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Meaning of knowledge in English

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  • Her knowledge of computers is quite awe-inspiring .
  • She has an intimate knowledge of Tuscany, where she has lived for 20 years .
  • He tried to impress me with his extensive knowledge of wine .
  • I only have a limited knowledge of Spanish .
  • He went to visit her without my knowledge.
  • acquaintance
  • as every schoolboy/schoolchild knows idiom
  • at/in the back of your mind idiom
  • familiarity
  • general knowledge
  • metacognition
  • off someone's radar idiom
  • omniscience
  • sensibility
  • street smarts
  • theory of mind
  • visual literacy

knowledge | American Dictionary

Knowledge | business english, examples of knowledge, collocations with knowledge.

These are words often used in combination with knowledge .

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Translations of knowledge

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to make something possible or easier

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paraphrase knowledge meaning

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  • How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Published on April 8, 2022 by Courtney Gahan and Jack Caulfield. Revised on June 1, 2023.

Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning.

Paraphrasing is an alternative to  quoting (copying someone’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it’s usually better to integrate sources by paraphrasing instead of quoting. It shows that you have understood the source, reads more smoothly, and keeps your own voice front and center.

Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source . Also take care not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism .

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paraphrase knowledge meaning

Table of contents

How to paraphrase in five easy steps, how to paraphrase correctly, examples of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase, paraphrasing vs. quoting, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, avoiding plagiarism when you paraphrase, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about paraphrasing.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with the process of paraphrasing, check out our easy step-by-step guide in the video below.

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paraphrase knowledge meaning

Putting an idea into your own words can be easier said than done. Let’s say you want to paraphrase the text below, about population decline in a particular species of sea snails.

Incorrect paraphrasing

You might make a first attempt to paraphrase it by swapping out a few words for  synonyms .

Like other sea creatures inhabiting the vicinity of highly populated coasts, horse conchs have lost substantial territory to advancement and contamination , including preferred breeding grounds along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also heating up due to global warming , which scientists think further puts pressure on the creatures , predicated upon the harmful effects extra warmth has on other large mollusks (Barnett, 2022).

This attempt at paraphrasing doesn’t change the sentence structure or order of information, only some of the word choices. And the synonyms chosen are poor:

  • “Advancement and contamination” doesn’t really convey the same meaning as “development and pollution.”
  • Sometimes the changes make the tone less academic: “home” for “habitat” and “sea creatures” for “marine animals.”
  • Adding phrases like “inhabiting the vicinity of” and “puts pressure on” makes the text needlessly long-winded.
  • Global warming is related to climate change, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing.

Because of this, the text reads awkwardly, is longer than it needs to be, and remains too close to the original phrasing. This means you risk being accused of plagiarism .

Correct paraphrasing

Let’s look at a more effective way of paraphrasing the same text.

Here, we’ve:

  • Only included the information that’s relevant to our argument (note that the paraphrase is shorter than the original)
  • Introduced the information with the signal phrase “Scientists believe that …”
  • Retained key terms like “development and pollution,” since changing them could alter the meaning
  • Structured sentences in our own way instead of copying the structure of the original
  • Started from a different point, presenting information in a different order

Because of this, we’re able to clearly convey the relevant information from the source without sticking too close to the original phrasing.

Explore the tabs below to see examples of paraphrasing in action.

  • Journal article
  • Newspaper article
  • Magazine article

Once you have your perfectly paraphrased text, you need to ensure you credit the original author. You’ll always paraphrase sources in the same way, but you’ll have to use a different type of in-text citation depending on what citation style you follow.

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It’s a good idea to paraphrase instead of quoting in most cases because:

  • Paraphrasing shows that you fully understand the meaning of a text
  • Your own voice remains dominant throughout your paper
  • Quotes reduce the readability of your text

But that doesn’t mean you should never quote. Quotes are appropriate when:

  • Giving a precise definition
  • Saying something about the author’s language or style (e.g., in a literary analysis paper)
  • Providing evidence in support of an argument
  • Critiquing or analyzing a specific claim

A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It’s typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter.

When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing .

Paraphrasing and quoting are important tools for presenting specific information from sources. But if the information you want to include is more general (e.g., the overarching argument of a whole article), summarizing is more appropriate.

