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  • Writer's pictureDr. V.S. Gayathri

How To Summarize and Paraphrase Effectively!

We have been covering summarization extensively because it is an essential academic skill that also has its implications and benefits in the professional world. There is also the concept of paraphrasing that is closely related to summarization with some basic differences.

In today’s article, we will understand the difference between the two and the steps to achieve them.

Paraphrasing is reading a text and interpreting/rewriting it in one’s own words without changing the meaning of the original text. Text cannot be copied from the original piece.

It is like taking an idea about a topic from another writer’s work and then transforming it into your own words. Paraphrased material is almost equal to or slightly shorter compared to the original material. It is more flexible and more effective for memorization.

It helps to prove your point which is in line with the original text, but not directly copying from it. It provides support and adds credibility to your own writing. It is also used to add depth to your work.

Summarizing, on the other hand, is writing the main idea and points of the original text. It is condensing it in your own words with only the highlights of the text. It excludes the explanation of the text. Only the main idea or the basic information is included.

It is sometimes used when you want to draw attention to an important point. It is also applicable when you wish to distance your thoughts from the original text.

Difference between Paraphrasing and Summarization

1. Paraphrasing is writing any particular text in your own words while summarizing is mentioning only the main points of the text in your own words.

2. Paraphrasing is almost equal to or somewhat less than the original text while summarizing is substantially shorter than the original.

3. Paraphrasing is done to simplify the original work while summarizing is done to mention only the major points without any kind of explanation about the original text.

Steps for Paraphrasing

· Read the text very carefully and underline the important subject-specific words.

· Think of different ways to express the idea with phrases, synonyms, etc.

· Simply the vocabulary and sentence structure without changing the meaning.

· Put away the original text, and write the paraphrase from your memory of what you have read.

· Revise your content and compare it with the original text for consistency.

Steps for Summarization

· Read through the text thoroughly and try to understand the key points, subheadings, etc.

· Use a dictionary to understand the text better, and re-read difficult sections several times.

· Write your notes in pointers with the main ideas from the text.

· Put away the original text, and write the summary from what you remember.

· Compare and contrast with the original text to check if your writing truly reflects the writer’s opinions and ideas.

· Use in-text references either at the start or the end.

Note: In-text references or citations are used to acknowledge the work or ideas of others. They are used in your text to enable the reader to differentiate between your writing and other people's work.

Paraphrasing and Summarization are both important and applicable in their own ways. Depending on the context and output required, one needs to choose which one to use.


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