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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.

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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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Paraphrase and Summary

Paraphrase and summary are different writing strategies that ask you to put another author’s argument in your own words. This can help you better understand what the writer of the source is saying, so that you can communicate that message to your own reader without relying only on direct quotes. Paraphrases are used for short passages and specific claims in an argument, while summaries are used for entire pieces and focus on capturing the big picture of an argument. Both should be cited using the appropriate format (MLA, APA, etc.).  See KU Writing Center guides on APA Formatting , Chicago Formatting , and MLA Formatting for more information. 

When you paraphrase, you are using your own words to explain one of the claims of your source's argument, following its line of reasoning and its sequence of ideas. The purpose of a paraphrase is to convey the meaning of the original message and, in doing so, to prove that you understand the passage well enough to restate it. The paraphrase should give the reader an accurate understanding of the author's position on the topic. Your job is to uncover and explain all the facts and arguments involved in your subject. A paraphrase tends to be about the same length or a little shorter than the thing being paraphrased.

To paraphrase:

  • Alter the wording of the passage without changing its meaning. Key words, such as names and field terminology, may stay the same (i.e. you do not need to rename Milwaukee or osteoporosis), but all other words must be rephrased. 
  • Retain the basic logic of the argument, sequence of ideas, and examples used in the passage. 
  • Accurately convey the author's meaning and opinion. 
  • Keep the length approximately the same as the original passage. 
  • Do not forget to cite where the information came from. Even though it is in your own words, the idea belongs to someone else, and that source must be acknowledged. 

A summary covers the main points of the writer’s argument in your own words. Summaries are generally much shorter than the original source, since they do not contain any specific examples or pieces of evidence. The goal of a summary is to give the reader a clear idea of what the source is arguing, without going into any specifics about what they are using to argue their point.

To summarize:  

  • Identify what reading or speech is being summarized. 
  • State the author’s thesis and main claims of their argument in your own words. Just like paraphrasing, make sure everything but key terms is reworded. 
  • Avoid specific details or examples. 
  • Avoid your personal opinions about the topic. 
  • Include the conclusion of the original material. 
  • Cite summarized information as well. 

In both the paraphrase and summary, the author's meaning and opinion are retained. However, in the case of the summary, examples and illustrations are omitted. Summaries can be tremendously helpful because they can be used to encapsulate everything from a long narrative passage of an essay, to a chapter in a book, to an entire book.

When to Use Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing 

Updated June 2022  

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing (Differences, Examples, How To)

paraphrasing vs summarizing

It can be confusing to know when to paraphrase and when to summarize. Many people use the terms interchangeably even though the two have different meanings and uses.

Today, let’s understand the basic differences between paraphrasing vs. summarizing and when to use which . We’ll also look at types and examples of paraphrasing and summarizing, as well as how to do both effectively.

Let’s look at paraphrasing first.

What is paraphrasing?

It refers to rewriting someone else’s ideas in your own words. 

It’s important to rewrite the whole idea in your words rather than just replacing a few words with their synonyms. That way, you present an idea in a way that your audience will understand easily and also avoid plagiarism. 

It’s also important to cite your sources when paraphrasing so that the original author of the work gets due credit.

When should you paraphrase?

The main purpose of paraphrasing is often to clarify an existing passage. You should use paraphrasing when you want to show that you understand the concept, like while writing an essay about a specific topic. 

You may also use it when you’re quoting someone but can’t remember their exact words. 

Finally, paraphrasing is a very effective way to rewrite outdated content in a way that’s relevant to your current audience.

How to paraphrase effectively

Follow these steps to paraphrase any piece of text effectively:

  • Read the full text and ensure that you understand it completely. It helps to look up words you don’t fully understand in an online or offline dictionary.
  • Once you understand the text, rewrite it in your own words. Remember to rewrite it instead of just substituting words with their synonyms.
  • Edit the text to ensure it’s easy to understand for your audience.
  • Mix in your own insights while rewriting the text to make it more relevant.
  • Run the text through a plagiarism checker to ensure that it does not have any of the original content.

Example of paraphrasing

Here’s an example of paraphrasing:

  • Original:  The national park is full of trees, water bodies, and various species of flora and fauna.
  • Paraphrased:  Many animal species thrive in the verdant national park that is served by lakes and rivers flowing through it.

What is summarizing?

Summarizing is also based on someone else’s text but rather than presenting their ideas in your words, you only sum up their main ideas in a smaller piece of text.

It’s important to not use their exact words or phrases when summarizing to avoid plagiarism. It’s best to make your own notes while reading through the text and writing a summary based on your notes.

You must only summarize the most important ideas from a piece of text as summaries are essentially very short compared to the original work. And just like paraphrasing, you should cite the original text as a reference.

When should you summarize?

The main purpose of summarizing is to reduce a passage or other text to fewer words while ensuring that everything important is covered.

Summaries are useful when you want to cut to the chase and lay down the most important points from a piece of text or convey the entire message in fewer words. You should summarize when you have to write a short essay about a larger piece of text, such as writing a book review.

You can also summarize when you want to provide background information about something without taking up too much space.

How to summarize effectively

Follow these steps to summarize any prose effectively:

  • Read the text to fully understand it. It helps to read it a few times instead of just going through it once.
  • Pay attention to the larger theme of the text rather than trying to rewrite it sentence for sentence.
  • Understand how all the main ideas are linked and piece them together to form an overview.
  • Remove all the information that’s not crucial to the main ideas or theme. Remember, summaries must only include the most essential points and information.
  • Edit your overview to ensure that the information is organized logically and follows the correct chronology where applicable.
  • Review and edit the summary again to make it clearer, ensure that it’s accurate, and make it even more concise where you can.
  • Ensure that you cite the original text.

Example of summarization

You can summarize any text into a shorter version. For example, this entire article can be summarized in just a few sentences as follows:

  • Summary:  The article discusses paraphrasing vs. summarizing by explaining the two concepts. It specifies when you should use paraphrasing and when you should summarize a piece of text and describes the process of each. It ends with examples of both paraphrasing and summarizing to provide a better understanding to the reader.

Paraphrasing vs summarizing

Paraphrasing vs. summarizing has been a long-standing point of confusion for writers of all levels, whether you’re writing a college essay or reviewing a research paper or book. The above tips and examples can help you identify when to use paraphrasing or summarizing and how to go about them effectively.

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difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase

Last updated on November 19, 2019 by Surbhi S

summary vs paraphrase

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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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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Paraphrasing and Summary

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This resource provides guidelines for paraphrasing and summarizing the sources you have researched.

Whether you are writing for the workplace or for academic purposes, you will need to research and incorporate the writing of others into your own texts. Two unavoidable steps in that process are paraphrasing (changing the language into your own) and summarizing (getting rid of smaller details and leaving only the primary points). These steps are necessary for three reasons.

First, if you used the original writer’s language without any changes, it limits your own learning; by paraphrasing and summarizing, you make a piece of information your own, and you understand it better.

Second, the original writers did not write for the audiences you are targeting; there are inevitably contents and language choices that will not necessarily work for your audience. Third, what authors write is considered to be their property, just like a coat or a car; by copying it (without giving credit), you can be accused of plagiarism.

Summarizing and paraphrasing are frequently used together, but not always. The following will give you some basic information on paraphrasing and summarizing, and then you will have the chance to reflect on appropriate paraphrasing and summarizing yourself.

Exercises for beginner proficiency levels can be found here .

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Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing: Knowing the Difference

Writers who write informative or academic papers will need to understand the difference between paraphrasing vs. summarizing. Learn more in this article.

