What is Quoting?

It is easy to understand the concept of quoting. You must use quotation marks to cite the original writer, even if they use vulgar language or have incorrect grammar. Scholars may use typographical notes to correct bad grammar when they quote authors. [like this] To show readers that they have made a difference.


“I have never been able to…” like[d] Peas as a Child

In contrast, a note that contains odd or incoherent language will be cited as it is. [sic] This may be used to prove that no changes were made in the original language, despite errors.


“I never like [sic] Peas as a Child

Professionals take quotations very seriously. You cannot alter a single letter or comma without documentation when you quote a source. A citation, also known as attribution, must accompany the quote. Plagiarism can be defined as a misquote or failure to cite.

In-text citations must be placed in parentheses and followed by a reference page. This is how it looks if you are quoting someone using MLA format.

“The orphan is a character who has been forced to find his or her place in the world. The novel was born as a genre that represented the struggles of ordinary people to navigate their way through life’s trials. “The orphan is a novelistic character who has been freed from the constraints of established conventions and faces a world full of dangers and possibilities.” (Mullan).

 What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is taking a quote and translating it into your own words

Paraphrasing is a way to translate the words of another author into terms that you and your readers can understand more easily. Paraphrasing, unlike summarizing, focuses on the whole picture, involves a single line or passage. Paraphrasing focuses on specific sections of a text.

Paraphrasing allows you to begin processing the information in your source. You are already trying to understand and explain the quote by taking it and putting it in your own words.

You can modify the quote as much as you like without altering the original meaning. What is the best way to make substantial changes to a text?

These are some paraphrasing techniques.

  • Synonyms can be used to replace words
  • Modify the order of the words
  • Modify the order in which clauses are placed in sentences
  • In a section, move sentences around
  • You can make grammatical modifications such as:
    • Form in Word
    • Active – passive
    • Positive – negative
    • Statement-question

Let’s take an example. Here’s a direct quotation from the article about orphans in Victorian literature.

“It’s no accident that Harry Potter, the most popular character in contemporary fiction, is an orphan. The adventures of the child wizard are based on the death and responsibilities of his parents. “A host of orphans can be found in classic children’s fiction” (Mullan).

Here’s a suggestion:

It is not a surprise that Harry Potter, a prominent protagonist in contemporary fiction, is an orphan. His parents’ death and the tasks he now has to fulfill are why he is on his quest. If you read other classic fiction (Mullan), you will see that orphans are a common protagonist.

Which differences are you able to spot? There are also synonyms. A few words were changed. A few clauses were also moved. However, you can see that the structure is almost identical.

A plagiarism checker might flag this type of paraphrase. This is a dangerous way to paraphrase.

This is a better example.

What is Harry Potter’s most famous fact? He’s an orphan, “the boy who survived”. His parents had died, so he was forced into the hero’s story. Many orphans are protagonists in classic children’s literature (Mullan).

Can you see the differences in this paraphrase? Although the basic information is still there, the structure of this paraphrase is very different.

Paraphrasing means that you make choices about how to restructure information and how to prioritize it. Unlike a direct quotation, these choices are your voice, which is, by definition, someone else’s.


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