Paraphrasing is the act of rewriting or obfuscating written text by rearranging or replacing words in a previously published text to maintain the meaning of that text with the intent to conceal its original author or publication. The intention of the author is not relevant if the outcome results in the target audience believing the text is composed of original content.
An author may decide to paraphrase previously published work for many reasons. Students may be tempted to paraphrase their own work to complete an assignment quickly. Undergraduate students write numerous term papers and essays involving similar topics and thesis statements, but each essay should be unique. Each assignment is an opportunity to learn and expand knowledge; it is okay to review and reread a previously written essay, but it is not recommend to paraphrase and submit this text as new.
Borrowing from previously published text and using the exact content and failing to cite or credit the published author is considered plagiarism. Recycling previously written content, even if it is the author's own work, might be considered plagiarism. Content that is rearranged, altered, or rewritten may not protect the author from plagiarism. It is for this reason that it is not a good idea to paraphrase content that is protected by copyright law. The simple act of paraphrasing may result in fines and restitution to the original author.
Give credit to the author of cited text; do not paraphrase published text to avoid applying the proper citation format. Giving credit to another author can be tedious, but it doesn't have to be. There are several academic and commercial writing manuals that document how to do this: MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, CSE, ASA, AMA, or Associated Press style.
Summarizing text is similar to paraphrasing in that the original content is rearranged. This is where the similarities end. A summary is not written with the intent to obfuscate the source of previously published text. A summary is the simplification of a more complex or comprehensive idea that is distilled to a thesis or easily understood points.
Paraphrasing is not a service provided by Proof Reading, LLC. Our full-time, W2 editors provide professional editing and proofreading services. Our editing staff will review a submission for proper grammar usage, punctuation, spelling, and flow. If a writing style is selected, our editors will ensure proper citation of referenced text. It is the author's responsibility to provide the cited references, as the editing staff is not able to locate the text an author has referenced.