Which is better: Quoting or paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing and quoting are both used to present ideas from an external source. However, they serve different purposes. Paraphrasing may be more appropriate for some purposes than quoting, but it’s not better than either.

direct quotation is more effective when the writer has made a clear point, and there is no reason for you to alter it. A direct quote is best if the writer has a strong voice.

No one should try to paraphrase John. F. Kenney famously said, “Ask not your country what it can do for you; instead ask what you can do to help your country.”

Direct quotes can be viewed as a dash of hot pepper. You can sprinkle them all over your paper to spice it up, but you may not want to do too much.

On the other hand, paraphrasing is great if you need to include a longer section from a source in your article but don’t have enough space for the entire passage. Paraphrasing doesn’t reduce the text to its bare bones, as a summary might. Paraphrasing condenses the text to make it more useful for your essay. Paraphrasing is also a good idea if certain sentences in a passage you don’t want to include.

You might paraphrase the section about Victorian orphans that was mentioned earlier.

Using an orphan as a protagonist in the novel’s development was a good choice. The novel is about everyday people trying to make their way through life. An orphan is a character that must find their way. Authors can allow the protagonist to explore the world, where anything might happen, whether it is good or bad (Mullan).

You will notice a few things. There are no quotation marks, but there is an in-text reference (the name in parentheses). Paraphrases don’t require quotation marks as you aren’t directly quoting, but they still need a citation since you are using a particular section of the text. It’s still an original idea from someone else and must be cited.

Second, the original quote is condensed to four and a quarter lines. All the original text has been edited.

Paraphrasing is when a single paragraph of text is explained in several words.

What is summarizing?

Next, we will summarize. Summarizing is a lot more complex than paraphrasing or quoting. Paraphrasing is similar in that you use your own words. A summary’s main focus is translating the main idea of a long section or entire document.

Summaries can be useful as they allow you to mention whole chapters, articles, or longer works briefly. Summaries can also be longer and more detailed. You can include paraphrases and quotes. Remember that a summary is a condensed version of the information. Focus on the key points. A summary should not include too many details.

Including a body paragraph in literary analysis, essays are helpful that summarize the work. You might find it helpful to paraphrase or quote specific lines related to a work’s main themes. Here’s an example of summarizing the article about orphans in Victorian literature.

John Mullan’s article on bl.uk.com, “Orphans In Fiction,” examines the role of orphans in Victorian 19-century literature. Mullan claims that orphans without family attachments are powerful characters that can “unleashed and discover the world”. This discovery process often exposes dangerous aspects in society while still maintaining their innocence. Mullan, for example, examines the fate of many orphaned females who become governesses. This illustrates the utility of the main character, who is expected to find their way.

The summary contains the main ideas, one paraphrase and one direct quotation. This summarizes a ten-paragraph article into one paragraph.

You don’t need to cite the source to give credit. The author’s name, title, and source URL are listed at the beginning of each paragraph.

How can I tell which one is best?

These three types of reference (paraphrasing/summarizing, quoting) are often used interchangeably by writers. It is important to pay attention to how you develop your argument. You will need to have concrete and solid evidence at certain points. This is where quotes are ideal.

Sometimes you may need general support for your argument. However, the text that provides such support is too long. In this instance, a paraphrase is acceptable.

Sometimes you will need to refer to an entire article or book because it contains so much evidence. Summing up the source in a few sentences or even a paragraph is a good idea.

You must cite the source on a References or Works Cited page. This is the MLA works cited entry for the text we are using today.


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