Quote vs Paraphrase vs Summary

Quote vs Paraphrase vs Summary: Improve Your Writing Proficiency!

If you are a student, you are probably working with multiple writing assignments on a daily basis. If you have worked on a research paper, you probably know that reaching success with this paper is impossible without the thorough work with the authoritative research findings presenting them within the body of your paper. These findings can be presented in three different ways: paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing. If you find it difficult to understand the main differences between quote vs paraphrase vs summary, then our handy manual will greatly help you. We have collected many handy tips and suggestions that will help you tackle your research assignment without any problems. The main thing you should know about these three ways of presenting the ideas of other scholars is that quoting allows you to cite the idea of another author without its changing, whereas paraphrasing and summarizing focus on your interpretation of the ideas of other scholars.

Why Do You Need to Use Paraphrases, Quotations, and Summaries?

Before we discuss the difference between quotation paraphrase and summary, it is important to understand their role in academic writing. Quotes, paraphrases, and summaries are the methods which enable the student to relate his or her original writing with the sources published by other authors. Using any of these methods may help the author put his or her ideas into a good way, as well as provide the writer with a number of other benefits, which are as follows:

  • Analyzing the argument into a larger context. Using the ideas of other people, you will find it easier to provide you reader with the accurate background information necessary for contextualizing your topic;
  • Boost your paper’s credibility. By mentioning what outcomes other scholars or thinkers have reached on your topic, you will find it easier to prove the value of your study;
  • Making your arguments more important. Supporting your arguments with credible research information, you will add complexity to them making them more appealing and interesting for your reader;
  • Supporting your arguments. Including recent statistics, valid facts, and expert’s ideas, you will be able to make your assumptions more trustworthy.

Despite some obvious outcomes of these methods, the student should clearly understand the differences between quoting vs paraphrase vs summary. Le’s help you with it.

What Are the Main Differences of Quote vs Paraphrase vs Summary?

  • Assumes copy-pasting sentences or even whole passages from the original texts;
  • Implies the use of quotation marks;
  • In-text citations should be cited according to the specific formatting style (MLA, APA, IEEE, CMS, Harvard, etc.).
  • Assumes putting the ideas of other people using your own words;
  • Allows changing the words from the original sources keeping the overall meaning of the text;
  • In-text citations should be cited according to the specific formatting style (MLA, APA, IEEE, CMS, Harvard, etc.).
  • Assumes stating the main ideas taken from other sources into own words;
  • Presents the general overview of the source keeping the overall meaning of the text;
  • In-text citations should be cited according to the specific formatting style (MLA, APA, IEEE, CMS, Harvard, etc.).

How to Choose the Right Method?

A professional writer always combines all three methods. Nevertheless, it is necessary to understand that each of these methods has its own characteristic peculiarities, which should be considered when writing a paper. Below, you will find a detailed explanation when one method is better than another one:

You need to use a quotation when:
  • The author’s words are particularly important because of the meaning they carry;
  • The author’s argument is presented very briefly and conveys the idea in the best way;
  • Summarizing or paraphrasing would change the original meaning;
You need to use paraphrasing when:
  • The original author’s ideas are too difficult to understand and proper simplification can improve the situation;
  • You need to provide your reflection on the author’s ideas;
  • Writer’s ideas should be presented in a different way than they appear in the primary source;
  • You need to emphasize how your ideas are different from the ones suggested in the original text;
You need to summarize when:
  • It is better to omit the irrelevant information focusing only on the facts that are important for your study;
  • The text of the primary source is very complex and proper simplification is needed;
  • Your reader is familiar with the content of the primary source and you want just to refresh his or her memories;
  • Instead of telling a whole story, you want to briefly familiarize the reader with the content of the original source.

Quote vs Paraphrase vs Summary: Practical Use

No matter what method you prefer, it will probably include citations. You should not underestimate their importance because it may lead to plagiarism. By citing the works you have used in your paper in an appropriate way, you will be able to achieve the best learning outcomes. Let’s have a closer look at the main methods of presenting the ideas of other people:


A quotation is the simplest way to inform your reader about the ideas expressed by other scholars. You just need to copy this idea and paste it in your paper citing it in accordance with the formatting style requested by your professor. However, you should understand that by putting too many quotes in your paper, you won’t be able to receive a good grade. Many professors limit the use of quotes to 10% of the text because they want to see your original ideas as well. Also, when using the quote, you should not write it separately from your arguments because its primary purpose is to back up your own ideas.

Summary vs Paraphrase

When it comes to summarizing and paraphrasing, you need to use your own words in both cases. Neither one method nor another allows borrowing the ideas of other researchers in a word-by-word way. If you are going to use any of these methods, you should just borrow the ideas stated by other researchers but put them in your own words. Although the summary and paraphrase are pretty similar, you should also know that they have a couple of features that make them different. So, what is the difference between paraphrase and summary?

A paraphrase often has the length similar to the length of the original idea whereas a paraphrase aims to make the original idea shorter. Unlike a summary, the content of the paraphrase is pretty close to the content of the source. Paraphrasing is a particularly efficient method of using the ideas of other people as it allows seeing how well you understand the material. Summarizing allows the student to extract their own points, which are necessary for understanding their ideas.

No matter if you need to quote, summarize, or paraphrase the material, you should put all of the sources used for writing your paper in your reference list. Writing their papers, these authors deserve to be mentioned when you use them. Pay attention that the way your reference list will look greatly depends on the formatting style requested by your teacher.

Quoting Example in APA Style

“Jay Gatsby is a clear representation of the concept of American Dream popular in the US society.” (Mitchel, 2016, p.44)

Paraphrasing Example

Mia Mitchel admits that Jay Gatsby has all the characteristic features for being a typical representative of the American Dream generation.

Summarizing Example

The concept of the American dream was widely discussed in many works. However, according to Mia Mitchel, Jay Gatsby created by Francis Scott Fitzgerald is the brightest representative of this concept.

We assure you that using our summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting worksheet, you will be able to cope with your academic assignments without any extra effort. Follow our suggestions and boost your own writing skills!

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