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Citation Guide: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

Get help on all citation formats!

Samples and Exercises

Avoiding Plagiarism

Citing, Quoting, Paraphrasing, and summarizing will help you to avoid plagiarism. Any quote, paraphrase, or summary needs to be accompanied by an in-text citation that identifies what work you are referring to. 


Quote: (verb) To reproduce or repeat a passage from (a book, author, etc.)

Quotes are exact duplicates of text. 

  • if there is an error in the text, copy the error and add sic to denote that the error was in the text
  • omit words through using ellipsis marks (...)
  • emphasize words in quotes using italics

Remember to look at a citation style guide to see how to format block quotes and in-text quotes.  

When to Quote: 

It is a general rule of thumb to quote sparingly such as: 

...when the writing expresses a point extremely well

...when you want to comment on the author's choice of words


Summarize: (verb) To make (or constitute) a summary of; to sum up; to state briefly or succinctly.

When you summarize you do not include detail, but rather you include the main ideas.  

When to Summarize: 

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


Paraphrase: (verb) To express the meaning of (a written or spoken passage, or the words of an author or speaker) using different words

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

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.  

When to paraphrase: 

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