When paraphrasing, you have to be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism .

This can happen if the paraphrase is too similar to the original quote, with phrases or whole sentences that are identical (and should therefore be in quotation marks). It can also happen if you fail to properly cite the source.

Paraphrasing tools are widely used by students, and can be especially useful for non-native speakers who may find academic writing particularly challenging. While these can be helpful for a bit of extra inspiration, use these tools sparingly, keeping academic integrity in mind.

To make sure you’ve properly paraphrased and cited all your sources, you could elect to run a plagiarism check before submitting your paper. And of course, always be sure to read your source material yourself and take the first stab at paraphrasing on your own.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Critical thinking


  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:

  • Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
  • Combining information from multiple sentences into one
  • Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
  • Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning

The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.

Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.

However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .

As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.

Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.

So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?

  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
  • Paraphrasing  is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

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Gahan, C. & Caulfield, J. (2023, June 01). How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from

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In this section

  • Understanding paraphrasing

What is a paraphrase?

A paraphrase is a restatement in your own words of an idea or item of information from the work of another person. You convey the original meaning but change the words and sentence structure. You must reference a paraphrase with the author’s name and the year of publication.

There are limits to the amount of work you can paraphrase. The aim is to integrate a sentence expressing the borrowed idea into a paragraph of your own writing. If you want to use more than one idea from another text, you need to ensure that you paraphrase and reference each idea separately.

To paraphrase, you need to:

  • change the structure of the sentence(s), and
  • change words

Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism is the direct copying of someone else's work without acknowledging (citing) the original author. In other words, you take credit for the ideas of another person. In academic writing, this is considered cheating. Avoid penalties by learning how to paraphrase correctly.  

Changing the structure of a sentence

  • Read the relevant sentence(s) and make sure you understand the main idea. Do not copy them down.
  • Put the article or book away and write your paraphrase from memory. This means that you are not copying the text word for word.
  • Ensure that you have changed the order of words.
  • To avoid accidental plagiarism,  check what you have written against the original text . You should check that your version is different and you have retained the original idea.

Changing the words

People's writing styles and the words they use are very distinct. It is generally easy to tell when someone has copied directly from a textbook, as the language and the words used change from the writer's normal style and vocabulary. To paraphrase a text, follow these steps.

  • Read the sentence/paragraph you want to paraphrase a number of times to get the meaning of the text. Once you understand it, write out the sentence in your own words. If you do not fully understand the text, do not attempt to paraphrase it, as you will just copy it.
  • Circle the specialised words, i.e. the words that the text is actually about. These will need to be included in your paraphrase, as without these words, the meaning of the paraphrase will change completely.
  • Underline the keywords that can be changed. You now have a starting point to construct your paraphrase.
  • Find other words and phrases that have similar meanings that can be used to replace the keywords in the text. Use a thesaurus or dictionary to help if need be.

Example of paraphrasing where key words are circled and words that can be replaced are underlined.

The [circled: United States, Germany and Japan] and other [underlined: industrial powers] are being [underlined: transformed] from industrial [circled: economies] to [circled: knowledge] and [circled: information] based service economies, [underlined: whilst] manufacturing [underlined: has been moving] to [underlined: low wage] countries. In a [circled: knowledge] and [circled: information] based economy, [circled: knowledge] and [circled: information] are the [underlined: key ingredients] in [underlined: creating wealth]. From: Laudon & Laudon (2000), Management information systems: managing the digital firm, p 31.

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Knowledge-Guided Paraphrase Identification

Haoyu Wang , Fenglong Ma , Yaqing Wang , Jing Gao

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[Knowledge-Guided Paraphrase Identification]( (Wang et al., Findings 2021)

  • Knowledge-Guided Paraphrase Identification (Wang et al., Findings 2021)
  • Haoyu Wang, Fenglong Ma, Yaqing Wang, and Jing Gao. 2021. Knowledge-Guided Paraphrase Identification . In Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021 , pages 843–853, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Association for Computational Linguistics.


Steps and Tips for Paraphrasing

When writing  up your report, essay, dissertation or thesis, you need to use others’ ideas and findings, too. One way to do this is write that information in your own words and acknowledge the source.  This is called  ‘paraphrasing’: presenting the same information in a new form .

