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ENGL 020 Cuyamaca College Paraphrasing vs Quoting Summary

ENGL 020 Cuyamaca College Paraphrasing vs Quoting Summary

Question Description


Step 1:

Please read the information below on paraphrasing vs quoting.

This week, we have read a few articles. Later in the unit, we may use these articles as we write our own reflections and essays. Once you understand the ideas you are reading, you need to account for them in your own writing. Here is how:


Summarizing is the tool in writing which is used when you need the main idea of the text. It is a condensed form of the written text in your own words with only the highlights of the text. A summary is much shorter than the original text. It excludes the explanation of the text. Only the main idea or the basic information is included.
Summarizing is used to refer to work that culminates into the present writing that you are doing. It is sometimes used when you want to draw attention to an important point. It is also applicable when you want to distance yourself from the original text.

Summarizing is used:

When only the main ideas of the writer are to be identified.
When only an overview of the whole work is required.
When simplification is required.
When only the main highlights of the work have to be mentioned.


To paraphrase means to translate someone else’s ideas into your own words. Thus, with a paraphrase, you are still citing someone else’s ideas in your writing, and this is a critical aspect of academic writing.

The benefit of paraphrasing is that you keep control over the writing in your essay. Now, I’m not a control freak or anything, but remember that your essay is just that—your essay. Not Jane’s or Jack’s or anyone else’s. Those people, most likely, have published many things before. This is your chance to share your opinion and develop your critical perspective.

And even if you’re not entirely interested in developing a critical perspective, paraphrasing helps you maintain the focus of your essay. By definition, paraphrasing involves shortening—cutting words that are not relevant to your point at hand. That is a powerful thing as a writer. You are still citing the ideas of someone else, but there is editorial judgement involved, because you must make decisions about what must stay and what can go. Paraphrasing is an important tool for academic writers because it allows you to get rid of the ideas not immediately relevant to your point at hand, but keep the ideas that are. This editorial judgement, however, should be done in an ethical way, meaning that you accurately present the original writer’s ideas and do not make them sound different than they actually are.


1.Paraphrasing is writing any particular text in your own words while summarizing is mentioning only the main points of any work in your own words.
2.Paraphrasing is almost equal to or somewhat less than the original text while summarizing is substantially shorter than the original.
3.Paraphrasing may be done for the purpose of simplifying the original work while summarizing is done to mention only the major points without any kind of explanation about the matter.

Quotation vs. Paraphrase

If someone’s ideas but not his/her exact words are important to your point, you should paraphrase rather than quote. A paraphrase should not change the ideas but it can eliminate or change words, often in order to condense a long sentence that contains details unnecessary to your point.

Quotation: In the short story “Thanks for the Ride,” Arnold Friend threatens Connie, the protagonist, by saying: “You come out here like a nice lady and give me your hand, and nobody else gets hurt, I mean your nice bald-headed daddy and your mummy and your sister in her high heels” (3).

Paraphrase: In the short story “Thanks for the Ride,” Arnold Friend warns Connie, the protagonist, that he will hurt her mother, father and sister if she doesn’t do what he wants.

Guidelines for selecting a quotation:

Before you decide to use a quotation, ask yourself this question: Why am I using this passage? If you answer one of the following statements in the affirmative, you should use a direct quotation, not a paraphrase:

  • I am quoting this passage because the author’s words are so impressive or so clever that to put them in my own words would lessen their impact.
  • I am quoting this passage because the author’s words are so precise that to put them in my own words would change their meaning.
  • I am quoting this passage because the author’s words are so concise that I would need twice as many words to paraphrase this passage.

If you answer “No” to those questions, you should paraphrase.

Now that you understand the distinction between summaries, quotations, and paraphrases, you are well on your way to writing from readings, or writing academically. The important idea from this section to remember is that academic writing does not happen in a vacuum or on an island (to mix metaphors). It is always in response to some kind of text or idea. Thus, it is critical that academic writers (i.e. students, YOU) cite those ideas in their own writing, using direct quotations and paraphrases, and then respond to those ideas. This process is known as an “academic conversation.”

Step 2:

In a short journal (3-5 sentences), tell me what you understand about the difference between paraphrasing and quoting.

Submission Instructions:

Follow these steps:

  • Click on “Submit Assignment.”
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By answering the prompt below in at least 3-5 sentences and submitting your homework to Canvas, you will receive a “Complete” for this assignment.

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