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Quoting: Paraphrasing

Information about how to incorporate the words of others into a paper

Benefits of Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing can help you prevent overuse of direct quotations and it can be more concise than quoting.

Paraphrasing can help you think about and understand the text that you are paraphrasing. When you rephrase another person’s idea, it forces you to think about what that person is really saying.

When to Paraphrase

Preserve the Meaning

You can paraphrase when you are able to reword the author’s idea without changing the meaning.

When Only the Information is Important

You should paraphrase when you want to express an idea from a source but the source is not particularly noteworthy or the way the passage is phrased is not especially unique or impactful.

To Support Your Argument

Use paraphrases in the body of your paper in order to back up your thesis; make sure all of the ideas that you use are relevant to the point that you are trying to make.

Understand the Source

Make sure you know and understand what the author is saying before you rephrase; be accurate.If you cannot change the words without changing the meaning, use a direct quote instead.

Use Completely Different Wording and Phrasing

Be sure that your word choice, phrasing, and sentence structure are completely different from that of the original source. Also, make sure you explain or expound upon the information that you use.


 Paraphrasing is taking the main idea from a source material, rewriting it with your own wording and style.

Good Paraphrase Example

Original Quote

“In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself.”


According to Franklin, pride is the most difficult vice to defeat; no matter how hard one tries to overcome it, it keeps returning.

Paraphrasing Guidelines

Introduce Your Paraphrases

It is a good idea to introduce your paraphrases using attributive tags in order to make it obvious that you are borrowing ideas from another person rather than coming up with them on your own.

Example: Benjamin Franklin believes that . . .

Use Proper Citation

Cite your paraphrases. Even if you are not taking something from your source word-for-word, you are still borrowing someone else’s thought/idea and you need to give credit where credit is due. 

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Combining Quoting and Paraphrasing

 Quoting and paraphrasing can be combined; one way of doing this is paraphrasing most of the passage but including key words or phrases directly from the source (but be sure to put these in quotation marks).

Example: Franklin implies that it takes greater intelligence to be honest than to rely on “tricks” and “treachery”.