⌚️ Summarizing Tool without Plagiarizing: When to Use?
If you are familiar with academic writing, you know firsthand that a summary is an intrinsic component of any research paper. But paraphrasing without plagiarism is a common pitfall for many students. Crediting the source in the bibliography is a poor excuse for a weakly reworded text. I.e., a summary should differ from the original in length, sentence structure, and word choice.
As any in any other sphere, hand-made work is the most thorough. As the saying goes, if you want something to be done well, do it yourself. But it is not by chance that college years are deemed the hardest. You learn to prioritize and delegate.
We offer you the best summary generator with free unlimited access. Try it, and you’ll see how much time it can save you.
✍️ Plagiarism in Academic Writing
The word “plagiarism” was coined from “plagiarius” (“a kidnapper” in Latin). The only difference was that the new term encompassed kidnappers of words, not only people.
- Martial, a Roman poet of 1 AD, used it to complain about other writers who stole his verses. But literacy was rare, and poets were few. You had to find your own words in someone else’s text to detect plagiarism.
- Even more so, Medieval people viewed plagiarism as a normal part of any writing. Humans believed that all thoughts coming to one’s head either came from God or the devil, depending on their nature. Individualism was despised. Writers created compilations of religious texts, often without any reference to the original. After all, it didn’t matter because God was the only author of anything good in the world.
- Rennaissance changed the public perception of authorship, and artists started signing their creations more often than ever before. Still, this change did not mean that plagiarism became finger-pointed. Shakespeare felt free to use phrases, characters, and plotlines created by other authors.
- Copyright laws appeared in the 18th century, changing the views on plagiarism beyond recognition. Today, you can be prosecuted for using another person’s ideas without mentioning the author. And if not, your academic reputation will still be threatened. And here is how.
Consequences of Plagiarizing for a Student
Whenever you use another author’s words or thoughts and fail to include a proper citation (direct or indirect), you are plagiarizing. The severity of such actions varies, leading to the following consequences:
- Mild plagiarism can entail an automatic zero or another grade penalty for:
- Not mentioning the source in the bibliography, although there is a proper in-text citation;
- No quotation marks around the quote.
- Moderate plagiarism can lead to a failed grade for the entire course for:
- Copy-pasting a text with minor changes;
- Paraphrasing the source without citation.
- Severe plagiarism can result in expulsion or probation for:
- Creating a patchwork of other authors’ texts and submitting it as your own;
- Using another person to write your work.
🗒️ How to Summarize Without Plagiarizing
Step #1: Read It
The reading order and strategy depend on the genre of the original. Still, reading the introduction and conclusion first and comparing them is always helpful. Note what the author planned to say by their work and which results they achieved.
While reading everything between these two sections, highlight topic sentences and new ideas. You will need this to accelerate your work at the next point.
Write a phrase on the margin next to each paragraph describing its contents. If several sections cover the same idea, group them with a line.
Step #2: Structure It
Headings and subheadings are your best friends! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Just write down the structure of the original text. Then, using your notes from the previous stage, broaden the outline with details. Don’t include too specific information, only the essentials.
Step #3: Summarize It
The best strategy here is to put away the source and write the summary based on your notes. First, you won’t be tempted to follow the original division into paragraphs and sentence structure. Second, it will take you less time.
Step #4: Compare the Summary with the Source
Here’s a brief check-list:
|✅||Did you include all the critical ideas and information?|
|✅||Is your summary an accurate representation of the original?|
|✅||Aren’t any of your sentences too similar to the source?|
Still, a plagiarism checker is a must here, as you may have committed unintended plagiarism.
The five steps above cover everything you should know about summarizing. But we cannot promise you the process will be quick and easy. You could use our online text summarizer if you have no time and need the result right now. It is a professional tool that will let you focus on your thoughts rather than technical issues.
👀 Summarizing without Plagiarizing: Examples
Let’s take a look at some good and not so good examples of summarizing. Below you’ll find a fragment of an article by a famous neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks. The book called Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain was first published in 2007.
We humans are a musical species no less than a linguistic one. This takes many different forms. All of us (with very few exceptions) can perceive music, perceive tones, timbre, pitch intervals, melodic contours, harmony, and (perhaps most ele-mentally) rhythm. We integrate all of these and “construct” music in our minds using many different parts of the brain. And to this largely unconscious structural appreciation of music is added an often intense and profound emotional reaction to music. “The inexpressible depth of music,” Schopenhauer wrote, “so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain… Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.”
A Good Example
In his book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Oliver Sacks says that we are not just a linguistic but also musical species. Most of us unconsciously appreciate the structure of music using different brain zones. Even more so, we emotionally react to it. Then, Sacks refers to Schopenhauer’s writing, where the philosopher called music so understandable but so inexplicable. The reason is that it reproduces our emotions in isolation from reality and its pain. It also demonstrates the essence of life without mentioning its events (Sacks, 2008, page 12).
A Worse Example
We are a musical species, not only a linguistic one, in many different forms. All of us can perceive music and its tones, timbre, melody, harmony, and rhythm. We integrate these components to recreate music in our minds. Different brain parts help us to do so. The process is largely unconscious but allows us to react to music emotionally. Music is so easy to understand, but it is also so inexplicable. It reproduces our innermost emotions but without reality and its pain. It presents the quintessence of life and its events without actually mentioning them.
Here, some words were deleted, and some were changed with their synonyms, but the sentence structure remained the same. Too many original words were used. Mind that summarizing is not leaving out less important details, as it requires generalization.
There are no references or in-text citations. And the worst thing about this summary is that Schopenhauer’s quote is presented as Sacks’ opinion.
Thank you for reading this article! We hope that this summarizer is useful for you. You are welcome to try other free tools we offer: thesis statement helper, word changer, title maker, and conclusion generator.
❓ Summarizing without Plagiarizing: FAQ
How to Summarize a Paragraph Without Plagiarizing?
- Read the paragraph with the utmost attention.
- Spot the central and supporting ideas.
- Distinguish between the message and its reasoning.
- Write the topic sentence in your own words, transmitting the main idea.
- Reword the reasoning, keeping in mind the supporting ideas.
- Conclude with a summarizing sentence (if it was available in the source).
How to Summarize an Article Without Plagiarizing?
- Read the article as many times as necessary to understand its message and structure.
- Write down its detailed outline, grouping the ideas.
- Based on the point above, write your summary, leaving out the less critical information but preserving the structure.
How to Summarize a Novel Without Plagiarizing?
- Define the expected length of your summary.
- Decide whether you need a chapter-by-chapter summary or a brief plot retelling.
- Read each chapter successively and summarize its events.
- Read the entire novel and explain the most significant events in your own words.
- Include in-text citations to transmit epithets or other aptly termed concepts.
How to Summarize an Author’s Idea Without Plagiarizing?
- Change the sentence structure by starting from a different point.
- Keep only the most necessary words and change the rest with synonyms.
- Credit the source if nothing of the above is helpful, and your rewording resembles the original too much. Indicate the page and author in the text and include the work in your bibliography.