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How to Cite a Paraphrase in APA & MLA: Tips and Examples

Home / Blog / How to Cite a Paraphrase in APA & MLA: Tips and Examples

 Krishna   August 8, 2022  Assignment  0

Erica Martin was in her first year of college when she had a rather tough time learning about citing paraphrased information. On multiple occasions, the teachers pointed out that her citations are wrong, and she lost marks because of it as well.

Now, it may be usual to get confused while citing paraphrased details in your written text, particularly in MLA or APA style. So, like Erica, if you ever need support on how to cite a paraphrase in APA and MLA style, then we’ve got some insights for you.

How to cite a paraphrase in APA and MLA

If you need help understanding how to cite a paraphrase in MLA, these steps will ensure you cite the paraphrased sources accurately.

  1. Adhere to specific formatting guidelines for your citation style

Every citation style comes with a manual that explains the format you should use for adding in-text citations after you paraphrase. You can also receive help on formatting from your teacher.

The MLA style of citation uses an author-page number format for parenthetical citations in the body of your assignment. If the source doesn’t have page numbers, you can leave that part out and put the author's last name only. Similarly, the APA style also uses an author-date format for parenthetical citations in the body of your academic paper.

  1. Cite after every sentence that you paraphrase

Whether you use APA or MLA citation style, each quote or paraphrase should be cited individually. Even if you have three sentences in a row that have been paraphrased from the same source, you still have to use three citations instead of just one.

Essentially, you should avoid having multiple sentences in a row that are paraphrased from the same source. You should include a paraphrased sentence from the source, then present your own thoughts or analysis of that details in the next sentence.

  1. Use semi-colons to separate multiple sources

Some sentences in your assignment may consist of information or ideas paraphrased from more than one source. You must mention all of the sources for the information or ideas in that sentence. Most citation styles use semi-colons which indicate to the readers that the sources are different from one another.

You can also utilize the format to indicate several sources with more information that’s associated with your topic but beyond the scope of your research. Ideally, you don't have to incorporate proper citations to such sources in your reference list.

Format your reference list as per the style guide

Each citation style comes with different formatting rules for reference lists. These rules cover margins, font sizes, line spacing, justification, and indentations.

Check the rules properly before you start working on the reference list, particularly if you're using a citation style for the first time. If the rules seem tricky, ask your professor for a sample reference list written using APA or MLA.

  1. Write abbreviated notes as you read a source

Paraphrasing a source in APA or MLA style can be tough if you're reading the passage as you write your paraphrase. An ideal way is to write notes as you read and then write a paraphrase looking only at your notes.

Try not to check the source at all while you're writing. You might unknowingly plagiarize the original content. Look at the passage from the source material after you've finished rephrasing to make sure your words are sufficiently different.

  1. Use synonyms to paraphrase further from the source text

Once you've modified the structure, your paper may still consist of direct quotes from the source instead of paraphrased details. Altering the original words to other appropriate words that mean the same thing allows you to eliminate the risk of plagiarism.

After the structure of your paper is modified, check the source and underline all phrases in the document that still seems identical to the original source. Try to change as many of these as possible. You can use a thesaurus to find alternate words but stay away from direct synonyms.

  1. Create a reference entry for every source you cite

Be it MLA or AP, both follow a specific format of referencing for different types of sources. Every reference entry consists of the same basic information. But the specific format allows anyone familiar with the guidelines to decipher the type of source cited at a glance.

Also, in case of common citation styles like APA or MLA, sources are listed in alphabetical order and usually start with the author's last name. If you utilize multiple sources by the same author, mention them in chronological order beginning with the earliest publication date.

Example of accurate paraphrasing in APA

Source text:

There’s strong evidence to suggest that newsmakers are turning out to be savvy about putting items on the media agenda. For instance, when President Reagan was running for his second term, he paid a visit to the Chesapeake Bay to promote his administration's work on environmental issues. There were plenty of photo opportunities for the media.

Paraphrased text:

According to Jordan and Gerard (2007), the news coverage of President Reagan’s visit to the Chesapeake Bay when he ran for reelection in 1984 was full of photo opportunities. By posing for pictures, the President tried presenting himself as concerned about environmental concerns.

Example of proper paraphrasing in MLA

Source text:

Students tend to overuse direct quotations while taking notes, which leads to the overuse of quotations in academic papers as well. But essentially, about 10% of your final manuscript should include directly quoted matter. Hence, you should restrict the amount of exact transcribing of source materials when you take notes.

Paraphrased text:

While writing academic papers, students use quotes excessively. Since the issue generally arises during note-taking, it's essential to reduce the material recorded verbatim (Kruger 80-81).

Parting thoughts,

Losing marks over incorrect paraphrasing and citations are a common occurrence. But such issues can be prevented once you know the appropriate ways to paraphrase and cite the sources in APA and MLA. These insights will help you eliminate any confusion you have while citing your paraphrase.

Confused about how to cite a paraphrase?

Find help from

The citation process is at once a crucial and time-consuming process for most students. It isn’t unnatural for students to have confusion over in-text citations and references, particularly when it comes to citing paraphrased details. This is the reason why many students rely on the experts on to work on the citations.

The writers from our website know how to cite a paraphrase from a website or books or academic journals. They will use accurate details and use them in the right places while citing the sources. They are also familiar with the right ways to paraphrase any source material.

The writers also possess complete knowledge of MLA or APA in-text citation guidelines for paraphrase. They never miss any detail while paraphrasing tool the information of different sources. Apart from APA and MLA, there are other prominent citation styles that the experts can help you with. These styles include-

Their extensive knowledge helps students to submit a flawless task in class and steer clear of plagiarism. So, to avoid confusion, you should opt for the assistance of our experts now.

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