plagiarized content.

Does Paraphrasing Count As Plagiarism?

Paraphrasing counts as plagiarism if your paraphrased content remains identical to the source. Additionally, ensure you cite your sources if you are using existing content. If you are unsure whether you have plagiarized or paraphrased correctly, use online paraphrasing and plagiarism-checking tools to ensure that you did not cheat while paraphrasing.

The tools help you perfect your skills and save much-needed time to focus on other assignments.

However, although the online tools help make work straightforward, you should ensure you crosscheck and proofread your task before submitting it.

Regular exercise also helps perfect your paraphrasing skills. Do not only focus on paraphrasing when you have an assignment. Spare some of your free time and practice.

How Can You Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing?

Paraphrasing, if done accurately, is an effective tool for avoiding plagiarism. However, you have to practice often for you to perfect the skill. Regular practice allows you to spend less duration to complete your assignment.

To avoid plagiarism while paraphrasing, follow the below process;

  • Reread and reread your source of information until you comprehend the meaning. The reading process allows you to arrange your thoughts and arguments based on the existing content.
  • After reading, place the original content aside and write your assignment using your own words on a separate paper or page.
  • After paraphrasing, put down a few words at the bottom of the page. They serve as a reminder about how you intend to use the paraphrase. It is also good practice to write your keyword at the top to show the main idea of the paraphrase.
  • Compare your paraphrased content with the original text to ensure that your text conveys the same meaning as the original text. Do not add inaccurate information. Additionally, if you have missed any crucial point, find a way of integrating it naturally into your paraphrase.
  • Use quotation marks to show unique terms extracted from the original content.
  • Record your source by including the page number on a side note to help you cite it easily if you decide to use the information in your text. Failure to cite your sources appropriately leads to plagiarism.

Perfect your paraphrasing skills by utilizing the 4 Rs – read, restate, repair, and recheck. Rechecking is one of the most important steps because it allows you to go through your text and ensure the main idea sticks.

If you still find it gruesome to paraphrase, there are numerous paraphrasing tools online at your disposal. However, be extra cautious when using these tools. They may incorporate words that have a different meaning from the original text.

A typical paraphrasing tool allows you to key in the original text to produce an entirely different document featuring different wording and sentence structure. Although the application takes a small duration, it is your responsibility to go through the entire text to confirm all the words convey the same meaning as the original text. It is, therefore, crucial to first read the document before you use a paraphrasing tool.

After crosschecking the final document, it is also your responsibility to cite your sources and references to render the document plagiarism-free.


Paraphrasing is an effective tool used by many students to avoid plagiarism. However, after paraphrasing, most forget the crucial step of citing their sources because the plagiarism checking tool rendered your work authentic.

You already know how to paraphrase by changing the words and sentence structure used on the original document and citing your sources after the paraphrasing process. If you have doubts about the authenticity of your text, use a plagiarism checking tool and make the necessary alterations.

Although paraphrasing tools may make your work easier, you should use them sparingly. Also, ensure you proofread your work and make the necessary changes.