Paraphrasing vs Summarizing: What’s The Difference?

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing: What’s The Difference?

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing: What’s The Difference?

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing: What’s The Difference?:- Paraphrasing and summarizing are two ways of content optimization. They are not strictly similar, but they have some overlapping qualities that may confuse people who don’t know about them.

However, both are important writing skills that help people in their professional lives, particularly in academic and business settings. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two skills and apply them correctly.

In this article, we will highlight their differences and show you examples to illustrate them. This will help you understand what is paraphrasing and what is summarization.

What is Paraphrasing?

Let’s start with paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is the act of “restating” some given text using new words and phrases without changing its meaning. The emphasis is on preserving the meaning.

Another way to say this is that paraphrasing changes the syntax of the text, but the semantics remain the same. Let us show you an example to make it easier to understand.


Humans love to eat good food..

This sentence can be paraphrased like so:

“Peopleenjoy delicious food.

You see the “Good Food” part was replaced with a synonym “Delicious food” instead. The word “Love” was replaced with “Enjoy”. These words do not mean the same thing but in the context of the sentence they have the same meaning. So, the sentence is changed in syntax but has the same meaning as before. This is paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing techniques include:

  • Replacing words with synonyms.
  • Replacing phrases with their synonyms.
  • Changing the sentence structure of the original text such as changing active voice to passive and vice versa.
  • Shortening or lengthening sentences to make them appear different.

These are the most common paraphrasing techniques. To practice them and see how they are used you can simply go online and search for paraphrasing tools. These are tools that have been programmed to paraphrase text in various ways.

These tools are capable of using all the paraphrasing techniques that we have mentioned above. They are also grammatically accurate.

To try online paraphrasing, simply do the following things.

  • Open your browsers and navigate to a search engine.
  • Enter the words “paraphrasing tool” or a variation of it.

This will open a results page that has many different paraphrasing tools.

From them, select a tool that you like. Just make sure it has a lot of options for paraphrasing and is accessible as well i.e., free, freemium, or has a free trial. This will help you try them out with ease. Then it would be best if you did the following things:

  • Input your content
  • Select a paraphrasing mode
  • Paraphrase your content

In a typical tool, your output should look something like this.

Now, you can simply experiment with online paraphrasing and learn how to paraphrase with real examples.

What is Summarizing?

Now, let’s take a look at summarizing. Summarizing is the process of extracting only the important parts of a text and removing all unnecessary details to create a shortened version of the text.

This shortened version provides all of the main points of the text, but it does not provide any details.

There are two types of summaries. They are called an Extractive summary and an Abstractive summary.

Extractive Summary: In this type of summary only sentences from the source material are used to create the summary. In other words, text is taken verbatim from the source material to create a summary. This is a commonly used summary type as it is easier to make.

Abstractive Summary: In this type of summary the gist of the matter is explained in the writer’s own words. Almost no words or sentences are used verbatim from the source. This is a relatively rare kind of summary as it requires a bit more thinking to use.

The confusion between paraphrasing and summarizing also stems from abstract summaries. That’s because they essentially combine the two into one thing. However, if we phrase it a different way and say, “If you paraphrase an extractive summary, you end up with an abstractive summary”, then it becomes easier to understand.

Now, let’s take a look at an example to help you understand what summarization is. Given below we have some text generated by GPTthat we will summarize.


“Fish are a diverse group of aquatic vertebrates, spanning over 30,000 species. From the tiny goby to the massive whale shark, they inhabit a myriad of environments, from deep oceans to freshwater streams. Their remarkable adaptability, unique behaviors, and stunning array of colors make them a captivating and integral part of aquatic ecosystems.”

The summary of this text could be as follows:

“Fish are aquatic vertebrates with over 30k species. They exist in all shapes, sizes, and colors and are found in both salt and freshwater bodies.”

So, you see how a four-sentence passage was reduced to only two sentences, yet it still provided the main information. That is a summary.

To practice summarizing you can try online summarizing tools. These tools help you to create summaries quickly and effectively. You can use them as a baseline and practice your summarizing skills while comparing your results and their results.

To try online summarizing you should do the following.

  • Go to a browser and navigate to a search engine
  • In the search bar type “summarizing tool” or any variation of that word.

This will open a results page that has many different summarizers.

From there, select a tool that you like. Just make sure it has a lot of options for summarizing and is accessible as well i.e., free, freemium, or has a free trial. This will help you try it out with ease. Then it would help if you did the following things:

  • Input your content
  • Tweak the summarizer settings
  • Summarize your content

If you are successful, your output should look something like this:

Online summarizing is easy to do because most online tools are free and don’t require any registration. You can use them easily without running into accessibility issues.

Differences Between Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Now that we know what summarizing and paraphrasing are, let us take a moment to highlight their differences. We have created a table that lists their differences.

  Paraphrasing Summarizing
Length More or less retains the original length of the text It always involves the shortening of the original text
Detail It involves maintaining the level of detail of the original source, only changing the way the details are provided Involves removing any details that are not strictly necessary.
Content Focus Focuses on expressing the same ideas and information with different words and sentence structure Focuses on distilling the most crucial information only.


These are some of the major differences between paraphrasing and summarizing. They are both content optimization techniques, but they work in different ways. They also have different purposes.

With summaries, you want to save the reader’s time and effort. Shorter content is read faster and is often simpler to understand. This saves the reader’s time and effort.

With paraphrasing you often want to enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject matter. So, it is focused on reducing the effort and thinking required to comprehend a topic.


So, there you have it. What is paraphrasing and what is summarizing? In this article, we covered what both things are, how they work, and illustrated their differences. Hopefully, now you will not have any confusion between the two. Keep practicing these things and eventually, you will be able to use them to your advantage.

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