Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > The Difference Between Summarizing & Paraphrasing
The Difference Between Summarizing & Paraphrasing
Summarizing and paraphrasing are helpful ways to include source material in your work without piling on direct quotes. Understand the differences between these approaches and when to use each.
Summarizing vs. Paraphrasing: The Biggest Differences
Though summarizing and paraphrasing are both tools for conveying information clearly and concisely, they help you achieve this in different ways. In general, the difference is rooted in the scale of the source material: To share an entire source at once, you summarize; to share a specific portion of a source (without quoting directly, of course), you paraphrase.
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What is Summarizing?
Summarizing is simplifying the content of a source to its main points in your own words. You literally sum up something, distill it down to its most essential parts. Summaries cover whole sources rather than a piece or pieces of a source and don’t include direct quotes or extraneous detail.
How to Summarize
- Understand the original thoroughly. You may start by scanning the original material, paying close attention to headers and any in-text summaries, but once you’re sure that this source is something you’re going to use in your research paper , review it more thoroughly to gain appropriate understanding and comprehension.
- Take notes of the main points. A bulleted list is appropriate here-note the main idea of each portion of the source material. Take note of key words or phrases around which you can build your summary list and deepen your understanding.
- Build your summary. Don’t just use the list you’ve already created—this was a first draft . Craft complete sentences and logical progression from item to item. Double check the source material to ensure you’ve not left out any relevant points and trim anything extraneous. You can use a bulleted or numbered list here or write your summary as a paragraph if that’s more appropriate for your use. Make sure to follow the rules of parallelism if you choose to stay in list form.
What is Paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is rephrasing something in your own words; the word comes from the Greek para -, meaning “beside” or “closely resembling”, 1 combined with “phrase,” which we know can mean a string of words or sentences. 2 Paraphrasing isn’t practical for entire sources—just for when you want to highlight a portion of a source.
How to Paraphrase
- Read actively . Take notes, highlight or underline passages, or both if you please-whatever makes it easiest for you to organize the sections of the source you want to include in your work.
- Rewrite and revise. For each area you’d like to paraphrase, take the time to rewrite it in your own words. Retain the meaning of the original text, but don’t copy it too closely; take advantage of a thesaurus to ensure you’re not relying too heavily on the source material.
- Check your work and revise again as needed . Did you retain the meaning of the source material? Did you simplify the language of the source material? Did you differentiate your version enough? If not, try again.
Summarizing and paraphrasing are often used in tandem; you’ll likely find it appropriate to summarize an entire source and then paraphrase specific portions to support your summary. Using either approach for including sources requires appropriate citing, though, so ensure that you follow the correct style guide for your project and cite correctly.
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- How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
Published on April 8, 2022 by Courtney Gahan and Jack Caulfield. Revised on November 4, 2022.
Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning.
Paraphrasing is an alternative to quoting (copying someone’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it’s usually better to integrate sources by paraphrasing instead of quoting. It shows that you have understood the source, reads more smoothly, and keeps your own voice front and center.
Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source . Also take care not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism .
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Table of contents
How to paraphrase in five easy steps, how to paraphrase correctly, examples of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase, paraphrasing vs. quoting, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, avoiding plagiarism when you paraphrase, frequently asked questions about paraphrasing.
If you’re struggling to get to grips with the process of paraphrasing, check out our easy step-by-step guide in the video below.
Putting an idea into your own words can be easier said than done. Let’s say you want to paraphrase the text below, about population decline in a particular species of sea snails.
You might make a first attempt to paraphrase it by swapping out a few words for synonyms .
Like other sea creatures inhabiting the vicinity of highly populated coasts, horse conchs have lost substantial territory to advancement and contamination , including preferred breeding grounds along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also heating up due to global warming , which scientists think further puts pressure on the creatures , predicated upon the harmful effects extra warmth has on other large mollusks (Barnett, 2022).
This attempt at paraphrasing doesn’t change the sentence structure or order of information, only some of the word choices. And the synonyms chosen are poor:
- “Advancement and contamination” doesn’t really convey the same meaning as “development and pollution.”
- Sometimes the changes make the tone less academic: “home” for “habitat” and “sea creatures” for “marine animals.”
- Adding phrases like “inhabiting the vicinity of” and “puts pressure on” makes the text needlessly long-winded.
- Global warming is related to climate change, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing.
Because of this, the text reads awkwardly, is longer than it needs to be, and remains too close to the original phrasing. This means you risk being accused of plagiarism .
Let’s look at a more effective way of paraphrasing the same text.
- Only included the information that’s relevant to our argument (note that the paraphrase is shorter than the original)
- Introduced the information with the signal phrase “Scientists believe that …”
- Retained key terms like “development and pollution,” since changing them could alter the meaning
- Structured sentences in our own way instead of copying the structure of the original
- Started from a different point, presenting information in a different order
Because of this, we’re able to clearly convey the relevant information from the source without sticking too close to the original phrasing.
Explore the tabs below to see examples of paraphrasing in action.
- Journal article
- Newspaper article
- Magazine article
Once you have your perfectly paraphrased text, you need to ensure you credit the original author. You’ll always paraphrase sources in the same way, but you’ll have to use a different type of in-text citation depending on what citation style you follow.
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It’s a good idea to paraphrase instead of quoting in most cases because:
- Paraphrasing shows that you fully understand the meaning of a text
- Your own voice remains dominant throughout your paper
- Quotes reduce the readability of your text
But that doesn’t mean you should never quote. Quotes are appropriate when:
- Giving a precise definition
- Saying something about the author’s language or style (e.g., in a literary analysis paper)
- Providing evidence in support of an argument
- Critiquing or analyzing a specific claim
A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It’s typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter.
When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing .
Paraphrasing and quoting are important tools for presenting specific information from sources. But if the information you want to include is more general (e.g., the overarching argument of a whole article), summarizing is more appropriate.
When paraphrasing, you have to be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism .
This can happen if the paraphrase is too similar to the original quote, with phrases or whole sentences that are identical (and should therefore be in quotation marks). It can also happen if you fail to properly cite the source.
Paraphrasing tools are widely used by students, and can be especially useful for non-native speakers who may find academic writing particularly challenging. While these can be helpful for a bit of extra inspiration, use these tools sparingly, keeping academic integrity in mind.
To make sure you’ve properly paraphrased and cited all your sources, you could elect to run a plagiarism check before submitting your paper. And of course, always be sure to read your source material yourself and take the first stab at paraphrasing on your own.
To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:
- Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
- Combining information from multiple sentences into one
- Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
- Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning
The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.
Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.
However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .
As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.
Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.
So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
- Paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .
To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.
It’s appropriate to quote when:
- Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
- You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
- You’re presenting a precise definition
- You’re looking in depth at a specific claim
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If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Gahan, C. & Caulfield, J. (2022, November 04). How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-paraphrase/
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Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words
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This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. This handout compares and contrasts the three terms, gives some pointers, and includes a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.
Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material. Anytime you are taking information from a source that is not your own, you need to specify where you got that information.
A paraphrase is...
- Your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
- One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
- A more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.
Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because...
- It is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.
- It helps you control the temptation to quote too much.
- The mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original.
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing
- Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
- Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
- Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
- Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
- Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
- Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.
Some examples to compare
Note that the examples in this section use MLA style for in-text citation.
The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers . 2nd ed., 1976, pp. 46-47.
A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
An acceptable summary:
Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).
A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.
A note about plagiarism: This example has been classed as plagiarism, in part, because of its failure to deploy any citation. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. However, we acknowledge that plagiarism is a difficult term to define; that its definition may be contextually sensitive; and that not all instances of plagiarism are created equal—that is, there are varying “degrees of egregiousness” for different cases of plagiarism.
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Summarising and paraphrasing
- » Using sources appropriately
- » Common knowledge
- » Writing from notes
- » Summarising and paraphrasing
- » Quoting
- » Synthesising
- » Style and authorial voice
One of the main ways to incorporate evidence in your work is to explain it in your own words, by either summarising or paraphrasing.
Writing in your own words is strongly encouraged because it helps you to learn and demonstrate your understanding of the relevant information. Summarising and paraphrasing are used much more than quoting because they show your ability to articulate your understanding of the material. There are more strategies and examples of how to summarise and paraphrase on the Turnitin practice site .
The following sections use examples from Woolworths' 2016 annual report to demonstrate how to summarise, paraphrase and quote. Note that we are using the Harvard referencing style for this case study, because it is an example from Business.
Source: Woolworths Limited 2016, Annual Report 2016, viewed 22 June 2017, < https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/185865_annual-report-2016.pdf >
How do I summarise?
A summary should capture the 'essence' of a source. It is high-level and broad. There is no need to capture all of the detail in a summary. This is a common skill used when you are writing about important topics and debates in your field. The fewer words used to summarise, the better. Sometimes you may reduce the ideas an author expresses in a paragraph down to one or two sentences, or even a phrase. Other times you may reduce an author's line of reasoning in a journal article down to a couple of sentences.
On pages 8 and 9 of the Woolworths annual report, they present a visual overview of the company's performance in 2016. This sort of high-level information is ideal for a summary. For example, you could write:
In 2016, Woolworths Limited (2016) reported a sharp drop in ordinary earnings and dividend payout, compared to the previous year. Earnings also dropped sharply in the face of a dip in sales, alongside a slight increase in operating capital expenditure.
The summary covers large parts of the report without going into too much detail about the actual dollar figures and percentages.
How do I paraphrase?
Paraphrasing requires a detailed understanding of the source. Paraphrasing is a skill that takes time and practice to develop.
A paraphrase is always in your own words. This means describing an idea without referring to the original non-technical vocabulary or sentence structure. You may use the same or similar technical terms, but it is best to reword as much of the idea as possible. It is not a simple description of the source; it is a description of your understanding of the source.
Follow the steps below to help you paraphrase:
- Read the passage in the original source you have chosen to paraphrase. It may be necessary to read the text several times in order to comprehend it properly.
- Take notes and make sure you fully understand its ideas. You cannot skip this part. If you do not understand, read it again, break the information down into smaller parts, and ask yourself how it fits into the source's main idea.
- Put the source text away, or cover it so you cannot see the original words.
- Imagine describing the main idea to a friend or colleague, and write down what you imagined saying.
- Think about your description. Does it fully capture the main idea? You may need to edit it for clarity.
You can then use your paraphrase in your assignment, followed by a citation, including the page number.
The following text comes from the Director's Statutory Report in Woolworths' annual report (Woolworths Limited 2016, p. 33):
A paraphrase aims to capture more detail than a simple summary. A paraphrase of this section may look like the following:
Note how the paraphrase captures the ideas expressed in the original text, but uses different wording and sentence structure. Note also that the second sentence does not require a citation because it is clear that the information is from the same source.
A word of warning
You may have seen online paraphrasing generators that take an excerpt of text and replace some of the words. These do not work because they do not produce genuine paraphrases. If you use them, it could be seen as misconduct or plagiarism. There really is no shortcut to actually understanding the source and paraphrasing it accurately.
Woolworths Limited 2016, Annual Report 2016, viewed 22 June 2017, < https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/185865_annual-report-2016.pdf >
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How to Paraphrase (Without Plagiarizing a Thing)
A paraphrase (or paraphrasing) is a restatement of another piece of writing with new words or phrases while keeping the same meaning, usually to modify the language or simply avoid plagiarism . For example, Shakespeare’s famous line, “To be or not to be,” could be paraphrased as, “Is it better to exist or not exist at all?”
