How do I quote or paraphrase?

Listen everyone – because this is important! Whether you quote or paraphrase a source you always have to cite. Whether your source is a scholarly article, a website, or any other type of document, you always have to cite. The format of your in-text citation may vary depending on whether you quote or paraphrase, but acknowledging your source is essential.

How to quote

When quoting directly from a source, be sure to place quotation marks around other people's exact words ("…"). This means that you should not rephrase or reorganize the quoted words. Indicate the exact source of the quotation using a standard citation method such as APA, MLA, or Chicago (see the section "How do I get my citations / references / bibliography right?" for more information about the different citation styles).

tip Tip: Using quotation marks

If copying an exact passage while researching, use quotation marks.

example Example: Citing a direct quotation

The image below shows an example of how to quote directly from a source and provide the necessary citation information according to APA style.

Source: Koechlin F. (2015). The dignity of plants. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 4(1), 78-79.

How to paraphrase

To paraphrase means to you rewrite an author's idea using your own words, without modifying the original meaning. You must still attribute that idea to its creator by properly citing the source.

Avoid "thesaurus plagiarism"; using synonyms or changing the word order is not sufficient. After the paraphrase, don't forget the in-text citation and the entry in your reference list or bibliography (see the section "How do I get my citations/references/bibliography right?" for more information about the different citation styles).

tip Tip: Paraphrasing

After reading a passage try putting away the book or article (or other source). Then try to write what you have just read using your own words.

librarian Librarian tip!

What happens if the same source is used for a whole paragraph? Does it have to be cited again and again? The guides created by George Brown College and Rasmussen College can help answer these questions.

example Example: Good vs. bad paraphrasing
How to Paraphrase [3:07 minutes].
activity Activity - Give it a try!

For each writing sample, take a look at the original source and the excerpt from the student's paper. Can you identify which students have correctly paraphrased and cited their sources?

Congratulations! You did it!



Back to top arrow up, go to top of page