Writers can use the ideas and work of others to support their points, cite the sources, and properly rephrase or quote the ideas used. To do any of these, a writer needs a good understanding of the ideas used and be able to describe them in their own words as much as they can. Here are 3 common ways:
What if I have to use certain words and can't paraphrase or find a different word?
Proper Nouns. Reusing specific names of persons, places, events, or things (e.g., Dwight Eisenhower, Beijing, World War II, or The Chrysler Building) generally do not need to be cited or paraphrased. Content related to them within an assignment may need to be cited if it is not common knowledge.
Unique Words or Concepts. Sometimes a unique term or phrase may not have an adequate word with a similar meaning, or a similar word does not describe its true essence. This may also be the case when describing certain concepts. When this happens, reusing an exact term may be needed. When it does, be sure to attribute or provide a citation to show the term's origin.
For example, 'synchronicity' is a concept labeled by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung in which he describes physical and psychological occurrences that happen without obvious meanings, yet may seem loosely connected (Jung, 1973). If a student wants to discuss the spiritual and unconscious aspects of the concept, they may want to use its exact word instead of using a term that does not adequately capture its essence. The student will then need to accurately summarize or paraphrase Jung's idea as it fits with the points they want to make, and also to cite the source.
Source: Jung, C. G. (1973). Synchronicity: An acausal connecting principle. From The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 8, Bolligen Series XX. Princeton: Princeton University Press. https://ia801602.us.archive.org/2/items/223463118SYNCHRONICITYAnAcausalConnectingPrincipleJung/223463118-SYNCHRONICITY-An-Acausal-Connecting-Principle-Jung.pdf
Image source: Quote bubble rectangle by 905513. https://pixabay.com/illustrations/quote-bubble-rectangle-talk-text-1375855/. Permission by CC0.
Common knowledge is information that is accepted and known so widely you do not need to cite it.
Image Source: Questions demand doubt psychology by ElsaRiva, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/questions-demand-doubts-psychology-1922476/. Permission by CC0.
Not all facts are common knowledge. You will still need to cite the following:
If you have any questions about whether something is common knowledge, ask your professor or instructor for advice.
Hughes, H., & Elam, C. (2003). Michelangelo. Grove Art Online. https://doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T057716
U.S. Census Bureau (2019). Quick facts: Boca Raton city, Florida. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/bocaratoncityflorida/PST120216
UVA Miller Center. (2017). Presidential speeches: Ronald Reagan presidency: January 25, 1988 State of the Union address. https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/january-25-1988-state-union-address