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What is the difference in a summary and a paraphrase

Apr 30, 2018

Paraphrase VS Summary

Summary VS Paraphrase

paraphrase vs summaryOne of the most common problems that people encounter with a paper or with a writing assignment is the distinction between paraphrasing and summary. Many people simply don’t know the difference, but the truth is it’s not all that complex. All you need is just thoroughly read this page, and everything will come on the places. A good preparation before doing actual things is a key step, which will lead to a success.

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paraphrase vs summarizeParaphrasing will have you rewriting the original content in your own words without losing any of the original meaning, summarizing will have you condense the content of something and communicate only what you think is important and crucial to the understanding of this piece of content. Knowing the difference between

Paraphrasing will have you rewriting the original content in your own words without losing any of the original meaning, summarizing will have you condense the content of something and communicate only what you think is important and crucial to the understanding of this piece of content. Knowing the difference between summary and paraphrase is crucial, and we have an example below to express summary paraphrase. paraphrase vs summary

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Summary VS Paraphrase Example

Original: Last night Rodney Stuckey and the Detroit Pistons rebounded off a loss the night before to take down the Toronto Raptors. After a terrific shooting night from Stuckey, which saw him scoring 22 points on just 9 shots, the defense and tenacious rebounding of players like Greg Monroe and Andre Simmons helped them gain a big lead, and ultimately they pulled away midway through the third and never looked back.

Paraphrase: The Detroit Pistons, led by Rodney Stuckey, recovered from their tough loss the previous night to defeat the Toronto Raptors in a fierce game. Stuckey was tremendous from the field, scoring 22 on 8-9 shooting, and with supporting help on defense and on the boards from Andre Simmons and Greg Monroe they managed to pull away in the third quarter and take the game rather easily.

Summary: The Pistons easily defeated the Toronto Raptors after pulling away in the third off of solid performances from Rodney Stuckey, Greg Monroe, and Andre Simmons.

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Summary vs. Paraphrase

Summary

Paraphrase

A brief restatement, in your own words, of the content of a passage, focusing on the central idea(s).  (The central idea of a passage is often found in the topic sentence of a paragraph or in the thesis statement of an essay.)

A precise restatement, in your own words, of the written or spoken words of someone else.  A paraphrase can also be thought of as a "clarification" of a "translation" of a complex or difficult passage.

A summary is in your own words, but some key words may not be able to be changed.  However, a summary can contain brief quotations of significant language.

A paraphrase is in your own words, but you must change both the words and the sentence structures of the original passage.  In addition, a paraphrase can contain brief quotations of significant language.

A summary does not distort the meaning of the original passage.

A paraphrase does not distort the meaning of the original passage.

A summary can be selective.  You can omit ideas that do not pertain to your purpose for summarizing as long as the omission is not a distortion of the meaning.

A paraphrase is specific and should not be selective.  Since a paraphrase normally deals with a very specific portion of a text, the paraphrase should include all the elements of that portion.

A summary is much shorter than the original passage.

A paraphrase is roughly the same length, and even sometimes a bit longer, than the original passage.

A (Poor) Example

Original Passage:

The cowbird, as well as other species of birds, lays its eggs in another bird's nest and thus avoids hatching and raising its own young.

Summary:

Cowbirds do not hatch or raise their own young.

Paraphrase:

Certain birds, including the cowbird, do not hatch and raise their own offspring but rather pass on these responsibilities by laying their eggs in other birds' nests.

The terms paraphrasing and summarizing often confuse students of English. This is not surprising since the two mean very similar things with just a slight difference. First off, what are paraphrasing and summarizing?

Paraphrasing and summarizing are both indispensable writing tools. They are both techniques of incorporating other writers’ works or ideas into your writing using your own words. Although a writer must always use his/her own ideas when writing, sometimes it becomes necessary to use other writers’ thoughts and concepts. This may be due to one or more of the following reasons:

• To provide support to your own ideas
• To give reasons of why you agree or disagree with something
• To give depth to your writing
• To refer to something that led to your ideas
• To give a point of view which is different from yours 

These same reasons for paraphrasing and summarizing are the cause of the confusion between the two. So what is the difference then?

Paraphrasing is re-writing another writer’s words or ideas in your own words without altering the meaning.  The paraphrase is about the same length as the original since the purpose is to rephrase without leaving out anything, and not to shorten. Summarizing, on the other hand, is putting down the main ideas of someone else’s work in your own words. A summary is always shorter than the original since the idea is to include only the main points of the original work and to leave out the irrelevant. A summary is usually about one-third the size of the original.

Now when should you paraphrase and when should you summarize?

Paraphrase when:

• You want to use another writer’s words without plagiarizing
• You want to use another writer’s words without the use of quotes
• The ideas of the other writer are more important than his/her style
• You think that the words of the other writer are too difficult for your readers

Summarize when:

• You want to identify only the main ideas of the writer
• You want to give an overview of the topic (from several sources)
• You want to simplify a complex argument
• You want to condense the matter to suit your requirement

Whether paraphrasing or summarizing, it is very important to always cite the original work in order to give credit to the source.
 

Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight. Johnny Cash

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