The Role of Quotations, Summaries and Paraphrases

Quote vs. Paraphrase vs. Summary

There are written assignments that require students not only to express their own thoughts and attitudes but support their arguments by thoughts of authoritative authors. If this is what you need to do with your writing, remember that there are several ways to introduce the sayings of other people into your text – direct quotation, paraphrasing, or summarizing them. This article will teach how to apply these methods in your writing, and when each of them is better to use.

Before we proceed to defining the peculiarities and differences between these three methods, let’s see what they are used for in writing. You should use quotations, summaries, and paraphrasing if you want to link your own ideas and thoughts on a certain subject to the thoughts and ideas of authoritative authors who have published their works. Here is how your writing benefits if you use the abovementioned methods:

  • You put your writing into a wider academic/social context. For example, if you need some background information or clarification, you can discuss the source.
  • You increase the credibility of your writing. It means that when you mention authoritative authors in your papers, it means that you conducted thorough research on your topic and base your arguments on proved facts.
  • You add complexity to your arguments. The more your arguments are complex; the more interesting they look to the audience. This can be achieved by adding evidence that both support and contradict your opinion.
  • You add reliable, supportive arguments. You make your arguments more trustworthy when you quote other reliable sources, their opinions. 

Choosing an Appropriate Method for Your Case

If you plan to compose a powerful winning paper, you need to use the abovementioned methods or some of them. But before you start inserting them in your text, you should know the peculiarities of each of them to use them properly.  

What is a summary

Summaries have a smaller volume than their original. They are a general overview of their source. When you insert a summary, you cite it with an in-text citation. Do not forget to include it on your reference page. 

Use summary when:

  • You want to provide some background or overview on the given topic
  • You want to show you are not the only one who addressed this topic 
  • You want to single out main ideas from one source 

What is paraphrasing

Paraphrasing means that you present somebody else’s idea with your own words. Remember, it is not just replacing a couple of words or changing their order. You really need to paraphrase the whole thing and present it in your words, give your understanding of it. When using paraphrasing, use in-text citations. And do not forget to add it to your reference page. 

Use paraphrasing when: 

  • A section in your text needs clarification
  • You don’t want to use too many quotations
  • A direct quote is not needed for explaining something
  • Main points in the section need to be explained

What is a quotation

A quote is an exact saying of its author rendered word for word without changes. To insert a quote in the text, use quotation marks. Remember to cite them both with in-text quotations and on the reference page.

Quotes are used when:

  • You want to emphasize somebody else’s research the same topic you work on
  • You want to compare different points of view 
  • You want powerful support for your argument in the form of words by an authority’s author
  • You want to express your disagreement with the author 
  • You need to emphasize some important sections in your work

Quote vs. Paraphrase vs. Summary

Whichever you choose to apply in your writing, you will be using citations. If you cite the words of another author in the wrong way, this will be considered plagiarism. When you cite properly and add a reference to the original source, no one will blame you for plagiarism. To avoid such an unpleasant outcome, you should know the rules when and how each technique is used.  

Quotes vs. Paraphrasing

The easiest way to use the original source is quoting. You just copy the author’s words exactly how they are. However, you cannot use as many quotes as you wish. You will probably receive requirements with your assignment, where they say that direct quotes should not exceed 10% of your writing. This is not a caprice of your supervisor. It will help your paper remain original. Remember, those quotes are not used instead of your own ideas. They are used to support or contradict your opinion. 

Paraphrasing is the opposite of a quotation. You don’t use direct words of the author, but rewrite them with your own words, just how you understand them. This should be a good rewording, not just substituting some words in the original. This came at handy when direct quotes reached its limit. 

Summary vs. Paraphrasing

None of this renders the direct words of their author. What you are allowed to do is take the phrase or sentences or passage you like and render its main idea with the words of your own.

How do summary and paraphrasing differ?

Paraphrase often has approximately the same length as the original message. You can stick to the author’s direct words close, but still, use your own words to express the main idea. Paraphrasing can show your knowledge of the sources of the material you use for your writing. 

A summary is usually shorter than the original message. You neither use direct words of the author of the original saying nor render all the ideas it contains. You briefly sum up the message and emphasize those points that you can use for the benefit of your writing, is which closely relate to your topic and your point of view. In summary, you are allowed to mention an article or a book form which this material was taken. 

No matter which method you prefer using in your writing, you should always use it properly. Remember to add citations inside the text and mention the source on your reference page.

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