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Citation Guide

Get help on all citation formats!

Introduction to this Page

What This Page Covers

This page covers how to incorporate sources into your text through quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

These guidelines will help you to avoid unintentional plagiarism. Any quote, paraphrase, or summary needs to be accompanied by an in-text citation that identifies what work you are referring to. This gives credit to the people you have learned from and shows the process of your work.

Tutorials from APA & MLA

The guidelines on this page apply to any citation style, though the different styles may have specific rules for some details like formatting a block quote. The following are helpful tutorials about incorporating sources directly from the APA and the MLA.

Direct Quotations and Paraphrases

Learn how to cite and format direct quotations in APA Style, including short quotations and block quotations; make and indicate changes to quotations; and cite paraphrased material.

Academic Writer // © 2023 American Psychological Association.


Definition of Quoting

When you quote a source, you reproduce or repeat a passage or phrase exactly and use quotation marks around the quoted text.

Quotes are exact duplicates of text. 

When to Quote

Style guides generally advise that you quote sparingly. A quote is a good idea in these situations:

  • When the writing expresses a point extremely well
  • When you want to comment on the author's choice of words

Tips for Quoting

  • Only quote as much as you need to to communicate the information. 
  • Look at a citation style guide to see how to format block quotes and in-text quotes.  
  • If there is a spelling or other error in the text, copy the error and add sic after the quote to denote that the error was in the text
  • Omit words through using ellipsis marks (...)
  • If you want to call attention to specific words in a quote, emphasize the words by using italics


Definition of Paraphrasing

When you paraphrase, you express the meaning of a written or spoken passage, or the words of an author or speaker using different words.

Paraphrasing is used when the detail of a passage is important, but the exact wording is not important. 

When to Paraphrase

Paraphrase when the details of a section of text are important. 

Tips for Paraphrasing

  • Be careful not to borrow too many words from the original text. It's helpful to use synonyms.  
  • Make sure to change the sentence structure of the original text.  
  • If you're having a hard time paraphrasing, make sure you understand what is being said and can explain why it's relevant to your work.
  • Imagine yourself explaining the idea to a friend verbally, and then write down what you would say. This can be a draft you revise later, if you need to.


Definition of Summarizing

When you summarize, you communicate the main ideas of what you have learned from a source, without including much detail.

When to Summarize

Summarize when there are long passages that have important main ideas.