Quoting, Paraphrase, and Summarizing: Which Is Better?

September 24th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

What Is Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing?

Quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing are critical to everyday writing. Right from schools to research institutions to newspapers to articles, ideas are borrowed from various places and regenerated everywhere. Thus it is necessary to get an idea of what these terms.


Quotations are word to word representations of any original document. They are identical to the original source segment that is used in an article. Hence, the paragraph or phrase is put inside quotation marks.

It implies that it has been copied from somewhere else. The text must be attributed to the original author and the source cited at the end of the article.

summarizing and paraphrasing, Quotations

However, in a few writing styles, the author has to provide in-text references alongside the quotation. In other forms, footnotes are provided against it.


It involves describing a passage or a part of the source material in one’s own words. Even while paraphrasing, the source must be cited. Paraphrased material is usually a shorter version of the original passage, and in essence, is a condensed sum- up in a broader sense of the material.


It involves putting the main ideas into one’s own words while brushing over only the main points. Although it has been rewritten in a condensed form in someone’s own words, the summarized text needs to be attributed to the source.

Summaries are significantly shorter than the original material. However, since they use the idea of the primary material, it is essential to cite the source as the idea is being replicated directly.

summarizing and paraphrasing, Summarizing

There are many summarizing and paraphrasing tools and summary generator available online for this purpose.

One can definitely use the summarizing tool. Without plagiarizing the text, it can summarize the whole document, but that’s a shortcut one should never resort to, as it will at some point of time betray them. Hence, everyone should invest a little time to write an original piece of article.

Does Citation Prevents Plagiarism?

It is important to cite sources of materials when writing an article or paper because otherwise, the article may get flagged down for plagiarism.

How Does Citation Prevent Plagiarism?

What is plagiarism? Well, plagiarism is stealing someone else’s words, ideas, research without due acknowledgment or citation. It is passing off of duplicate works as originals.

Professionals, academicians, and students need to know that plagiarism can have career-ending consequences. Hence, it is best to write an article without plagiarizing.

Also, one would be surprised to know that self-plagiarism (when someone’s own previously published work is used as new material) is the most common of the various types of plagiarism existent.

Citation is the only way to go clean and produce an original paper. Borrowing someone else’s work to establishing an argument is not work. Students in schools and universities and researchers and authors, in general, need to borrow ideas and relevant phrases from other articles.

Why People Take Resources From Others Work?

It can be to prove a point, to establish an argument, or to complete an assignment. Everyone at some point in their academic life or career has taken resources from other’s work. And that is not an offense.

However, suppose the source of this copied content is not cited. Well, then it is a severe offense that implies that the original idea is being stolen and regenerated in another person’s work or a research paper.

It gives the impression that the idea has originated from him or her. And that is why it is always safe to cite sources not only for writing but also for diagrams. Citation helps the author to give credit to those who have supported the researcher to establish their argument.

Which Is a Better Option?

So, out of quotation, summarizing, and paraphrasing which is the best option to use?

The answer to this depends on the context. There are times when it is necessary to quote, but there are times when it can be paraphrased. Thus it is up to the discretion of the author when to use which form of copying text and integrating someone else’s ideas into their text.

Summaries are necessarily a broad overview of the source material in someone’s own words. They are shorter than the original text.

It is necessary to summarize when:

  • There is a need to establish background or sketch up a general an overview of a topic
  •  Borrow ideas from several sources about a topic and present it in a concise easy to read manner
  • Presenting the essential points of a single article

Online summarizing tools can make the short, precise summary without plagiarising and summary makers. It helps write a summary in no time. Many such tools can summarize online as these free summarizers use advanced technologies to summarize an article.

summarizing and paraphrasing, paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is stating a passage in one’s own words. Paraphrasing means significantly changing the words, phrasing, and sentence structure, not just a few sentences in the passage.

It is necessary to paraphrase when:

  • Providing a clarification for a short paragraph from a text which is usually too long to quote
  • Avoiding overusing of quotations to make the article appear more genuine and well researched while not missing out on any point
  • Explaining a point where the main idea needs to be conveyed, wording, or writing style is unimportant.
  • Elucidating the essential ideas of an article
  • Reporting numerical data or statistics when preparing surveyed or research papers

Quotations imply that the words of an author are copied verbatim, directly from the original passage and placed within quotation marks.

It is essential to use quotations when:

  • It is needed to directly use the author’s words to add value to the text and support any argument made. It can also be used to contradict the author’s argument by negating his or her statement.
  • Bring to light particularly significant parts of the text that add value to the article or make it sound good.
  • While referring to various texts to compare different points of views of different authors becomes essential. If others had previously carried out the research, or any researcher’s previously published work contains necessary points that need to be highlighted.

Hence an author needs to understand that context and use any three among quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing in a prudent manner. But it is important to remember to cite sources as otherwise, it counts as plagiarism.

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