Paraphrasing is a restatement of the sources ideas into your own words. Quotations should only be used in paraphrases when there are special words or wording that cannot be paraphrased. Because the same information that the author provided is being used, a paraphrase is often as long as the original source. Since paraphrases are information from a source, every sentence with paraphrased information must cite the source even if exact words are not quoted.

Even through a sentence with paraphrased information must cite the source, any exact words from the source must be in quotation marks.  Failing to use quotation marks on exact words is plagiarism even if the sentence give credit to the source.

Proper note-taking while doing research will help avoid plagiarism.  Notes should include quotation marks around any exact words taken from sources.

Another problem students may have with paraphrasing is that the language used in the paraphrase should be an accurate accounting of the source’s ideas. Good paraphrasing doesn’t just capture the ideas of the source. They don’t include your own opinions or omit important information. Just like in a quotation, be sure to either introduce the source at the beginning of your paraphrase or cite the source at the end of the sentence so that the reader knows these are not your ideas, but ideas from your source.

Jones thinks the answer to reducing water usage is to raise water rates.

OR – The answer to reducing water usage is to raise water rates (Jones).

A Good Paraphrase:

  1. has all the main ideas included with no new ideas added.
  2. is different enough from the original to be your own writing.
  3. refers directly to the original source


“Besides, step-families offer unique advantages as well. One example is the increase in available emotional support and other resources from the larger, more extended family. Another is the opportunity the children have for learning how to cope with an ever-changing and complicated world due to the social and emotional complexity of their own step family environment” (Pinto).

Unacceptable Paraphrase: 

Step-families have advantages too. One is that there is more emotional support when there are more people. Also, children can cope better with life if they start dealing with problems when they’re young.

  • This paraphrase uses too much of the original’s wording and sentence structure.
  • It does not properly introduce or cite the original source.
  • It does not accurately convey the ideas of the source.

Improved Paraphrase: 

Although there are many criticisms leveled against mixed families, Pinto gives some reasons for hope. First, Pinto says that blended families are often larger and can provide more “emotional support” and other aid for the children. Pinto continues by explaining that because of the emotional and social complications that arise in a blended family, children are more able to deal with the complexities of today’s changing world.

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