Skip to Main Content

Liberal Studies


This digital story is intended to help students understand plagiarism, a form of copyright violation. Students are encouraged to discuss the topic with their instructors to gain a clear understanding

Examples - paraphrasing vs plagiarism

In writing papers, you will paraphrase more than you will quote. For a report or research paper, you may need to gather background information that is important to the paper but not worthy of direct quotation. Indeed, in technical writing direct quotation is rarely used.

Exactly what does "paraphrase" mean?

It means taking the words of another source and restating them, using your own vocabulary. In this way, you keep the meaning of the original text, but do not copy its exact wording.

What strategies can I use to paraphrase?

  • Use synonyms for all words that are not generic. Words like world, food, or science are so basic to our vocabulary that is difficult to find a synonym.

  • Change the structure of the sentence.

  • Change the voice from active to passive and vice versa.    

  • Change clauses to phrases and vice versa.

  • Change parts of speech.

For examples and more information, visit the MIT guide this summary was taken from.