While journalists and writers need to paraphrase daily, not everyone understands how to paraphrase content correctly.

News happens, 24/7/365 somewhere in the world but you can’t be there to witness the momentous event, what do you do? You meticulously scan the various sources from writers at the scene then you paraphrase, either manually or via an online paraphrasing tool.

There is an infinitely fine line between plagiarism and paraphrasing. If the wording, or even the sentence structure, of the paraphrased text, is too close to the wording of the original content, it will look like you are trying to pass off someone else’s words as your own. This is called plagiarism, which is unethical and even illegal in many cases. While it’s important for the main ideas to come through, the wording has to be your own.

If you just can’t paraphrase a sentence or a passage and have the meaning come across clearly, you can use the original author’s exact words if you put them in quotation marks and you will also have to identify the source of the material by giving the author’s name. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

In this example, Dr. King’s exact words are quoted, and he is given credit for them in the sentence.

If you choose to paraphrase information and put it into your own words instead, you will still need to give credit to the original author for ideas that are unique and not common knowledge.

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