Paraphrasing is an important communication technique, especially in research papers , to avoid copying an original source verbatim. However, learning how to paraphrase can take some practice, so below we explain what you need to know, starting with a simple paraphrase definition.
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What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing takes an original passage and uses different words or phrases to express the same meaning. Essentially, a paraphrase just rewrites the original text in its own way.
A paraphrase always uses unique wording, something you come up with that’s different from the original source. Because they’re unique, paraphrases do not require quotation marks as direct quotes do.
What is the purpose of paraphrasing?
Why bother paraphrasing when you can just quote the primary or secondary source? With a variety of benefits, paraphrasing comes in handy in quite a few different situations. In particular, here are six common reasons to paraphrase:
1 Improve word choice
Sometimes you just want to rewrite the original text in your own words—maybe you want to fit it to your personal writing style, or perhaps you just prefer your own word choice . In any case, paraphrasing gives you the chance to pick your own words or phrases while keeping the core of the message the same.
2 Change subject matter
Paraphrasing is very useful if you like the wording of the original passage but want to change the subject to apply to something else. For example, Will Rogers’s famous quote, “I never met a man I didn’t like,” is often paraphrased, sometimes humorously, as in comedian Jim Gaffigan saying, “I never met a cheeseburger I didn’t like.”
3 Avoid plagiarizing
Rewriting someone’s text without changing the words is plagiarism. If you want to repeat a sentiment or cite another person’s research, you have to at least put it into your own words or quote it directly, but overusing quotes can also be problematic, as we see below.
4 Avoid overusing quotes
Quotations are great when the author said it best themselves, but use too many quotes and you’re essentially just copying someone else’s work. If you’re constantly referencing others’ works, it’s best to switch between paraphrasing and direct quotes to make a piece of writing your own.
5 Avoid problematic language
Occasionally, the language in a direct quote won’t fit what you’re writing. Often this is a mechanical mistake, such as a partial quote with the wrong subject-verb agreement or gender pronoun .
Other times, it could be insensitive or outdated language. For example, the famous (albeit antiquated) line “a good man is hard to find” can be paraphrased more modernly as “a good partner is hard to find.”
6 Shorten lengthy quotes
Last, paraphrasing works wonders when you need to condense a long, verbose quote to make it more digestible. Some writers get paid by the word, so to speak, but if you’re writing something meant to be concise, you can paraphrase their original text more succinctly.
What is the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing?
Paraphrasing and summarizing are two similar and related ideas, so it makes sense that they’re often confused with each other.
To tell them apart, think of them like this: Paraphrasing is putting an individual passage into your own words while summarizing is putting a text or passage’s main idea, theme, or story into your own words.
Summarizing deals with the big picture, such as an entire body of work or a complete chapter, while paraphrasing deals with specific passages, from a few words to a few paragraphs, but nothing terribly lengthy. Summaries are always shorter than their original source, but paraphrases are typically around the same length as, if not slightly shorter than, their source.
Another distinction is that summaries tend to gloss over the details, as we mentioned when explaining how to write a summary , whereas paraphrases can still incorporate everything, as long as it’s reworded.
How to paraphrase, with examples
Paraphrasing is one of the five most effective methods for avoiding plagiarism , but how do you say the same thing without using the same words? Here are some simple strategies that we suggest in combination for effective paraphrasing:
1 Use synonyms
Replace the essential words of an original passage with other words that mean the same thing, such as using “scientist” for “researcher,” or “seniors” for “the elderly.” This is a common approach to paraphrasing, but it’s not sufficient on its own. Combine this strategy with some of the others below to make your writing appear fresh.
Some plants release certain aromas to alert their plant neighbors that they’re under attack.
Some vegetation emits special scents to warn other plants that there’s danger nearby.
2 Change the parts of speech
Sometimes, you can rephrase a sentence by changing the parts of speech, such as converting a gerund into the operative verb, or turning an adjective into an adverb . This strategy depends on the wording of the original passage, so you may not always have the opportunity; we also suggest using this in combination with other strategies here for more original writing.
Polar bears are almost undetectable by infrared cameras because of how they conserve heat.
Polar bears cannot be detected easily by infrared cameras due to their unique heat conservation.
3 Rearrange the structure
You can switch around the order of certain phrases and clauses—or mix and match them from other sentences—to create brand new sentences. Although it may be tempting to use the passive voice when paraphrasing, try to avoid it unless there’s no other option.
The observable universe consists of 50,000,000,000 galaxies.
Fifty billion galaxies comprise the known universe.
4 Add or remove pieces
If a part of a quote isn’t relevant to what you’re writing about, you can remove it and paraphrase the remainder in your own words. Likewise, you can add your own personal take to an existing quote to help contextualize it or adapt it to your topic. In either case, make sure you still reword whatever comes from the original source.
Human eyes get used to darkness after an hour, but by then they’ll be 100,000 times more sensitive to light.
If you sit in a dark room, your eyes will eventually adjust and become 100,000 times more sensitive to light—but be careful when you turn on the light again!
Have specific questions about paraphrasing and how to paraphrase? You’re not alone! Here are some frequently asked questions about paraphrasing by others just like you.
What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is restating another author’s original text in your own words. In essence, it is a new piece of writing with the same meaning, as opposed to a direct quotation from an existing piece of writing.
What is an example of paraphrasing?
The original passage from the US Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal,” can be paraphrased in a more progressive way as “All people are created equal.”
How do you paraphrase a sentence?
Some common techniques for paraphrasing involve using synonyms, changing the parts of speech, rearranging the sentence structure, and adding/removing specific sections.
What makes a good paraphrase?
A good paraphrase has the same meaning as the original source, but with new words or phrases. It’s best for taking another author’s sentiments and expressing them in your own personal style.
Ensure your writing is original
When writing essays, research papers, and other academic writing assignments, you’re expected to turn in documents that are wholly original and in your own words. However, unintentional plagiarism is a risk many students face. Enter Grammarly’s plagiarism detector , which checks your writing against 90 billion online texts to flag any instances of unoriginal wording. Writing with Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism and get better grades in the process.
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Paraphrasing vs Summarizing
Summaries and paraphrases are some of your most useful tools as a writer. Referencing other people’s writing is often necessary if you want to provide evidence for your claims and imbue your essays with a greater sense of integrity. In other instances, referencing powerful ideas can simply enhance the quality of your writing. For example, using a quote in your introductory paragraph can “hook” the reader and get them interested.
You can reference other people’s writing in a number of different ways. Here are the most common options:
Each of these options has its own set of various pros and cons. If you want to become an accomplished writer, you need to understand when to paraphrase, when to summarize, and when to quote.
Whether you’re paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting, you need to make sure to properly acknowledge where these ideas are coming from or you risk committing plagiarism. It’s perfectly acceptable to reference other people’s work, as long as you give credit where it’s due.
When you understand the differences among paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting, it becomes easier to write flowing, informative pieces that are free from plagiarism.
What is paraphrasing?
When you paraphrase someone else’s writing, you are presenting their ideas in your own words. An important part of paraphrasing is acknowledging whose ideas you are presenting and where they come from.
A paraphrased passage cannot be too similar to the source material. You can’t simply change one or two words and claim that you’re paraphrasing. Ideally, you should present these ideas in language that seems natural and easy for you and your readers to understand.
What is summarizing?
When you summarize someone else’s ideas, you are summing up their main points in a smaller piece of writing that the reader can easily understand.
Summaries are much shorter than the original material. For example, the summary of an entire book would not list every event that happens in the book. Rather, a book summary would review the most important moments in the plot and could be two or three pages long.
That being said, summaries can be even shorter than that. It’s possible to summarize an idea or a book in a single sentence.
When you summarize someone else’s work, it’s important to cover only the most important points . Just like paraphrasing or quoting, you must also attribute summarized ideas to the correct source.
What is quoting?
Quoting is when you write down the exact words of a writer and use quotation marks . You must attribute the correct speaker and source when quoting, and you must use the appropriate formatting guidelines laid out by your course or instructor.
Quoting may be preferable to other methods if you need to use clear evidence to back up your claims. By using the author’s exact words, you can show the accuracy of the evidence you’re using.
What is the difference between summarizing and paraphrasing?
The main differences between summarizing and paraphrasing come down to their functions.
A summary retells the main points, condensing an idea so that it is easier for the reader to digest. You can be selective when writing summaries, which means you don’t have to cover everything that the writer said. In addition, summaries are always shorter than the source material.
On the other hand, paraphrases serve to clarify a passage. Paraphrases are specific, which means that you need to cover each piece of information the writer is trying to convey.
In contrast to summaries, paraphrases don’t need to be shorter than the source material. While it’s true that a paraphrase might be condensed compared to the source material, it can also be longer than the source material. Alternatively, paraphrases can be roughly the same length as the source material.
How are summarizing and paraphrasing similar?
There are notable similarities between summaries and paraphrases. They both serve to make concepts easier to understand for the reader through slightly different methods. In addition, you should use both paraphrases and summaries when the core ideas of a passage are more important than the exact wording.
When should you paraphrase?
When you successfully paraphrase someone else’s ideas, you are showing the reader that you understand the key concepts. Unlike quoting, paraphrasing requires you to show what you think or understood about the idea.
You should paraphrase when you want to show that you’re capable of more than just copying and pasting. Only people who truly understand concepts can paraphrase them successfully. In other words, paraphrasing shows that you’re confident about the ideas you’re discussing.
Paraphrasing is also helpful when you’re in the middle of a speech and you can’t remember exactly what someone said. In this situation, you can’t really pause, take out a book, and look up the exact quote. Instead, you can start by saying something like, “Frederick Douglass once said something along the lines of…” and then finish by summing up the quote in your own words.
Finally, paraphrasing is a solid option when you want to reword a broader section of text into a more concise passage . You may choose to paraphrase when you encounter an idea that seems antiquated or inaccessible to the modern reader. By putting these ideas in your own words, you can make them relevant again.
When should you summarize?
Summaries are useful when you need a little more flexibility. You can spend an entire paragraph summarizing a concept or you can sum it up in a few sentences. Other summaries take the form of entire essays.
Summaries also allow you to cut right to the core concepts that the author was trying to convey . When you summarize a piece of writing, you can eliminate all the extra bits and pieces that aren’t really relevant or necessary. At the end of the day, summaries are all about condensing information so that you can refer to key points within the original passage.
Summaries are also handy when you’re providing your reader with background information on a topic. This might be especially helpful when you’re introducing a topic at the beginning of an essay.
Alternatively, you can quickly provide background information at any stage of your essay. For example, you might introduce a new piece of literature halfway through your writing, such as The Trial by Franz Kafka. At this point, you might find it necessary to sum up the plot of The Trial before moving on.
Essentially, you should use summaries when you want to condense information and cover the main points.
Summaries and paraphrases are usually preferable to direct quotes
Both summaries and paraphrases are usually preferable to direct quotes.
It’s all too easy to fill up your entire essay with quote after quote, but what purpose does that serve? Quotes only show that you’re able to copy and paste other people’s ideas, whereas summaries and paraphrases show that you actually understand these ideas enough to restructure them or condense them.
