Quoting & Paraphrasing

Quoting & Paraphrasing

Photo of an art piece that uses a Jack Black quote

Direct quoting is when you use someone else's exact words or phrases. Use direct quotes when there is no other way to best convey what is being said, or when you will be discussing how and why the author wrote something the way they did.

Direct quotes should be used sparingly. Your goal is not to restate what someone else has said but to incorporate and synthesize their ideas into your own writing. Avoid taking quotes out of context and/or changing the author's meaning to support your own claim; you want to portray the author's original intent.

It can be tempting to only use quotes that are in agreement with your position; however, citing others' ideas is a great way to address contrary opinions or refute conflicting claims. 

When using direct quotes, make sure to cite the source in which the claim was originally made. 

Most citation styles require both in-text citations and a bibliography to indicate quotes used.  See the appropriate online guide for the specific citation style associated with your class. 

Photo and art by: id-iom via flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0



Paraphrasing is when you use your own words to reiterate someone else's ideas, demonstrating that you understand the main points and concepts. When paraphrasing make sure you aren't patchwriting, which is when you only change a few words of the author's original claim and present it as paraphrased. In many cases, patchwriting is considered a form of plagiarism.

You can paraphrase multiple sources as a way to synthesize a variety of concepts and/or opinions. Be sure to cite your sources; most citation styles allow you to list multiple sources in one in-text citation. See the appropriate online guide for the specific citation style associated with your class.