Paraphrasing and summarizing are two writing techniques that play a role in modifying a given piece of text for the common purpose of achieving better clarity. We say “common purpose” because there are other purposes for summarizing and paraphrasing, but they are not common to both of them.
In this blog, we will be looking at what paraphrasing and summarizing is and how they are both similar to and different from one another.
What is Paraphrasing?The simplest definition of paraphrasing is: changing words.
However, there is a lot more depth to the definition than this. To elaborate, here is how we can define paraphrasing like this:
“Paraphrasing is the process in which a piece of content is rephrased using different words – as well as alterations to its structure and organization – for the purpose of making it look different from its original form.”
That is as far as the definition of paraphrasing goes.
Other than defining paraphrasing, we should also talk about some of the reasons why it’s done in the first place. Among others, here are some of the reasons that content is typically paraphrased:
1. To make it clearer and easier to understand
2. To remove plagiarism from it
3. To make some changes to the tone
And so on.
For smaller pieces of text, paraphrasing can usually be done manually, i.e., with the user making the changes themselves. But, when it comes to larger write-ups, paraphrasing tools can also be utilized.
To demonstrate how paraphrasing tools typically work, we will show you a popular one in action. Paraphrase online is a high-quality popular paraphrasing tool in this category, and that is the one we will be using:
What is Summarizing?Now, let’s take a look at what summarizing is.
“Summarizing can be defined as the process in which a piece of content is shortened in such a form that the main points are encapsulated.”
In other words, conveying the main idea of a piece of content in a shortened form is called summarizing. The piece of content that is created for this purpose is known as a summary.
As is the case with paraphrasing, there are also a number of reasons that summarizing is used as a technique. Some of those reasons are:
1. To provide an abstract for some content
2. To create an introduction or conclusion for some content
3. To create an excerpt of a piece of content for sharing purposes
Summarizing can be done via manual means, i.e., by understanding a piece of content and then shortening it yourself. Or it can be done with the help of an online tool.
To demonstrate the latter, we will use an online tool called Summarizer
In the screenshot, you can see that this particular tool allows users to adjust the summary length. And you can see that we set it to 60%, due to which the tool shrank the given content of 207 words to 111 words.
The other main thing that you will note with the online tool is that the tool didn’t actually create a new summary based on the given content. Rather, it extracted some of the meaningful sentences from within the content and put them together to create an extractive summary.
How are Summarizing and Paraphrasing Done?Before we move on to discuss the similarities and differences between these two techniques, let’s look at how they are both performed.
1. When it comes to summarizing, the main idea is to understand a piece of content and then condense the meaning into a smaller number of words. The steps in this process involve understanding the content, picking out the most meaningful parts, and then elaborating on them.
2. When it comes to paraphrasing, the main idea is to understand the content and then make changes to it, such as swapping words with synonyms, breaking or merging sentences, and the like.
What are the Similarities Between Summarizing and Paraphrasing?Here are some of the similarities between summarizing and paraphrasing:
1. They are both writing techniques. They are usually used to manipulate content to attain a particular purpose.
2. They can both be used to improve the clarity of the content.
3. Both of the techniques have to be used in such a way that the original meaning of the text is not disturbed. Should this happen in summarizing, the summary won’t remain an accurate one.
4. Both of the techniques can be a good remedy against plagiarism. In both summarizing and paraphrased, the original content is changed. However, this applies to only abstractive type of summaries since extractive ones use the same lines and sentences as the original write-up.
What are the Differences Between Summarizing and Paraphrasing?Here are some of the differences between summarizing and paraphrasing.
1. In paraphrasing, the length of the content is roughly maintained, whereas it is reduced in summarizing.
2. Paraphrasing can be used in situations where the source content has to be considerably changed, i.e., you have to use some content from a source without crediting it. On the other hand, summarizing has no such utility.
3. A summary can be created using the sentences and lines from the existing content, whereas paraphrasing necessarily has to be done using different words.