A page filled with direct quotes also becomes tiresome for the reader, especially if you become over-reliant on one source or author. When you use too many quotes, your writing tends to lose its flow, becoming jarring and difficult to follow.
Of course, quotes have their place in your writing. As previously mentioned, they allow you to provide strong evidence for your claims and give your writing a sense of authority. However, most instructors agree that quotes should be used sparingly. Think of quotes as your secret weapon, and only pull them out when you really need them.
Using paraphrases and summaries throughout your writing allows you to make use of various pieces of source material without relying too much on direct quotes. Add a mixture of quotes, paraphrases, and summaries into your writing, and you’ll see a drastic improvement in overall quality.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with borrowing other people’s ideas to strengthen the quality of your own writing. The best writers in the world don’t hesitate to paraphrase or summarize the works of other individuals, as they understand that human literature is a collaborative process.
Each new writer carries the torch a few steps further before passing their accomplishments to the next generation. There is no shame in using powerful ideas as a foundation from which to build upon.
- Summaries and paraphrases both serve to make source material easier to understand
- You should use both summaries and paraphrases when the core ideas are more important than the exact wording
- A summary is a condensed version of the source material that covers all the main points
- When you paraphrase a passage, you put it in your own words and clarify its meaning
- Direct quotes are useful when the exact wording is important
- You can use direct quotes to provide more accurate evidence for your claims
- Quotes imbue your writing with a sense of authority
- You should paraphrase when you want to show that you understand the key ideas behind a passage
- Paraphrasing allows you to make passages more relevant and accessible to your readers
- The main purpose of a paraphrase is to clarify the text
- Paraphrases can be longer, shorter, or the same length as the source passage
- Summaries are always shorter than the source material
- Summaries are selective whereas paraphrases are specific
- Summaries allow you to eliminate unnecessary information from the source material
- Summaries provide background information on a topic or idea
- Both summaries and paraphrases are usually preferable to direct quotes
- You should use direct quotes sparingly
Published October 29, 2020.
By Andy Block. Block has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in comparative literature. After teaching in Asia, Europe, and New York City, briefly, Andy taught writing at a community college for more than a decade — before transitioning to a new career in EdTech.
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Module 2: Reading Strategies
Summarizing and paraphrasing, learning objectives.
- Summarize a passage of reading
- Paraphrase a passage of reading
Have you ever heard, “the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else”?
Writing a summary of a source is a very similar process to teaching someone the content—but in this case, the student you’re teaching is yourself.
Summarizing , or condensing someone else’s ideas and putting it into your own shortened form, allows you to be sure that you’ve accurately captured the main idea of the text you’re reading. When reading, summarizing is helpful for checking your understanding of a longer text and remembering the author’s main ideas. When writing, summarizing is critical when reviewing, writing an abstract, preparing notes for a study guide, creating an annotated bibliography, answering essay questions, recording results of an experiment, describing the plot of a fictional work or film, or writing a research paper.
How to Write Summary Statements
Use these processes to help you write summary statements:
- Underline important information and write keywords in the margin.
- Record ideas using a two-column note-taking system. Record questions you have about the text concepts in the left column and answers you find in the reading in the right column.
- Identify how concepts relate to what you already know.
- Add examples and details
For retaining key ideas as you read, write a summary statement at the end of each paragraph or section. For capturing the major ideas of the entire work, write a summary paragraph (or more) that describes the entire text.
Tips for Summary
For longer, overall summary projects that capture an entire reading, consider these guidelines for writing a summary:
- A summary should contain the main thesis or standpoint of the text, restated in your own words. (To do this, first find the thesis statement in the original text.)
- A summary is written in your own words. It contains few or no quotes.
- A summary is always shorter than the original text, often about 1/3 as long as the original. It is the ultimate fat-free writing. An article or paper may be summarized in a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs. A book may be summarized in an article or a short paper. A very large book may be summarized in a smaller book.
- A summary should contain all the major points of the original text , and should ignore most of the fine details, examples, illustrations or explanations.
- The backbone of any summary is formed by crucial details (key names, dates, events, words and numbers). A summary must never rely on vague generalities.
- If you quote anything from the original text, even an unusual word or a catchy phrase, you need to put whatever you quote in quotation marks (” “).
- A summary must contain only the ideas of the original text. Do not insert any of your own opinions, interpretations, deductions or comments into a summary.
You can view the transcript for “Summarizing” here (opens in new window) .
Paraphrasing is the act of putting an author’s ideas into your own words. When reading, paraphrasing is helpful for checking your understanding of what you read as well as remembering what you read. When writing, paraphrasing is an important skill to have when constructing a research paper and incorporating the ideas of others alongside your own.
Click to view the transcript for “Paraphrasing” here (opens in new window) .
paraphrasing : rewriting a passage of text in your own words
summarizing : condensing someone else’s ideas and putting it into your own shortened form
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- Summarizing. Provided by : Excelsior College. Located at : https://owl.excelsior.edu/orc/what-to-do-after-reading/summarizing/ . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Why Use Quotes?. Authored by : The News Manual. Provided by : Media Helping Media. Located at : http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/journalism-basics/659-how-to-use-quotes-in-news-stories-and-features . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- How to Write an A-plus Summary of a Text. Authored by : Owen M. Williamson. Provided by : The University of Texas at El Paso. Located at : http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl0310/summaryhints.htm . License : Public Domain: No Known Copyright
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When should I paraphrase, and when should I summarize?
To paraphrase means to restate someone else’s ideas in your own language at roughly the same level of detail. To summarize means to reduce the most essential points of someone else’s work into a shorter form. Along with quotation, paraphrase and summary provide the main tools for integrating your sources into your papers. When choosing which to use, consider first your discipline and the type of writing in which you are engaged. For example, literature reviews in science reports rely almost exclusively on summary. Argumentative essays, by contrast, rely on all three tools.
Paraphrase and summary are indispensable in argumentative papers because they allow you to include other people’s ideas without cluttering up your paragraphs with quotations . These techniques help you take greater control of your essay. Consider using either tool when an idea from one of your sources is important to your essay but the wording is not. Space limitations may guide you in your choice. But above all, think about how much of the detail from your source is relevant to your argument. If your reader needs to know only the bare bones, then summarize.
Though paraphrase and summary are often preferable to quotation, do not rely too heavily on them, either. Your ideas are what matter most. Allow yourself the space to develop those ideas.
How do I paraphrase?
Whenever you paraphrase, remember these two points:
- You must provide a reference.
- The paraphrase must be in your own words. You must do more than merely substitute phrases here and there. You must also create your own sentence structures.
Finding new words for ideas that are already well expressed can be hard, but changing words should not be your chief aim anyway. Focus, rather, on filtering the ideas through your own understanding. The following strategy will make the job of paraphrasing a lot easier:
- When you are at the note-taking stage, and you come across a passage that may be useful for your essay, do not copy the passage verbatim unless you think you will want to quote it.
- If you think you will want to paraphrase the passage, make a note only of the author’s basic point (or points). You don’t even need to use full sentences.
- In your note, you should already be translating the language of the original into your own words. What matters is that you capture the original idea.
- Make sure to jot down the source as well as the page number so that you can make a proper reference later on.
When it comes time to write the paper, rely on your notes rather than on the author’s work. You will find it much easier to avoid borrowing from the original passage because you will not have seen it recently. Follow this simple sequence:
- Convert the ideas from your notes into full sentences.
- Provide a reference.
- Go back to the original to ensure that (a) your paraphrase is accurate and (b) you have truly said things in your own words.
Let’s look at examples of illegitimate and legitimate paraphrase, using a passage from Oliver Sacks’ essay “An Anthropologist on Mars”:
The cause of autism has also been a matter of dispute. Its incidence is about one in a thousand, and it occurs throughout the world, its features remarkably consistent even in extremely different cultures. It is often not recognized in the first year of life, but tends to become obvious in the second or third year. Though Asperger regarded it as a biological defect of affective contact—innate, inborn, analogous to a physical or intellectual defect—Kanner tended to view it as a psychogenic disorder, a reflection of bad parenting, and most especially of a chillingly remote, often professional, “refrigerator mother.” At this time, autism was often regarded as “defensive” in nature, or confused with childhood schizophrenia. A whole generation of parents—mothers, particularly—were made to feel guilty for the autism of their children.
What follows is an example of illegitimate paraphrase :
The cause of the condition autism has been disputed. It occurs in approximately one in a thousand children, and it exists in all parts of the world, its characteristics strikingly similar in vastly differing cultures. The condition is often not noticeable in the child’s first year, yet it becomes more apparent as the child reaches the age of two or three. Although Asperger saw the condition as a biological defect of the emotions that was inborn and therefore similar to a physical defect, Kanner saw it as psychological in origin, as reflecting poor parenting and particularly a frigidly distant mother. During this period, autism was often seen as a defence mechanism, or it was misdiagnosed as childhood schizophrenia. An entire generation of mothers and fathers (but especially mothers) were made to feel responsible for their offspring’s autism (Sacks 247-48).
Most of these sentences do little more than substitute one phrase for another. An additional problem with this passage is that the only citation occurs at the very end of the paragraph. The reader might be misled into thinking that the earlier sentences were not also based on Sacks.
The following represents a legitimate paraphrase of the original passage:
In “An Anthropologist on Mars,” Sacks lists some of the known facts about autism. We know, for example, that the condition occurs in roughly one out of every thousand children. We also know that the characteristics of autism do not vary from one culture to the next. And we know that the condition is difficult to diagnose until the child has entered the second or third year of life. As Sacks points out, often a child who goes on to develop autism will show no sign of the condition at the age of one (247). Sacks observes, however, that researchers have had a hard time agreeing on the causes of autism. He sketches the diametrically opposed positions of Asperger and Kanner. On the one hand, Asperger saw the condition as representing a constitutional defect in the child’s ability to make meaningful emotional contact with the external world. On the other hand, Kanner regarded autism as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices. For many years confusion about this condition reigned. One unfortunate consequence of this confusion, Sacks suggests, was the burden of guilt imposed on so many parents for their child’s condition (247-48).
This paraphrase illustrates a few basic principles that can help you to paraphrase more effectively:
- Refer explicitly to the author in your paraphrase. The passage above makes explicit right away that the ideas come from Sacks. Its indebtedness is signaled in a few strategic places. The single parenthetical note at the end of each paragraph is therefore all that is needed by way of citation. Referring to Sacks also strengthens the passage by clarifying the source of its ideas.
- Don’t just paraphrase. Analyze. In the paraphrase of Sacks, the decision to split the original passage into two paragraphs adds an analytical dimension: the new passage doesn’t just reiterate his points but lays out the two-part structure of his argument.
- Not all of the details from the original passage need to be included in the paraphrase.
- You don’t need to change every word. For the sake of clarity, keep essential terms the same (e.g., autism , culture , children ). However, avoid borrowing entire phrases (e.g., reflection of bad parenting ) unless they are part of the discourse of your field (e.g., psychogenic disorder ).
How do I summarize?
Summary moves much further than paraphrase from point-by-point translation. When you summarize a passage, you need first to absorb the meaning and then to capture in your own words the most important elements from the original passage. A summary is necessarily shorter than a paraphrase.
