Differences Between Paraphrasing, Quoting And Summarizing

Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Summarizing – all three play significant roles in writing. By understanding their roles and differences, you can efficiently use them in your academic or blog writing.

First, let’s define Paraphrasing, Quoting and Summarizing.


Paraphrasing is the act of restating someone’s speech or written words in your own words. The aim of paraphrasing is to express the same idea in a unique voice.

Paraphrasing is very important in academic writing as well as in blogging and other professional content writing.


Original text: Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

    – Bernard M. Baruch

Paraphrased text: Be yourself and express yourself, since those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.


Quoting refers to stating someone’s partial or entire speech or written words word by word.

Quoting plays a significant role in writing or speaking. Quoting supports your content with an authoritative and strong statement from the original source.


You must not copy others and lie about your feelings. The only thing that matters is being truthful about your feelings, as the American statesman Bernard M. Baruch has famously said be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.


Summarizing means making an overview of a text. The goal of summarizing is to minimize or reduce a text to its main idea and drop the less important parts.

Difference between paraphrasing, quoting and summarizing

Attributes of paraphrasing

  • Refers to rewriting a statement in your own words.
  • Doesn’t match the source word by word but matches the main idea.
  • You can paraphrase by either changing the words, or phrases with their suitable synonyms or abstractly changing the whole passage while keeping the main idea intact.
  • Paraphrasing is also known as rewriting, restating, and rephrasing.

Attributes of Quoting

  • Involves taking the source text word by word.
  • The quoted text must be written inside quotation marks or in italic font to set it apart from the rest of the text.
  • Should mention the original source along with the quote if available.
  • Quotes are also known as excerpts, and figments.

Attributes of Summarizing

  • Reduces the entire text into a short version that only includes the main idea.
  • Does not involve using the source text word for word.
  • Should be attributed to the original origin.
  • A summary is also known as an overview, synopsis, outline, or abstract.

Paraphrasing, quoting and summarizing – when to use them

When to paraphrase –

  • When you don’t want to or don’t have the option to use a direct quotation.
  • Writing that demands creativity and uniqueness.
  • To avoid plagiarism/copyright claims.
  • To express someone else’s ideas or words in your own way.

When to quote –

  • To make a text powerful and credible by using the author’s original words.
  • When exact words are better suited than your own words.
  • When you want to create the same vibe in your text as the original author’s text did.
  • To discuss or showcase the author’s position or stand on a topic.
  • To support your own text.

When to summarize –

  • To express an idea by only including the main points and leaving out the details.
  • To support your idea by inserting the original author’s statement but in brief words.

You can improve your academic or content writing greatly by wisely incorporating paraphrasing, quoting and summarizing in your text as needed. Whether you want to succeed in your university work or other professional writing field, these three powerful writing components can be your best friends.

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