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ENC 1101 - Bielecki: Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

Resources discussed and demonstrated during Ms. Bielecki's ENC 1101 courses' library orientation, as well as composition and grammar resources

Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

Created specifically for Ms. Bielecki's ENC courses, this page covers how to use source material in your writing by quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing with proper citation to avoid plagiarism. Because this LibGuide is designed for classes in the subject area of English, the focus is on MLA-style citation. Further down the page, find links to online writing labs (OWLs), information on how to get HCC's free tutoring in person or online, and embedded videos.

Chapter on Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

Online Resources for Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

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Three Ways to Integrate a Quote into a Sentence

1. Work it into the grammar of your own sentence: 

Readers “have to identify thousands of little marks on paper” (Vonnegut 67).
(I wrote the subject; the verb is Vonnegut’s words.)

2. Add a colon after your own complete sentence: 

Readers have a tough job: “They have to identify thousands of little marks on paper” (Vonnegut 67).

3. Add a source phrase and a comma, and identify the source

Best-selling 20th-century satirical novelist and essayist Kurt Vonnegut writes, “They have to identify thousands of little marks on paper” (67).

Unless the source is well known to your audience, you may want to avoid using method #3 because it means you have to identify that source so that your readers know why they should care or pay attention to what that source has to say. Notice that identifying the source in example #3 requires about half of the sentence! If my essay’s point is that writers need to consider their audiences, why is half of the sentence spent on telling them who Kurt Vonnegut was? Will they care, or will they want me to stay on topic and get to my point? (By the way, Vonnegut was pretty well known. Imagine if my source were someone whom my readers had never heard of. That would require many more words!)

Instead of using a source phrase like “Vonnegut writes,” I should keep the emphasis on my point by working the quote into the sentence in one of the other two ways. Look back at all three examples above. Do you see how the first two stick closer to the topic?

It can seem difficult to write a sentence like example #1 or #2 if you have gotten into the habit of using the #3 format for all quotes, so here are a few tips:

1.a.   Start your sentence with a transition word (“Moreover,” “Meanwhile,” “Likewise,” and other adverbs) or prepositional phrase (like “For example,” or “In addition,”) followed by a comma; then follow that with the complete-sentence quote. Here are examples:

Furthermore, “[t]hey have to identify thousands of little marks on paper” (Vonnegut 67).
For instance, “[t]hey have to identify thousands of little marks on paper” (Vonnegut 67).

1.b.   You do not have to quote a complete sentence. Write your own subject (noun or pronoun) and use only the predicate of the original sentence (the verb and any adverbs, phrases, and clauses that modify it) as in example #1 above.
2.a.   Write a complete sentence of your own making a point, but instead of a period, end it with a colon (:) followed by the quote giving an example of the point you just made as in example #2 above.

These are not the only ways to use methods #1 and #2, but I think they are some of the easiest.

Work Cited

Vonnegut, Kurt. “How to Write with Style.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, PC-24.2, June 1981, pp. 66-67.

Videos on Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

"Using Other People's Ideas" from Santiago Canyon College
The short video below explains the differences among summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting in order to avoid committing plagiarism.

"Paraphrasing Well and Avoiding Plagiarism" from University of Maryland, Baltimore
This second, longer video goes into detail about how to paraphrase correctly and provides examples of wordings that would be considered good paraphrases and others that would be considered plagiarism.

"Annoying Ways People Use Sources" from Pedagogy Pals
This video describes common problems with incorporating quotes and gives them fun labels to help you understand.


Video segment on using single quotation marks from "Punctuation Problem: Quotation Marks" by FYC at USF
This link provides a clip from a longer video by FYC at USF titled "Punctuation: Quotation Marks" and explains how to use single quotation marks for a quote within a quote. You can watch the full video here.

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