1)  Read the text that you are to paraphrase very carefully . Th is could be only one sentence or one    paragraph. Remember that there are certain subject-specific keywords in every subject that shouldn’t be paraphrased (or replaced  with their synonyms).

2)  You need to find synonyms for most if not all of other nouns  and verbs in the sentence or paragraph. Remember that you may need more than one word to paraphrase a noun or verb. Do not limit yourself to paraphrase in the same number of words. Your focus must be on saving the original  meaning.

3)  Express the information in different ways. You can do thi s through:

  •    changing the vocabulary e.g. synonyms
  • reorganizing the s tructure or grammar of the sentence
  •   changing the citation format depending on your stance and position in the arguments you are making: author-prominent citation or information-prominent ciation. For example,

Halliday   (1978) claims that children develop their language by   interacting with those aro und them.

Children develop their language by interaction with those a round them (Halliday, 19 78) .

4)  Once you have taken notes from the original so urces, work only from your notes , put the original  article or book away. When your notes are precise and organised, then you should be able to trust to work from them.

5)  Check  your writing  against   the original text.  If the words  you have  written  are too similar to the original, then perhaps you should revi se your wording.

Examples of original and paraphrased sentences:

  • Original: Her life spanned years of incredible change for women.
  • Paraphrased: Mary lived through an era of liberating reform for women.
  • Original: Giraffes like Acacia leaves and hay and they can consume 75 pounds of food a day.
  • Paraphrased : A giraffe can eat up to 75 pounds of Acacia leaves and hay every day.
  • Original: Any trip to Italy should include a visit to Tuscany to sample their exquisite wines.
  • Paraphrase: Be sure to include a Tuscan wine-tasting experience when visiting Italy.

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a restatement of a text or passage giving the meaning in another form, as for clearness; rewording.

the act or process of restating or rewording.

to render the meaning of in a paraphrase: to paraphrase a technical paper for lay readers.

to make a paraphrase or paraphrases.

Origin of paraphrase

Synonym study for paraphrase, other words for paraphrase, other words from paraphrase.

  • par·a·phras·a·ble, adjective
  • par·a·phras·er, noun
  • mis·par·a·phrase, verb, mis·par·a·phrased, mis·par·a·phras·ing.
  • un·par·a·phrased, adjective

Words Nearby paraphrase

  • paraphase amplifier
  • paraphernalia
  • paraphimosis
  • paraphrasis
  • paraphrastic
  • paraphyletic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use paraphrase in a sentence

When Obsessive Loser Duncan Stevens suggested examples for this contest — one of several Shakespeare-centered challenges he’s proposed — I told him that I wanted to stick to modern paraphrases, rather than taking him humorously out of context.

To paraphrase Peter Tosh, if Illinois were to legalize it, would you advertise it?

To paraphrase the renegade philosopher Hannibal, I love it when science comes together.

To paraphrase Fox Friends, don't get caught beating women on camera and you're safe to play in the NFL.

Barry Goldwater is not the sort of man you might expect Stephen F. Cohen to paraphrase .

To paraphrase the great John Oliver, listen up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys—we are not the victims here.

A man may weep and weep, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "and be a villain!"

The omissions are the most sensible that I have found in a paraphrase .

This is not paraphrase ; it is sheer misapprehension of the Old English.

As the language in which it is written is not easily intelligible, I have added a paraphrase on the opposite pages.

Instead of "Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion," we have the paraphrase , "That maketh and transformeth all things."

British Dictionary definitions for paraphrase

/ ( ˈpærəˌfreɪz ) /

an expression of a statement or text in other words, esp in order to clarify

the practice of making paraphrases

to put (something) into other words; restate (something)

Derived forms of paraphrase

  • paraphrastic ( ˌpærəˈfræstɪk ), adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for paraphrase

A restatement of speech or writing that retains the basic meaning while changing the words. A paraphrase often clarifies the original statement by putting it into words that are more easily understood.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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1. Introduction

2. paraphrasing phenomena classified, 3. analysis of paraphrases, 4. conclusion, acknowledgments, what is a paraphrase.

