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Formatting & References

Paraphrasing Explained

Paraphrasing is a way to include information from sources in your own writing without directly quoting from the source itself. Essentially, it is a restatement of the source's information. However, even if you paraphrase and don't use direct quotations, you still have to cite the source. Otherwise, it is plagiarism

Here are some circumstances where you may want to paraphrase:

  • If you want to use information from a source but a direct quotation would be too long
  • If you are trying to avoid using too many quotations
  • If you have a simpler way of explaining the information in the context of your writing

When doing this, there are a few steps you can follow:

1. Identify the information you want to use.

2. Choose the main idea that is relevant to your essay. 

3. Introduce the author in the sentence, and include the source if it's relevant. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • According to Rowling, [paraphrase]
  • As Rowling writes/argues/suggests/proves, [paraphrase]
  • In her book, Rowling says [paraphrase]

4. Summarize the information in your own words! It helps to change any keywords that you can and restructure the sentence order from the original. You don't want your writing to sound too similar to the original, otherwise, it isn't a paraphrase.

Examples of paraphrasing:

Original passage:

The library at Stephen F. Austin is home to the AARC, which provides tutoring to students in the fields of math, business, science, liberal arts, and writing. Through the AARC, students can use weekly one-on-one sessions, walk-in assistance, and online essay revisions. This tutoring is free of charge to all current students. 


According to their website, students at Stephen F. Austin can visit the AARC for free tutoring in most major subjects both in person and online (Citation of original source).

Even though you use your own words when paraphrasing, you still need to attribute the information to the original author. Cite a paraphrase the same way you would cite a quote, both parenthetically in the sentence and in the works cited. See the different citation guides for more in-depth instructions on citations.