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BI308 - Systemic Microbiology

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is...

  • When you write what you read in your own words.

  • It is a summary but also a restatement of a main aspect that is relevant to your information need. 

Remember you...

  • still have to cite!
  • need to change the structure of the sentence, you can't just change a word or two in the original sentence.
  • should look away from the source when you write your paraphrase
  • put quotation marks when you use three or more words from the original source in your paraphrase.

(Purdue Owl, "Paraphrasing Exercise", 2010)

Summarizing, Quotations, and Paraphrasing


Is when you use quotation marks around the identical words from a source. The words must match exactly what is written in the original source and give credit to the source. 


Is when you take a passage from a source and write it in your own words. You must provide credit to the original source and cite it.  Keep in mind that "paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly." (Purdue OWL, 2013)


Is taking the main ideas from an original source and writing it in your own words, ensuring to empshazie the main point(s).  Please be sure to cite and give credit to teh original source. Summaries are broader and shorter than the original source. 

Paraphrasing Example

Sipher, R. (1977, December 19). So That Nobody Has to Go to School If They Don't Want To. The New York Times, p. 31. 

Original Source:

Concluding sentence:

"Schools should be for education. At present, they are only tangentially so. They have attempted to serve an all-encompassing social function, trying to be all things to all people. In the process they have failed miserably at what they were originally formed to accomplish."


Roger Sipher concludes his essay by insisting that schools have failed to fulfill their primary duty of education because they try to fill multiple social functions (para. 17).

(Purdue OWL, "Sample Essay for Summarzing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting", 2012)

Just Because You Put It In Your Own Words...

Watch this short video to understand the concept of paraphrasing and plagiarism (Lehman Library, 2014).

From Passage to Paraphrase

Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism: From Passage to Paraphrase, University of Guelph (2014)

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