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Rahul Bhagat , Eduard Hovy; What Is a Paraphrase?. Computational Linguistics 2013; 39 (3): 463–472. doi:

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Paraphrases are sentences or phrases that convey the same meaning using different wording. Although the logical definition of paraphrases requires strict semantic equivalence, linguistics accepts a broader, approximate, equivalence—thereby allowing far more examples of “quasi-paraphrase.” But approximate equivalence is hard to define. Thus, the phenomenon of paraphrases, as understood in linguistics, is difficult to characterize. In this article, we list a set of 25 operations that generate quasi-paraphrases. We then empirically validate the scope and accuracy of this list by manually analyzing random samples of two publicly available paraphrase corpora. We provide the distribution of naturally occurring quasi-paraphrases in English text.

The school said that their buses seat 40 students each.

The school said that their buses accommodate 40 students each.

One reason why paraphrase recognition systems have been difficult to build is because paraphrases are hard to define. Although the strict interpretation of the term “paraphrase” is quite narrow because it requires exactly identical meaning, in linguistics literature paraphrases are most often characterized by an approximate equivalence of meaning across sentences or phrases. De Beaugrande and Dressler ( 1981 , page 50) define paraphrases as “approximate conceptual equivalence among outwardly different material.” Hirst ( 2003 , slide 9) defines paraphrases as “talk(ing) about the same situation in a different way.” He argues that paraphrases aren't fully synonymous: There are pragmatic differences in paraphrases, namely, difference of evaluation, connotation, viewpoint, and so forth. According to Mel'cuk ( 2012 , page 7) “An approximate synonymy of sentences is considered as sufficient for them to be produced from the same SemS.” He further adds that approximate paraphrases include implications (not in the logical sense, but in the everyday sense). Taking an extreme view, Clark ( 1992 , page 172) rejects the idea of absolute synonymy by saying “Every two forms (in language) contrast in meaning.” Overall, there is a large body of work in the linguistics literature that argues that paraphrases are not restricted to strict synonymy.

The school said that their buses cram in 40 students each.

The school is saying that their buses might accommodate 40 students each.

Note that this article focuses on defining quasi-paraphrases. It does not provide direct implementation/application results of using them. We believe, however, that this work will allow computation-oriented researchers to focus their future work more effectively on a subset of paraphrase types without concern for missing important material, and it will provide linguistics-oriented researchers with a blueprint of the overall distribution of the types of paraphrase.

Although approximate equivalence is hard to characterize, it is not a completely unstructured phenomenon. By studying various existing paraphrase theories—Mel'cuk ( 2012 ), Harris ( 1981 ), Honeck ( 1971 )—and through an analysis of paraphrases obtained from two different corpora, we have discovered that one can identify a set of 25 classes of quasi-paraphrases, with each class having its own specific way of relaxing the requirement of strict semantic equivalence. In this section, we define and describe these classes.

The classes described here categorize quasi-paraphrases from the lexical perspective. The lexical perspective defines paraphrases in terms of the kinds of lexical changes that can take place in a sentence/phrase resulting in the generation of its paraphrases.

Google bought YouTube. ⇔ Google acquired YouTube.

Chris is slim . ⇔ Chris is slender . ⇔ Chris is skinny .

Pat ate . ⇔ Pat did not starve .

Google bought YouTube. ⇔ YouTube was sold to Google.

Pat loves Chris. ⇔ Chris is loved by Pat.

Pat said, “ I like football.” ⇔ Pat said that he liked football.

Pat likes Chris, because she is smart. ⇔ Pat likes Chris, because Chris is smart.

Pat can run fast and Chris can run fast , too. ⇔ Pat can run fast and Chris can, too.

Results of the competition have been declared. ⇔ Results for the competition have been declared.

Pat showed a nice demo . ⇔ Pat's demo was nice .

I dislike rash drivers . ⇔ I dislike rash driving .

Pat teaches Chris. ⇔ Pat is Chris's teacher .

Pat teaches Chris. ⇔ Chris is Pat's student .

Pat tiled his bathroom floor. ⇔ Pat installed tiles on his bathroom floor.

The pilot took off despite the stormy weather. ⇔ The plane took off despite the stormy weather.

I dislike rash drivers . ⇔ I dislike rash motorists .

