Top Five Tips on How to Rewrite Essay without Plagiarizing

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Knowing how to re-write an essay without plagiarizing is one of the essential skills for a student. It allows him to balance his schedule, meet his deadlines, and do the things that matter the most. 

However, one of the things that everyone should be cautious about is that re-writing increases the risk of having your work flagged as plagiarized in structure and/or content. Thus, whether it was a pre-written essay you got from the web or your previous work, you have to make sure that your ability to add, paraphrase and re-write is in the best shape.

In this article, I would like to tell you about the various techniques that I learned and used in my ten years of being a freelance academic writer for re-writing your essay. I constantly remind my students and clients to use these only when they are running out of time since there is no better alternative to hard work and persistence. 

Nonetheless, for those in need, the purpose of this paper is not only to paraphrase or summarize a previously-written essay but even to improve its quality and effectiveness in the quickest and most convenient way possible.

Tips on Re-writing a Previously Written Essay

Top 5 Tips on How to Rewrite Essay Without Plagiarizing
5 Easy Steps on How to Rewrite Essay Without Plagiarizing

1. Do NOT Stare at your Previous Paper

This is perhaps one of the essential techniques that you can use in re-writing an essay. While most students would like to look and internalize what the previous author said to preserve its meaning in the re-written work, I realized that looking too much at the previous paper tends to copy phrases word-for-word.

This is based on the psychological principle also known as the Chameleon Effect, where our brains tend to unconsciously mimic the words, mannerisms, and gestures of others when we interact more often. 

Similarly, the chameleon effect would tell us that looking at or internalizing what previous authors have said would also have an effect on how we re-write our essays. In fact, despite having a decade of experience as an academic writer, I realized that I retain about 15 to 20% of the words that were previously used by the paper that I am re-writing, which becomes quickly flagged as plagiarized by proofreading software.

Thus, one good way to prevent this is to limit the amount of time you spend looking at each phrase, sentence, or paragraph. Instead, try to glance at what the previous author said and re-write the paper based on how you recall or understand what he is trying to say.

If you want to practice this technique, you can check our vast catalog of pre-written papers, download your free pre-written essay, and reduce the amount of time you look at the work you are re-writing.

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2. Add your Own Personal Knowledge

Another essential skill that you should have to rewrite essay without plagiarizing is to add pieces of personal knowledge into your composition.

As I mentioned earlier, rewriting the paper’s contents without relying too much on the previous one is key to reducing the word and structural similarity of your paper. However, by adding your own personal knowledge or words into your re-written paper, you are adding another level of content that would reduce content similarity and improve your own paper. Take, for example, this content…

  • Original: Recycling is one of the personal efforts that humans can make to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes the process of segregating, sorting, and re-using some of the things that could still be used in the future.
  • Supplemented: Recycling is one of the personal efforts that humans can make to reduce their carbon footprint. In our community, we tend to use several methods and techniques in re-cycling our garbage and contributing to this global effort. This includes the process of segregating, sorting, and re-using some of the things that could still be used in the future.


Note that the original phrase above was a simple and short declaratory paragraph that talks about recycling. Subsequently, even without paraphrasing the original contents, the introduction of a “supplementary idea” within the essay has created more meaningful content for your reader. This technique would be even more helpful if used by a professional in the field since the process of re-writing would already include the supplementing process.

Indeed, this would also reduce the chances of plagiarism checkers flagging the content of your work as plagiarized.

3. Change your Paper’s References

One of the most common mistakes every writer commits in re-writing an essay is using the exact same references for their original and re-written papers. 

Sure, you might think that there is no need to change the references since the idea would most likely be the same. However, considering that your purpose is to make it look like an entirely fresh and new paper, committing this mistake would not give you any benefit. Thus, if you want to rewrite essay without plagiarizing, doing this would mean a lot. 

As a rule of thumb, every ‘cited’ sentence in the previous essay should be given a fresh citation from another author, except if it is a direct quotation. To do this, make sure that your new reference is recent, relevant, and similar to the previously cited thought process and contents. Take a note of the paraphrased paragraph from below:

  • Original:

In 1999, New York University researchers Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh detailed three experiments that roughly mapped out how the chameleon effect works. In the first, each participant worked with a partner — secretly an actor — on a task where they took turns describing photos (Rice, 2019).

  • Paraphrased:

Experiments on the effects of the Chameleon Effect existed as early as 1999. One of the major research projects on this matter was done by New York University Researchers Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh, employing secret actors and using photographs (Chartrand & Bargh, 1999).

Note how I paraphrased and changed the citation between the two paragraphs. Specifically, the second paragraph was not only re-written but also cited based on the “original study” regarding the matter. 

Thus, just by citing the original study, which is a primary reference, I reduced the content similarity of my paper and even improved the quality of my sources. 

4. Remove, Summarize, and Re-structure Some Points

Before making any changes to a previous paper, any plagiarism checker would usually flag it with a very high similarity rate. This is because both the content, structure, and even the citations would be matched with a previously uploaded work online.

However, one of the most obvious ways to reduce this is by removing, summarizing, and re-structuring some of the main points. For example, if you have three topic sentences that support your thesis statement, you can try to shuffle them so that they would not be in the same order as before. This would not affect the whole topic unless the three topic sentences (or points) were strategically written in such order.

Additionally, you can also do this when summarizing a paper. Remove any unnecessary points made in the previous paper, make the arguments more concise, and add new information. This would help the support and the flow of your paper, especially if the points (i.e., anecdotes) were too old and irrelevant for the current situation.

Make sure to try this technique first and check your work using a Plagiarism checker. If you are having trouble with summarizing, you can also seek help from professional summary makers in AOS Essays or our free article rewriters. 

5. Check your Grammar / Use a Proofreading Software

One final yet essential tip is to use proofreading software. Before you think that this tip is not novel at all, given that all papers should be proofread, years of my experience working in the field would suggest that proofreading is essential for re-writing.

For example, after re-writing and checking my finished product in Grammarly, I was able to notice about a 5% to 7% decrease in similarity. Grammarly’s suggestion regarding clarity, conciseness, and vocabulary, to name a few, always helps me reduce content similarity even further.

However, one good piece of advice is always to check the changes that your proofreader is making. In most cases, prompts for “conciseness” and “clarity” would reduce the amount of similarity since it will change the whole phrasal structure. 

Nonetheless, there are also times when such changes could significantly affect the content you want to transmit or even make some words out-of-context. Thus, if you are looking to rewrite essay without plagiarizing, using a good tool to check your grammar, filter out mistakes, and even reshuffle your structure for clarity would definitely help. 

Conclusion – How to Rewrite Essay Without Plagiarizing

As I have said earlier, aiming to rewrite essay without plagiarizing can oftentimes be more complex than writing an entirely new paper from scratch. 

This is especially true for most writers who are having trouble paraphrasing or summarizing the points in the previous work, thereby causing the risk of being flagged for plagiarism.

Nonetheless, with the help of the techniques mentioned above, creating seemingly new and fresh content would make your life much easier. However, as I have always urged my colleagues, these techniques must only be used when re-writing a previously written paper is of utmost need. There is no better substitute than writing a paper from scratch, learning from your mistakes, and applying them to your subsequent works.


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