Paraphrasing in MLA is a necessary skill for academic writing, since the majority of students has the need to refer to another source in their works. This guide will give you clear examples and steps to make sure you accurately and ethically incorporate source material into your own paper.

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What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing in MLA involves rewording someone else’s ideas or information in your unique style while keeping the original meaning and ideas. It’s different from summarizing, which only focuses on the main ideas, and is more detailed.

Importance of Paraphrasing:

  1. 🚫 Avoids Overquoting: It limits the use of direct quotes from unremarkable passages.
  2. 💡 Enhances Understanding: It involves a deep analysis of the source material.
  3. ✍️ Maintains Originality: It helps in presenting information in a new form, showing your understanding and interpretation.

Examples of Paraphrasing

Original TextParaphrased Version
“Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result, they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper.” (Lester 46-47)“In research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level.” (Lester 46-47)
“Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby’s studies” (Hunt 65).“Hunt discussed mother-infant attachment becoming a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby’s studies” (65).

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6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing in MLA

Effective paraphrasing involves several key steps, if you want to be accurate in your work and also follow the necessary academic rules:

  1. 📖 Understand the Source: Read the original text thoroughly to grasp its meaning.
  2. ✏️ Rewrite Without Looking: Set the original text aside and write your version.
  3. 📝 Note Key Points: Jot down key phrases to guide your paraphrase.
  4. 🔍 Compare with Original: Ensure your paraphrase accurately reflects the source’s ideas.
  5. 📌 Use Quotation Marks for Direct Quotes: Identify any exact phrases from the source.
  6. 📑 Cite the Source: Include an in-text citation with the author and page number.

Paraphrasing Examples with MLA Citation

Original TextParaphrased VersionCitation Style
“Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby’s studies” (Hunt 65).“Developmental research saw a surge in interest in mother-infant attachment post Bowlby’s studies” (Hunt 65).Paraphrasing from One Page
“Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby’s studies” (Hunt 50, 55, 65-71).“Post Bowlby’s publication, research on mother-infant attachment gained significant momentum” (Hunt 50, 55, 65-71).Paraphrasing from Multiple Pages

See, it is practically a no-brainer if you know hor to do it. By following these tips and practicing with examples, you can integrate source materials into your work even better than before. This way, you will both keep your papers originality in check and respect the author you are referring to.


What is paraphrasing in the context of MLA style writing?

Paraphrasing, in the context of MLA style writing, refers to the practice of rephrasing someone else’s words or ideas in your own words while retaining the original meaning. It is a way to incorporate information from sources into your research paper without directly quoting them.

Why is paraphrasing important in academic writing?

Paraphrasing is essential in academic writing for several reasons. It allows you to integrate information from sources smoothly into your paper, providing support for your arguments. It also demonstrates your understanding of the source material and helps you avoid issues related to plagiarism.

How can I ensure that my paraphrase is effective and avoids plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarism in your paraphrasing, follow these steps:

  • Understand the source material thoroughly.
  • Write your paraphrase without looking at the original.
  • Use your own vocabulary and sentence structures.
  • Compare your paraphrase with the original to check for any similarities.
  • If you find exact sequences of words from the original, enclose them in quotation marks (“) or rephrase them.
  • Make sure your paraphrase retains the original meaning of the source while using your own words.
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