Paraphrasing and summarizing are similar writing techniques where an author takes an original passage and puts it into their own words without using the author’s exact words. Yet the goal of these two techniques is different. With one, you rephrase the content in your own words, but you pull out the main ideas and shorten the work with the other.

With both paraphrasing and summarizing, you can use someone else’s ideas in your writing to give it meaning and back up the claims you make. However, you do need to know how to use the tools to properly portray the ideas you wish to convey without falling guilty of plagiarism.

As you work on creating research papers and projects, you’re going to want to know the difference between paraphrasing vs. summarizing. This guide will help you understand how these are different, so you can use the right tool when you need it.

Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing: The Key Is in the Goal

The dangers of plagiarism, when to paraphrase, when to summarize, similarities between paraphrasing and summarizing, paraphrasing and summarizing often go hand in hand, creating a works cited or bibliography page, paraphrasing vs. summarizing: both make your writing stronger, paraphrasing vs. summarizing: key points.

What is the primary difference between summarizing and paraphrasing in your writing? The key is in the goal of your writing.

Both paraphrasing and summarizing are ways to avoid plagiarism in your writing by ensuring you are not using the original author’s exact words, but they are done for different reasons. With paraphrasing, you are rewording the original author’s work, but by summarizing, you boil down the main points into a more concise version of the original post.

In academic writing, plagiarism is a serious offense . To avoid this offense, you must include a proper citation whenever you have a quote, paraphrase, and summary statement. If the original work is not your idea or something considered common knowledge, it requires a citation.

If you are found guilty of plagiarism, you will have serious repercussions. This often means failing the assignment or even the class in academic settings. You may face expulsion, too.

If you are preparing something for publication, you risk having your work completely discredited. Your reputation as a writer is ruined. While few people go to jail for plagiarism, you could face lawsuits or fines for breaking the law.

You might also be wondering do you need quotation marks when paraphrasing?

The Definition of Paraphrasing

When you paraphrase something, you take the original material and rewrite it, changing the sentence structure or verb tense to say the same thing differently. The new sentence or paragraph will have enough differences that you cannot point out that it came from the source material.

This process is different from a direct quote. With a direct quote, you use the same wording, word for word, and put it in quotation marks. With a paraphrase, you have no wording that is the same, but instead, you use synonyms and new sentence structure to make it your own. However, the meaning of the original text stays consistent.

Paraphrased works in academic writing still require a citation using the APA or MLA format , depending on the assignment. The original idea still comes from the original author, and you can’t take that and claim it as your own without proper citation.

The best time to paraphrase is when you want to show that you can read someone else’s ideas but then put them in your own words. It shows that you understand the concepts and ideas you are writing about. You still want to credit the original author, but you don’t want to make a paper or article from quotes.

Paraphrasing shows that you understand the concepts of your sources. If you can paraphrase well, you have a clear grasp of the topic.

These paraphrasing exercises might be helpful.

The Definition of Summarizing

Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing

Summarizing is done when the original writer’s work is lengthy, and you need the main points, but not a direct quotation or full sentences that copy the meaning. For example, if you are using an entire chapter of a book as a resource for one point in a paragraph, you aren’t going to be able to include all of the ideas from the book. Instead, you will simplify those ideas into something shorter, keeping the main points intact and concisely expressing them.

Summaries, like paraphrases, do not require quotation marks. You won’t use quotation marks even if the main headings or points are repeated in your work. However, you will cite the original author and the original article or book using proper formatting.

A summary works well when you have a large chunk of text you want to pull the main ideas from in your piece. It allows you to get to the main idea of the author’s piece, only pulling out what is necessary for you to make your point. It provides background information to the reader, as well.

Summaries also work well if you need just the main points of the writer’s work instead of all of the added material. This strategy works particularly well when you need to argue a point and want to use an entire work to do so but do not have enough space to quote the source material. You might also be interested in our analogy vs. metaphor guide.

Though they are different, paraphrases and summaries have some similarities. Both allow writers to use other writers’ ideas in their pieces. They both make concepts easier to understand or help them flow in the writer’s own words and writing style. Both keep the passage’s main ideas in place even while changing the wording or shortening the piece.

In academic writing, you will often paraphrase and summarize source materials in the same work. Sometimes, the author’s ideas are already concise, so all you need to do is restate them in your writing. This is paraphrasing.

Sometimes, the author’s ideas are too lengthy for you to include in your work as they are. In these cases, simplification is necessary to flow with your work. Thus, you will summarize.

Paraphrases and summaries are also preferred over direct quotes. They allow you to show your writing skills and ability to pull ideas from someone else’s works without relying entirely on the other writer’s work.

After you finish your writing, you will need to include a list of all of the works you used to create it. This bibliography or works cited page will have formatting based on the publication manual used in the assignment. It will include all of the books, articles, and journals you used to write the essay or paper, whether you quoted, summarized, or paraphrased.

Most writing will borrow from another person’s ideas and even words, as long as the author properly cites and credits the original author. Paraphrasing and summaries are tools writers use to use the ideas of others without copying them directly effectively.

Anyone can copy and paste work from other writers to put together an informative paper or paragraph. Quotes have their place, as they can give the writing a sense of authority and provide strong evidence that the claims you make are valid. However, it takes a skilled writer to summarize or paraphrase the works of other writers.

Both summaries and paraphrases make writing stronger and show that you clearly understand the materials you used in your research. Most academic papers are a mixture of paraphrases, summaries, and quotes. All three require citations, but you will find that paraphrasing and summarizing allow you to put your flair into the writing.

Paraphrasing and summarizing both offer a way to use someone else’s idea as your own in your writing. Paraphrasing transforms the writing into your own words but keeps the same basic length and idea in writing. Summarizing condenses the writing into its main points.

Both paraphrasing and summarizing require proper citation because the idea comes from another writing. You can use your research skills to write engaging essays and papers with these tools. 

If you are interested in learning more, check out our paraphrasing vs. plagiarism guide!

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Paraphrasing Vs. Summarizing: The Difference And Best Examples

Explore the critical distinctions between the paraphrasing and summarizing techniques and how to apply it into writing utilizing examples of each.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Ivana Vidakovic

Sep 16, 2022

Paraphrasing Vs. Summarizing: The Difference And Best Examples

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Trending articles.

Are you frequently confused about the distinction between paraphrasing and summarizing and their purpose?

Paraphrasing and summarizing text are significant assets in writing that can help you create engaging and efficient content.

And each of these techniques has a different yet vital purpose in the writing process. Unfortunately, people often find it hard to distinguish their differences.

Not to mention that plagiarized and summarized content is allowed and acceptable only if it is not plagiarized in any way.

Thus, today we'll go through the critical distinctions between the paraphrasing and summarizing techniques and when and how to apply each writing strategy utilizing examples of each.

Let's begin!

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing — Definitions

Paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing means reading the text and putting it in your own words without changing the meaning of the original text. 

This action doesn't allow copy-pasting original text in any way — copy-pasted text is considered plagiarism unless you use it as a citation. 

What is the length of the paraphrased text?

The paraphrased version of the text is almost the same length or a little shorter than the original.

When to use paraphrasing?

You can use the paraphrasing writing technique when:

  • You want to use someone else's writing for your reference .
  • You want to avoid quotations . 
  • When the idea is more important than writing style .
  • When you need to improve the readability of your content .

Here is an example of what original vs paraphrased text looks like:

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

In simple words, paraphrasing is putting someone else's writing in your own words and thought s. 

Summarizing

When you want to get the main idea of a piece of writing, you can use the summarizing technique.

