Many students have problems knowing the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing are not as easy to identify when it comes to writing. Paraphrasing basically restates an idea from someone else in your own words with a nod to the original text it was taken from. Summarizing, on the other hand, is a more detailed version of a piece that keeps the context concise. Knowing the difference is half the battle and some students need to go through lots of examples of paraphrasing and summarizing to get it right.
Learning by Examples of Paraphrasing
Sometimes it is important provide paraphrasing examples for clarity. Here is an article excerpt by Steven Dubois in original text:
Grant Acord, 17, will be charged as an adult and also faces six counts of manufacturing and possessing a destructive device after investigators found six bombs in a secret compartment in his bedroom, said Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson. (Dubois, MSNBC, 2013)
Paraphrased properly, it could read:
John Haroldson, the District Attorney for Benton County, recently announced that 17-year old Grant Acord would face six counts for allegedly manufacturing and possessing a destructive device. He will be tried as an adult after investigators discovered six bombs in his bedroom in a secret location. (Dubois, MSNBC, 2013)
Examples of Summarizing
Alternately, summarizing examples can be critical to learning the art. Here is an article by Maggie Fox.
Officials are keeping a close eye on H7N9 because it has the potential to cause a human pandemic. So far, it doesn’t seem to infect people easily and people who are infected do not seem to spread it to others much, if at all. But influenza viruses change quickly and unpredictably and if one starts passing easily from one person to another, it could spread. (Fox, NBC News, 2013)
Summarized, this snippet could be written as the following:
Since the H7N9 virus is extremely unpredictable in its ability to pass from one person to another, officials are watching it intensely to avoid a human pandemic. Fox, NBC News, 2013)
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