Here is a summary of the passage from “An Anthropologist on Mars”:
In “An Anthropologist on Mars,” Sacks notes that although there is little disagreement on the chief characteristics of autism, researchers have differed considerably on its causes. As he points out, Asperger saw the condition as an innate defect in the child’s ability to connect with the external world, whereas Kanner regarded it as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices (247-48).
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To help the flow of your writing, it is beneficial to not always quote but instead put the information in your own words. You can paraphrase or summarize the author’s words to better match your tone and desired length. Even if you write the ideas in your own words, it is important to cite them with in-text citations or footnotes (depending on your discipline’s citation style ).
- Paraphrasing allows you to use your own words to restate an author's ideas.
- Summarizing allows you to create a succinct, concise statement of an author’s main points without copying and pasting a lot of text from the original source.
What’s the difference: Paraphrasing v. Summarizing
Explore the rest of the page to see how the same material could be quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. Depending on the length, tone, and argument of your work, you might choose one over the other.
- Bad Paraphrase
- Good Paraphrase
- Reread: Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
- Write on your own: Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
- Connect: Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material.
- Check: Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
- Quote: Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
- Cite: Record the source (including the page) on your note card or notes document so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.
Explore the tabs to see the difference between an acceptable and unacceptable paraphrase based on the original text in each example.
“Business communication is increasingly taking place internationally – in all countries, among all peoples, and across all cultures. An awareness of other cultures – of their languages, customs, experiences and perceptions – as well as an awareness of the way in which other people conduct their business, are now essential ingredients of business communication” (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59).
More and more business communication is taking place internationally—across all countries, peoples, and cultures. Awareness of other cultures and the way in which people do business are essential parts of business communication (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59)
Compare the Original and Paraphrase
Too much of the original is quoted directly, with only a few words changed or omitted. The highlighted words are too similar to the original quote:
More and more business communication is taking place internationally —across all countries, peoples, and cultures . Awareness of other cultures and the way in which people do business are essential parts of business communication (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59)
“Business communication is increasingly taking place internationally – in all countries, among all peoples, and across all cultures. An awareness of other cultures – of their languages, customs, experiences and perceptions – as well as an awareness of the way in which other people conduct their business, are now essential ingredients of business communication” (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59).
The importance of understanding the traditions, language, perceptions, and the manner in which people of other cultures conduct their business should not be underestimated, and it is a crucial component of business communication (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p. 59).
The original’s ideas are summarized and expressed in the writer’s own words with minimal overlap with the original text's language:
The importance of understanding the traditions, language, perceptions, and the manner in which people of other cultures conduct their business should not be underestimated, and it is a crucial component of business communication (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p. 59).
- Bad Summary
- Good Summary
- Find the main idea: Ask yourself, “What is the main idea that the author is communicating?”
- Avoid copying: Set the original aside, and write one or two sentences with the main point of the original on a note card or in a notes document.
- Connect: Jot down a few words below your summary to remind you later how you envision using this material.
Business communication is worldwide, and it is essential to build awareness of other cultures and the way in which other people conduct their business. (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59).
Compare the Original and Summary
Too much of the original is quoted directly, with only a few words changed or omitted. The highlighted words are too similar to the original text:
Business communication is worldwide, and it is essential to build awareness of other cultures and the way in which other people conduct their business . (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59).
In a world that is increasingly connected, effective business communication requires us to learn about other cultures, languages, and business norms (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59).
The original’s ideas are summarized and expressed in the writer’s own words with minimal overlap:
In a world that is increasingly connected, effective business communication requires us to learn about other cultures , languages , and business norms (Chase, O’Rourke & Wallace, 2003, p.59).
No matter what the source or style, you need to cite it both in-text and at the end of the paper with a full citation! Write down or record all the needed pieces of information when researching to ensure you avoid plagiarism.
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Summarizing and Paraphrasing in Academic Writing
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – Ernest Hemingway
Plato considers art (and therefore writing) as being mimetic in nature. Writing in all forms and for all kinds of audience involves thorough research. Often, there is a grim possibility that an idea you considered novel has already been adequately explored; however, this also means there are multiple perspectives to explore now and thereby to learn from.
Being inspired by another’s idea opens up a world of possibilities and thus several ways to incorporate and assimilate them in writing, namely, paraphrasing , summarizing, and quoting . However, mere incorporation does not bring writing alive and make it appealing to readers . The incorporation of various ideas must reflect the writer’s understanding and interpretation of them as well.
What is Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing in Academic Writing?
Purdue OWL defines these devices of representation quite succinctly:
Therefore, paraphrasing and summarizing consider broader segments of the main text, while quotations are brief segments of a source. Further, paraphrasing involves expressing the ideas presented from a particular part of a source (mostly a passage) in a condensed manner, while summarizing involves selecting a broader part of a source (for example, a chapter in a book or an entire play) and stating the key points. In spite of subtle variations in representation, all three devices when employed must be attributed to the source to avoid plagiarism .
Related: Finished drafting your manuscript? Check these resources to avoid plagiarism now!
Why is it Important to Quote, Paraphrase, and Summarize?
Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries serve the purpose of providing evidence to sources of your manuscript. It is important to quote, paraphrase, and summarize for the following reasons:
- It adds credibility to your writing
- It helps in tracking the original source of your research
- Delivers several perspectives on your research subject
Quotations are exact representations of a source, which can either be a written one or spoken words. Quotes imbue writing with an authoritative tone and can provide reliable and strong evidence. However, quoting should be employed sparingly to support and not replace one’s writing.
How Do You Quote?
- Ensure that direct quotes are provided within quotation marks and properly cited
- A Long quote of three or more lines can be set-off as a blockquote (this often has more impact)
- Short quotes usually flow better when integrated within a sentence
Paraphrasing is the manner of presenting a text by altering certain words and phrases of a source while ensuring that the paraphrase reflects proper understanding of the source. It can be useful for personal understanding of complex concepts and explaining information present in charts, figures , and tables .
How Do You Paraphrase?
- While aligning the representation with your own style (that is, using synonyms of certain words and phrases), ensure that the author’s intention is not changed as this may express an incorrect interpretation of the source ideas
- Use quotation marks if you intend to retain key concepts or phrases to effectively paraphrase
- Use paraphrasing as an alternative to the abundant usage of direct quotes in your writing
Summarizing involves presenting an overview of a source by omitting superfluous details and retaining only the key essence of the ideas conveyed.
How Do You Summarize?
- Note key points while going through a source text
- Provide a consolidated view without digressions for a concrete and comprehensive summary of a source
- Provide relevant examples from a source to substantiate the argument being presented
“Nature creates similarities. One need only think of mimicry. The highest capacity for producing similarities, however, is man’s. His gift of seeing resemblances is nothing other than a rudiment of the powerful compulsion in former times to become and behave like something else.” –Walter Benjamin
Quoting vs Paraphrasing vs Summarizing
Research thrives as a result of inspiration from and assimilation of novel concepts. However, do ensure that when developing and enriching your own research, proper credit is provided to the origin . This can be achieved by using plagiarism checker tool and giving due credit in case you have missed it earlier.
Amazing blog actually! a lot of information is contained and i have really learnt a lot. Thank you for sharing such educative article.
hi, I enjoyed the article. It’s very informative so that I could use it in my writings! thanks a lot.
hi You are really doing a good job keep up the good work
Great job! Keep on.
nice work and useful advises… thank you for being with students
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- Paraphrasing and Summarizing
Putting It In Your Own Words
Summarizing and paraphrasing, step one: skim the source, step two: take point-form notes, step three: close or put away the source, step four: turn your point-form notes into sentences.
- Step Five: Test What You Have Written to Ensure You Have Avoided Plagiarism
Step Six: Make Any Necessary Corrections
When writing a research paper, you, the writer, must incorporate into the paper the information and ideas you have learned in the course of your research that come from primary and secondary sources. Occasionally, it is appropriate to quote, but, usually, it is better to either paraphrase or summarize what you have learned. This task may seem simple; how often have we heard a teacher or instructor tell us to put what we have read “into our own words”? Yet, while easy to say, it is not so easy to do.
It is important to be able to summarize and paraphrase correctly in order to effectively integrate your research into your essay without relying on direct quotation or committing plagiarism.
Summarizing – means rewriting something in your own words but shortening it by stating only the main idea and the supporting points you need for your purposes. A summary can be just one sentence or it can be much longer, depending on whether you are presenting a broad overview or a more thorough outline.
Paraphrasing – means rewriting something in your own words, giving the same level of detail as the source and at roughly the same length as the original. You may choose to paraphrase details or particular evidence and/or examples.
The choice between summarizing and paraphrasing depends on how much detail from the source you need for your paper. When you need the source’s main argument and/or supporting points, summarize. Or, you may summarize a section or part of a source, by identifying the section’s main point or idea. When you want all the details from a particular passage or section of a source, paraphrase. (Don’t try to paraphrase an entire source.)
Whether you decide to summarize or paraphrase a source, the process is similar. You just can’t cut and paste a chunk of text into your essay draft and then change a few words here and there. You will remain too close to the source’s organization, sentence structure and phrasing. Instead follow these six steps.
Skim a source to determine what you need from it: its argument, a specific supporting point, and/or particular evidence. Identify exactly what information you want to go into your paper. This decision will help you decide how detailed your notes about this source should be.
For a paraphrase, the notes will be more detailed and extensive. For a summary, the notes will focus on the main points of a reading. Either way, taking notes is an acquired skill and takes practice.
The first stage in the note-taking process is illustrated below. The note-taker has decided to paraphrase the passage as it has lots of detailed information relevant to the paper being written. The note-taker then reads the passage, bolding the important information and ideas he or she wishes to capture for the paper, and then pauses to jot down notes.
In America today, millions of people leave their homes in a protracted and often futile search for healthy food for their families. Many walk out their front doors and see nothing but fast-food outlets and convenience stores selling high-fat, high-sugar processed foods; others see no food vendors of any kind . Without affordable fresh food options, especially fruit and vegetables, adults and children face fundamental challenges to making the healthy food choices that are essential for nutritious, balanced diets. And without grocery stores and other viable fruit and vegetable merchants, neighborhoods lack a critical ingredient of vibrant, livable communities: quality food retailers that create jobs, stimulate foot traffic, and bolster local commerce .
(From: Bell.J. & Standish, M. (2009). Building healthy communities through equitable food access. Community Development Investment Review, 5 (3), 75-87.)
- For millions in the US: looking for healthy food to buy difficult. Why?
- Many neighbourhoods have no grocery stores: only fast-food and convenience stores
- Sell high-fat, high-sugar candy, junk and processed food (anything healthy is more expensive?)
No grocery stores = fund. challenges to healthy eating
Neighbourhoods lack grocery stores, any kind of fruit and vegetable vendors that create jobs
- stimulate foot traffic (how? Usually surrounded by parking lots?)
- bolster local commerce
- Hard to eat in healthy manner (lack of health? obesity?)
- Breakdown of vibrancy and livability of communities
The note-taker first identifies the main point of the passage. The notes are in point-form: the reason for not writing out full sentences is to break the connection with the original’s sentence structure. The note-taker also occasionally inserts questions for further analysis or follow-up. Doing all of these things filters the information and ideas of the source through the note-taker’s own understanding.
