Feb 17, 2022

Paraphrase Vs. Summary: What is The Difference And How to Use Them?

Priya Jamba, Content Marketer
Priya Jamba
Paraphrase Vs. Summary: What is The Difference And How to Use Them?
Priya Jamba, Content Marketer
Priya Jamba
Feb 17, 2022

Paraphrase Vs. Summary: What is The Difference And How to Use Them?

Read this article to know the difference between paraphrasing and summary. Here, we have shared various differences, and how and when to use them.
Paraphrase Vs. Summary: What is The Difference And How to Use Them?

Table of contents

Writers may often ask: What is the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing?

Shockingly, most of us do not know this difference. We understand this confusion, and that's why we have shared this article on the comparison between paraphrase and summary.

Understanding the difference between summary and paraphrase is essential for avoiding plagiarism. It also helps us understand how each term differs because it causes changes in the layout of the composition.

Paraphrasing is a process of writing or re-writing some text in your own words, explaining it with the help of more detailed information provided by another source.

The main aim of paraphrasing is to present something you have heard or read without violating any copyright rules and regulations. It allows using other people's ideas and thoughts while giving credit where due.

On the other hand, the term "summary" is frequently used when writing a composition, which draws out the crux or bottom line of the article written by some other author's work and frame/use it in your own words while significantly reducing the length of the article along with it.

Here is a short definition of both these terms:

A summary encapsulates the most important aspects of publications, essays, and narratives. They familiarise the audience with the outline to facilitate precise conversations/discussions.

On the contrary, paraphrase refers to the term used when you propose and organize an original text of another writer in your own words.

To make it clearer, we have shared the comparison between these two terms based on various factors.

Paraphrase vs. Summary: Nature

Paraphrasing involves rewording an article or text in one's own words. Summarizing involves the process in which the writer only includes the key points from the original material. The main idea is to give a gist of the content.

Paraphrase vs. Summary: Length

A paraphrase may be equal to or a few words less or more than the original passage. On the other hand, a summary is usually concise as compared to the original source.

Paraphrase vs. Summary: Selectivity

Because a paraphrase usually considers a detailed portion of an essay, it should be precise when it gets to containing all of the details of the article.

A summary can omit specific thoughts/views from the original passage if they do not pertain to the motive/objective of your composition, as long as the omission does not change the meaning of the passage.

Paraphrase vs. Summary: Purpose

A summary attempts to capture the essence of the passage and assists the audience in not only identifying the writer's main ideas but also making sure they are concise and incisive rather than including unnecessary details making it irrelevant.

The main purpose of paraphrasing is to use the author's ideas and thoughts in your own writing.

Paraphrase vs. Summary: Benefits

Paraphrasing written information can provide a number of advantages to its authors. It ensures that short words or sentences can be utilized instead of a lengthy sentence. As a result, paraphrasing can help to reduce the size of a long document.

Paraphrasing also helps authors in expanding their vocabulary and communicating their information in their own terms.

When comparing a quotation to a paraphrase, paraphrasing is considerably easier because a quotation requires remembering the exact words, whereas paraphrasing allows the words to be changed.

On the other hand, a summary also provides several benefits to its readers.

Writing a summary boosts productivity because it not only allows you to create notes and bullet points that make your work easier and more efficient, but it also allows you to retain information and grasp the content more easily.

Summarizing also allows you to locate only the most significant and critical details in a content, ensuring efficient learning and saving time when looking for something in your prior referred pages. As a result, summarizing replaces this time-consuming process of visiting prior referred pages.

When Should I Paraphrase?

A paraphrase is a useful tool in both academic and business writing. It has many uses, such as polishing it for publication by replacing long sentences with short ones that are similar in meaning.

Well, most people get confused about when to paraphrase and when to summarize the content.

Overall, you would need to do paraphrasing when the meaning of the source is more important than its wording.

Here is when you need paraphrasing:

  • You may need to change the organization of ideas in your source material in order to emphasize the points that are most relevant to your writing. You should remember to stick to the source's meaning.
  • You can use paraphrasing to simplify complex sentences, change sentence structure and vocabulary.
  • You may need to translate technical passages or specialized information into language suitable for your audience.

When Should I Summarize?

The summary allows you to keep your paper's style consistent while also demonstrating your mastery of the source material. Because summaries can provide a brief overview of a text, they may be preferred over paraphrases.

