You are writing your paper, right? And you found this amazing, perfectly fitting article that will help you build your whole article further. So you take the information you need, change a few words here and there, voila. You have a whole section of your assignment already written. The thing is, those are not your ideas. And you need to cite the source you took them from. If you follow APA formatting style with your paper – this is a guide for you. So buckle up – we will learn a few rules in proper APA paraphrasing.

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APA In-Text Citations for Paraphrased Text

No research nowadays is done without using the findings or works of other scientists. So any Ph.D. researcher, professor, or student, will most likely use the ideas of others to create their articles. Thus, everybody will at some point use paraphrase in their writing. And there’s nothing wrong with that until you show where those insights and findings are coming from.

That’s where in-text citations enter the scene. Depending on the structure of your sentences, they can be added either in the beginning or (what’s more likely) in the middle and the end of the sentence.

The rule for APA in-text citation: (Author’s Name, Year)

You should also note that there are two types of in-text citations: narrative and parenthetical. This is what they look like.

Narrative citation: Chomsky (1998) believes that we as humans have a special part in our brain responsible for our knowledge and use of language (p.115).

Parenthetical citation: Some researchers believe that the human brain has a specific part that is dedicated to language use and knowledge (Chomsky, 1998).

Note that the page number is usually not included in the case of parenthetical in-text citations in APA. It is only relevant when you use a narrative citing method. The only time you will need to include page numbers in your APA in-text citation is if you include a direct quote from the source.

Creating Reference Entries in APA

If you mentioned a source in the in-text citations, you should add it to your list of references as well. We’ve covered APA referencing in a couple of our guides before but let’s take a quick look at how a properly formatted APA reference entry should look like:

A screenshot of APA reference created by AcdemicHelp Citation generator
APA reference created by AcdemicHelp Citation generator (click to see a bigger image)

As you can see, this reference includes the following components:

  • Primary Author – Barbosa, P.
  • Publication year – (1998)
  • Title of the work (italicized)Is the Best Good Enough?
  • Publisher of the work – MIT Press
  • and the URL (since it’s an online book)

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Incorporating Paraphrased Content into Your Argument

When you use a paraphrase, you must use it correctly and smartly. You want to use it to support your own arguments, after all. And that’s why you need to incorporate any paraphrased content with a specific consideration.

  • Begin by clearly identifying the purpose of the paraphrased material in your argument. It should provide support, evidence, or a contrasting perspective to your points.
  • When introducing paraphrased content, integrate it seamlessly into your narrative by linking it to your argument with transitional phrases such as “according to,” “as stated by,” or “this suggests that.”
  • Use only relevant paraphrased information that directly supports your thesis or main points.
  • To maintain the focus on your argument, avoid over-reliance on paraphrased content; instead, use it consciously to improve your analysis and move it forward.
  • After presenting the paraphrased material, offer your interpretation or critique to demonstrate its significance to your argument. This not only shows your understanding of the source but also how it aligns with or challenges your perspective.

In the end, properly cite anything that you rephrase in APA or any other required format, attributing the original idea to its source while maintaining the flow of your writing.


How do I paraphrase in APA format?

Paraphrasing in APA format is no different than in any other formatting style. You should just restate the original idea in your own words without altering its meaning. After paraphrasing, include an in-text citation with the author’s last name and the year of publication. For example: (Smith, 2020). You can also include a page number if it helps the reader locate the information in a larger work, like this: (Smith, 2020, p. 15). Ensure your paraphrased text is significantly different from the original in terms of wording and structure.

Is there a difference between summarizing and paraphrasing in APA?

Yes, there is a difference between summarizing and paraphrasing in APA as well as in any other formatting style. Paraphrasing involves rephrasing a specific passage or idea from a source in your own words, keeping the original meaning intact. Summarizing, on the other hand, involves condensing the main points of a larger text or section into a brief overview. Both require an in-text citation in APA format, but paraphrasing is typically more detailed and closer to the original text while summarizing provides a broader overview.

Can I use paraphrasing tools for APA style?

You can use paraphrasing tools to assist with APA style, but you should use them with caution. These tools can help you rephrase sentences, but they may not always maintain the original meaning accurately. You better review and edit the output to make it accurately reflect the source’s ideas and be written in your own words. Additionally, you must still cite the original source in APA format, even if you use a paraphrasing tool. You can also use a citation tool like AcademicHelp APA Citation Generator to do that quickly.


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