Do You Need to Cite a Paraphrase?

According to the OWL at Purdue (Purdue University's "Online Writing Lab"), a "paraphrase is...
  • your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
  • one legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
  • a more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea." (

There are several reasons you may wish to paraphrase, rather than use quotes. You may think that if you paraphrase someone else's words, they become your words, and you don't need to cite them. This is not true. A paraphrase is your version of someone else's ideas or words and must be cited.

If you use someone else's words exactly, be sure to use quotation marks, and cite your source.

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