Unit 2: Paraphrasing and Avoiding Plagiarism

3 Paraphrasing Toolkit

Paraphrasing Techniques

Use the suggestions below to construct an effective paraphrase. You do not have to use them all at the same time, but you should change the vocabulary and the overall structure.

  1. use synonyms (college -university)
  2. change word form (e.g. change part of speech from an adjective to noun: collaborate – collaboration)
  3. change verb to negative (stayed the same – did not change)
  4. move phrases (chunks) to change sentence structure
  5. change from active to passive voice (conducted – was conducted)
  6. use connecting words to combine shorter sentences

Checklist for choosing synonyms

Definition Have I chosen the most accurate definition?
Context Does the word make sense in this sentence? Is it appropriate?
Collocation Does the word effectively collocate (go together) with the words before and after it? For example, we write “to conduct research,” not “to make research.”
Register Is the word too casual or too formal? Is it written in academic style?
Alternatives Is it possible that there is no good synonym for the word? For example, some words do not have obvious synonyms like proper names or specialized words related to your topic.

 EXERCISE 1: Select appropriate synonyms.

Directions: Use the original sentence below to practice using websites to choose a synonym for “used to.” Then try again with a word of your choice.

“As more and more people have become increasingly used to sharing and collaborating outside the workplace via social networks, they are coming to expect firms to be more open and collaborative places too.” From Author Unknown, “Yammering away at the office,” (2010), p. 1.


  1. Open a Thesaurus and type in “used to.” You will see several choices. Let’s imagine you like “accustomed” and want to ensure it is appropriate.
  2. Go to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary and type “accustomed.” Read the definition. Under the word “accustomed,” you will see synonyms and examples. Click on these options to continue to explore this word. Refer to the checklist for “choosing synonyms” above to ensure the choice is effective.
  3. Open a collocations website. Use the Skell Sketch Engine Corpus. Type “accustomed.” Read several example sentences. These sentences demonstrate that “accustomed” can effectively replace “used to.” The *Skell Sketch Engine website is a collection of examples, collocations, and synonyms helpful for checking how a particular word or phrase is used in various contexts.


Your turn:

  1. Type another word (from the sentence above) in the Thesaurus website.
    1. Record YOUR word
    2. Identify possible synonyms
  2. Choose one of the possible synonyms. In a Dictionary website, read the definition and click on synonyms and examples to continue to explore this word.
  3. Type the word in the Skell Engine website* and read several example sentences. Is the synonym effective? Repeat steps 2 and 3 with different words.

Using AI-Based Tools

EXERCISE 2: Compare AI-paraphrasing Tools

Directions: After your write the paraphrase in your own words, use an AI-paraphrasing tool to improve your work.

  1. Experiment with different tools to find one that works for you.
  2. Consider upgrading to a “premium” membership so that you can use the “shorten” feature (which allows you to combine the skills of paraphrasing and summarizing).
  3. Note common grammar errors you make and take notes on how to fix them.
  4. Note vocabulary replacements in an online vocabulary “notebook” to expand your vocabulary.


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