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APA Citation Guide (7th edition): Quotes vs Paraphrases

This citation guide is based on the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition).

What's the Difference?

Quoting vs Paraphrasing: What's the Difference?

There are two ways to integrate sources into your assignment: quoting directly or paraphrasing.

Quoting is copying a selection from someone else's work, phrasing it exactly as it was originally written. When quoting place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation. 

Paraphrasing is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must reword the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words, and not just change a few words here and there. Make sure to also include an in-text citation. 

Quotes

Quoting Example

There are two basic formats that can be used:

Parenthetical Style:

The homeless were typically neglected growing up since they "commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony" (Rokach, 2005, p. 477).

 

Narrative Style:

As Rokach (2005) notes, the homeless "often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately" (p. 477).

Quoting Tips

What Is a Long Quotation?

A quotation of more than 40 words. 

Rules for Long Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  1. The line before your long quotation, when you're introducing the quote, usually ends with a colon.
  2. The long quotation is indented half an inch from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.
  3. There are no quotation marks around the quotation.
  4. The period at the end of the quotation comes before your in-text citation as opposed to after, as it does with regular quotations.
Example of a Long Quotation

At the end of Lord of the Flies the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:

The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (Golding, 1960, p.186)

Changing Quotations

Sometimes you may want to make some modifications to the quote to fit your writing. Here are some APA rules when changing quotes:

Incorrect spelling, grammar, and punctuation

Add the word [sic] after the error in the quotation to let your reader know the error was in the original source and is not your error.

Omitting parts of a quotation

If you would like to exclude some words from a quotation, replace the words you are not including with an ellipsis - ...

Adding words to a quote

If you are adding words that are not part of the original quote, enclose the additional words in square brackets - [XYZ]

Secondary Source Quotes

What Is a Secondary Source?

In scholarly work, a primary source reports original content; a secondary source refers to content first reported in another source.

  • Cite secondary sources sparingly—for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable, or available only in a language that you do not understand.
  • If possible, as a matter of good scholarly practice, find the primary source, read it, and cite it directly rather than citing a secondary source.
Rules for Secondary Source Citations
  • In the reference list, provide an entry only for the secondary source that you used.
  • In the text, identify the primary source and write “as cited in” the secondary source that you used. 
  • If the year of publication of the primary source is known, also include it in the in-text citation.
Example of a Secondary Source Use

Quote & In-Text Citation

According to Culver (2006, as cited in Jones, 2009), learning APA "can be tough, but like any skill, it just takes practice" (p. 23).
 

Reference List Entry

Jones, J. (2009). Scholarly writing tips. Minneapolis, MN: Publishing House.

Paraphrases

Paraphrasing Example

When you write information from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion as follows:

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt, 1993).

 

If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the year of publication following his/her name:

Hunt (1993) noted that mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research after the publication of John Bowlby's studies.

 

NOTE: Although not required, APA encourages including the page number when paraphrasing if it will help the reader locate the information in a long text and distinguish between the information that is coming from you and the source.

Paraphrasing Tips

Original Source

Homeless individuals commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony, and are alienated from their parents. They have often been physically and even sexually abused, have relocated frequently, and many of them may be asked to leave home or are actually thrown out, or alternatively are placed in group homes or in foster care. They often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately.

Source from: 

Rokach, A. (2005). The causes of loneliness in homeless youth. The Journal of Psychology, 139, 469-480. 

Example: Incorrect Paraphrasing
The homeless come from families with problems. Frequently, they have been physically or sexually abused, or have lived in group homes. Usually no one cares for them or knows them intimately (Rokach, 2005).

Note: In this incorrect example the writing is too similar to the original source. The student only changed or removed a few words and has not phrased the ideas in a new way.

 

Example: Correct Paraphrasing
Many homeless experience isolation in part due to suffering from abuse or neglect during their childhood (Rokach, 2005).

Note: The example keeps the idea of the original writing but phrases it in a new way.

If your paraphrase is longer than one sentence, provide an in-text citation for the source at the beginning of the paraphrase. As long as it's clear that the paraphrase continues to the following sentences, you don't have to include in-text citations for the following sentences.

Example:
This is the first sentence of my paraphrase (Lastname, 2019). I continue to describe the author's idea. This is the last sentence of my paraphrase.

 

If your paraphrase continues to another paragraph and/or you include paraphrases from other sources within the paragraph, repeat the in-text citations for each.

Example:
This is a new paraphrase from my first source (Firstauthor, 2019). This information was taken from my second source which is a journal article (Secondauthor, 2019). I introduce another idea from my first source (Firstauthor, 2019).

Additional Resource

Tip sheet on paraphrasing information