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HUM 101: The Ancient World in Fiction (Dr. Harkey)

Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Citing

Paraphrasing is putting another author's ideas into your own words and following up with a citation. This is a fundamental part of academic writing: you show that you have read and understood another scholar's ideas, then you give credit to the author.

The 3 Rs of Paraphrasing:

Reword the original text.

Rearrange the structure of the original text.

Retain the original meaning.

Example: Dr. Seuss's iconic children's book The Lorax is a parable of environmental destruction that discourages conspicuous consumption and encourages young readers to think about the impact their actions have on the world. (From Johnson, page 45)

Paraphrase 1: The Lorax tells the story of environmental harm and wants people to be aware of the consequences of their actions on a global scale (Johnson 45).

Paraphrase 2: Dr. Seuss wants children to think about how their behavior affects the world, so in The Lorax, he shows the consequences of buying things for the sake of showing off (Johnson 45).

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Quoting is using the author's original words in your text and following it up with a citation. Quotations should always be placed in quotation marks, and you should use quotations sparingly. Work quotations into your writing smoothly, rather than quoting entire sentences. Remember, you want to show that you understand the work that you're quoting. 

Example 1: Shakespeare has written many dramatic plays. "These plays show the range of human experience and allow the audience to feel many emotions" (Smith 196). One of Shakespeare's most exciting plays is Hamlet. "Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's finest works" (Taylor 185).

Example 2: Shakespeare's many plays "show the range of human experience" (Smith 196), which can invoke strong emotions from people watching the plays in the theater (Smith 196). One of Shakespeare's most exciting plays, and one which is considered by scholars to be one of his most accomplished (Taylor 185), is Hamlet.

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Citing is an essential part of any academic paper. You must cite both direct quotations and ideas drawn from the sources you read. There are different citation styles with different rules, but if you remember that citing is about showing where you got your information and leading your reader back to that information, you will be well on your way. Librarians and professors can help you determine where you need to put your citations and how to format them correctly. See the link on the left side of this page for all of the library's citation guides.