Summarizing is brief information of the original text in your own words that only includes the essential parts. 

What is the length of the summarized text?

The summary of the text is a lot shorter than the original . This is because it leaves out the meaning of the text and includes only the main idea or the most critical information.

When to use summarizing?

Here are some tips on when to use the summarizing technique:

  • When you need to pick out only the writer's main ideas .
  • When you need an overview of the whole piece .
  • When you need to simplify the text .
  • When only the most important parts of the text need to be discussed.

Here is an example of what original text vs summarized text looks like:

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Summarizing involves extracting the original text's main ideas and compressing them into a clear overview.

Now that we know what definitions of each technique are let's discuss paraphrasing vs summarizing differences.

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing — Differences

Here are the 3 primary differences between paraphrasing and summarizing writing techniques:

  • Paraphrasing is rewriting a text in your own words while summarizing is writing the most important parts of a piece in your own words .
  • Paraphrasing has the same or a little shorter text length than the original one, while summarizing is much more concise than the original .
  • You can use paraphrasing to make the original content easier to understand , while summarizing is used to mention only the most important points without any explanation .

Here is what the comparison between paraphrased and summarized text looks like:

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

When To Paraphrase and When To Summarize?

When paraphrasing, you put someone else's ideas into your own words.

Let's observe the following statement and possible 3 paraphrasing outcomes. 

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

In the example, paraphrasing includes all the details of the original text, the idea, and the impression you want to trigger with your audience, but in your own style .

On the other hand, when you are summarizing, you want to get a shorter version of the original text .

Let’s take a look at the same example.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Together quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing are the leading writing techniques when mentioning sources in your content . 

When deciding which to use, you should first think about what kind of content you want to write. 

For example, literature reviews and science reports are mostly just summaries. But conversely, all three techniques you can use in argumentative essays.

Even though paraphrasing and summarizing are important, you shouldn't rely on them too much, either. The most important thing is your opinion on the subject .

Let's move on and check the paraphrasing vs summarizing examples. 

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing Examples 

How to paraphrase.

When you paraphrase, keep these 3 things in mind:

  • You must provide a reference .
  • Use your language style when paraphrasing. 
  • Changing just a few words here and there is not paraphrasing . 

The lack of paraphrasing words is just a lack of synonyms, nothing more. It has nothing to do with creativity.

Think about how the ideas fit with what you already know. Then, try some of the following tips to paraphrase with ease:

  • Take notes of the original text — Pull the most critical details from the storyline you need to paraphrase. 

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

  • Make full sentences from ideas — Create words around those key points in your own style.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

  • Provide a reference — If you have statistical or research data, mention the author or the literature you used for your statement.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

  • Analyze — The paraphrasing outcome will be more authentic and genuine by providing feedback, expressing your thoughts, or adding your own ideas. 

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

  • Not every word needs to be changed — Keep the most important words the same for clarity's sake (e.g., autism, culture, children). But don't use whole phrases unless they are common in your field (e.g., psychogenic disorder).

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Pro Tip: Nowadays, it is not so uncommon for writers to utilize paraphrasing tools such as TextCortex. 

Part of the reason is that paraphrasing tools help overcome writer’s block and boost creativity.

For instance, to paraphrase sentences or entire paragraphs with TextCortex, you must select the text you want to rewrite, click on the logo , and click on the ‘ Paraphrase ’ feature.

You can paraphrase the original output multiple times until you get the desired output. Additionally, TextCortex will provide you with several different paraphrasing variants for each generation.

How To Summarize?

The summary goes a lot further than a point-by-point paraphrasing. 

And to help you understand better, we will be using the following part of the article “ Fairytales much older than previously thought, say researchers ”:

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

When you want to summarize the text, you need to:

  • Understand the context — Get the overall idea of the text you want to transform into a shorter version of the text. In the given example, the text talks about fairytales that have been around since the Bronze Age and when and where this information comes from.
  • Pull out primary takeaways — Gather all relevant key points of the text and add a piece of brief information about them.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

  • Create a storytelling brief — It is not enough just to list the key elements. Instead, use storytelling technique s to transform the main takeaways into a compelling but short version of the original text.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

  •   A summary has to be shorter than the original text — The summary includes only essential points of the text, not the details.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

Most people get confused when comparing paraphrasing and summarizing because those two writing techniques don’t exclude each other.

In simple words, a summary of the text can be paraphrased, and vice versa. 

Final Thoughts

As you can notice, paraphrasing and summarizing techniques are not as hard as they seem. And you probably use both in your regular conversations every day.

However, it becomes more official when it comes to writing articles, essays, and more. 

This is due to plagiarism rules — content labeled as plagiarism can be heavily penalized and damage your writing career before it even starts to blossom.

And if you are planning to become a writer or are a newbie that is not so confident in these writing techniques, we suggest you start utilizing the TextCortex rewriting extension .

Our Chrome extension can help you:

  • Manage your writing faster .
  • Produce more content in less time .
  • Rewrite sentences and paragraphs in bulk.
  • Transform bullets to emails .
  • Expand your text for more information.
  • Write blog posts from a single sentence .
  • Assist you on more than 30 platforms .

In addition, with the Chrome rewriting extension, you will gain access to the TextCortex web application that can help you to write:

  • Blog articles, 
  • Product descriptions, 
  • Social media posts
  • Youtube captions,
  • And more in 72+ languages.

Are you ready to start paraphrasing with ease?

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Our AI writers learned how to write from more than 3 billion sentences. They have done their homework and their creations is just like human creation, they are very close to being completely unique. However, fact-checking is something which still requires a human approval.

TextCortex supports more than 20 languages including English, Dutch, German, Ukranian, Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian.

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  • / What is the difference between quotation, paraphrase, and summary?

Writing in college often means using ideas from other sources. There are times when it may be best to quote the sources directly, while other times may be better served by paraphrasing or summary. In order to decide which technique to use, it is helpful to think about how you are using the information in your paper.

Definitions

  • Quotation reproduces a statement word-for-word as it appears in its original source
  • Paraphrase explains a statement by using your own words and sentence structure
  • Summary explains a statement using your words, but typically condenses a larger statement into a shorter explanation

How to decide which approach to use

Direct quotations can be useful when the exact wording of a statement is important. The exact wording of a quotation may be significant to your claim. In example 1 below, the contrast between adjectives are important to the claim. Also, direct quotation may be important when you want to make sure you are being precise in representing the author’s position. Finally, you might choose to use a direct quotation when the original statement is particularly well written or structurally persuasive. If a statement uses elements such as parallelism or alliteration, you might not be able to recreate that same effect. An important element of the quotation in example 1 is the parallel structure between "lowest and vilest alleys" and "smiling and beautiful countryside."

When Sherlock tells Watson "the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside,” he intensifies suspense by equating innocence with evil ("The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" 502).

Paraphrasing is usually expected in research and argumentative essays. These type of papers benefit from paraphrasing because it shows that you understand the source and are therefore a reliable voice on that source. Paraphrasing can make the evidence more straightforward. Another reason to paraphrase is to adjust your tone for your audience. If the assignment asks you to write a presentation for your classmates, you do not want to quote scientific jargon. Your source is only persuasive and supportive if your readers understand it. The paraphrase of the quotation below is shorter, and more direct.

Original quotation:  “In the case of Facebook, it has changed its format multiple times, and merged other literacy practices – email, instant messaging, games – into its structure in an attempt to keep users on the site” (Keller 2014, 74).

Paraphrase: Facebook has tried to hold on to its users by incorporating new functions like games and email (Keller 2014).

