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APA Citation Style: Direct Quotes, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

WCCC's Guide to APA Style

The Basics

Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing

You already know that you need to use various kinds of resources when you are researching.  Now things can get a little more complicated when trying to use those resources in your assignments.

We find that most students accidently plagiarize because they don’t know how to correctly quote, paraphrase, and/or summarize information they are trying to incorporate into their papers.  Or how and when to cite things. 

So, what's the difference?

(Venn_quote, n.d.)

Direct Quotes 

Quotes are the exact words that the author has used, word for word.  When quoting, you must use quotation marks and include an in-text citation

As in MLA, quotes in an APA paper should be "used selectively" and should "be as brief as possible" (The Modern Language Association of America, 2016, p. 75). 

Rather, most professors prefer you to paraphrase or summarize information from your source because it demonstrates that you really understand what you're writing about.  



Paraphrasing means putting the information you could have quoted into your own words, but keeping the intention of the original source.  Paraphrases do not have quotation marks because you are using your own words, yet still must include an in-text citation at the end of the part you are paraphrasing. 



When you summarize information, it's really a shorter version of the original source where you relate the overall meaning from the source.  Like when paraphrasing, when you summarize you must still include an in-text citation at the end of the part you are summarizing.    



The Modern Language Association of America. (2016).  MLA handbook, 8th edition.  New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

"Venn_quote."  (n.d.).  Retrieved from  

Additional Resources

Warren County Community College
Haytaian & Maier Library
475 Route 57 West
Washington, New Jersey 07882

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