If, instead of paraphrasing, you make the decision to summarize the passage, the notes would include only the major points of the passage.
This is a fairly self-explanatory step, but the point is that when you try to write about the information you have learned from this source, you do so without the source in front of you.
How to do this? Keep in mind that both paraphrasing and summarizing are about showing that you have internalized what you have read to the point where you can say it yourself. So, read over your notes two or three times, put those out of sight too, and, perhaps pretending you are explaining what you have just read to a fellow student or your instructor, write either your paraphrase/summary. Remember that, for a summary all you have to do is convey the main point and key supporting points of the passage, not the details.
You need to make clear where the information and arguments come from, so it can be a good idea to start off with the author’s or authors’ name(s). Writing “Bell and Standish argue that...” or “Bell and Standish’s main point is that...” is often a good way to get the words to start to flow. Remember you can rearrange the information, group it differently, or change the sequence slightly to suit your purposes; all of these actions will help you to write the paraphrase or summary in “your own words.”
Step Five: Test What You Have Written To Ensure You Have Avoided Plagiarism
If you followed the first four steps rigorously, you should pass this test. The way to test your writing is to go through your passage and the original passage and underline, highlight or put in bold the words that appear in both passages. There is no way to write a paraphrase or a summary that does not have some of the same words as the original, but doing this test will show you any places where you have lifted whole phrases or sentences and put them in your text.
Words appearing in both passages are in bold:
Bell and Standish (2009) make the point that, for millions of Americans, buying healthy, fresh food such as fruits and vegetables , takes a major effort because many neighbourhoods do not have grocery stores close by but only fast-food outlets and convenience stores . Convenience stores do not sell much healthy food but, instead, sell junk food , candy, and processed food hi gh in fat and sugar . Some neighbourhoods do not have food vendors of any kind . Bell and Standish argue that these kinds of neighbourhoods are not just places in which it is difficult to buy and eat healthy food , they are also less vigorous and energetic, and less comfortable to live in because grocery stores and other healthy food vendors may encourage walking, create jobs , and support the local economy in other ways as well.
The test shows that while the two passages share many common words, there are very few exact copies of phrases in the paraphrase. Phrases such as “grocery store,” “healthy food,” “convenience store,” or “food vendors” are not unique turns of phrase that belong to one writer; they are common terms, so changing these words is not necessary. For example, “convenience store” is the best and most commonly used phrase for that particular kind of retail outlet; changing it would be artificial and less clear. (The same rule applies to technical and scientific terminology. These terms don’t belong to anyone, and there is no reason to try to find synonyms for them.)
Precisely how long can a phrase that is identical to one in the original source be before it becomes a problem? A phrase of three words is usually too long; it should be changed or included as a direct quotation. Based on this criteria, in the paraphrase, there are a couple of problematic phrases that should be changed: “fast-food outlets and convenience stores,” and “food vendors of any kind.”
Words common to the original source and to the paraphrase are in bold:
Bell and Standish (2009) argue that for millions of Americans, healthy eating is a difficult task because many neighbourhoods do not have grocery stores close by, only fast-food restaurants or convenience stores . These neighbourhoods lack the jobs and economic support that grocery stores bring, thus making them less “vibrant” and “livable” (75).
The words in bold show that the summary passes the test. It’s usually a little easier to write a summary in your own words than to write a paraphrase in your own words because condensing and shortening will automatically ensure some change in organization, sentence structure and wording. In this case, the decision was made to quote the two final adjectives, “vibrant” and “livable”, as none of the synonyms were as descriptive in as few words.
You may find a few exact phrases from your test; it is important to change them. In the paraphrase, “fast-food outlets and convenience stores” can be changed to “convenience stores or fast-food restaurants.” Similarly, “food vendors of any kind” can be changed to “any type of food vendor.”
Another technique to keep in mind is to occasionally quote a short phrase in the midst of your summary or paraphrase. For example, in the final sentence of the original passage, the authors used two adjectives, “vibrant” and “livable.” These appear in the paraphrase as “vigorous and energetic” and “comfortable for its residents to live in.” However, the authors are here using a distinctive turn of phrase to describe ideal communities as opposed to using common terms such as “convenience store” or “healthy food”. So, in this instance, another good choice would be to quote the authors:
...Bell and Standish argue that these kinds of neighbourhoods are not just places in which it is difficult to buy and eat healthy food, they are also less “vibrant” and less “livable” (75) because grocery stores and other healthy food vendors may encourage walking, create jobs, and support the local economy in other ways as well.
As you can see, learning how to paraphrase and to summarize your sources takes practice and patience. Following the six steps suggested here should ensure that you are successful in conveying information and ideas learned from your sources “in your own words”.
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Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase
Last updated on November 19, 2019 by Surbhi S
On the other hand, paraphrase means the restatement of the passage, in explicit language, so as to clarify its hidden meaning, without condensing it. In paraphrasing, the written material, idea or statement of some other person is presented in your own words, which is easy to understand.
These two are used in an excerpt to include the ideas of other author’s but without the use of quotations. Let us talk about the difference between summary and paraphrase.
Content: Summary Vs Paraphrase
Comparison chart, definition of summary.
A summary is an abridged form of a passage, which incorporates all the main or say relevant points of the original text while keeping the meaning and essence intact. It is used to give an overview of the excerpt in brief, to the reader. In summary, the author’s ideas are presented in your own words and sentences, in a succinct manner.
A summary encapsulates the gist and the entire concept of the author’s material in a shorter fashion. It also indicates the source of the information, using citation. Basically the length of the summary depends on the material being condensed.
It encompasses the main idea of every paragraph and the facts supporting that idea. It does not end with a conclusion, however, if there is a message in the conclusion, it is included in the summary. It also uses the keywords from the original material, but it does not use the same phrases or sentences.
Summaries save a lot of time of the reader, as the reader need not go through the entire work to filter the most important information contained in it, rather the reader gets the most relevant information in hand.
Definition of Paraphrase
Paraphrasing is not a reproduction of a similar copy of another author’s work, rather it means to rewrite the excerpt in your own language, using comprehensible words and restructuring the sentences, but without changing the context. Hence, in paraphrasing, the original idea and meaning of the text are maintained, but the sentence structure and the words used to deliver the message would be different.
The paraphrased version of the text is simple and easily understandable. The length is almost similar to the original text, as it only translates the original text into simplest form. It is not about the conversion of the text in a detailed manner, rather it is presented in such a way that goes well with your expression.
In paraphrasing, someone else’s written material is restated or rephrased in your own language, containing the same degree of detail. It is the retelling of the concept, using a different tone to address a different audience.
Key Differences Between Summary and Paraphrase
The points discussed below, explains the difference between summary and paraphrase
- To summarize means to put down the main ideas of the essential points of the excerpt, in your own words, while keeping its essence intact. On the contrary, to paraphrase means to decode the original text in your own words without distorting its meaning or essence.
- A summary is all about emphasizing the central idea (essence) and the main points of the text. In contrast, paraphrasing is done to simplify and clarify the meaning of the given excerpt, so as to enhance its comprehension.
- If we talk about the length of the summary in comparison to the original text, it is shorter, because summary tends to highlight the main points only and excludes the irrelevant material of the text. As against, in case of paraphrasing, the length is almost equal to the original text, because its aim is to decipher, i.e. to convert the complex text in a language which is easily understandable without excluding any material from the text.
- The main objective of summarizing is to compile and present the gist of the author’s idea or concept in a few sentences or points. Conversely, the primary objective of paraphrasing is to clarify the meaning of author’s work in a clear and effective manner when the words used by him/her are not important or the words are too complex to understand.
- A summary is used when you want to give a quick overview of the main ideas to the reader about the topic. On the contrary, Paraphrase is used when the idea or main point is more significant than the actual words used in the material and also when you want to use your own voice to explain the concept or idea.
- A summary does not include lengthy explanations, examples and what the reader has understood. In contrast, a paraphrase does not include the exact same wordings or paragraphs used in the original source, so as to avoid plagiarism.
Steps for Summarizing
- First of all, you need to read the entire passage twice or thrice to grasp the meaning and essence of the material.
- Identify and underline all the important points, ideas and supporting facts which you have read.
- Now, explain the material to yourself, for better understanding.
- Rewrite in your own words, the salient points and central idea from the original text, in a few sentences.
- Omit unnecessary detailing and examples.
- Make a comparison of the original text and the summary which you’ve created.
Steps for Paraphrasing
- Read the entire text carefully, twice or thrice, to absorb the meaning and essence.
- Rewrite the author’s ideas in a unique language, i.e. in your own voice. Make sure that the sentences and words used are your own and it should not be a mere substitution or swapping of words and phrases.
- Further, the sequence in which idea is presented, need not be different from the original source.
- Compare the paraphrased version with the main text, and ensure that the essence clearly presented, as well as make sure that it is free from plagiarism.
- Check that the words and phrases which are directly taken from the text are within quotation marks.
- Provide references.
In a nutshell, a summary is nothing but a shorter version of an excerpt or passage. On the contrary, a paraphrase is the restatement of the original text or excerpt. One can use any of the two sources, as per the requirement, when the idea of any of the sources is relevant to your material, but the wording is not that important.
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Citation Basics / Quoting vs. Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing
Quoting vs. Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing
If you’ve ever written a research essay, you know the struggle is real. Should you use a direct quote? Should you put it in your own words? And how is summarizing different from paraphrasing—aren’t they kind of the same thing?
Knowing how you should include your source takes some finesse, and knowing when to quote directly, paraphrase, or summarize can make or break your argument. Let’s take a look at the nuances among these three ways of using an outside source in an essay.
What is quoting?
The concept of quoting is pretty straightforward. If you use quotation marks, you must use precisely the same words as the original , even if the language is vulgar or the grammar is incorrect. In fact, when scholars quote writers with bad grammar, they may correct it by using typographical notes [like this] to show readers they have made a change.
“I never like[d] peas as a child.”
Conversely, if a passage with odd or incorrect language is quoted as is, the note [sic] may be used to show that no changes were made to the original language despite any errors.
“I never like [sic] peas as a child.”
The professional world looks very seriously on quotations. You cannot change a single comma or letter without documentation when you quote a source. Not only that, but the quote must be accompanied by an attribution, commonly called a citation. A misquote or failure to cite can be considered plagiarism.
When writing an academic paper, scholars must use in-text citations in parentheses followed by a complete entry on a references page. When you quote someone using MLA format , for example, it might look like this:
“The orphan is above all a character out of place, forced to make his or her own home in the world. The novel itself grew up as a genre representing the efforts of an ordinary individual to navigate his or her way through the trials of life. The orphan is therefore an essentially novelistic character, set loose from established conventions to face a world of endless possibilities (and dangers)” (Mullan).
This quote is from www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/orphans-in-fiction , which discusses the portrayal of orphans in Victorian English literature. The citation as it would look on the references page (called Works Cited in MLA) is available at the end of this guide.
What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing means taking a quote and putting it in your own words.
You translate what another writer has said into terms both you and your reader can more easily understand. Unlike summarizing, which focuses on the big picture, paraphrasing is involved with single lines or passages. Paraphrasing means you should focus only on segments of a text.