Summaries can also be used in reviews, research papers, and argumentative essays. They have a similar purpose as paraphrasing, but they condense a large work (i.e. an entire chapter, article, or book) into a shorter text such as a paragraph or a short essay. Summaries allow you to focus your description on  the parts that are relevant to your discussion. Example 3 briefly summarizes Anne of Green Gables, focusing on Anne as a strong female character and could lead into a discussion of how the series teaches girls self-respect while also cherishing romance.

Anne of Green Gables is a book series that follows the life of an unruly red-headed orphan as she grows from an romantic adolescent into an independent young woman.

What can the Writing Center do to help?

Writing Center consultants can help you if you aren't sure what style of source integration works best for an assignment. Some essays require a mix of methods. Consultants can help you determine if your writing needs a better balance of integration methods. If you are less familiar with one of the three uses of sources, the Writing Center can give you additional pointers.

See our section on how to incorporate sources for more on punctuating and introducing quotations. Also see our section on avoiding plagiarism to learn how to paraphrase and summarize.

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Differences in a Paraphrase, Summary, and Précis

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

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Look up “paraphrase,” “summary,” and “précis” in the dictionary, and you’re going to find a lot of overlapping ideas, but the uses of these terms (especially in academic writing) have quite well-defined boundaries.

All these terms deal with the idea that you’re reading something someone else wrote and then putting it in different terms while maintaining the meaning. But these similarities come to an end when you consider the different purposes for these tasks.

Let’s Start with the Paraphrase

A paraphrase is specifically different from a quote. To qualify, it must relay all the same information but in different words.

Not seeing how this is different from the others? Think about the purpose. A paraphrase reveals that you know what is being said and can rephrase it in words of your own choosing. You are proving you “get it.”

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A paraphrase thus has no space limits. Indeed, a paraphrase might be much longer than the original text. One paraphrase of, “To be, or not to be / That is the question,” is: “I am asking myself whether I should decide to go on living, or kill myself, and this may be ‘the question’ in terms of all existence. Should humanity bother to keep on going or just snuff it?”

A paraphrase may also be much shorter. One paraphrase of:

Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapped power,

would be: “Hey, let’s have sex before we get all old and stuff.”

Of course, that second paraphrase might not get you a good grade in English Lit.

A Summary Is a Whole Different Deal

A summary is generally understood to be of something long enough to benefit from a summary. There’s no real summary for, “I am going to the store.” (A paraphrase would be, “The speaker is traveling to the shop.”) A summary is understood to be smaller than the original and may use some of the same words.

A summary also does not have to be complete. A summary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech can just be, “White and Black people should try to get along better.” A paraphrase of the speech would have to cover all the bases.

summary1

A summary’s purpose is not to interpret meaning so much as to relay information, so the pressure is off to make sure the words are different. We might even throw in a quote or two. Think of summarizing a movie you just saw for a friend. You might do a line of dialogue like, “To the pain!” or “Excuse me while I whip this out.”

A Précis Is for You

“Précis” is just an academic term for “summary,” and you might never be assigned to do one, but it’s a handy thing. The purpose here is to remind yourself of what the original said.

Let’s say you’re reading a bunch of books and articles that might be important for a test, and you decide just taking a few notes isn’t enough. You can write a précis with the idea that you’ll read it again later to refresh your memory. A précis might then include details about the article beyond the text, such as that this is the first time a certain procedure was successful or that this approach to writing code was useful for a while but is now obsolete.

If you do a precise for the primary sources for your discipline, you’ll have that as a resource not only for tests, but also for papers you might want to write: sort of your own version of CliffsNotes (Coles Notes for you Canadians, York Notes for you Brits). Because you do them yourself, they are geared toward your interests and your style of thinking.

So, while the main idea is the same, the different purposes of these ways of summing things up require different skills. (Note that that final line there is a summary for the purpose of a conclusion. Ain’t I a tricky one?)

Julia H. (except for the poem, which is Andrew M.)

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Comparing Summary vs Paraphrase – What are the Key Differences?

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The world of writing is vast and complex, but two techniques stand out as vital tools in any writer’s arsenal: paraphrasing and summarizing.

In the context of paraphrase vs summary, both allow us to incorporate the ideas of others into our own work without copying them directly.

What’s the difference between summarizing vs. Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing and summarizing are writing techniques that allow us to use other people’s ideas without direct copying.

Paraphrasing involves rewording text to create original content with the same meaning. On the other hand, summarizing condenses the text to an overview of the main points. Both require proper citation to avoid plagiarism!

Yet, these methods are often misunderstood or misused. This article will unravel the mysteries behind these techniques, providing a fresh perspective and effective examples.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

infographic comparing summarizing and paraphrasing

Understanding Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is a powerful technique that allows us to take someone else’s words and ideas and express them in our own unique way. At its core, paraphrasing is rewriting a text to produce original content while preserving the original meaning.

It is a valuable skill that can help us better understand complex material, communicate ideas more effectively, and avoid plagiarism.

Definition of Paraphrasing

This process involves reworking the text line by line, simplifying grammar and vocabulary, rearranging words and sentences, and transforming passive expressions into active ones.

The result is a “new” text that maintains the essence of the original but is expressed in our unique way.

Uses of Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing can serve various purposes, such as clarifying a message, making it more relevant to the audience, or emphasizing specific key points.

It can also support our arguments or viewpoints, maintain a consistent writing style, and avoid lengthy citations from the original text or discourse.

Paraphrasing helps us engage more deeply with the source material and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the materials used in our research.

Understanding Summarizing

A person writing original material in their own words

To summarize means the process of concisely expressing the most pertinent facts or ideas about something, often in our own words. It is a method of condensing a large selection of complex text while retaining its essential information.

Summarizing can help us quickly grasp the key points of a text, making it easier to communicate those main points to others as a brief overview.

Definition of Summarizing

Its objective is to condense information into a concise and clear summary that will be understandable for readers.

By extracting the essential ideas from a text and condensing them into a shorter version, we can more easily digest and understand the underlying message of the original work.

Summaries can be used to quickly grasp the main points of a text. They can also be used to review and recall information.

Uses of Summarizing

Summarizing is a versatile technique with many applications. It can be employed to better understand the primary concept of a written work or to condense a longer original text into a more concise version.

Summarizing is also valuable for academic writing , as it allows us to introduce background information, summarize knowledge from multiple sources on a topic, or identify the main points of a single source. Summarizing lets us focus on the most critical information and present it clearly and concisely.

Summarizing a document is a great way to save both time and energy in your life!

Key Differences Between Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

Two Woman in Black Sits on Chair Near Table

While paraphrasing and summarizing allow us to incorporate other authors’ ideas into our work, their key differences lie in their purpose, length, detail, style, and citation requirements.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for effectively mastering and using these techniques in our writing endeavors.

The following sections will explore the differences between paraphrasing vs summarizing, exploring their unique characteristics and applications. Here’s a quick summary of the two:

The purpose of paraphrasing is to reword a text to generate original content with the same meaning while summarizing is to condense a longer text into a significantly shorter version that conveys the key ideas.

In essence, paraphrasing focuses on rewriting the text to create a new, unique version, while summarizing aims to provide a brief overview of the original material.

Another key difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is the length of the rewritten or condensed text. A paraphrased text is generally similar in length to the original text, maintaining the same level of detail.

In contrast, a summary is significantly shorter than the original text, as it only includes the most pertinent points and necessary information.

Paraphrasing involves rewording a text to generate original content while preserving the same level of detail. In other words, a paraphrase should include all relevant details from the original text, expressed differently.

