Writing a paraphrase is when you write a summary of the readings and facts in your own words without citing the references you have taken the information from. You do not directly write anything out of whatever information you have read; the only thing you do is that you write what you get out of that information read.
However, when differentiating paraphrasing from plagiarism, we can say that paraphrasing means that you understand what you read and later summarize it in your own words. Not every student can do it perfectly; hence, those incapable of doing so, or those trying to save time, rewrite the content of another author and hence commit plagiarism.
It’s very important to know the fine line when differentiating paraphrasing and plagiarism. Only replacing the major words with the synonyms and changing the sentence structure a bit does not make the content originally yours. Some students paraphrase the content to such a least extent that it clearly shows the level o understanding they got out of what they read. This kind of paraphrasing ends up becoming plagiarism and is absolutely not acceptable. It is highly recommended to take help from a friend or even an instructor if you are unable to understand a topic rather than opting for plagiarizing the content and getting embarrassed when caught.
Since the topic is about differentiating paraphrasing from plagiarism, we’ll now define the later one. Plagiarism is basically cheating on the person you are copying the content of, i.e. the author as well as the instructor. It also cheating yourself by trying to show other’s content as your own. There can be many reasons for this kind of cheating. The student might be too busy or too lazy or might think that doing so would make their work get higher grades. Some students try getting their work done by another student or a paid company. Teachers have been there done that. They cannot be fooled in to believing that it’s your work don e by you. They also know your capabilities and can judge easily if the content is beyond your level of intelligence or knowledge. Hence, it is recommended not to under-estimate teachers and get into trouble. You can be detained from that course and sometimes even from college. Such habits force teachers to behave like an investigator of a crime rather than a teacher. It also is a hurdle in the way of the learning process you are going through.
To sum up, we can say that summarizing the content after proper understanding is what is called paraphrasing , while not citing the source of information or failing to summarize the content in its true sense is plagiarism.
Students should clearly mention and cite the references when taking information and also when summarizing the content. The best way is to summarize the content while still mention the source the idea was inspired from.