Summary means a short and comprehensive abstract, containing the indispensable content of the passage. It is a brief statement which not just condenses but also restates the gist and the overall concept of the piece, in original language in an abridged form.
On the other hand, paraphrase means the restatement of the passage, in explicit language, so as to clarify its hidden meaning, without condensing it. In paraphrasing, the written material, idea or statement of some other person is presented in your own words, which is easy to understand.
These two are used in an excerpt to include the ideas of other author’s but without the use of quotations. Let us talk about the difference between summary and paraphrase.
Content: Summary Vs Paraphrase
|Basis for Comparison||Summary||Paraphrase|
|Meaning||Summary refers to the concise statement containing the key points of the passage.||Paraphrase refers to the translation of the passage using understandable words, so as to make it more lucid.|
|Focuses on||Central Idea||Simplification and Clarification|
|Length compared to the original text||Shorter||Almost similar length|
|Objective||To compile the essence of someone else's work and avoid unnecessary details.||To break down the author's work in a crystal clear manner if the words used by him/her are not important or the words are too complex.|
|When used||When you want to give a quick overview of the idea or concept given in the passage.||When you want to use your own voice to present the material in a fresh manner and you want to integrate the author's ideas as well.|
|Does not include||Unnecessary details, examples and reader's own interpretation||Same wordings as used in the original source.|
Definition of Summary
A summary is an abridged form of a passage, which incorporates all the main or say relevant points of the original text while keeping the meaning and essence intact. It is used to give an overview of the excerpt in brief, to the reader. In summary, the author’s ideas are presented in your own words and sentences, in a succinct manner.
A summary encapsulates the gist and the entire concept of the author’s material in a shorter fashion. It also indicates the source of the information, using citation. Basically the length of the summary depends on the material being condensed.
It encompasses the main idea of every paragraph and the facts supporting that idea. It does not end with a conclusion, however, if there is a message in the conclusion, it is included in the summary. It also uses the keywords from the original material, but it does not use the same phrases or sentences.
Summaries save a lot of time of the reader, as the reader need not go through the entire work to filter the most important information contained in it, rather the reader gets the most relevant information in hand.
Definition of Paraphrase
Paraphrasing is not a reproduction of a similar copy of another author’s work, rather it means to rewrite the excerpt in your own language, using comprehensible words and restructuring the sentences, but without changing the context. Hence, in paraphrasing, the original idea and meaning of the text are maintained, but the sentence structure and the words used to deliver the message would be different.
The paraphrased version of the text is simple and easily understandable. The length is almost similar to the original text, as it only translates the original text into simplest form. It is not about the conversion of the text in a detailed manner, rather it is presented in such a way that goes well with your expression.
In paraphrasing, someone else’s written material is restated or rephrased in your own language, containing the same degree of detail. It is the retelling of the concept, using a different tone to address a different audience.
Key Differences Between Summary and Paraphrase
The points discussed below, explains the difference between summary and paraphrase
- To summarize means to put down the main ideas of the essential points of the excerpt, in your own words, while keeping its essence intact. On the contrary, to paraphrase means to decode the original text in your own words without distorting its meaning or essence.
- A summary is all about emphasizing the central idea (essence) and the main points of the text. In contrast, paraphrasing is done to simplify and clarify the meaning of the given excerpt, so as to enhance its comprehension.
- If we talk about the length of the summary in comparison to the original text, it is shorter, because summary tends to highlight the main points only and excludes the irrelevant material of the text. As against, in case of paraphrasing, the length is almost equal to the original text, because its aim is to decipher, i.e. to convert the complex text in a language which is easily understandable without excluding any material from the text.
- The main objective of summarizing is to compile and present the gist of the author’s idea or concept in a few sentences or points. Conversely, the primary objective of paraphrasing is to clarify the meaning of author’s work in a clear and effective manner when the words used by him/her are not important or the words are too complex to understand.
- A summary is used when you want to give a quick overview of the main ideas to the reader about the topic. On the contrary, Paraphrase is used when the idea or main point is more significant than the actual words used in the material and also when you want to use your own voice to explain the concept or idea.
- A summary does not include lengthy explanations, examples and what the reader has understood. In contrast, a paraphrase does not include the exact same wordings or paragraphs used in the original source, so as to avoid plagiarism.
Steps for Summarizing
- First of all, you need to read the entire passage twice or thrice to grasp the meaning and essence of the material.
- Identify and underline all the important points, ideas and supporting facts which you have read.
- Now, explain the material to yourself, for better understanding.
- Rewrite in your own words, the salient points and central idea from the original text, in a few sentences.
- Omit unnecessary detailing and examples.
- Make a comparison of the original text and the summary which you’ve created.
Steps for Paraphrasing
- Read the entire text carefully, twice or thrice, to absorb the meaning and essence.
- Rewrite the author’s ideas in a unique language, i.e. in your own voice. Make sure that the sentences and words used are your own and it should not be a mere substitution or swapping of words and phrases.
- Further, the sequence in which idea is presented, need not be different from the original source.
- Compare the paraphrased version with the main text, and ensure that the essence clearly presented, as well as make sure that it is free from plagiarism.
- Check that the words and phrases which are directly taken from the text are within quotation marks.
- Provide references.
In a nutshell, a summary is nothing but a shorter version of an excerpt or passage. On the contrary, a paraphrase is the restatement of the original text or excerpt. One can use any of the two sources, as per the requirement, when the idea of any of the sources is relevant to your material, but the wording is not that important.
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