Difference Between Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

By: | Updated: Mar-19, 2023
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Plagiarism is seen as academic dishonesty and can have some serious consequences. The exact consequences will vary by the academic institution, but some may include a lower grade or failing a course. Academic suspension or even expulsion may take place. Plagiarism and paraphrasing are not the same. Students need to understand both and the difference between the two.

Difference Between Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

What is plagiarism? 

You plagiarize when you use someone else’s ideas or words and present them as your own without giving any recognition to your sources.

You may not even plagiarize deliberately. It is easy to forget where you got an idea and may even think you came up with it. You may forget to cite a source or paraphrase text a little too closely. There are various different types, such as copying other people’s work word-for-word or quoting information from a source but failing to cite it. Students need to use a specific citation style for quoting their sources.

What is paraphrasing? 

When you paraphrase, you put the ideas of the original author into your own words without changing the original meaning. You can paraphrase in such a way that you convey your own understanding of the sources you collect when doing your research. You don’t just repeat what is written elsewhere.

Taking the time to form your own understanding of the sources makes it easier to paraphrase successfully. When you paraphrase the text, it will be significantly different from the original but still keep the essential ideas. This means your work will pass through any plagiarism checker and come out clean.

Online tool to detect plagiarism

As a student, you must always create unique content. It can be easier than you think to plagiarize by accident. You should always check your work with a plagiarism checker to be sure of its uniqueness. The plagiarism checker online by Fixgerald has advanced database software to scan for any matches between existing text and your text. Using this online service ensures you can eliminate problems, so your assignment is plagiarism free. In academics, nothing should be taken lightly, so you need the best tool for checking your work.

Difference Between Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

When does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?

What is the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing? The main difference is in how close the text is to the original. If your text is too close to the original wording, it isn’t acceptable. A plagiarism checker will flag any text that contains too many of the same words in sequence as the original text. If you paraphrase correctly, this won’t happen.

How do you avoid plagiarism?

You need to learn how to correctly integrate the ideas you collect in your research into the writing process. This involves learning how to use your sources in the right way. Here are some tips to help you.

  • Review your source material, so you fully understand the ideas of the author.
  • Start thinking about how to paraphrase a source as you read it.
  • Keep details of all your sources for referencing purposes, especially those you paraphrase.
  • Summarize and simplify the points relating to your topic from a variety of different sources.
  • Use quotation marks if you borrow terms or phrases directly from sources. Cite the sources using in-text citations or footnotes and endnotes.
  • Compare examples of paraphrased text that plagiarism checkers flag with others that go through. Seeing the difference can help you to learn how to paraphrase properly.

To paraphrase correctly, you can’t just copy text. You must put across the original ideas in your own unique way and properly cite the source. If you change the ideas found in the original source, this is unacceptable. You can’t misrepresent the ideas of the original author in an academic assignment.

Once you paraphrase the text, the sentence structure is likely to be completely different. Occasional rewording is definitely not enough. It helps to use synonyms for words to avoid direct repetition. Show that you understand the sources in the way you paraphrase them rather than just trying to swap words around. The more effort you make to paraphrase correctly, the fewer issues you will experience.


Plagiarism is unacceptable. Students need to know what it is and how to paraphrase vs. plagiarism. Paraphrasing correctly can help them to avoid plagiarism and its consequences. They need to keep in mind at all times that they must give credit to their sources. It is easy to plagiarize without doing so intentionally. This is why checking for it is so important. This allows students to eliminate it before submitting their work and avoid getting in trouble.

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