Paraphrasing vs Quoting: When to Use Them in Your Writing

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Paraphrasing and quoting are two of the most famous approaches used in writing. Both these techniques have the same purpose—using information from existing sources. But despite being used for the same purpose, it is essential to understand when and how to use each. And that’s what we will cover here.

Today, we’ll share the scenarios where you can use paraphrasing and quoting. But before discussing the scenarios, we’ll discuss the concept and implementation of each technique. This way, it will be easier to determine when and how to use paraphrasing and quoting. So, without any further delay, let’s begin.

What Is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing (also known as rephrasing or rewording) is a popular technique used in writing. So, various sources have defined it in their own ways. That is why, before getting to our version of paraphrasing’s concept, here, we’ll borrow its definition from the Cambridge Dictionary:

“To repeat something written or spoken using different words, often in a humorous form or in a simpler and shorter form that makes the original meaning clearer” (Dictionary).

According to the above concept, paraphrasing is a technique for restating the existing information in simple wording to make it clearer. However, the paraphrased form must give the same meaning as the original form.

After rephrasing the information, it is essential to credit the original owner. Otherwise, the paraphrased information will become plagiarized.

To better understand paraphrasing, here is an example of a paragraph related to sports:

What Is Quoting?

Quoting is another professional technique of including necessary bits and pieces from an existing source in your work. But unlike paraphrasing, you won’t change the wording or sentence structure of the included information here. Instead, when you quote something, you include the word-to-word information by enclosing it in double quotes (“ “). 

The data written inside double quotation marks will inform the readers that the writer has taken this portion from an existing source. But which source? That’s where the in-text citation will come into the picture.

When you use quotation marks to include the information in your work directly, it becomes essential to inform the readers about the source of that information. And for that, you will add the in-text citation. Here are two examples of perfectly quoted information.

The above picture states that the writer has taken the definition of paraphrasing from the Cambridge Dictionary.

This example is another way of quoting information because the double quotation marks indicate that these words are not the writer’s own. But this method is specifically helpful for including famous sayings. Therefore, we’ve not included the link to the (original) source of Steve Job’s saying here.

How to Paraphrase the Content?

Now that you’ve understood the concept of paraphrasing, you may want to implement this technique. So, use the following tips and tricks to paraphrase any text successfully:

Read the Original Passage Multiple Times

Undoubtedly, paraphrasing aims to reduce the complexity of a concept. But besides reducing the complexity, paraphrasing also conveys that the writer understands what they are talking about. So, to show your understanding of a concept, you’ll first have to understand its meaning. And that’s where reading will come in handy.

The reading part is not directly related to paraphrasing. But you need to complete this step to be able to rephrase the information effectively. Therefore, before paraphrasing, we recommend reading the source text multiple times until you become able to explain it in your words.

Note: If the source text is lengthy, we recommend focusing on one paragraph at a time.

Thus, once you reach the level of understanding where you can teach the understood concept to someone else, you will be able to rephrase the text in your words.

Paraphrase While Not Looking Back at the Original Passage

After understanding the original material, the next step is explaining the source text in your words without modifying its meaning. But the key is to write without looking back at the original material. Why? Here is a simple reason for this statement.

If the original material is still in front of you, you will be tempted to use the same language and sentence structure, which will ruin the quality of paraphrased material. Therefore, we recommend avoiding the original material while writing the rephrased form using your understanding.

Various Ways of Writing Paraphrased Information

When it comes to writing paraphrased information, people use different techniques. But we generally rely on the following approaches:

  • Use synonymization and word-changing intelligently.

Alternative Way of Paraphrasing

An alternate way of paraphrasing is to utilize online paraphrasing tools. A paraphrasing tool can utilize all of the previously mentioned paraphrasing techniques i.e, voice changing, word changing, phrase changing, etc., remarkably well.

To paraphrase text with an online tool, you only need to go online and search for such a tool. Most of the results on the first page of the SERPs will be different kinds of tools. You can pick out any tool that you like. 