Paraphrasing is a way for you to start processing the information from your source . When you take a quote and put it into your own words, you are already working to better understand, and better explain, the information.
The more you can change the quote without changing the original meaning , the better. How can you make significant changes to a text without changing the meaning?
Here are a few paraphrasing techniques:
- Use synonyms of words
- Change the order of words
- Change the order of clauses in the sentences
- Move sentences around in a section
- Active – passive
- Positive – negative
Let’s look at an example. Here is a direct quote from the article on orphans in Victorian literature:
“It is no accident that the most famous character in recent fiction – Harry Potter – is an orphan. The child wizard’s adventures are premised on the death of his parents and the responsibilities that he must therefore assume. If we look to classic children’s fiction we find a host of orphans” (Mullan).
Here is a possible paraphrase:
It’s not a mistake that a well-known protagonist in current fiction is an orphan: Harry Potter. His quests are due to his parents dying and tasks that he is now obligated to complete. You will see that orphans are common protagonists if you look at other classic fiction (Mullan).
What differences do you spot? There are synonyms. A few words were moved around. A few clauses were moved around. But do you see that the basic structure is very similar?
This kind of paraphrase might be flagged by a plagiarism checker. Don’t paraphrase like that.
Here is a better example:
What is the most well-known fact about beloved character, Harry Potter? That he’s an orphan – “the boy who lived”. In fact, it is only because his parents died that he was thrust into his hero’s journey. Throughout classic children’s literature, you’ll find many orphans as protagonists (Mullan).
Do you see that this paraphrase has more differences? The basic information is there, but the structure is quite different.
When you paraphrase, you are making choices: of how to restructure information, of how to organize and prioritize it. These choices reflect your voice in a way a direct quote cannot, since a direct quote is, by definition, someone else’s voice.
Which is better: Quoting or paraphrasing?
Although the purpose of both quoting and paraphrasing is to introduce the ideas of an external source, they are used for different reasons. It’s not that one is better than the other, but rather that quoting suits some purposes better, while paraphrasing is more suitable for others.
A direct quote is better when you feel the writer made the point perfectly and there is no reason to change a thing. If the writer has a strong voice and you want to preserve that, use a direct quote.
For example, no one should ever try to paraphrase John. F. Kenney’s famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
However, think of direct quotes like a hot pepper: go ahead and sprinkle them around to add some spice to your paper, but… you might not want to overdo it.
Conversely, paraphrasing is useful when you want to bring in a longer section of a source into your piece, but you don’t have room for the full passage . A paraphrase doesn’t simplify the passage to an extreme level, like a summary would. Rather, it condenses the section of text into something more useful for your essay. It’s also appropriate to paraphrase when there are sentences within a passage that you want to leave out.
If you were to paraphrase the section of the article about Victorian orphans mentioned earlier, you might write something like this:
Considering the development of the novel, which portrayed everyday people making their way through life, using an orphan as a protagonist was effective. Orphans are characters that, by definition, need to find their way alone. The author can let the protagonist venture out into the world where the anything, good or bad, might happen (Mullan).
You’ll notice a couple of things here. One, there are no quotation marks, but there is still an in-text citation (the name in parentheses). A paraphrase lacks quotation marks because you aren’t directly quoting, but it still needs a citation because you are using a specific segment of the text. It is still someone else’s original idea and must be cited.
Secondly, if you look at the original quote, you’ll see that five lines of text are condensed into four and a half lines. Everything the author used has been changed.
A single paragraph of text has been explained in different words—which is the heart of paraphrasing.
What is summarizing?
Next, we come to summarizing. Summarizing is on a much larger scale than quoting or paraphrasing. While similar to paraphrasing in that you use your own words, a summary’s primary focus is on translating the main idea of an entire document or long section.
Summaries are useful because they allow you to mention entire chapters or articles—or longer works—in only a few sentences. However, summaries can be longer and more in-depth. They can actually include quotes and paraphrases. Keep in mind, though, that since a summary condenses information, look for the main points. Don’t include a lot of details in a summary.
In literary analysis essays, it is useful to include one body paragraph that summarizes the work you’re writing about. It might be helpful to quote or paraphrase specific lines that contribute to the main themes of such a work. Here is an example summarizing the article on orphans in Victorian literature:
In John Mullan’s article “Orphans in Fiction” on bl.uk.com, he reviews the use of orphans as protagonists in 19 th century Victorian literature. Mullan argues that orphans, without family attachments, are effective characters that can be “unleashed to discover the world.” This discovery process often leads orphans to expose dangerous aspects of society, while maintaining their innocence. As an example, Mullan examines how many female orphans wind up as governesses, demonstrating the usefulness of a main character that is obligated to find their own way.
This summary includes the main ideas of the article, one paraphrase, and one direct quote. A ten-paragraph article is summarized into one single paragraph.
As for giving source credit, since the author’s name and title of the source are stated at the beginning of the summary paragraph, you don’t need an in-text citation.
How do I know which one to use?
The fact is that writers use these three reference types (quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing) interchangeably. The key is to pay attention to your argument development. At some points, you will want concrete, firm evidence. Quotes are perfect for this.
At other times, you will want general support for an argument, but the text that includes such support is long-winded. A paraphrase is appropriate in this case.
Finally, sometimes you may need to mention an entire book or article because it is so full of evidence to support your points. In these cases, it is wise to take a few sentences or even a full paragraph to summarize the source.
No matter which type you use, you always need to cite your source on a References or Works Cited page at the end of the document. The MLA works cited entry for the text we’ve been using today looks like this:
Mullan, John. Orphans in Fiction” www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/orphans-in-fiction. Accessed 20. Oct. 2020
See our related lesson with video: How to Quote and Paraphrase Evidence
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A handbook for students, search form, summarizing.
A summary is a synthesis of the key ideas of a piece of writing, restated in your own words – i.e., paraphrased. You may write a summary as a stand-alone assignment or as part of a longer paper. Whenever you summarize, you must be careful not to copy the exact wording of the original source.
How do I summarize?
A good summary:
Identifies the writer of the original text.
Synthesizes the writer’s key ideas.
Presents the information neutrally.
Summaries can vary in length. Follow the directions given by your instructor for how long the summary should be.
An example of summarizing:
America has changed dramatically during recent years. Not only has the number of graduates in traditional engineering disciplines such as mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical, and aeronautical engineering declined, but in most of the premier American universities engineering curricula now concentrate on and encourage largely the study of engineering science. As a result, there are declining offerings in engineering subjects dealing with infrastructure, the environment, and related issues, and greater concentration on high technology subjects, largely supporting increasingly complex scientific developments. While the latter is important, it should not be at the expense of more traditional engineering.
Rapidly developing economies such as China and India, as well as other industrial countries in Europe and Asia, continue to encourage and advance the teaching of engineering. Both China and India, respectively, graduate six and eight times as many traditional engineers as does the United States. Other industrial countries at minimum maintain their output, while America suffers an increasingly serious decline in the number of engineering graduates and a lack of well-educated engineers. (169 words)
(Source: Excerpted from Frankel, E.G. (2008, May/June) Change in education: The cost of sacrificing fundamentals. MIT Faculty Newsletter , XX, 5, 13.)
In a 2008 Faculty Newsletter article, “Change in Education: The cost of sacrificing fundamentals,” MIT Professor Emeritus Ernst G. Frankel expresses his concerns regarding the current state of American engineering education. He notes that the number of students focusing on traditional areas of engineering has decreased while the number interested in the high-technology end of the field has increased. Frankel points out that other industrial nations produce far more traditionally-trained engineers than we do, and believes we have fallen seriously behind. (81 words)
Why is this a good summary?
The summary identifies the writer, the date of publication, and the source, and restates the key ideas using original wording. The summary reports on the author’s point of view, but reports this neutrally.
MIT Professor Emeritus Ernst G. Frankel (2008) has called for a return to a course of study that emphasizes the traditional skills of engineering, noting that the number of American engineering graduates with these skills has fallen sharply when compared to the number coming from other countries. (47 words)
This one-line summary identifies the writer and synthesizes the key ideas. A short summary like this might appear in the literature review of research paper in which the student gathers together the findings or opinions of scholars on a given subject.
What is the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing?
Summarizing and paraphrasing are somewhat different. A paraphrase is about the same length as the original source, while a summary is much shorter. Nevertheless, when you summarize, you must be careful not to copy the exact wording of the original source. Follow the same rules as you would for paraphrase.
Paraphrasing VS Summarizing: Differences and Examples
- March 7, 2022
Composing a piece of text for an assignment or a blog can require you to perform thorough research, compose content, and ensure its uniqueness. That brings the need for paraphrasing the content and summarizing. However, the terms paraphrasing and summarizing are mistaken as synonyms. They are both related, but they are not the same. To clarify the concepts in this blog, we will focus on paraphrasing vs summarizing and their differences.
What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing refers to writing a piece of content again without changing its actual meaning. It would require you to read the text and present that in your own words. A paraphrased text can take the major part of the original text and can be generally shorter.
The need to paraphrase
From blogs to assignments, paraphrasing can be the call for creating content in different situations. For a broader picture, here is the set of reasons why you need to paraphrase:
- To refine the specific text from a short passage.
- To save from the overuse of quotations.
- To explain the word without focusing on wordings.
- To report statistics and numerical data.
- To share the crucial part of a passage.
- To avoid plagiarism.
How to paraphrase without the occurrence of any plagiarism issue?
Plagiarism refers to presenting the work of some other author as one’s. With many benefits and usage of paraphrasing, using content without plagiarism is another. Either through adding synonyms or changing the speech, there are different ways to paraphrase without plagiarizing. To facilitate it for you, here are the steps you can proceed with:
- Understand the meaning
Before you begin to compose the content in your own words, it is necessary for you to understand it properly. For this, you can read the resource several times, and you can even look for multiple references. It can allow you to have several sources and a lot of information.
- Note down the major points
Whether you consider single or multiple references, you should note down the important points. With this, you can take the information and still not copy the same notion of the writer. You can use the material and phrase it in your words.
- Write your content
Once you understand the meaning and take the major points, you can compose fresh content. While doing so, you must make sure that you do not have to look at the original passage and prepare for what you have understood.
- Compare the content
After writing your content, the next step should be comparing it with the original passage. It can allow you to evaluate the authenticity of the facts and check if you have missed any crucial information.
- Cite the Source
Even if you write the content in your own words, citation helps track the original idea. It also gives the credit to the original source.
What does paraphrased content look like?
To get a clearer idea of paraphrased content, you can take a look at these examples of paraphrasing:
Digital marketing has been a growing field in the past decades. It includes using different platforms to promote businesses. Its purpose is to connect to its target audience present in digital mediums.
Over the past decades, digital marketing has become a booming field. It consists of promoting a brand while availing of the different digital platforms. It paves the way for businesses to reach their potential customers on various platforms.
Both of these passages have the same meaning but are written differently. The choices of the words are not the same, and in the first sentence only, there is a change in the sentence structure. That is how you can paraphrase the content.
What Is Summarizing?
Summary refers to a short review, a restatement of the major points, which is a conclusion of the work in most cases. With this, summarizing refers to composing a summary of the content or other resources. It has to communicate the most crucial part for the writer. You have to prepare it in your own words, and it has to state the information you want to emphasize.