Pat is flying in this weekend . ⇔ Pat is flying in this Saturday .

I had to drive through fog today. ⇔ I had to drive through a wall of fog today.

Immigrants have used this network to send cash . ⇔ Immigrants have used this network to send stashes of cash .

American airplanes pounded the Taliban defenses. ⇔ American airforce pounded the Taliban defenses.

The police interrogated the suspects. ⇔ The police subjected the suspects to an interrogation .

The virus spread over two weeks. ⇔ Two weeks saw a spreading of the virus.

Pat loves Chris. ⇔ Chris is lovable to Pat.

Pat boasted about his work. ⇔ Pat spoke boastfully about his work.

I'll fly by the end of June. ⇔ I'll fly late June.

The finalists will play in Giants stadium. ⇔ Giants stadium will be the playground for the finalists.

Pat loved Chris. ⇔ Pat loves Chris.

Pat is flying in today. ⇔ Pat flies in today.

Google must buy YouTube. ⇔ Google bought YouTube.

The government wants to boost the economy. ⇔ The government hopes to boost the economy.

Google is in talks to buy YouTube. ⇔ Google bought YouTube.

The Marines are fighting the terrorists. ⇔ The Marines are eliminating the terrorists.

At least 23 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq last month. ⇔ About 25 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq last month.

Disneyland is 32 miles from here. ⇔ Disneyland is around 30 minutes from here.

We must work hard to win this election. ⇔ The Democrats must work hard to win this election.

The government declared victory in Iraq. ⇔ Bush declared victory in Iraq.

In Section 2 , we presented a list of lexical changes that define quasi-paraphrases. In this section, we seek to validate the scope and accuracy of this list. Our analysis uses two criteria:

1. Distribution : What is the distribution of each of these lexical changes in a paraphrase corpus?

2. Human judgment : If one uses each of the lexical changes, on applicable sentences, how often do each of these changes generate acceptable quasi-paraphrases?

3.1 Distribution

We used the following procedure to measure the distribution of the lexical changes:

1. We downloaded paraphrases from two publicly available data sets containing sentence-level paraphrases: the Multiple-Translations Corpus (MTC) (Huang, Graff, and Doddington 2002 ) and the Microsoft Research (MSR) paraphrase corpus (Dolan, Quirk, and Brockett 2004 ). The paraphrase pairs come with their equivalent parts manually aligned (Cohn, Callison-Burch, and Lapata 2008 ).

2. We selected 30 sentence-level paraphrase pairs from each of these corpora at random and extracted the corresponding aligned and unaligned phrases. 1 This resulted in 210 phrase pairs for the MTC corpus and 145 phrase pairs for the MSR corpus.

3. We labeled each of the phrase pairs with the appropriate lexical changes defined in Section 2 . If any phrase pair could not be labeled by a lexical change from Section 2 , we labeled it as unknown .

4. We finally calculated the distribution of each label (lexical change), over all the labels, for each corpus. Table 1 shows the percentage distribution of the lexical changes in the MTC (column 3) and MSR corpora (column 4).

Distribution and Precision of paraphrases. Distribution may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

3.2 Human Judgment

In this section, we explain the procedure we used to obtain the human judgments of the changes that define paraphrases from the lexical perspective:

1. We randomly selected two words or phrases from publicly available resources (depending on the lexical change) for each of the lexical operations from Section 2 (except external knowledge ). For example, to obtain words for synonym substitution , we used WordNet (Fellbaum 1998 ) (and selected a word, say buy ); to obtain implication rules for semantic implication , we used the DIRT resource (Lin and Pantel 2001 ); and so on.

They want to buy a house.

They want to purchase a house.

4. For the phenomenon of external knowledge , we randomly sampled a total of 10 sentence pairs from the MTC and MSR corpora, such that the pairs were paraphrases based on external knowledge.

5. We gave the sentence pairs to two annotators and asked them to annotate them as either paraphrases or non-paraphrases . For example, the annotator might be given the sentence pair (a) and (b) and she/he might annotate this pair as paraphrases .

6. We used the annotations from each of the annotators to calculate the precision percentage for each lexical change. The final precision score was calculated as the average of the precision scores obtained from the two annotations. Table 1 shows the percentage precision (column 5) of lexical changes in this test corpus.

