Paraphrasing vs Summarizing: Difference Explained

When we write an essay, paper or even a dissertation or thesis we will want to refer to ideas that other researchers and authors have developed and written about. However, our writing should not just be a series of cut and paste quotes of what others have written with minimal input from ourselves. We should only ever use a direct reference from another’s work if what they say needs to be delivered in their own words for impact on your own writing to success. Otherwise, we should compare summarizing vs paraphrasing and choose what we need to write what the other person has to say. But what is the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing in your writing?


What Is the Difference Between Paraphrasing and Summarizing?

When you are looking at the difference between summarizing and paraphrasing it will help to understand what each is and what they are used for. Summing-up is repeating the main points of a piece of writing in your own words, usually in a highly condensed version. It is not unusual to reduce whole sections into single paragraphs or less. We use a summary when we want to:

  • Only communicate the main ideas of the writer.
  • Only provide an overview of a piece of work.
  • When we need to heavily simplify something.
  • When we want to only draw attention to the main point.

Quoting is typically used in support of your own writing and to provide credibility to what you are writing about. It is taking an idea and then repeating that in your own very unique words that reflect the purpose and style of your writing. The changed text will be of a similar length as the original. We use it in an essay when we:

  • Want to provide the same level of detail as the original text
  • To simplify or improve the original text
  • To make it better focused on our audience
  • To use when we cannot directly quote the source

difference between paraphrasing and summarizing

The following table will show you briefly the difference between paraphrasing vs summarizing:

Summary Paraphrase
Much shorter in length than the original Of a similar length to the original
Reflects only the main points of the original Reflects the full level of detail of the original
Avoids Plagiarism Avoids Plagiarism
Requires a citation Requires a citation

If you are looking for help with writing your own paper and are not sure about which you should use or how you should write them we can help. Our writing experts know how to provide the perfect summarizing and paraphrasing worksheets. They are higher degree educated English speakers with many years of experience in providing academic papers. Summarizing and paraphrasing help the writer to provide highly unique writing that is free of plagiarism and errors.

If you’re not sure of the difference between these definitions and need help just contact our experts today!