When to Summarize?
Several benefits come with the need to summarize. First of all, it allows you to understand the structure in which the content has been organized and then combine them into the major parts. With this, you can focus on putting lights in the most crucial part of the text. Here are the conditions that require summarizing:
- To reduce the source material and bring out the major and relatable points.
- To remove extra information from the crucial source material.
- To make the material simple and easy to understand.
How to Summarize?
Summarizing involves taking the ideas from a text, which can be some other author. You must also add the citation information for sharing the source of the concept. You can use Smodin Summarizer to summarize all the texts you want. Like we did for paraphrasing, here is the step-by-step explanation of summarizing:
Find and Read
The first step you need to do is select the text. It can be four to five lines and can support the idea. After that, you have to thoroughly read it to get a detailed idea and understanding of the topic. You must prepare notes, and add the keywords, terms, and keywords you can use to understand it better.
Filter the Content
Once done with this, you have to filter the content you will compose into the summary. For this, you have to select the text you want to keep and eliminate the unnecessary. After sorting the material you have to include, you can write the summary in your own words.
Revise and Edit
After completing your summary, you have to read it and correct any mistakes. You also have to verify the facts presented over there. To attain that, you can compare it with the text and make sure that there are no aspects left for you to make changes.
Before submitting your summary, you must check if it can identify the writer of the actual text. It has to consist and combine the ideas initially written and present unbiased information.
What does summarizing look like?
To get a clear picture of what summarization can look like, let us present an example of the summary.
Here are a few paragraphs on the importance of language:
Language plays a crucial role in communication among people. After becoming a master in it, you can become well-versed with its grammar, the system of words, and structure to facilitate the exchange of thoughts and emotions. It is also essential to express the ideas and customs in societies and cultures. When you choose to learn the concepts of a new language, you can connect with new thoughts and ideas. You can also make yourself familiar with customs and the manner in which people greet each other.
The role of learning a language also encompasses professional growth as a person with a command of the global language can find more career possibilities. Several sectors and industries need professionals well-versed in common languages.
This is an anonymous paragraph, but it is necessary to identify the writer. So, let us assume that Dr. A has written it for a paper presented at University Y in 2020. The title is The influence of language on an individual . In that case, here is how you will present the summary of the paragraph:
In the paper on The influence of language on an Individual at Y University, Z, Dr. A presented his thoughts on language. It allows people to exchange their thoughts and ideas. Learning a new language can allow people to connect to new thoughts and ideas and learn about new customs. It can also pave the way for your growth at a professional level. This is because industries often look for professionals who master a commonly-spoken language.
About the Summary
This summary has the source, time, and writer while expressing the essential points. It also states the perception presented by the author but in a different and neutral manner.
Paraphrasing and summarizing are somehow different from each other. This blog has focused on putting some light on paraphrasing vs summarizing . Where paraphrasing is about conveying the same messages without shortening the length, summarizing explains the crucial points more succinctly. However, the need is to create plagiarism-free content through both the methods you prefer to go ahead with. Talking of composing unique content, Smodin.io can provide you with the tools to prepare an assignment/blog for you. All you need to do is copy your content, use it, and wait for fresh and distinct content.
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- Citation Styles
Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing: what’s the difference?
When you write a research paper, you’re required to include evidence from scholarly sources in order to prove your thesis. In this post, we discuss the three most common ways to include source material in your research paper: quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
What is quoting?
When you quote, you use exact words from a source in between quotation marks. You may want to quote directly from a source when the information is particularly complex or when the quote expresses an idea or point in a way that perfectly captures the situation, concept, or thought.
If you’re using a quote that is more than four lines, you should include the material as a block quote. To learn more about how to quote, take a look at our tips for integrating quotes into a research paper. Always include an in-text citation after the quoted material.
What is paraphrasing?
When you paraphrase, you re-write borrowed material in your own words. Paraphrasing requires you to change the words of the quote without changing their meaning.
Paraphrases are typically shorter than the quotes that they restate and always require an in-text citation that credits the original source material.
What is summarizing?
A summary provides an overview of an idea or topic. You might wish to summarize parts of a source if you’re writing a literature review as part of a longer research paper.
Summarizing requires you to sum up the key points of a text, argument, or idea. A summary will be shorter than the original material. Even if you’re not using any of the source’s exact words in your summary, you still need to include an in-text citation.
How do you know when to quote, paraphrase, or summarize material?
Quotes, paraphrases, and summaries are simply different ways of presenting borrowed information. However, there are definitely situations in which one mode may be better than another.
When to use quotes
While it’s a myth that you should avoid using quotes as much as possible in a research paper, you do need to ensure that you are using them effectively. Turning in a paper full quotes is certainly not a good idea, but quotes can be useful if:
- you are trying to make a particularly complex point
- you intend to analyze or interpret a quote’s language
- you need to provide a definition of something
- a quote perfectly encapsulates an idea that is important to your argument
When to paraphrase
Paraphrasing allows you to confirm that you fully understand a quote’s meaning and to explain that content in your own words. There may be several reasons why you would choose to paraphrase a passage, rather than quote it. You might use paraphrase if:
- the material is relatively easy to describe
- you don’t wish to break up the flow of your writing with quotes
- you don’t intend to provide analysis of the information
- you want to combine material from several sources
When to summarize
Summary allows you to synthesize a larger amount of information from a single source or multiple sources. An effective summary will highlight the key points of a text in a concise manner. In a research paper, you’ll primarily use summary in the literature review or state-of-the-field section.
Examples of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
When you quote, you should always try to “sandwich” the quote in your own words. You can also break up longer quotes with ellipses, or with snippets like “Smith explains.” For instance, in the example below, the writer uses her own words to lead into, and out of, the quotes.
Jenna Lay claims that “Catholic women resisted any easy demarcation between a Catholic medieval past and a Protestant, reformed present in both their religious practices and their print and manuscript books,” an argument that can be extended to include entire Catholic families (16). However, despite the fact that scholars such as Patton, Lay, and Jennifer Summit have argued that “we stand to learn much when we determine […] whether the early modern collector of a medieval devotional book was a Catholic or Protestant,” few studies have explored in any depth how Catholics used their books in the post-Reformation period.
In the example below, the writer succinctly paraphrases one of the main points of a book chapter. Even though there are no direct quotes, she still includes an in-text, parenthetical citation at the end of the paraphrase.
Elizabeth Patton, in her research on Catholic women’s bookscapes, contends that the staunchest Catholic families maintained textual networks in which they circulated books that were banned in Protestant England, including copies of medieval devotional manuscripts (117).
In the following summary, the writer uses her own words to provide a concise, yet thorough, summary of an article’s purpose and use of evidence. Again, although no direct quotes are included, the writer adds an in-text citation at the end of the example.
To establish the importance of this main point, Raghavan and Pargman firstly explore two related paradigms in sustainable HCI research: sustainable computing and computing for sustainability. The latter, they argue, has been simultaneously under- and overdeveloped and offers little in the way of practical solutions for how computing can lessen humans’ ecological impact. As a result, they focus on computing for sustainability and explore how disintermediation can catalyze solutions across several key categories, including value, class, labor, and social control. Importantly, they note that policy solutions have failed to fully address the relationship between computing and sustainability (1-2).
In-text citations for quotes, paraphrases, and summaries
Whether you’re quoting exact words from a text, paraphrasing a quote in your own words, or summarizing someone else’s work, you’ll need to include in-text citations for any borrowed material.
You can use BibGuru to create in-text citations in MLA , APA , or any major citation style . Most in-text citations are in the form of parenthetical citations . It’s always a good idea to consult your assignment guidelines, or your instructor, to find out which citation style is required for your paper.
Frequently Asked Questions about quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
When you quote, you use exact words from a source in between quotation marks. When you paraphrase, you re-write borrowed material in your own words.
Paraphrasing requires you to change the words of the quote without changing their meaning.
Summarizing requires you to sum up the key points of a text, argument, or idea. A summary will be shorter than the original material. Even if you’re not using any of the author’s exact words in your summary, you still need to include an in-text citation.
When you quote, you should always try to “sandwich” the quote in your own words. You can also break up longer quotes with ellipses or with snippets like “Smith explains.” For instance, in the example below, the writer uses her owd words to lead into, and out of, the quote.
Paraphrasing allows you to confirm that you fully understand a quote’s meaning and to explain that content in your own words.
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For students and teachers.
Is paraphrasing the same as summarizing?
Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words . A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. ... Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s).
What is the similarities between paraphrasing and summarizing?
What is the difference between summarizing paraphrasing and plagiarizing.
Unlike quoting or paraphrasing, summarizing is something you can— and will—also do to the material you have written. ... Ending your writing with a summary helps your reader to remember your main points. Plagiarism is neither paraphrasing nor summarizing information from other works.
Can you plagiarize in a summary?
NOTE: When you summarize, you must still cite your source . Even when putting source information in your own words, you must still cite the idea. Failure to do so is a form of plagiarism. Body language can convey meaning alone and can alter the meaning of spoken words.
What's a good way to avoid accidentally plagiarizing when you're trying to paraphrase?
- Keep track of the sources you consult in your research.
- Paraphrase or quote from your sources (and add your own ideas).
- Credit the original author in an in-text citation and reference list.
- Use a plagiarism checker before you submit.
ESL Writing - Summarizing and Paraphrasing
What are the similarities and differences of paraphrasing and summarizing when do you use one or the other.
Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage , taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly. Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s).
In what ways can summarizing and paraphrasing be useful in your other subjects?
It helps students learn to determine essential ideas and consolidate important details that support them. It enables students to focus on key words and phrases of an assigned text that are worth noting and remembering.
What is paraphrase and examples?
Paraphrasing involves taking a passage — either spoken or written — and rewording it . Writers often paraphrase sentences and paragraphs to deliver information in a more concise way, as you'll see in the examples below. ... Basically, you are writing something in your own words that still expresses the original idea.
What are three types of paraphrasing?
As you recall, Thinking Collaborative teaches three levels of paraphrasing – acknowledging, organizing, and abstracting .
Where is paraphrasing used?
Paraphrasing is used with short sections of text , such as phrases and sentences. A paraphrase offers an alternative to using direct quotations and allows you to integrate evidence/source material into assignments. Paraphrasing can also be used for note-taking and explaining information in tables, charts and diagrams.
How do I paraphrase correctly?
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card . Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material.
What are the steps in summarizing?
- Read and understand the text carefully.
- Think about the purpose of the text. Ask what the author's purpose is in writing the text? ...
- Select the relevant information. ...
- Find the main ideas - what is important. ...
- Change the structure of the text. ...
- Rewrite the main ideas in complete sentences. ...
- Check your work.
What are the rules of summarizing?
- Make sure to include all information that is important.
- Leave out information that might be interesting, but not important (extra supporting details or description).
- Put the details in the same order in which they appear in the text.
How do you improve summarizing and paraphrasing skills?
- Read your text/paragraph and ensure that you understand it.
- Write down your ideas without looking at the original.
- Use synonyms or change the word order of your sentence.
- Compare with the original to see whether you are conveying the same meaning.
Why is summarizing better than paraphrasing?
Sum it up = Keep it short = Summarize Summary moves much farther away from point-by-point translation than paraphrase. When you summarize a passage, you need first to absorb the meaning of the passage and then to capture in your own words the most important elements (main points) from the original passage.