With the help of a paraphrasing tool, you can rephrase a sentence, or even just reduce the repetition of words from a passage. The point is that you can utilize a rephrasing tool in a variety of ways.

To paraphrase content while retaining its original meaning, we are going to use an online paraphrasing tool by as it is freemium and helps to paraphrase text accurately as shown below:

In order to rephrase the sentences to improve their readability, we are going to use the rephrasing tool by as it is also freemium and uses advanced AI technology to rephrase a sentence without losing its main intent.

We used a small passage from this article and had it paraphrased with the above online tools. The results have shown that tools are capable of properly applying different paraphrasing techniques to a given piece of text.

Review the Paraphrased Form and Edit If Needed

Once you’ve presented the information in your words, comparing it with the original material is your next task. During the comparison, we recommend doing the following things:

Check whether you’ve misrepresented something or not. If yes, you must rewrite it.

Look for similarities between the source text and paraphrased form. If you find similarities, you must write the rephrased form again.

How to Use Quoting?

Using quotation marks is a legal way of increasing the credibility of a writing piece. But this benefit will only help you if you’ve quoted the information correctly. So, use the following tips to mention information in double quotes effectively:

Specify the Context for Using Quoting

Before enclosing the information in double quotes, it is essential to provide context. For instance, you will have to specify the reason for using quoted data, as we have while explaining the concept of paraphrasing in this guide.

Don’t Change the Wording of Information Enclosed in Double Quotes

The primary reason for using quotation marks is that it allows the writers to use word-to-word information from an (existing) source. Therefore, it’s essential to keep the wording of the data unchanged. Otherwise, it will destroy the essence of quoting.

Don’t Forget to Credit the Original Owner

The information enclosed in double quotes represents someone else’s work. Therefore, it’s essential to credit the original owner before or after using quotation marks. And for that, you can use a proper in-text citation or write a statement like this, ‘According to Shakespeare (original information owner).

Either way, you must include the complete reference of quoted data in the ‘Reference’ or ‘Bibliography’ list. Here is an example of a quoted information’s complete reference in the ‘Reference’ list:

Use Quoting Sparingly

Since quoting represents another person’s work, your document will lack originality if you rely on this technique too much. Therefore, the key is to use quoting moderately.

Be Consistent With Your Citation Style

There are various styles of properly citing the information. So, if you’ve selected a specific style, it is essential to use it throughout the writing piece. Otherwise, it will ruin the quality of your document.

When to Use Paraphrasing and Quoting in Writing?

Now that you’ve understood the concepts of paraphrasing and quoting, it’s time to answer the elephant in the room—when to use these techniques in writing. There are several factors to consider when answering this question. Some of them are:

  • The type of information being presented in a writing piece.
  • The purpose of a writing piece.
  • The tone and writing style.

However, let’s make a quick comparison between paraphrasing and quoting. That’s because this way, understanding the applications of both techniques will be easier.

You can alter sentences to show your understanding and interpretation.You can use quotes if you think that adding exact words from a source will increase the quality of your writing piece.
You can use paraphrasing to simplify a complex concept.Sometimes, paraphrasing a famous saying changes its meaning. Therefore, if you use famous sayings in your writing, we recommend using quotation marks.
There are no limitations to the number of times you can use paraphrasing in a writing piece. That is why paraphrasing will always be stronger than quoting.Although quoting adds interest to a writing piece, if you overly rely on this technique, your writing piece will lack coherence
It needs acknowledgment.It needs acknowledgment.


All in all, paraphrasing is a way of explaining an existing idea in your words while maintaining the original meaning. On the other hand, using direct quotes is an effective way of establishing a document’s credibility. And if you can’t preserve the sense during paraphrasing, you should use quotes. But remember to use quoting moderately. Otherwise, your writing will need more originality.

Thus, by moderately quoting while paraphrasing the rest of the material, you can ensure that your writing piece will effectively integrate research while incorporating your point of view.

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