On the other hand, summarizing focuses on extracting the main ideas from the original text and condensing them into a succinct overview, often omitting superfluous details.

In terms of style, paraphrasing involves altering the phrasing of a text while maintaining the original meaning, often employing synonyms and restructured sentences.

Summarizing, conversely, involves condensing the text by focusing only on the main ideas and key points. Both techniques require using our own words and writing style, but summarizing often necessitates a more concise and focused approach.

Proper citation is essential when performing both paraphrasing and summarizing, as the idea originates from another writing.

To avoid plagiarism, it is crucial to include an in-text citation and a reference in the bibliography or works cited list, depending on the formatting style required for the assignment.

This ensures that we give proper credit to the original author and avoid any potential consequences of plagiarism.

Tips for Effective Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

Now that we have a deeper understanding of the differences between paraphrasing vs summarizing, it’s important to learn how to apply these techniques effectively.

Some effective paraphrasing and summarizing tips include using unique words, representative phrases, accurate synonyms, and only including key points and essential information.

In the following sections, we will explore specific techniques for both paraphrasing and summarizing, providing practical advice for mastering these valuable skills.

Paraphrasing Techniques

Effective paraphrasing involves several techniques, such as utilizing synonyms, altering the form of words, changing the grammatical structure, modifying the sentence structure, and transforming the word class or form.

It is essential to comprehend and articulate the source material in our own words while preserving the original meaning.

By employing these techniques, we can create a well-crafted paraphrase that accurately conveys the original author’s ideas.

Summarizing Techniques

To create an effective summary, we can employ various techniques, such as selecting a short passage that supports an idea, underlining the main point, breaking down the text into sections to pinpoint essential points, and summarizing without disregarding pertinent details.

Additionally, it is crucial to compare the summary to the original text, ensuring that we have accurately captured the main ideas and essential information.

When to Use Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

A person deciding when to use paraphrasing and summarizing

Paraphrasing and summarizing are appropriate for different situations, depending on our writing goals and the specific needs of our audience. Paraphrasing is suitable when we need to better understand, communicate effectively, gain new perspectives, improve our writing, and avoid plagiarism.

Summarizing is useful when we need to condense a longer text into something that is shorter than the original, grasp the gist without context loss, identify key concepts, find information quickly, visualize the structure, and locate gaps.

By understanding when to use each technique, we can enhance our writing and effectively convey the ideas of others.

Appropriate Situations for Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is suitable in various situations, such as avoiding plagiarism, simplifying complex concepts, or incorporating evidence and source material into our assignments.

For instance, we might use paraphrasing to explain the information contained in tables, charts, and diagrams, making them more accessible to our audience.

By employing paraphrasing effectively, we can enhance our writing and ensure that we accurately convey the ideas of others.

Appropriate Situations for Summarizing

Summarizing is appropriate when brevity is a priority or our reader requires a concise overview of the material.

For example, we might use summarizing to provide a quick synopsis of a topic, construct a backdrop, depict knowledge from multiple sources concerning a topic, or ascertain the principal notions of a single source.

By effectively summarizing, we can give our readers the essential information they need to understand the main points without overwhelming them with unnecessary details.

Avoiding Plagiarism with Proper Citation

In academic writing, it is essential to provide proper citations when paraphrasing and summarizing to avoid plagiarism – or presenting someone else’s words or ideas as your own.

Plagiarism is a grave infraction that can lead to severe consequences, such as failing the assignment or even facing legal action.

By adhering to proper citation guidelines, we can ensure that we give proper credit to the original author and maintain our integrity as writers.

Citing Paraphrased Texts

When citing paraphrased texts, it is essential to include the original source in the first mention.

The citation should include the author’s last name and publication date. We may use the APA or MLA format depending on the assignment’s requirements.

Citing Summarized Texts

Citing summarized texts is just as important as citing paraphrased texts. According to APA 7, an in-text citation should be included when referring to, summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting from another source.

This citation should include the author’s last name and the year of publication.

Real-Life Examples of Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Real-life examples of paraphrasing vs summarizing can be found in various contexts, such as rewording a news article, condensing a dialogue, or restating a research paper or essay.

These demonstrate how these techniques can be used to effectively incorporate the ideas of others without copying them directly, ensuring that our writing is both original and informative.

Using AI to Help With Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

These days, there are so many great AI writing tools that can help you with your writing. Let’s take a look at two of my favorite AI content creation options.

Jasper home

Using Jasper to summarize or paraphrase content is easy and efficient. Follow these steps to generate a concise summary or a differently-worded paraphrase of any text:

  • Open Jasper : Access the Jasper platform by visiting jasper.ai and logging into your account.
  • Create a new document : Click on the “Create New Content” button, and then the “New Document” section to open a blank document where you can input the original text you want to summarize or paraphrase.

Jasper open a document

  • Paste the content : Copy the text you want to summarize and paste it into the document. Make sure the content is well-structured and within Jasper’s word limit.
  • Use the summarization command : In a new line, type a command such as “Please summarize the above content in 100 words” or “Provide a brief summary of the text above.” You can specify the desired length or ask for a brief summary, depending on your needs.

To demonstrate the Jasper summary command, I’ve taken a section from one of my articles on “How to Write Relatable Characters.” I’ve pasted it into Jasper, and I’m showing the prompt in the prompt box below.

Document-editor-Jasper summarizing

  • Run the command : Press Ctrl+Enter (or Cmd+Enter on Mac) or click “Run Command” to run the command. Based on your command, Jasper will then generate a summarized or paraphrased version of the provided text. Here’s Jasper’s summarized version of my text:

Jasper text summary

To paraphrase, you’ll use this prompt instead:

  • Use the paraphrasing command : Follow the steps above to access Jasper and paste your content into a document. In a new line, type a command such as “Please paraphrase the above text” or “Rewrite the text above in a witty tone of voice.”

Document-editor-Jasper paraphrasing

Here’s what Jasper gave me. Don’t forget that you can ask the program to rewrite the text in any tone you like (professional, conversational, friendly, etc.)!

Document-editor-Jasper paraphraser

WriteSonic is another AI-powered writing tool that can help you summarize content. To use WriteSonic for summarizing, follow these steps:

  • Open WriteSonic : Visit the WriteSonic website at writesonic.com and log in to your account.
  • Access the writing tools : On your dashboard, you will find various writing tools offered by WriteSonic. Look for the “Content Shorten” tool.

Writesonic Content Shorten

  • Paste the content : Copy the text you want to summarize and paste it into the input box. Make sure the content is well-structured and within WriteSonic’s word limit.
  • Choose summary length : If the tool provides an option to choose the length of the summary, select the desired length according to your needs.
  • Generate the summary : Click the “Generate” button to initiate the summarization process. WriteSonic will then create a summarized version of your text based on the provided information. You can even ask Writesonic to give you multiple different versions of the output.

Here’s what I got from WriteSonic for my summary. I love how it gave me two different lengths!

Content-Shorten-Writesonic

Using WriteSonic to paraphrase content is a straightforward process. Follow these steps to generate a rephrased version of any text:

  • Access the writing tools : On your dashboard, you will find various writing tools offered by WriteSonic. Look for the “Content Rephrase” tool.

Writsonic content rephrase

  • Paste the content : Copy the text you want to paraphrase and paste it into the input box provided in the paraphrasing tool. Make sure the content is well-structured and within WriteSonic’s word limit. You can even add a tone of voice, such as “witty,” “professional,” or “creative.” For this example, I used a witty tone of voice.
  • Generate the paraphrased text : Click the “Generate” button to initiate the paraphrasing process. WriteSonic will then create a paraphrased version of your text based on the provided information. I asked WriteSonic to give me two different versions of the paraphrased text.

