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Uncovering the Role of Paraphrasing and Summarizing in Essays

Originality is essential when it comes to assignment writing. Academic essays should contain students’ ideas and thoughts supported with properly cited literature. Pretty simple, right? However, evidence shows that many students cut and paste information without attribution. This practice, known as plagiarism, is one of the significant problems in the academic world. Therefore, paraphrasing and summarizing are widely used to complete writing assignments such as essays. Let’s dig deeper into what they entail and how they help create original texts. Grademiners writers will also share some of their top tips for avoiding plagiarism.

Paraphrasing and Summarizing in Essays

Defining Paraphrase and Summary

Although paraphrasing and summary are similar in many ways, essential nuances should be acknowledged. Paraphrasing is typically used for specific claims and short passages of text. It implies using one’s own words to explain other people’s ideas. When students paraphrase, they do the following:

  • Change the wording
  • Retain meaning
  • Retain the sequence of ideas
  • Preserve examples

In contrast, summaries are used to communicate the meaning of larger pieces of text. They do not contain specific details and examples but demonstrate a student’s understanding of the central theme, idea, thesis, and conclusions. For example, a summary of an article may include the main topic, arguments, and conclusions restated in one’s own words. Summaries are much shorter than the original source, while paraphrases can be as long as the source or even longer if the author adds their interpretation.

Both paraphrase and summary demonstrate the writer’s comprehension of the material and their ability to interpret the content accurately. They should contain in-text citations supported with references at the end of the writing assignment to allow readers to study the sources. By the way, well-paraphrased and summarized sources logically incorporated into the essay are one of the central features of the best essay writing services.

Why Paraphrase and Summarize?

Paraphrasing and summarizing are the two main activities allowing to avoid plagiarism. This term refers to the copying and pasting other people’s words without citing and referencing an original source. Using words students did not write is a serious misdeed in academic assignments, as essays should be 100% original.

Plagiarism is not always malicious, but it does not change the fact that writers re-used someone’s ideas. This practice is reprobated in the academic world and may lead to the avalanche of problems, poor grades being the least serious of them. Plagiarism is unethical and is perceived as a form of student dishonesty. In other words, plagiarism may have severe repercussions, so students are strongly encouraged to avoid it at all costs. Instead of lifting passages verbatim from the online sources, students should carefully paraphrase and summarize them in their own words to demonstrate their understanding of the content.

Paraphrasing and Summarizing in Essays

However, paraphrasing and summarizing are not mere tools for meeting academic standards. They are essential in writing, as they help students learn to express their ideas and thoughts. By paraphrasing and summarizing sources, students look at them through their unique prisms, evaluating their beliefs and ideology. This in-depth analysis is the primary goal of education, which prepares independently thinking adults.

Moreover, summaries and paraphrases serve practical purposes. According to Owl Purdue, they make writing more authoritative, provide examples, and expand the breadth of the essay. They are also essential for complementing one’s ideas with evidence and referring to seminal research and theory. In other words, summaries and paraphrases help support the writer’s arguments and make essays more compelling.

Useful Writing Tips for Essay Assignments

Writers providing the best writing services know how to summarize and paraphrase according to academic conventions. If you also want to become an expert in this area, follow these recommendations:

  • Always cite and give references to every source you use
  • Try to identify key points and restate them in different words
  • Take notes and highlight key passages while reading to focus on the main ideas
  • Use only the most critical information
  • Opt for paraphrases instead of direct quotes unless you have a good reason to cite the source directly (e.g., the original text has unique, noteworthy wording)
  • Use plagiarism checkers to make sure the content is 100% original
  • Always proofread and edit before final submission

Summarizing and paraphrasing is a tedious, challenging task. It takes time, practice, and many cups of coffee. However, as you gain confidence and develop your reading and writing skills, the temptation to cut and paste will decrease. Your ability to express your ideas and thoughts will also improve, making you a pro in critical and original thinking.


Introducing Benjamin Oaks – the man of many talents, including academic writing. Graderminer to the backbone, Benjamin takes great pride in helping new generations of college graduates in the U.S. to get their diploma successfully and be able to pay off college loans faster. Also, Benjamin is a cool guy to talk to on non-work related topics, from sports to high cuisine.

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