What is the difference between summarizing, paraphrasing and quotation?


Summarizing is summing up a work or passage concisely using key points. 


Paraphrasing is translating a full passage into your own words and responding or expanding upon what was written originally. 

Some tips for paraphrasing properly include:

  • Selecting only important details to include
  • Read the passage and then think about how you would explain it in your own words to someone else and write it down without the passage in front of you
  • Remember to change both sentence structure and words, not just one or the other. 


Here is an example of what improper and proper paraphrasing looks like:




"Physical therapists may move from their professional roles in patient care to their first managerial positions without much preparation for their new duties."2​




Physical therapists may be ill prepared to take on the role of manager when they have only worked one on one with patients.​




Physical therapists may transition from patient care to a manager position without training for this job.


Quoting is taking the exact words the author or source uses and putting quotation marks to show what the quote is. 


All three need to be cited properly and be done properly to avoid plagiarism. You can still plagiarize when you paraphrase even if you include a citation. All three should also not be overused in your paper. 


For more information on direct quotation versus paraphrasing, check out this handout from the Writing Center and visit the Writing Center for help with this.

If you need further help, contact a librarian.


  • Last Updated Apr 16, 2024
  • Views 2545
  • Answered By Elizabeth Clarke

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