7. We finally calculated the kappa statistic (Siegal and Castellan Jr. 1988 ) to measure the inter-annotator agreement. A kappa score of κ = 0.66 was obtained on the annotation task.

A definition of what phenomena constitute paraphrases and what do not has been a problem in the past. Whereas some people have used a very narrow interpretation of paraphrases—paraphrases must be exactly logically equivalent—others have taken broader perspectives that consider even semantic implications to be acceptable paraphrases. To the best of our knowledge, outside of specific language interpretation frameworks (like Meaning Text Theory [Mel'cuk 1996 ]), no one has tried to create a general, exhaustive list of the transformations that define paraphrases. In this article we provide such a list. We have also tried to empirically quantify the distribution and accuracy of the list. It is notable that certain types of quasi-paraphrases dominate whereas others are very rare. We also observed, however, that the dominating transformations vary based on the type of paraphrase corpus used, thus indicating the variety of behavior exhibited by the paraphrases. Based on the large variety of possible transformations that can generate paraphrases, its seems likely that the kinds of paraphrases that are deemed useful would depend on the application at hand. This might motivate the creation of application-specific lists of the kinds of allowable paraphrases and the development of automatic methods to distinguish the different kinds of paraphrases.

The authors wish to thank Jerry Hobbs and anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and feedback.

We assume that any unaligned phrase is paired with a null phrase and we discard it prior to the analysis.

The words in the new sentence were allowed to be reordered (permuted) if needed and only function words (and no content words) were allowed to be added to the new sentence.

Author notes

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Paraphrase = plagiarism?

Paraphrase plagiarism


Franck is a bachelor this year, he thinks that if he changes a few words in a citation, he doesn't need to quote the author.

Writing an academic paper encourages the mixing of personal and public ideas . The challenge for the reader is to be able to easily distinguish both to besure that  plagiarism is avoided . So how do you use the ideas of authors while respecting intellectual property ?

Summary: What is the definition of paraphrase? What is the benefit of rephrasing?  How to paraphrase correctly? How to avoid plagiarism by using paraphrase? How do you paraphrase a passage whose author is anonymous? Should the inventor of common knowledge be mentioned? What are the alternatives to rephrasing a quotation? Does anti-plagiarism software detect paraphrase?

1. What is the definition of paraphrase?

Cambridge Dictionary defines paraphrase as " the same thing written or spoken using different words, often in a simpler and shorter form that makes the original meaning clearer ". It is used to give a general idea of an author in their own words. It is particularly effective in explaining an idea and making it accessible to all . It shows that we have understood what the author means. Additionally, it is widely used in law to interpret legislation.

To practice paraphrasing, it is not enough to change a few words but you must reformulate the whole sentence , including words and structure.

paraphrase knowledge meaning

Whether you are writing a thesis, dissertation or any other research paper, you use the knowledge and experience of various authors. You can use quotation or paraphrase. Let's understand the difference between the two.

Quoting is : 

  • The exact repetition of the author's words,
  • The quotation in inverted commas and sometimes in italics,
  • The bibliographical source referenced in the body of the text and/or at the bottom of the page and in the bibliography ,
  • The same citation standard is used for the whole document ( Harvard Reference System , APA , Chicago Style , ABNT ...).

Paraphrasing is :

  • The rephrasing, rewriting or transcribing of an idea,
  • The use of common language, simple words, understandable without prior training,
  • The bibliographical source referenced in the body of the text, sometimes also at the bottom of the page and in the bibliography .

Rewriting is only tolerated if the original author is mentioned . There is no point in appropriating knowledge that is not your own, readers will always realise this and the whole document will be discredited . On the contrary, highlighting the author of the quoted text adds value to your work because it shows that you have researched your subject.

To practice this, it is not enough to change a few words but to rephrase the whole sentence . If you have to rewrite an entire text, you need to rethink the whole structure and form by asking the right editorial questions, rewrite the title, add additional ideas and follow the writing techniques to write a quality text that will interest the reader.

To introduce your paraphrase , you can for instance, write "according to" and then the name of your author. 

The power of Paraphrasing

2. What is the benefit of rephrasing?

It gives the general idea of an author using his or her own words. The writing style remains the same as the rest of the document and makes it easy to read.