Content-Rephrase-Writesonic

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a paraphrase be a summary.

Yes, a paraphrase can be a summary. Paraphrasing is restating someone else’s ideas in your own language. Summarizing involves reducing the essential points of someone else’s work into a shorter form. Both techniques can be used to simplify complex information or ideas.

Is paraphrasing better than summarizing?

Summarizing is generally considered to be a better option than paraphrasing. Summarizing requires you to re-write the material in your own words, but more importantly, it also encourages you to retain only the most critical elements of the original passage. This allows you to process and interpret the material more deeply.

How is summarizing different from paraphrasing?

Summarizing involves condensing an original text into its main idea and expressing it in your own words. In contrast, paraphrasing is recreating an author’s ideas in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. For example, summarizing the story of Romeo and Juliet would include mentioning the essential plot points, while paraphrasing the same story might include restating the dialogue and narration.

What is an example of a paraphrase?

Paraphrasing sentences reframe an original idea into your own words. For example, take the original statement: “Any trip to Italy should include visiting Tuscany to sample their exquisite wines.” The paraphrased material could be: “A journey to Italy wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the exquisite wines of Tuscany.”

What is summary and paraphrasing?

Summarizing and paraphrasing are two strategies used to restate someone else’s ideas in your own words. Summarizing involves condensing the source material into a shorter form. In other words, focusing on only the most important information in a succinct manner. Paraphrasing involves rewriting it with the same level of detail and roughly the same length as the original. In other words, simply restating the entire text in a different way.

Final Thoughts on Paraphrase and Summary

In conclusion, paraphrasing and summarizing are vital techniques for any writer, allowing us to incorporate the ideas of others into our work without copying them directly.

By understanding the critical differences between these methods, mastering the techniques involved, and knowing when to use each, we can enhance our writing and effectively convey the ideas of others.

Remember that proper citation is crucial to avoid plagiarism and maintain our integrity as writers. So, let us embrace these techniques and harness their power to create engaging, informative, and original content.

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Neil Chase is an award-winning, produced screenwriter, independent filmmaker, professional actor, and author of the horror-western novel Iron Dogs. His latest feature film is an apocalyptic thriller called Spin The Wheel.

Neil has been featured on Celtx, No Film School, Script Revolution, Raindance, The Write Practice, Lifewire, and MSN.com, and his work has won awards from Script Summit, ScreamFest, FilmQuest and Cinequest (among others).

Neil believes that all writers have the potential to create great work. His passion is helping writers find their voice and develop their skills so that they can create stories that are entertaining and meaningful. If you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, he's here to help!

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difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

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03.09.16 On the Difference Between Paraphrase & Summary

Paraphrase, Colleen, Erica and I point out in Reading Reconsidered , is not the same as summary. A paraphrase is a restatement of the sentence in simpler, clarified terms that still capture all of the explicit meaning and as much of the connotation as possible.

Slide1

A paraphrase recreates a facsimile of the passage from the narrator’s point of view. A summary describes the passage from the reader’s point of view.

In the book, we use the example of this short passage from To Kill a Mockingbird in which Scout is talking about her Aunt Alexandra who speaks a coded language about the importance of heredity:

I have never understood her preoccupation with heredity. Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was.

We observed that writing something like, “Scout is reflecting on her interpretation of how class was determined, as contrasted to that of her Aunt Alexandra” is not a paraphrase but rather a summary. A paraphrase would not describe the passage but replicate it- it would be written in the first person and take on Scout’s point of view. It might start: “Somehow I had come to believe that respectable people were . . .”

In addition to that a good paraphrase would:

  • Restate all parts of the excerpt in new words—the hard parts as well as the easy parts; the key ideas and the sub-textual ones
  • Mimic the excerpt’s Point of View, perspective and tense (First person versus third person, say; past versus present)
  • Match the excerpt’s tone the degree possible

So it might sound something like this:

“I had come to believe, though I’m not sure when or how, that people of stature were people who lived as wisely and well as they could given their circumstances but Aunt Alexandra believed, though she wouldn’t come out and say it directly, that status was based on how long you had been living on your land.”

Paraphrasing might seem to some like the most straightforward and mundane of activities—banal, even, but if you try to do all of the things we describe to the passage from To Kill a Mockingbird you would likely find that paraphrasing a worthy segment of complex text is a rigorous task. What does it mean that Aunt Alexandra’s opinions about race and class were “obliquely expressed”? What does “Fine Folks” mean and why is it capitalized?

Paraphrasing is a worthy and challenging passage is a worth task in teaching students to deal with challenging text.  In light of that our colleague, Maggie Johnson, put together this training activity.

Close Reading_Paraphrase Activity_2.9

It’s designed to allow teachers to reflect on the difference between paraphrase and summary and to prepare to use them (differently) in their classrooms. I thought I’d share it here in case you found it useful.

difference between paraphrasing and summary writing

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Summarizing vs Paraphrasing: What is the Difference Between?

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Paraphrasing and summarizing both deals with rewriting a piece of content. However, these two are not the same, in fact, there are quite a several differences.

Whether you are a student who writes academic papers or a professional writer who writes informative pieces of content, having a clear understanding of the difference between summarizing and paraphrasing is important.

I have prepared this blog to highlight the key points of summarizing vs paraphrasing so you can form a clear concept of these 2 forms of writing.

Top Tips to Ace Summarizing

Top tips to ace paraphrasing.

  • Content Production Time 

What is Summarizing?

what is summarizing | Summarizing vs paraphrasing

Summarizing is the practice of restating a piece of content (whether a few sentences or a few paragraphs) into shorter forms which gives you the main ideas in a concise way. A summary, though short in length, must contain the key points of that content so users can understand the main ideas of the write-up.

When you should summarize :

Summarizing can be useful in order to :

  • Give a succinct introduction to a subject.
  • Communicate the essence of a long or complicated material in a succinct, effective, and easy-to-understand manner.
  • Highlight the key points in any document, speech, or presentation.
  • Make a convenient resource for future use.
  • Shorten the time required to read something

What advantages does summarizing have?

Summarizing is a popular practice for many reasons. With the aid of a summary,

  • You can quickly and simply get the gist of a book without losing context.
  • Pinpoint key ideas.
  • Provide pertinent information.
  • Identify any knowledge gaps.

Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of the process when you’re ready to summarize:

  • Read the text several times to make sure you comprehend it.
  • Think of the big picture and main ideas
  • Group the main concepts together by looking for links between them. Remove extraneous information.
  • Make an outline and arrange the data in a sensible sequence.
  • Save time by merely summarizing what needs to be spoken.
  • Check the summary’s accuracy, brevity, and clarity.

What is Paraphrasing?

what is paraphrasing | paraphrasing vs summarizing

Rewriting or paraphrasing a text in your own words while preserving the original meaning and message is known as paraphrasing. Paraphrasing aims to provide original content that conveys the main ideas of the original text.

When you should paraphrase:

It’s helpful to paraphrase when you need to:

  • Cite and use details from a different source.
  • Clarify a lengthy, intricate, or challenging passage
  • Your article might use some flare or be presented in a more interesting way.
  • Specifically state or present a different angle on a subject that has already been said
  • Want to increase the content’s quality

What advantages can paraphrase offer?

By paraphrasing you can elevate your content as you can:

  • have a better grasp of the source material
  • explain the original text’s meaning to others
  • come up with new ideas on how to approach the subject
  • develop your writing style, 
  • and of course, avoid plagiarism.

