The Whys and Hows of Paraphrasing


English: Logo of Academic Project publishers.

English: Logo of Academic Project publishers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Paraphrasing, rewording of spoken or written content, is a necessary skill for every writer. This post discusses the purposes of process of paraphrasing.


Why Paraphrase?
Quoting directly without attribution is plagiarism, an offense against those responsible for crafting the original message. In a scholarly setting, it constitutes academic dishonesty, which when committed by students is punished with a failing grade, suspension, or expulsion; it also compromises their future in academia. In the case of faculty or academic researchers, it signals a lack of integrity and can ruin one’s career.


Even with attribution, however, extensive direct quotation in course assignments or in scholarly research is discouraged; some sources recommend that no more than 10 percent of an academic paper or article consist of exact wording from a research source. In both trade books and scholarly publishing, the same benchmarks seems appropriate; journalism is more accepting, but direct quotation consisting of more than 25 percent of an article (except in the case of a question-and-answer interview) is likely to be regarded as excessive.


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