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Using Paraphrasing, Summary & Direct Quotation: Home

Writing in college often draws ideas from other sources.

How you represent those sources depends on what is most effective in conveying your message. #1: Using Direct Quotations. Direct quotations copy a passage word for word. They are useful when: the exact wording of a statement is important to support your claim; you want to make sure you are precise in representing the author’s position; or the original statement is particularly well written or structurally persuasive. Here’s an example of using direct quotation in writing: When Sherlock tells Watson "the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside,” he intensifies suspense by equating innocence with evil ("The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" 502). #2: Using Paraphrases. Paraphrasing is when you represent another person’s ideas, but use your own words to do so. They are useful when: you want to show you understand the sources and are therefore a reliable voice on that source; you want to make the evidence more straightforward; or you want to adjust your tone for your audience. Here’s an example of a quote being paraphrased. Direct quotation: “In the case of Facebook, it has changed its format multiple times, and merged other literacy practices –email, instant messaging, games –into its structure in an attempt to keep users on the site” (Keller 2014, 74).Paraphrase: Facebook has tried to hold on to its users by incorporating new functions like games and email (Keller2014). #3: Using Summary. Summaries have similar purpose as paraphrasing. They are useful when: you want to condense a large work, such as a book or article, into a shorter form such as a paragraph; or you want to focus your description on the parts thatare relevant to your discussion. Here’s an example of a summary: Fernyhough (2012) argues that our autobiographical memories and narrative are always dependent on each other.If you have any questions about your writing, contact the University Writing Center.