It’s crucial to paraphrase in a manner that is distinct from the source text while still being illustrative and truthful. Here are some pointers to help you begin paraphrasing correctly:

  • Read the source material carefully, then
  • Write in your own words before editing for impact.
  • Add your own interpretation and thoughts to the material.
  • Employ a plagiarism detector

Summarizing vs Paraphrasing: A Quick Overview

What are the differences between summarizing vs paraphrasing.

Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, summarizing and paraphrasing are two independent writing processes with separate purposes.

Let’s examine the primary distinctions between summarizing vs paraphrasing:

Meaning and Definition

Simply put, summarizing is “condensing,” while paraphrasing is “rewriting.” The goal of paraphrasing is to rephrase the original text in a distinctive manner without distorting the original text’s meaning.

Summarizing, on the other hand, conveys the key concepts from a written work in a condensed and clear manner.

Additional Details

While paraphrasing, you should feel free to add your own thoughts, views, examples, perspectives, and key points to the finished product.

Only the essential information should be included in a summary, with little interpretation or personal opinion.

difference of lenth summarizing vs paraphrasing

Length is a vital difference between summarizing and paraphrasing. A paraphrase doesn’t have to be a certain length. It may be slightly shorter, similar in length, or slightly longer than the original text (if you offer insights and instances).

A summary, on the other hand, is a condensed version of the original material and is much shorter than it.

benefits advantage of paraphrasing vs summarizing

The development of critical thinking skills, deeper comprehension of a subject, and perspective-taking are all aided by paraphrasing.

Summarizing is seen to be a more effective technique to convey the main idea of the text to the audience.

Content Production Time 

product time summarizing vs paraphrasing

Last but not least difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is the producing time. Summarizing can be done more quickly than paraphrasing because the writer only needs to concentrate on the most important details.

Frequently Asked Questions

One common thing about summarizing and paraphrasing are in both practice one use someone else’s write-up to represent it in their own way.

Summarizing is often better than paraphrasing because it condenses the main ideas and key points of a text, providing a concise overview of the content. Summarizing retains the core information while reducing redundancy and making the content more accessible and easier to understand.

Paraphrasing should be used when you want to rephrase a specific passage or sentence in your own words while retaining the original meaning. It’s helpful for avoiding plagiarism, clarifying complex ideas, and incorporating quotes smoothly into your writing.

Final words on paraphrasing vs summarizing

The difference between summarizing and paraphrasing lies in the length and information that’s included in each. I hope you have a clearer idea about summarizing vs paraphrasing. Whatever might the difference be, if you deal with content you will need to use both forms.

If you are looking for an efficient way to generate both paraphrasing and summarizing, you can get help from the AI-based content writer GetGenie . This WordPress AI plugin offers outstanding summarizing and paraphrasing templates that produce results within moments.

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Home » Language » Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase

Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase

Main difference – summary vs. paraphrase.

The two terms Summary and Paraphrase often confuse us as both of them refer to similar things. Summary and Paraphrase are two essential writing tools that help us to incorporate other writers ideas and work into our writing. Although we should always use our own ideas in writing, sometimes we need another author’s work to support our arguments or to illustrate a dissimilar opinion. It is summaries and paraphrases that come to our help in such instances. The main difference between summary and paraphrase is that summary involves writing an account of the main points in brief while paraphrase involves expressing the meaning of another text in our words in order to clarify the meaning .

What is a Summary

A summary is an abridged version of a text that only contains the main points . A summary should always contain your own words though you can sometimes use a brief quotation.

The main purpose of a summary is to condense the text into a smaller text. Thus, a summary is essentially shorter than the original text. It should present the original text’s central ideas and concepts clearly and concisely. However, it is possible to omit certain facts that do not relate to your text as long as the meaning of the original text is not distorted.

Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase

What is a Paraphrase

A paraphrase is a piece of writing that expresses the meaning of a text using different words. The main purpose of paraphrasing is achieving greater clarity and understanding. A paraphrase also should be written in your own words, just like in summarizing. This is the most important point you must remember in paraphrasing. You should change the words as well as the sentence structure of the original text. In addition, you must always provide a reference to the original text and author.

A paraphrase must contain all the ideas and concepts included in the original text. This means that we cannot change or omit information. Furthermore, there is no rule saying that a paraphrase has to be shorter than the original text. It can be the same length as the original, or even longer. A paraphrase is definitely shorter than a summary.

Since we have discussed the two writings separately, the difference between summary and paraphrase can be summarized as below.

A summary is a brief statement or account of the main points of a text.

A paraphrase is rewording of a text to clarify the content.

A summary is written in order to condense the text.

A paraphrase is written in order to clarify the text.

A summary is shorter than the original text and paraphrase.

A paraphrase is longer than a summary and sometimes it can be longer than the original test as well.

A summary contains only the main ideas of the original text.

A paraphrase contains all ideas and concepts of the original text.

A summary can be selective; some points can be omitted.

Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase - infographic

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Quotation, paraphrase, summary, learning objectives.

Recognize the difference between quotation, paraphrase, and summary

In research-based academic writing, you should plan to use a variety of sources. Sources help to establish your ethos , or credibility as a writer. While you might use prior knowledge in the drafting stage, it is important to use external sources to back up your claims when writing a research paper. There are three common strategies to display sources in your writing: quotation, paraphrase, and summary.

  • Quoting text:  copying the source’s exact words and marking them off with quotation marks or in a block quote
  • Paraphrasing text:  representing the source’s ideas in your own words (without quotation marks)
  • Summarizing text:  representing the source’s main ideas in your own words (without quotation marks)

Let’s review quotation, paraphrase, and summary by considering this chart:

From this chart, we can conclude that:

  •         Writers employ quotations when the original wording is particularly telling or important.
  •         Writers paraphrase to maintain their own voice while integrating source content.
  •         Writers summarize when needing to explain the main idea or major details of a long source.

Choose a direct quote  when it is more likely to be accurate than would summarizing or paraphrasing, when what you’re quoting is the text you’re analyzing, when a direct quote is more concise that a summary or paraphrase would be and conciseness matters, when the author is a particular authority whose exact words would lend credence to your argument, and when the author has used particularly effective language that is just too good to pass up.

Choose to paraphrase or summarize  rather than to quote directly when the meaning is more important than the particular language the author used.

Choose to paraphrase instead of summarizing  when you need details and specificity. Paraphrasing lets you emphasize the ideas in source materials that are most related to your term paper or essay instead of the exact language the author used. It also lets you simplify complex material, sometimes rewording to use language that is more understandable to your reader.

Choose to summarize instead of paraphrasing  when you need to provide a brief overview of a larger text. Summaries let you condense the resource material to draw out particular points, omit unrelated or unimportant points, and simplify how the author conveyed his or her message.

  • When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize . Provided by : Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries. Project : Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing. Authored by : Jordan Smith. Located at : https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/communicationatwork/chapter/3-4-using-source-text-quoting-paraphrasing-and-summarizing/ . Project : Communication at Work. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Difference between quotation, paraphrase, and summary. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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Paraphrasing & Summarizing

Paraphrasing VS. Summarizing: Reveal the Difference

Imagine that you are working in a multinational company. Your supervisor asks you to survey the market and deliver a report on the performance of a particular product. Now, you need to meet different individuals from the market and listen to their opinions about the products. You can also request them to share their views in written form. Once you get enough textual information, you need to summarize it to make an accurate final report that can be delivered to your supervisor. However, many people get confused between summarizing and paraphrasing and consider both the same. Therefore, in today’s article, we will focus on these terms and determine the major differences between them. So, stick to the article till the end to get the most out of it.

