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What is considered to be close paraphrasing? What is paraphrasing?

asked 2017-06-06 12:00:43 -0500

updated 2017-07-21 17:03:41 -0500

What would Wikipedia consider to be close paraphrasing? What do I do if I want to use something that can't be easily re-written into a new format? How do I know if I'm paraphrasing properly? Tell me more about paraphrasing!

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answered 2017-06-06 12:21:53 -0500

updated 2017-06-06 12:23:53 -0500

Per Wikipedia, close paraphrasing is the superficial modification of material from another source. In other words, it refers to a situation like this one:

Source: The poem Little Miss Muffett first appeared in print in 1805, in a book titled Songs for the Nursery. Like many such rhymes, its origins are unclear.

Close paraphrasing: Little Miss Muffett first appeared in published form in 1805, in a tome named Songs for the Nursery. Akin to other old rhymes, its origins are uncertain.

For the example I only changed only a few superficial things, such as the first few words of the source sentence were removed and I used some synonyms for the words "print" and "book". This is an example of what not to do with source material.

A better way to rephrase this would be something along the lines of "The authorship and creation date of the poem Little Miss Muffett is unclear, a common issue with many nursery rhymes, however the earliest known publication of the poem dates to the 1805 book Songs for the Nursery. Re-writing it this way does sacrifice a little brevity, however it's different enough from the source material to where it wouldn't be considered plagiarism.

Re-writing content isn't always easy or in some cases, really possible without close paraphrasing. WP:LIMITED gives a number of examples of this. The basic gist of this is that it's OK to do this when you are dealing with simple factual statements such as "John was born in X on 1/2/2017" or technical terms. To a degree lists can also fall under this criteria as well.

You can also review our training module on plagiarism copyright violation for information on this as well!

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Asked: 2017-06-06 12:00:43 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 21