Using Automatic Paraphrasing to Avoid Plagiarism

What will students do to avoid plagiarism? Using automatic paraphrasing according to an article in Plagiarism Today (Jonathan Bailey, 23rd of March, 2017) produces sentences that « barely make sense » yet more and more students rely on it. Basically, what the tools do is swap words for synonyms with results like this sentence  » The cat rode on the boat » being transformed into these: « The feline used the ship./ The tabby floated on the trawler. / The calico sailed on the vessel. » The author mentions that this is cheating. I don’t agree because the students can use the tools to paraphrase and give their reference. This is not cheating. However, the outcome is that students, while not plagiarizing by coping and pasting, are still not learning how to write proper sentences.

If you are curious about trying an automatic paraphrasing tool, you can go to this website:






Essay mill sold 16,000 papers last year!

The article published by Simon Usborne (Essays for sale: the booming online industry in writing academic work to order, The Guardian, March 4th 2017) is frankly horrifying. Some of the statistics and practices surrounding the sale of essays is discouraging. How can we expect students to write their own papers when it’s so easy and cheap to buy one that comes  » with a series of promises. The work we produce is guaranteed to meet the grade you order, or you get your money back.” It will also be “100% free from plagiarism” – and on time ».

According to Usborne, there are more than 100 essay mills operating and one of them employs 3,500 researchers!  Yet they will continue to do so because selling an essay is not illegal. Maybe it’s time governments started to legislate and outlaw these websites. How much learning is going on when a paper is purchased? Do you want your next medical appointment to be with a doctor who bought his lab reports? Or that your son’s teacher not be able to write an original text? Universities must also offer more help to students, with writing centers where students can get help to learn how to write an original and good essay.