The summary is extremely adaptable. You may use a summary in case:

  • To remove extra information from content.
  • You may need to condense or reduce the source material in order to extract the main points that are relevant to your content.
  • You may need to simplify the most important complex arguments, sentences, or vocabulary in the source material.

How to Paraphrase Sentences Without Plagiarizing?

When paraphrasing a sentence, keep these two main points in your mind:

  • Make sure to provide references.
  • Do more than just substitute a word or phrase. You can make changes to sentence structures.

The following strategies can be incorporated to paraphrase a sentence:

  • To correctly paraphrase written content, one must first thoroughly read the content that needs to be rephrased, highlighting and underlining the important texts that need to be paraphrased.
  • If you intend to paraphrase the passage, make a note of only the author's main points. You don't even have to use complete sentences.
  • Do not forget to capture the original idea or meaning behind it.
  • Thesaurus, dictionary, or relevant phrases can then be used to discover the many implications of specific terms in the content. Changing the passive voice to active voice, making lengthier sentences shorter, and clarifying the grammar and glossary on each line of the text can also help make your content clearer and structure the information in your own terms.

These strategies can be employed when you want to paraphrase on your own. To save time and effort and to produce better output, you can also use a paraphrasing tool.

The paraphrasing tool can be used when the writer needs to use someone else's article without copying the words and quotes exactly as they were before.

Or when the writer believes the original article's words are too complicated for the audience to understand, they frame it in their own words, which then clarifies the article's meaning and gives the final article a huge impression/influence/result.

How to Summarize?

When summarizing a passage, you must first absorb the content before capturing the most relevant components of the original passage in your own words. A summary has to be less than a paragraph.

The first step should be to scan or summarize the original essay and prepare an efficient summary to give the reader an idea about what the content is.

You should always pay special attention to headings, title, introduction, and conclusion.

The next useful step is to scribble down bullet points while reading or listening to anything and to add bullets before starting a point to make it more systematic.

The final step is to write the sentences in bullet points. Make sure your summary is succinct and helpful, and that no important elements are missing.


Q.  Is a paraphrase more detailed than a summary? 

Ans: From point-by-point translation, the summary goes considerably further than paraphrase. When summarizing a passage, you must first absorb the content before capturing the most relevant components of the original passage in your own words. A summary has to be less than a paragraph.

Q. How can I improve my paraphrasing skills?

Ans: Paraphrasing is a skill that can improve your writing skills. It is the process of taking a piece of text and making it into your own, without changing the original text's meaning.

There are two main ways to improve your paraphrasing skills:

1. Practice paraphrasing short pieces of text. This will help you develop your ability to summarize complex texts in a way that is easy to understand.

2. Use a paraphrasing tool. These tools allow you to input a piece of text and receive suggestions for making the text more readable and understandable.

Q.  Is it better to quote or paraphrase? 

Ans: In general, paraphrasing makes more sense because it helps create a concise sentence than the original.

Q.  How does a student write a paraphrase in academic writing?

Ans: To paraphrase a text, you need to understand its structure and content. You should also be familiar with the language used in the original text. Once you have these basics down, you can start presenting the information in a way that is easy to understand for readers. 

There are several steps involved in paraphrasing:

1. Assess the purpose of the paraphrase. 

2. Identify key points in the original text. 

3. Summarize these points in a concise manner. 

4. Provide supporting evidence where necessary. 

5. Check for accuracy and clarity before submitting your work to a publisher or using it in class discussions or exams.


Both paraphrasing and summary are forms of free-writing that enable writers to use another author's work as a source of inspiration or content.

Paraphrasing is similar to summarizing in that it also contains the work of another author, but instead of being a form of free-writing, it focuses on the use of structure and language to reproduce the original author's ideas.

Hope this article has clearly helped you understand the difference between paraphrasing and summary and when to use them.

Priya Jamba
Content Marketer
ABout the AUTHOR
Priya Jamba
Content Marketer

Priya Jamba is a Content Marketer at Scalenut. She loves marketing technologies and believes that with the right combination of tools and creativity, every organization can build sustainable brands. She is on a mission to help marketing teams across the globe produce tangible results from their marketing campaigns. Currently, she is working along with the Product team to enhance the AI content quality through prompt engineering.

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