Paraphrasing is the third technique, and it is the one that is the most difficult to master. Many of the different types of plagiarism usually found in student work include incorrectly paraphrased material. Paraphrasing, by definition, is taking the author's words and ideas and restating them in your own words. In practice, this is difficult because you need to stay close enough to the original ideas that you do not misrepresent them--but you cannot be too close to the original wording or your writing will look like a bad copy.
In the example below, the original paragraph is on the left with a poor paraphrase on the right. In this paraphrase attempt, many of the source's original words and phrases and used exactly--or with only the removal of a few less-important words. This is an example of a type of patchwriting (discussed in detail on another page in this guide). Although some of the phrases are ordered differently in the paragraph, it is obvious by looking at the colored highlighting that the writer did not even try to use his/her own words.
There is an exception of one sentence ("This has a major effect on the way that people function in every aspect of their lives," marked with an arrow) which is actually a good observation. However, one sentence out of a paragraph is not enough to save this (or most any) paragraph from charges of plagiarism.
(Source: Hunt, F. & Birks, J. (2008). More hands-on information literacy activities. Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., pp. 90-93)
Another way that students attempt to paraphrase--and do it poorly--is by taking the original text and substituting synonyms for as many words as possible--which is another type of patchwriting. Since this keeps the original source's overall sentence structure and organization, this is also not acceptable.
The example below is somewhat extreme, but it illustrates the point well--the words chosen are often more complex than the original, many synonyms are not interchangeable (e.g. half and fifty-fifty in this context, plus all the synonyms for the word 'stone' do not have the same meaning), and the overall effect of the sentence(s) is awkward to read.
(Source: Dockterman, E. (2018). Avengers: Infinity War is almost here. Here’s what to know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe before you go. Time.com. http://time.com/5227935/marvel-cinematic-universe-timeline/)
Now that we've looked at 2 examples of the primary ways that student writers paraphrase poorly, here is an example of a good paraphrase. It keeps the same ideas of the original source (quoted on the left), but it uses different wording and sentence structure. As is true of many good paraphrases, it is slightly shorter than the original (but not significantly shorter).
(Source: Morrison, G. (2011). Supergods: What masked vigilantes, miraculous mutants, and a sun god from Smallville can teach us about being human. Spiegel & Grau, pp. 378-9)
Citation rules for Paraphrasing: