Benefits of paraphrasing

Benefits of paraphrasing

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Use the menu below to learn more about quoting and paraphrasing.

  • How to avoid plagiarism
  • Should I paraphrase or quote?
  • How to paraphrase a source
  • Successful vs. unsuccessful paraphrases
  • How to quote a source
  • Additional resources

These materials will help you avoid plagiarism by teaching you how to properly integrate information from published sources into your own writing.

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Paraphrasing vs. Quoting — Explanation

Should I paraphrase or quote?

In general, use direct
quotations only if you have a good reason. Most of your paper should be in your
own words. Also, it’s often conventional to quote more extensively from sources
when you’re writing a humanities paper, and to summarize from sources when you’re
writing in the social or natural sciences–but there are always exceptions.

In a literary analysis
, for example, you”ll want to quote from the literary text rather
than summarize, because part of your task in this kind of paper is to analyze
the specific words and phrases an author uses.

In research papers, you should quote from a source

  • to show that an authority supports your point
  • to present a position or argument to critique or comment on
  • to include especially moving or historically significant language
  • to present a particularly well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarized

You should summarize or paraphrase when

  • what you want from the source is the idea expressed, and not the specific language used to express it
  • you can express in fewer words what the key point of a source is

Excelsior College OWL

  • Research
  • Drafting  Integrating
  • Paraphrasing


When you want to use specific materials from an argument to support a point you are making in your paper but want to avoid too many quotes, you should paraphrase.

What is a paraphrase?

Paraphrases are generally as long, and sometimes longer, than the original text. In a paraphrase, you use your own words to explain the specific points another writer has made. If the original text refers to an idea or term discussed earlier in the text, your paraphrase may also need to explain or define that idea. You may also need to interpret specific terms made by the writer in the original text.

Be careful not to add information or commentary that isn’t part of the original passage in the midst of your paraphrase. You don’t want to add to or take away from the meaning of the passage you are paraphrasing. Save your comments and analysis until after you have finished your paraphrased and cited it appropriately.

What does paraphrasing look like?

Paraphrases should begin by making it clear that the information to come is from your source. If you are using APA format, a year citation should follow your mention of the author.

For example, using the Thoreau passage as an example, you might begin a paraphrase like this:

Even though Thoreau (1854) praised the virtues of the intellectual life, he did not consider….

Paraphrases may sometimes include brief quotations, but most of the paraphrase should be in your own words.

What might a paraphrase of this passage from Thoreau look like?


“Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market.”


In his text, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau (1854) points to the incongruity of free men becoming enslaved and limited by constant labor and worry. Using the metaphor of a fruit to represent the pleasures of a thoughtful life, Thoreau suggests that men have become so traumatized by constant labor that their hands—as representative of their minds—have become unable to pick the fruits available to a less burdened life even when that fruit becomes available to them (p. 110). 

Note that the passage above is almost exactly the same length as the original. It’s also important to note that the parphased passage has a different structure and significant changes in wording. The main ideas are the same, but the student has paraphased effectively by putting the information into their own words.

What are the benefits of paraphrasing?

The paraphrase accomplishes three goals:

  1. Like the summary, it contextualizes the information (who said it, when, and where).
  2. It restates all the supporting points used by Thoreau to develop the idea that man is hurt by focusing too much on labor.
  3. The writer uses their own words for most of the paraphrase, allowing the writer to maintain a strong voice while sharing important information form the source.

Paraphrasing is likely the most common way you will integrate your source information. Quoting should be minimal in most research papers. Paraphrasing allows you to integrate sources without losing your voice as a writer to those sources. Paraphrasing can be tricky, however. You really have to make changes to the wording. Changing a few words here and there doesn’t count as a paraphrase, and, if you don’t quote those words, can get you into trouble with plagiarism .

The next page will allow you to see more examples of effective paraphrasing before you practice with the Paraphrasing Activity .


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Counselling Connection > Counselling Theory & Process > Encouragers, Paraphrasing and Summarising

Encouragers, Paraphrasing and Summarising

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A counsellor can encourage a client to continue to talk, open up more freely and explore issues in greater depth by providing accurate responses through encouraging, paraphrasing and summarising. Responding in this way informs the client that the counsellor has accurately heard what they have been saying. Encouragers, paraphrases and summaries are basic to helping a client feel understood.

Encouragers, also known as intentional listening, involve fully attending to the client, thus allowing them to explore their feelings and thoughts more completely. Paraphrasing and summarising are more active ways of communicating to the client that they have been listened to. Summarising is particularly useful to help clients organise their thinking.

The diagram below shows how encouragers, paraphrases and summaries are on different points of a continuum, each building on more of the information provided by the client to accurately assess issues and events.


Encouragers — Encouragers are a variety of verbal and non-verbal ways of prompting clients to continue talking.

Types of encouragers include:

  1. Non-verbal minimal responses such as a nod of the head or positive facial expressions
  2. Verbal minimal responses such as “Uh-huh” and “I hear what you’re saying”
  3. Brief invitations to continue such as “Tell me more”

Encouragers simply encourage the client to keep talking. For a counsellor to have more influence on the direction of client progress they would need to make use of other techniques.

Paraphrases — To paraphrase, the counsellor chooses the most important details of what the client has just said and reflects them back to the client. Paraphrases can be just a few words or one or two brief sentences.

Paraphrasing is not a matter of simply repeating or parroting what the client has stated. Rather it is capturing the essence of what the client is saying, through rephrasing. When the counsellor has captured what the client is saying, often the client will say, “That’s right” or offer some other form of confirmation.

Example: I have just broken up with Jason. The way he was treating me was just too much to bear. Every time I tried to touch on the subject with him he would just clam up. I feel so much better now.

Paraphrase: You feel much better after breaking up with Jason.

Summaries — Summaries are brief statements of longer excerpts from the counselling session. In summarising, the counsellor attends to verbal and non-verbal comments from the client over a period of time, and then pulls together key parts of the extended communication, restating them for the client as accurately as possible.

A check-out, phrased at the end of the summary, is an important component of the statement, enabling a check of the accuracy of the counsellor’s response. Summaries are similar to paraphrasing, except they are used less frequently and encompass more information.

  • AIPC
  • July 21, 2009
  • 99537
  • 15
  • Communication , Counselling Process , Encouraging , Microskills , Paraphrasing
  • Counselling Theory & Process


Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors

Comments: 15

  1. martin collins
    August 1, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Yeah,must say i like the simple way these basic counselling skills are explained in this article. More of same would be most welcome as it helps give a better understanding of the counselling process and the methods and techniques used within the counselling arena

  2. Frances Fry
    September 4, 2009 at 2:08 am

    I really find this information helpful as a refresher in my studies and work. Please keep up the excellent work of ‘educating’ us on being a better counsellor. Thank you!

  3. Gillian Davey
    September 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Wonderfully helpful posting. Many thanks!

  4. Dee Davies
    May 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Thankyou so much. I am doing a assignment at uni about scitzophrenia and needed to clarify what paraphrasing truly meant. Cheers

  5. Kalyegira Juma
    June 12, 2012 at 2:06 am

    So helpful to me as a counselor.

  6. Deborah
    December 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm


  7. Antoinette
    March 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Thankx so much for these post. I’m doing Counselling and Community Services and I need to clarify what summarising and paraphrasing really meant. Once again thank you, this information it’s really helpful

  8. Shariel
    September 18, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    thanks I am doing a counselling community services at careers Australia

  9. Wesley
    August 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Really love the explanations given to the active listening techniques it was really useful and helpful good work done.

  10. Anushka
    September 5, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Helpful. Thanks!

  11. Dominic
    November 1, 2016 at 5:32 am

    I really like hw u explain everything in to simple terms for my understanding.

  12. Rendani
    August 15, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Hai ,thanks for being here .Am a student social worker,i need help an an able to listen to get the implied massages from the client.and to bring questions to explore with them .I love to do this work .What shall I do i train my self in listening.

  13. ukeme ekaiko
    September 20, 2017 at 6:12 am

    really appreciate.

  14. Mary
    October 31, 2017 at 7:57 am

    You explanation of these three basic intentional listening are very helpful. Thank you for remained us.

  15. okelloemmanuel
    November 16, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    very helpful indeed in making the client more open and exploring the issues more deeply


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