Paraphrase VS Summary: What’s the Difference?

Learning All about Paraphrase vs Summary Differences

paraphrase vs summary differenceThere are those who can’t judge the difference between a paraphrase vs summary when they take a look at it. Those who want to paraphrase and summarize text will be looking at two different tasks altogether. When looking at the whole issue of paraphrase vs summary, you need to recognize that a summary is pretty specific. A summary paraphrase is going to try and take the plot of something and reduce it. In fact, it’s what everyone did back in the day when they were forced to write book reports. Unfortunately, book reports have given us the wrong idea about what a summary vs paraphrase is and everyone needs to know how to paraphrase.


Judging a Paraphrase vs Summary

The main differences between summarizing and paraphrase text can be illustrated as a manner of intent. Most people with that first one are trying to break down the plot of a piece of fiction. It’s not used nearly as much to delineate the case of non-fiction or news copy. On the other hand, people will occasionally write a paraphrase and summary of a puff piece. This makes its way into less editorially sensitive situations. The slight differences between a paraphrase vs summary may not be too obvious for most people.

While both of them are explained using your own words, they do not include the same points. If you have to paraphrase a text, you will need to locate the main arguments and choose the ones that will be strong evidence to support your arguments on your paper. You should choose those that complement what you have written and reinforce your thesis. A paraphrase should contain quotations marks if you have included the author’s exact words because you think they carry a powerful message.

While on the other hand, a summary is shorter than the original text and should include the relevant points of the text to explain its meaning entirely.  Both of them should include a reference to the author’s work and only be used as a complement to your paper. You cannot use a paraphrase or a summary as your entire document, they should be a useful tool to help you support your arguments or help you understand a text better. Thus, even though they may be similar, make sure you use the right one for your document.

Paraphrase vs Summary Differences

Academic paraphrase vs summary situations is much different. Most professors confuse summary and paraphrase so teachers want. That’s why it’s good to have an excellent rapport with your instructors when they ask you to write paraphrase summary text. Instructions that simply tell students to paraphrase and summarize a particular assignment are rather vague. Vagaries usually just make trying to solve these assignments harder, and that might be why so many students perform so poorly on them.

summarizing online

We have created a useful list to describe the differences between summary vs paraphrase and help you decide which one should you use. While both of them have some similarities, they are used for different things. Take a look at these lists and get rid of any doubts you may have:


  • A summary is described as a brief explanation of a text.
  • It should be written in plain language as if you were explaining the content to someone else.
  • A summary should be shorter than the original text, but it should include the main arguments to help the reader understand it.
  • A well-written summary should match the writer’s tone of voice and ensure it captures the meaning of the text.
  • It should have a reference to the original text that has been summarized.


  • A paraphrase can be defined as the act of rephrasing someone else’s ideas or work using your own words.
  • Paraphrases are used to support your arguments on your paper or to explain your idea with an external quote.
  • When writing a paraphrase, you should be careful not to plagiarise the original text. So, make sure you quote and cite properly any phrases you have copied.
  • Include a reference at the end of the sentence or paragraph that you have paraphrased. If you do not do it, you may end with a plagiarised paper.
  • A paraphrase should only be used as evidence to support your thesis or to explain an idea.

How to Write a Paraphrase and a Summary like a Pro

Learning to write a summary and paraphrase has its little tricks. Both of them have some similarities – you will need to explain a summary and a paraphrase using your own words. But a summary should describe the meaning of the text completely so the reader can understand it, and a paraphrase should only be a rephrase of the arguments that will support your paper. If you want to summarize and paraphrase like a pro make sure you read these useful tips:

  • When writing a summary, make sure you write fewer words than the original text. It should be shorter while being relevant. Finding the right balance is vital.
  • A summary must include a reference to the author’s work at the end.
  • If you have to paraphrase a text, locate the main ideas that you find more interesting, and rephrase them using your own words.
  • Use quotation marks to indicate the exact words of the author – this will help you prevent plagiarism.
  • Add a reference at the end of the paragraph, or sentence, that you have paraphrased.
  • Once you have finished writing your paraphrase, compare it with the original source – it should be different but have the same meaning.
  • Proofread and edit both of them. This is step is crucial to ensure your paper is perfect. You can read your text out loud to help you spot any mistakes you may have made, or to see if your writing is coherent and relevant.

Those who are just learning the difference between a summary and paraphrase are actually probably out of school at this point. That’s a shocking statement, but most schools really teach that summarize and paraphrase tasks are the same when they’re not. That’s furthered the major confusion everyone seems to have, which makes the idea of a paraphrase and summary all the more convoluted.

Know the difference between paraphrase and summary!

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