Summarizing vs Paraphrasing

Summarising and paraphrasing are very useful skills because they allow us to use the work of authors whom we wish to cite, while using our own words. In other words, we are not merely doing a copy paste of the works of other writers.


Summarizing can be easily defined as process by which the main points of a text is written in one’s own words, while maintaining the meaning of the original. Brevity is essential in the act of summarizing where one should cut out the unnecessary details and just write what is the essential argument or the main points that the writing deals with.

In short, it can be said that Summarizing is a process in which one reads, selects the essential information and rewrites it in one’s own language keeping in mind that the signification of the original write up is not compromised in any way.


Paraphrasing means changing the words in which something you have read has been expressed. The result of paraphrasing should be significantly different from the original source, so that as far as the expression goes, it counts as your original writing. At the same time, because you will be giving credit to the original author of the text you have read, s/he must not be misquoted. Therefore, the meaning should not be changed in any way from what the author you are paraphrasing had intended it to be.

What’s the Difference?

  • Paraphrasing means putting a piece of writing in new words, so that most of the language or expression is different, while the content or idea is retained.
  • Summarising means reproducing the main points of a piece of writing while substantially cutting down its length.

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