Long Description: Paraphrasing and Quoting 101 in MLA 8th Edition Style
What is a paraphrase?
A good paraphrase conveys the meaning of the quote and attributes it correctly.
A good paraphrase is information that you have learned from an outside source (book, journal, video, conversation, etc.) that is not common knowledge, put into your own words. Paraphrasing let’s you share an author’s idea without using direct quotes.
What is a quote?
The MLA Handbook states that “the accuracy of quotations is crucial. They must reproduce the original sources exactly” (75). Quoting is great when you find a short statement or exact phrase that supports your paper topic.
Quoting let’s you use the author’s exact words for added effect.
Here is an example of original source:
Despite the myth of mobility in America, the true rule, experts say is rags to rags, riches to riches. According to Bucknell University economist and author Charles Sackrey, maybe 10 percent climb from working to professional class. My father has had a tough time accepting my decision to become a mere newspaper reporter, a field that pays just a little more than construction does. He wonders why I haven’t taken a profitable job like a lawyer. After bricklaying for thirty years, my father promised himself I would take a better job and earn more money with an education.
Librana, Alfred. “Bricklayers Boy.” Readings for Writers: Indian River State College Edition, edited by
Jo-Ray McCuen-Metherell and Anthony C. Wrinkler, 15th ed., Cengage Learning, 2013, pp.
And here’s how to use it:
Lubrano’s father was upset that his son did not make significantly more money as reporter than he did as a bricklayer, since he hoped his sone getting an education would get him a better job (573).
This is a paraphrase. The author found a point they wanted to highlight and put it into their own words, saving space and keeping the flow of their own writing.
Despite the myth of “mobility in America, the true rule, experts say, is rags to rags, riches to riches (Lubrano 573).
This is a quote. In this case, the author chose to quote a specific line from the text. By quoting instead of paraphrasing this line, the author is able to directly reproduce a passage from the original source. Attribution is still given.
Citing sources, you should always give credit in your paper for any idea that is not your own opinion. If you’re using any idea that isn’t your own, reference it! This not only keeps you safe from plagiarism, but also allows your readers to follow the path to your research.