Paraphrasing

Using your own words to interpret the information or ideas shared by someone else is known as paraphrasing. Explaining the concept in your words will help you deliver the information effectively and make it more understandable to your audiences. It is also important to mention here that the whole process excludes the duplication of the content at any level. It is just like you get the hint from an article and transform it into your own words. There are various reasons for paraphrasing content. People paraphrase text to explain a point, give depth to their content, or don’t want to quote anyone in the article. It is also used to simplify the work of others and to uplift the article’s readability, and make it more exoteric.

Summarizing

When you have lengthy data and need to focus on the main idea of the content, you will try to highlight the crucial points only that can elaborate the whole concept. This process is known as summarizing. The summary of the content is shorter than the original content but includes all the important points. The summarization of an article excludes the explanation but includes the major headings or the basic idea of the information. A summary is mostly used to explain the main idea of the content or give an overview of the article. It is also used when your supervisor or teacher asks about the idea you want to convey.

Major Differences Between Paraphrasing and Summarizing

The primary difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is in functionalities. A summary restates the major points of the whole content and explains the idea, so it becomes easier for the reader to understand it effectively. Summarizing doesn’t mean that you have to restate all the information mentioned in the content. You only need to highlight the main points that can demonstrate the idea of the entire article. It is also important to state here that a summary of the content is always short than the source text. In contrast, paraphrases assist in simplifying a passage. You are required to discuss every piece of information the writer has mentioned in the original content. There is also no restriction about the length of the text, as a paraphrased material can be longer than the actual writing.

In paraphrasing, you read the idea of the content, understand it, and convey it in your own words. However, there should be no missing piece, and each piece of information must be covered while paraphrasing textual information.

Final Thoughts

Writing is a vast term, and it incorporates different types. All you need is to have a firm grip over them. However, paraphrasing and summarizing are two significant aspects of writing that help an individual to explain an idea effectively. Many people often argue that both of them are more or less the same, but that isn’t true. This blog will help you get familiar with the importance of paraphrasing and summarizing and the major difference between them.

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Paraphrase and Summary

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).

Written by Jerry Plotnick, Director, University College Writing Centre

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COMMENTS

  1. 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

  2. Paraphrase and Summary

    Paraphrases are used for short passages and specific claims in an argument, while summaries are used for entire pieces and focus on capturing the big picture of an argument. Both should be cited using the appropriate format (MLA, APA, etc.). See KU Writing Center guides on APA Formatting, Chicago Formatting, and MLA Formatting for more information.

  3. Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

    Using paper checkers responsibly Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author. Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words.

  4. Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing (Differences, Examples, How To)

    Home / Examples / October 19, 2022 Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing (Differences, Examples, How To) It can be confusing to know when to paraphrase and when to summarize. Many people use the terms interchangeably even though the two have different meanings and uses.

  5. Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase (with Comparison Chart)

    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.

  6. Paraphrase and Summary

    Fair-Use Policy 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.

  7. Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing: What's The Difference?

    Another difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is the length of the piece of writing that results from each process. When people paraphrase a written document, the paraphrased document usually ends up being a similar length to the original piece. Similarly, if someone paraphrases the events of a meeting or presentation, the length of ...

  8. Paraphrasing and Summary

    Whether you are writing for the workplace or for academic purposes, you will need to research and incorporate the writing of others into your own texts. Two unavoidable steps in that process are paraphrasing (changing the language into your own) and summarizing (getting rid of smaller details and leaving only the primary points).

  9. Paraphrase vs. Summary

    The reader is correct. A summary is a brief summing up of the main points of a statement or narrative. A paraphrase is the rewording of something written or spoken, especially with the aim of making the sense clearer. A paraphrase may be longer, shorter, or of the same length as the original passage. I'll give examples of each, using familiar ...

  10. Quoting, Paraphrasing, & 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.

  11. What Is the Difference Between Paraphrasing and Summarizing?

    Sarah Joy Dec 13, 2022 • 10 min read Marketing Writing Careers Freelancing Many people confuse paraphrasing and summarizing. There's a difference. Knowing the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is an important writing skill. Another important writing skill is knowing what plagiarism is and how to make sure you aren't plagiarizing.

  12. Paraphrasing Vs. Summarizing: Knowing The Difference

    Writers who write informative or academic papers will need to understand the difference between paraphrasing vs. summarizing. Learn more in this article. Paraphrasing and summarizing are similar writing techniques where an author takes an original passage and puts it into their own words without using the author's exact words.

  13. Paraphrasing Vs. Summarizing: The Difference And Best Examples

    > Paraphrasing Vs. Summarizing: The Difference And Best Examples Paraphrasing Vs. Summarizing: The Difference And Best Examples Are you frequently confused about the distinction between paraphrasing and summarizing and their purpose?

  14. What is the difference between quotation, paraphrase, and summary

    Definitions Quotation reproduces a statement word-for-word as it appears in its original source Paraphrase explains a statement by using your own words and sentence structure Summary explains a statement using your words, but typically condenses a larger statement into a shorter explanation How to decide which approach to use

  15. Differences in a Paraphrase, Summary, and Précis

    One paraphrase of, "To be, or not to be / That is the question," is: "I am asking myself whether I should decide to go on living, or kill myself, and this may be 'the question' in terms of all existence. Should humanity bother to keep on going or just snuff it?" A paraphrase may also be much shorter. One paraphrase of:

  16. Comparing Summary vs Paraphrase

    Understanding Summarizing Key Differences Between Paraphrasing vs Summarizing Tips for Effective Paraphrasing vs Summarizing When to Use Paraphrasing vs Summarizing Appropriate Situations for Paraphrasing Appropriate Situations for Summarizing Avoiding Plagiarism with Proper Citation Real-Life Examples of Paraphrasing and Summarizing

  17. On the Difference Between Paraphrase & Summary

    A paraphrase is a restatement of the sentence in simpler, clarified terms that still capture all of the explicit meaning and as much of the connotation as possible. A paraphrase recreates a facsimile of the passage from the narrator's point of view. A summary describes the passage from the reader's point of view.

  18. Summarizing vs. Paraphrasing: Differences and Similarities

    Written by Caleb S. Difference Between Summarizing And Paraphrasing 12 min read Published on: Oct 14, 2023 Last updated on: Oct 14, 2023 Have you ever felt confused when your teacher asks you to summarize or paraphrase something? It can be like trying to solve a tricky puzzle, and you're not sure where to start.

  19. Summarizing vs Paraphrasing : What is the Difference Between?

    Meaning and Definition. Simply put, summarizing is "condensing," while paraphrasing is "rewriting.". The goal of paraphrasing is to rephrase the original text in a distinctive manner without distorting the original text's meaning. Summarizing, on the other hand, conveys the key concepts from a written work in a condensed and clear manner.

  20. Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase

    The main difference between summary and paraphrase is that summary involves writing an account of the main points in brief while paraphrase involves expressing the meaning of another text in our words in order to clarify the meaning. What is a Summary A summary is an abridged version of a text that only contains the main points.

  21. Quotation, Paraphrase, Summary

    Writers employ quotations when the original wording is particularly telling or important. Writers paraphrase to maintain their own voice while integrating source content. Writers summarize when needing to explain the main idea or major details of a long source.

  22. Paraphrasing VS. Summarizing: Reveal the Difference

    The primary difference between paraphrasing and summarizing is in functionalities. A summary restates the major points of the whole content and explains the idea, so it becomes easier for the reader to understand it effectively. Summarizing doesn't mean that you have to restate all the information mentioned in the content.

  23. Paraphrase and Summary: University College Writing Handouts

    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 ...