Do You Need Quotation Marks When Paraphrasing?

Do you need quotation marks when paraphrasing? Here, we’ll explore exactly how to handle paraphrasing in academic work. 

There’s no need to use quotation marks when paraphrasing another author’s work, but you must make sure that you attribute ideas taken from someone else to the appropriate source. Generally, if you’re using someone else’s work and putting it into your own words, you must let your reader know that the idea is not original.

There are several ways to do this, and you’ll need to consider any requirements set forth by your publisher or professor as well as what fits the general style of your writing. It can be tough to figure out if you’re paraphrasing or not, and it can be helpful to get the opinion of another writer when you’re not sure whether it’s appropriate to attribute your idea to someone else.

For example, if you’re reading someone else’s work and putting it into your own words for your paper, an in-text citation is appropriate. On the other hand, if you’re remembering something you read once upon a time that has become a part of your thought process while writing, it may not be necessary to track down the source of the idea for attribution. 

Here, we’ll look at precisely what paraphrasing is, how to cite a paraphrased idea, and how to avoid common mistakes made when paraphrasing the work of others. 

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How To Know When You’re Paraphrasing

Do you need quotation marks when paraphrasing?
Explaining an idea in more simplistic terms does not change the fact that the author still created the idea initially, meaning a citation is necessary

It can be tough to figure out your idea and what comes from the research you’ve read, especially when you’ve spent weeks honing a paper to perfection. If you’re reading a study, thinking about the work, and immediately placing the work into your paper, there’s a good chance you’re paraphrasing the author’s thoughts. However, if you’re using the information to conclude on your own, that’s different from paraphrasing

Simply using your own words doesn’t constitute an original idea. Nevertheless, paraphrasing can be an intelligent way to show your professor or audience that you understand the research and can help you break down complex scientific or theoretical concepts in a way that makes sense to your target audience. But, of course, explaining an idea in more simplistic terms does not change the fact that the author still created the idea initially, meaning a citation is necessary. 

Our paraphrasing vs. summarizing guide might be helpful.

Citing When Paraphrasing

You don’t need to use quotation marks when paraphrasing, but you must attribute ideas to their source correctly. Follow the MLA or APA format for in-text citations when paraphrasing, but forgo the quotation marks that typically come before an in-text citation. 

For example: 

  • She found that subjects who underwent medical detox before entering a residential treatment facility were likelier to attend AA and NA meetings following rehab (Berkey, 2010). 
  • Since you’re stating an idea (not a quote), there’s no need to add page numbers to your in-text citation. 

Common Paraphrasing Mistakes

You mustn’t try to pass it off as your own when you’re using someone else’s idea. We get it–it’s a pain to go through the process of writing in-text citations, and it can be exhausting to go back and figure out what needs to be cited after you’re done writing. So do yourself a favor: as you write, err on caution and attribute anything that could be considered paraphrasing to the appropriate source. 

When you cite an idea that you’ve paraphrased, it’s essential that you also include the resource on your works cited page, even if you didn’t directly quote the resource. This allows your reader to learn more information on the topic if necessary. Sometimes, the original author says the idea best. It’s ok to use some quotes in a research paper, as long as quotes don’t make up the bulk of your paper.

You don’t need to spend hours figuring out how to re-phrase someone else’s research or conclusions if they’ve already said it well. When appropriate, include a quote, give your thoughts on how the quote relates to your topic, and move forward.

Interested in learning more? Check out our guide on Grammarly paraphrasing tools!