It is particularly effective to explain an idea and make it accessible to everyone , and shows that you have understood what the author means. It is then used to simplify certain complicated statements.  Rewording is used a lot in law to interpret legal texts.

In addition, it sometimes sheds light on the author's thoughts by explaining what is implicit .

3. How to paraphrase correctly?

Here are several rephrasing techniques . Try some of them out and choose your favourites: 

  • Replace some important words with their synonyms

This is the most traditional method. However, remember to keep the same writing style in your entire document. 

  • Pretend you want to explain it to someone

Whether in front of a real person, your mirror or in your head, give your explanation of the text. You will have to use your own vocabulary and you will soon realise if there are any grey areas in your understanding.

  • Make a diagram, a drawing, or a table

Synthesising or drawing an idea (via mind map or sketchnoting for example) will give it a whole new dimension. From what you have produced, you can simply construct a sentence or present it.

  • Identify the key words

By visualising the key words, you will be able to modulate the quote and extract the main idea. The aim is to rephrase the sentence using the main words in your text.

  • Modifying the structure of the sentence

To do this, the verb can be changed into a noun, the passive voice into the active voice, the verb conjugated in a different tense, the noun phrase changed in the sentence...

  • Indicate the source

In all cases, remember to mention the name of the author, the place where you found information and the date of publication to avoid plagiarism and the penalties that go with it.

Why is plagiarism prohibited?

4. How to avoid plagiarism by using paraphrase?

To introduce your paraphrased concept, simply write

  • "According to this author, ..."
  • "Thus, according to this author..."
  • "If we take the author's words..."
  • "That is to say that...
  • "In other words...
  • "This author seems to be saying that..."
  • "If we are to believe what this author says, ..."

Don't forget to mention where you found the citation, including the name and date of the publication.

Example : According to Erin Myers, editor of the website, watching movies with subtitles can be used to improve your language skills. Article " Learn a New Language By Turning On Subtitles ", published on 6 June 2018.

anonymous sources

5. How do you paraphrase a passage whose author is anonymous?

When you do research, you sometimes find information without an author . However, the idea is not yours . It has already been documented by someone else . To avoid being accused of plagiarism , even if the author wishes to remain anonymous, you should reference your sources . To do this, simply mention the place where you found the passage you were inspired by and write "anonymous author" or "unknown author ".

common knowledge

6. Should the inventor of common knowledge be mentioned?

This is the only exception to avoid mentioning the authors of your quotes and paraphrases. When a fact is common knowledge , bibliographic referencing is not mandatory. However, beware of certifying that the information is public knowledge . When in doubt, to avoid plagiarism, it is better to cite the source.

Quotation rules

7. What are the alternatives to rephrasing a quotation?

There are other ways to transmit other authors’ arguments and information. A part of a sentence can be quoted directly, by putting it in quotation marks and citing its author.

Example : Albert Einstein said, "Everyone is a genius", so it would all be a matter of will?

The entire sentence can also be quoted if paraphrasing is difficult to formulate or if you realizes that paraphrasing brings the concept too far from the author's original idea.

Example : According to Albert Einstein " Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its life thinking it is stupid. "

The use of italics is not mandatory but serves to differentiate the quotation from the rest of the text.

anti-plagiarism software

8. Does anti-plagiarism software detect paraphrase?

All software companies are working on algorithms that will enable them to detect word groupings , paraphrases and style differentiations ever more effectively...

Compilatio Magister , Compilatio Studium and Compilatio Copyright software packages locate cut and paste and even 'scattered cut and paste', also known as paraphrasing . Indeed, the biographical reference is mentioned in the same way as a quotation. Compilatio technology allows you to ignore certain correctly cited passages and the bibliography to obtain a score that may be similar to a plagiarism score rather than simple textual similarities.

So avoid the temptation to fool plagiarism detection software . Cite authors of your paraphrases correctly.

infographic paraphrase

Finally, rewriting a quotation is an exercise required at university . It highlights your understanding of information you have gathered and can be used in a variety of ways. On the other hand, paraphrasing is always accompanied by the citation of its author.

Franck, to validate your professional licence, you can use paraphrasing by mentioning the authors of the texts used.


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