Why is paraphrasing important?
Paraphrasing is important because it shows you understand the source well enough to write it in your own words . It also gives you a powerful alternative to using direct quotes, which should be used infrequently.
When summarizing or paraphrasing a source be sure to give?
When paraphrasing or summarizing, remember that you are not using the words of the author. Use your own words . It is important to give credit to the source or individual whose ideas influenced your own work (APA, 2020). Cite your sources even when you are putting the information into your own words.
What are 5 key features of summary writing?
In order to identify the main points, think of your summary as the lead paragraph in a newspaper article: it ought to answer the questions who, what, where, when, why, and how in a general way: Who wrote the article; what the article concerns; where and when it takes place; why the author has written about it ; and how ...
When we summarize the text how long should a summary be?
Summary should be no more than ¼ the original text . It can be one sentence, one paragraph or multiple paragraphs depending on the length of the original and your purpose for writing the summary.
What are the basic rules in summarizing texts?
The rule-based summarizing strategy involves a set of rules or steps that students use to construct a summary and include: 1 . Take out material that is not important for your understanding . 2. Take out words or passages that repeat information.
What are the 5 steps in summarizing?
- Determine the Focus of Your Summary. You will first need to determine why you're writing that certain summary.
- Scan the Article. Before you start reading the entire article, you need to scan it for content first.
- Read the Article.
- Write the Summary.
- Edit Your Summary.
What is the first step in summarizing?
The first step in summarizing a passage is to identify the main points of the text . Now, how do you judge which points are important? Some texts, like newspaper articles may not have clear structures, or well-developed paragraphs with clear topic sentences, so identifying the main idea becomes rather challenging.
How long is a summary?
A summary paragraph is usually around five to eight sentences . Keep it short and to the point. Eliminate redundancies or repetitive text to keep your paragraph clear and concise.
Can paraphrasing be detected?
One way to detect paraphrasing is to look at the source material and the paper . Does a passage sound familiar from the paper and there's a passage in the source very similar to it? Add a citation if this is the case – too many citations is better than not enough. This method is used quite widely among teachers.
Paraphrasing vs Summarizing: We Have Writers Excellent at Both
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Summary vs Paraphrase – Quality Is Guaranteed Whatever You Choose
Whenever students face new academic assignment types, which require summarizing and paraphrasing, they get confused. These two text-rewriting approaches are different even when each one focuses on text analysis, comprehension, and transformation. For summarizing, authors must read the whole paper, section, paragraph, etc., and define the most valuable information. Next, writers describe every major point briefly.
While looking at paraphrasing vs summarizing, the first one pays close attention to key points, too, but differently. When students want to alter original text, they start with finding and understanding every paragraph. Here, the goal of transformation is to preserve the source meaning by using different words for describing it. Meantime, summarizing method groups information and can use even text very similar to the original.
Another difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is the final size. Every summary is always much shorter than the initial paper. Most requirements for such academic assignments strictly indicate the needed word count. For summarizing, students must explain the paper within limits. Learners often have trouble with larger texts. Such materials present too much valuable information. Thus, to summarize papers correctly, students set priorities.
To accomplish paraphrasing and summarizing assignments successfully, you should focus on fulfilling the following steps:
- Read the original text until you completely understand it.
- Define crucial information sections, passages, and sentences.
- Make notes on every relevant detail that is worth attention.
- Summarize or transform source text into the needed form.
- Check the completed paper, correcting any mistakes you find.
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Difference Between Paraphrasing and Summarizing Is What Experts Know
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Every our expert passes through summary and paraphrase writing training. Only writers with excellent skills work on orders. They have expertise in following different formatting requirements while summarizing and rewriting texts. Have troubles with complicated referencing styles? Entrust these worries to professionals. Our writing service guarantees to fulfill all instructions for the summary or paraphrase process.
All clients always get writers who have deep knowledge and a degree in matching academic discipline. Every scientific field has unique peculiarities, which are crucial for proper top understanding while summarizing articles, studies, dissertations, etc. For rewriting, writers use much larger terminology vocabulary to expand word choice diversity.
One of the keys to successful summary vs paraphrasing is content analysis. Our experts have outstanding analytical skills. They process sentence by sentence, not just like a simple text. Writers define the contextual meaning and focus attention on conveying original ideas via summarizing or rewriting. Thus, whenever it is summary vs paraphrase, our professionals deliver top-quality content.
Summarizing vs Paraphrasing: Order What You Like & Get Unique Content
Another part of comparing summarizing vs paraphrasing requirements is uniqueness. Sometimes tutors have lower originality limits for summaries as students explain the original text using the same word choice. However, it greatly changes depending on the level of academic writing. While preparing papers for mid-terms and overall discipline scores, content must always be unique.
That is why, when finding summary versus paraphrase, uniqueness requirements on the internet always consider individual instructions from professors. Meanwhile, professional writers keep delivering completely plagiarism-free content to clients. Experts always focus on order quality whenever they have summarizing and paraphrasing texts.
Our service takes serious measures when it comes to quality control. Every professional follows writing guidelines, which forbid copying materials from internet text. Additionally, every paraphrasing and summarizing order passes through proofreaders before delivery. Editors run several plagiarism tests to guarantee 100% content originality. Besides, they correct any summarizing paraphrasing mistakes.
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Summarizing is the practice of offering a brief synopsis of the main points of a text, presentation or discussion. Summarizing typically only involves reiterating the main concepts or details of an event or text, which means that you do not need to critique or analyze sources that you summarize.
Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
Summarizing and paraphrasing are helpful ways to include source material in your work without piling on direct quotes. Understand the differences between these approaches and when to use each. Summarizing vs. Paraphrasing: The Biggest Differences
Paraphrasing vs. summarizing. A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It's typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter. When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing.
Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing are all different ways of including evidence and the ideas of others into your assignments. Using evidence from credible sources to support your thesis is an important part of academic writing. Citing the source of any quote, paraphrase, or summary is an important step to avoid plagiarism.
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the ...
Paraphrasing is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. A paraphrase is always in your own words. This means describing an idea without referring to the original non-technical vocabulary or sentence structure. You may use the same or similar technical terms, but it is best to reword as much of the idea as possible.
1 Use synonyms. Replace the essential words of an original passage with other words that mean the same thing, such as using "scientist" for "researcher," or "seniors" for "the elderly.". This is a common approach to paraphrasing, but it's not sufficient on its own. Combine this strategy with some of the others below to make ...
Finally, a summary is a very common, and often effective, way to conclude a document. Ending your writing with a summary helps your reader to remember your main points. Plagiarism is neither paraphrasing nor summarizing information from other works. Plagiarism is representing another's work as your own.
Summaries are selective whereas paraphrases are specific Summaries allow you to eliminate unnecessary information from the source material Summaries provide background information on a topic or idea Both summaries and paraphrases are usually preferable to direct quotes You should use direct quotes sparingly Published October 29, 2020.
Paraphrasing is the act of putting an author's ideas into your own words. When reading, paraphrasing is helpful for checking your understanding of what you read as well as remembering what you read. When writing, paraphrasing is an important skill to have when constructing a research paper and incorporating the ideas of others alongside your own.
To paraphrase means to restate someone else's ideas in your own language at roughly the same level of detail. To summarize means to reduce the most essential points of someone else's work into a shorter form. Along with quotation, paraphrase and summary provide the main tools for integrating your sources into your papers.
Paraphrasing allows you to use your own words to restate an author's ideas. Summarizing allows you to create a succinct, concise statement of an author's main points without copying and pasting a lot of text from the original source. What's the difference: Paraphrasing v. Summarizing. Explore the rest of the page to see how the same ...
Paraphrasing means rephrasing text or speech in your own words, without changing its meaning. Summarizing means cutting it down to its bare essentials. You can use both techniques to clarify and simplify complex information or ideas. To paraphrase text: Read and make notes. Find different terms. Put the text into your own words. Check your work.
Paraphrasing is the manner of presenting a text by altering certain words and phrases of a source while ensuring that the paraphrase reflects proper understanding of the source. It can be useful for personal understanding of complex concepts and explaining information present in charts, figures, and tables. How Do You Paraphrase?
Name: Sylvie Zakian Academic Success Unit 2 Part A: Watch this first video on Paraphrasing, and answer the following questions. What are the 4 steps in the video to paraphrasing? Step 1: Read the material carefully Step 2: Close the book, turn over the article, or look away from your computer screen Step 3: Write the passage in my own words Step 4: Check back with the original text.
Paraphrasing - means rewriting something in your own words, giving the same level of detail as the source and at roughly the same length as the original. You may choose to paraphrase details or particular evidence and/or examples. The choice between summarizing and paraphrasing depends on how much detail from the source you need for your paper.
Paraphrasing and summarizing are two essential skills for any writer, whether you are writing an academic paper, a blog post, or a social media caption. They help you to convey the main ideas of a ...
paraphrasing, summarizing requires that the writer maintain the tone and meaning of the original text, but also involves the omission of some details. It is important to note that summarizing is not the same as simply copying and pasting the introduction or abstract of a source; instead, the writer must read and understand the entire text ...
To summarize means to put down the main ideas of the essential points of the excerpt, in your own words, while keeping its essence intact. On the contrary, to paraphrase means to decode the original text in your own words without distorting its meaning or essence.
When studying, summarizing is important for note taking, for the same reasons as paraphrasing: It helps link new information to existing information, and cements the most important information in our thoughts. Being able to summarize lengthy articles or papers and link them together, provides the best background or base for a research report.
Unlike summarizing, which focuses on the big picture, paraphrasing is involved with single lines or passages. Paraphrasing means you should focus only on segments of a text. Paraphrasing is a way for you to start processing the information from your source. When you take a quote and put it into your own words, you are already working to better ...
A summary is a synthesis of the key ideas of a piece of writing, restated in your own words - i.e., paraphrased. ... What is the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing? Summarizing and paraphrasing are somewhat different. A paraphrase is about the same length as the original source, while a summary is much shorter.
Paraphrasing and summarizing are somehow different from each other. This blog has focused on putting some light on paraphrasing vs summarizing. Where paraphrasing is about conveying the same messages without shortening the length, summarizing explains the crucial points more succinctly. However, the need is to create plagiarism-free content ...
QuillBot has seven paraphrasing modes to choose from Standard Provides a middle ground between changing the input text and keeping its meaning. Fluency Improves language and fixes grammatical errors. Formal Rewrites ideas in a more sophisticated and professional way. Simple Presents text in a way most people can understand. Creative
Summary allows you to synthesize a larger amount of information from a single source or multiple sources. An effective summary will highlight the key points of a text in a concise manner. In a research paper, you'll primarily use summary in the literature review or state-of-the-field section. Examples of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
Plagiarism is neither paraphrasing nor summarizing information from other works. Can you plagiarize in a summary? NOTE: When you summarize, you must still cite your source. Even when putting source information in your own words, you must still cite the idea. Failure to do so is a form of plagiarism. Body language can convey meaning alone and ...
Meantime, summarizing method groups information and can use even text very similar to the original. Another difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is the final size. Every summary is always much shorter than the initial paper. Most requirements for such academic assignments strictly indicate the needed word count.