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APA Citation Guide (APA 7th Edition): Quoting vs. Paraphrasing

Quoting vs Paraphrasing: What's the Difference?


There are two ways to integrate sources into your assignment: quoting directly or paraphrasing.

Quoting is copying a selection from someone else's work, phrasing it exactly as it was originally written. When quoting place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation. 

Paraphrasing is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must reword the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words, and not just change a few words here and there. Make sure to also include an in-text citation. 

Quoting


Quoting - Examples

There are two basic formats that can be used when quoting a source:
 

Parenthetical Style
The homeless were typically neglected growing up since they "commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony" (Rokach, 2005, p. 477).

Narrative Style
As Rokach (2005) notes, the homeless "often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately" (p. 477).

 

What is a Long Quotation?

A quotation of more than 40 words. Long quotations are formatted as blocks of texts called block quotations.

Rules for Block Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to block quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  1. The line before your block quotation, when you're introducing the quote, usually ends with a colon.
  2. The block quotation is indented half an inch from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.
  3. There are no quotation marks around the quotation.
  4. The period at the end of the quotation comes before your in-text citation as opposed to after, as it does with regular quotations.

Example of a Block Quotation

At the end of Lord of the Flies the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:

The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (Golding, 1960, p.186)

Modifying Quotations

Sometimes you may want to make some modifications to the quote to fit your writing. Here are some APA rules when changing quotes:

Incorrect spelling, grammar, and punctuation

  • Add the word [sic] after the error in the quotation to let your reader know the error was in the original source and is not your error.

Omitting parts of a quotation

  • If you would like to exclude some words from a quotation, replace the words you are not including with an ellipsis - ...

Adding words to a quote

  • If you are adding words that are not part of the original quote, enclose the additional words in square brackets - [XYZ]

 

Additional Resource:

Paraphrasing


Paraphrasing - Examples

When you write information from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion as follows:

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt, 1993).


If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the year of publication following their name:

Hunt (1993) noted that mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research after the publication of John Bowlby's studies.

 

  Note: Although not required, APA encourages including the page number(s) when paraphrasing long or complex sources, such as books, so that the reader can easily refer to the paraphrased information in your source. Always clarify with your instructor about their preference regarding page numbers in paraphrase in-text citations.

Examples:
Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt, 1993, p. 125).

Hunt (1993) noted that mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research after the publication of John Bowlby's studies (p.125).

Correct vs. Incorrect Paraphrasing

Original Source

Homeless individuals commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony, and are alienated from their parents. They have often been physically and even sexually abused, have relocated frequently, and many of them may be asked to leave home or are actually thrown out, or alternatively are placed in group homes or in foster care. They often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately.

Source from: 

Rokach, A. (2005). The causes of loneliness in homeless youth. The Journal of Psychology, 139, 469-480. 


Example of Incorrect Paraphrasing:

The homeless come from families with problems. Frequently, they have been physically or sexually abused, or have lived in group homes. Usually no one cares for them or knows them intimately (Rokach, 2005).

Note: In this incorrect example the writing is too similar to the original source. The student only changed or removed a few words and has not phrased the ideas in a new way.

Example of Correct Paraphrasing:

Many homeless experience isolation in part due to suffering from abuse or neglect during their childhood (Rokach, 2005).

Note: The example keeps the idea of the original writing but phrases it in a new way.

Long Paraphrases

If your paraphrase is longer than one sentence, provide an in-text citation for the source at the beginning of the paraphrase. As long as it's clear that the paraphrase continues to the following sentences, you don't have to include in-text citations for the following sentences.

Example: This is the first sentence of my paraphrase (Author's Last Name, 2019). I continue to describe the author's idea. This is the last sentence of my paraphrase.


If your paraphrase continues to another paragraph and/or you include paraphrases from other sources within the paragraph, repeat the in-text citations for each.

Example: This is a new paraphrase from my first source (First Author's Last Name, 2019). This information was taken from my second source which is a journal article (Second Author's Last Name, 2019). I introduce another idea from my first source (First Author's Last Name, 2019).  

Additional Resource:

In-Text Citation Tips:


Citing only once at the end of the paragraph isn't enough, as it doesn't clearly show where you started using information from another person's work or ideas. When you use a source more than once in a paragraph, you need to cite the source the first time it is mentioned, and then continue to make it clear that the same work is being paraphrased in subsequent sentences. 

This can be tricky though - you want your paper or assignment to flow nicely while properly citing your sources. There is a way you can avoid having to write full in-text citations each and every time by adding a lead-in sentence to your paragraph, "narrative" style.


Examples

 Bad (Do not do this). In this paragraph, the citation occurs only at the end and reader does not know exactly when/where information comes from the source: 

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. They are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. When frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. In addition, when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment (Willemssen, 2010).

 

 Correct but ugly. This paragraph is technically correct for APA, but it is difficult to read in large part because the in-text citations are intrusive and awkward:

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. They are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution (Willemssen, 2010). When frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland (Willemssen, 2010). In addition, when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment (Willemssen, 2010).

 

 Good. These paragraphs are "APA correct" and easy to read. Note the reader knows exactly when/where information from the source is used:

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. Willemssen (2010) recently conducted research in Wisconsin that shows that frogs are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. Willemssen's research indicates that when frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. One very telling quote from Willemssen's research is that "87% of wetlands where two-headed frogs are found have high levels of environmental contamination" (p. 341).


Note: The above examples are adapted from Rasmussen College.

When you are citing two different sources that share the same author and year of publication, assign lowercase letters after the year of publication (a, b, c, etc.). Assign these letters according to which title comes first alphabetically. Use these letters in both in-text citations and the Reference list.

Example In-Text:

Paraphrasing content from first source by this author (Daristotle, 2015a). "Now I am quoting from the second source by the same author" (Daristotle, 2015b, p. 50).

Example Reference List entries:

Daristotle, J. (2015a). Name of book used as first source. Toronto, ON: Fancy Publisher.

Daristotle, J. (2015b). Title of book used as second source. Toronto, ON: Very Fancy Publisher.

If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon. List the sources alphabetically by author's last name or first word used from the title if no author is given, in the same order they would appear on the References List.

Examples:

(Bennett, 2015; Smith, 2014). 
(Brock, 2016; "It Takes Two,"  2015).
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