Difference Between Summary and Paraphrase

Summary and paraphrase are two crucial tools writers use to achieve a rational and impressive article. However, even though the two terms are often confused for meaning the same thing, they are undisputedly two discrete writing tactics that can help us utilize a writer’s concept and creation in our composition.

Comprehending the distinction between summary and paraphrase is necessary to steer clear of plagiarism and also helps us understand how each term is different because it brings about different changes in the layout of the composition.

Summary vs Paraphrase

The main difference between summary and paraphrase is that summary generally refers to the term which is used when you write a composition, which brings out the crux or bottom line of the main article written by some other author, and frame/organize it in your own words while appreciably minimizing the length of the article along with it. On the contrary, Paraphrase is concerned with rewriting the composed words/essays of someone else, in clear-cut vocabulary, to shed light on its real definition. A paraphrase can either be lengthy, brief, or have the same scope as the initial extract.

Summary VS Paraphrase

A Summary represents the salient features of publications, essays, and narratives. They familiarize the audience with the outline so that it could help make arrangements for precise conversations/discussions. On the contrary, Paraphrase refers to the term used when the theory or articulation of another writer is proposed in your own words.


Comparison Table Between Summary and Paraphrase (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of comparisonSummaryParaphrase
MeaningA summary is a clear statement that gives the key details of a particular topic. For example: the most powerful love story ever told was Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, a literary masterpiece.A paraphrase is rewording a previously composed passage into simpler or shorter words that makes the meaning of the words much more clear. For example: the most remarkable romantic tale at any point told was Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, an abstract perfect work of art.
NatureSummarizing involves a writer composing only the key details on his article/text in his own words.Paraphrasing involves an individual rewording any particular article/text in his/her own words.
LengthA summary is generally concise when compared to the original text/article.A paraphrase is longer or equivalent to the original text/article.
PurposeSummarizing is undergone to write down only the bullet points to condense the text without any explanation required on the text/article.Paraphrasing is undergone to simplify/clarify the original text/article.
SelectivityA summary can opt-out certain thoughts/views from the original passage if it does not concern the motive/objective of your composition, provided that the erasure does not change the meaning of the passage.A paraphrase ought to be precise when it comes to containing all the details of the article since a paraphrase usually considers a detailed portion of an essay.


What is Summary?

Summary refers to a brief clarification of the key factors of an article or piece of writing. A summary aims on capturing the essence of the passage and helps the audience to not only identify only the main ideas of the writer but also be concise and incisive instead of backing up all the key statements with unnecessary details or illustrations.

To make a successful summary, many key points should be kept in mind to help guide us through the process. The first step under the preparation of an efficient summary would include scanning/skimming through the original essay that is required to be summarized to get an idea of what the entire article/essay is all about. Concentrate on having an appropriate heading, title, introduction, and conclusion.

After that one can strengthen their understanding of the essay/article by going through it again to check whether the content is composed effectively. The next effective step would be the jotting-down bullet points when you’re reading or listening to something and adding bullets before you start a point as it makes the point more systematic.

Finally, you can convert each bullet point into a sentence and write the article in your own words based on your bullet points. Make sure your summary is brief and informative and you have not left out any significant details.

Summaries provide several benefits to the audience. For starters, writing a summary helps ensure productivity for it not only helps produce notes and bullet points that make your work easier and efficient but also helps you preserve information and grasp the content more easily when you write down the key statements in your own words.

Summarizing also helps one to locate only the important and key details in a summary which guarantees efficient learning and saves time when you are searching for something in your previous referred pages. Hence, summarizing eliminates this time-consuming step.


What is Paraphrase?

Paraphrasing implies rephrasing/rewording the article or passage in one’s own words without altering the meaning of the words.  A paraphrase can be of varying length for it can either be longer or equal to the original passage.

The paraphrasing tool can be used either when the writer is required to make use of someone else’s article without copying the words and quotes in the same manner as it originally was or when the writer thinks that the words of the original article is too intricate for the audience to grasp so they frame it in their own words which in turn sheds light on the simpler meaning of the article and gives the final article a tremendous impression/influence/results.

To paraphrase an article efficiently, one needs practice. Various steps can be followed to learn and grasp the idea of how an effective paraphrased article can come to pass. To successfully paraphrase a written content, first and foremost one must thoroughly go through the content that is required to be rephrased and highlight and underline the significant texts that require paraphrasing.

After that, a thesaurus or dictionary or appropriate phrases can help one find the various implications of different words in the content. Modifying each line of the text by either changing passive voice to active voice or by making longer sentences to shorter sentences or by clarifying the syntax and glossary can also help make your latest content more clear and structure the content in your own words.

Finally, checking the final article and comparing it with the original article will make sure that the paraphrased article is clear and efficient. It might be shorter, yet it ought to incorporate the entirety of the fundamental detail.

Paraphrasing a written content can bring about a variety of benefits to its writers. It makes sure that a shorter amount of words can be used in the place of a long sentence. Hence, a large text can be minimized by paraphrasing. Paraphrasing also helps the writers to build their vocabulary and communicate the content written by them in their own words. When we compare a quotation to a paraphrase, paraphrasing is much easier because in a quotation one needs to remember the precise words whereas in paraphrasing the words can be adjustable.

Main Differences Between Summary and Paraphrase

  1. A summary is considered to be a small explanation representing the core points. For example: the book Moby Dick tells us not to mess with whales because they can kill you and whales symbolize nature. A paraphrase is considered rephrasing the passage which has already been composed to make the passage more simple and efficient. For example: the book Moby Dick advises us not to play with whales since they can murder you and whales represent nature.
  2. A summary can be written by involving only the core details of the passage in your own words. A paraphrase is possible when an individual rephrases any passage already written, in his own words with the assistance of a dictionary or through an online search.
  3. A summary is considerably shorter when compared to the original text. A paraphrase is considerably equivalent to or longer than the original text.
  4. A summary of a particular text is done by mentioning the core points without any description. A paraphrase is done to a particular text to make the original text simpler and easier to understand.
  5. While composing a summary, you can strike out the statements that are not very important to include in your final article and which do not change the meaning of the original composition. A paraphrase, however, ought to include all the components of the passage because it generally tackles a meticulous/precise segment of a narrative.



The two vast terms, paraphrase and summary are similar in regards to permitting a scribbler to include some other author’s handiwork into their writings and possessing crisp and incisive details about the article to help retain the significance of the article. Used correctly, summarizing and paraphrasing can save time, increase understanding, and give authority and credibility to your work. However, in the above article, the difference between the two terms is thoroughly detailed to help the audience understand what each term signifies and the situations where they are specifically used.

In brief, the article talks about how a summary is merely a concise articulation which not only helps in shortening the article but also helps in rephrasing the essence and the overall view of the article and how a paraphrase refers to the easier/more understandable interpretation of an intricate article.

This write-up also gives a gist about the various steps that are necessary to follow when you summarize and paraphrase an article and the benefits and drawbacks that might follow when you use one of these two methods.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S106037430600066X
  2. https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D10-1090.pdf
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