Paraphrasing APA Tool: APA Style Guide

Paraphrasing APA tool is a must-learn for students who want to ace their papers. If you’re taking a social sciences course like psychology, sociology, or political science, you’re probably using APA style.

Standardizing the incorporation and citation of sources is essential for formatting guideline.

In papers, sources are incorporated as direct quotes, summaries, or paraphrases. Instead of expressing exactly what the source says, you rewrite it in your own words. This is known as “indirect discourse.” The source is represented indirectly while yet being appropriately cited.

Some individuals mistakenly believe that if they change the phrasing of a source, as we do in a paraphrase, they no longer need to cite it. This is False. It is always vital to acknowledge sources when borrowing someone else’s ideas. This demonstrates the breadth of your research to the reader.

Let’s examine how to incorporate paraphrasing APA tool correctly for our papers.

 Standardizing the incorporation and citation of sources is essential for formatting guidelines.
Paraphrasing APA Tool

How to Properly Incorporate the Paraphrasing APA Tool

Notifying the Reader When a Paraphrase Begins

The use of quotation marks within a quotation makes it easier for a reader to identify the beginning and finish of a quote. 

Even though paraphrases lack quotation marks, it is nevertheless necessary to indicate to the reader when you are incorporating material from another source

You do not want readers to be uncertain about whether they are reading your thought or an idea from another source.

Narrative Citation Format

It is essential to order your paraphrase so that it begins and ends clearly. The narrative citation requires incorporating a portion of the citation into the transitional sentence of the paraphrase. 

This information is included in the phrase that alerts the reader that a source is forthcoming. The following information is typically included in narrative citations:

  • Author’s Surname, Year of Publication
  • Page number (if the source includes pages) or citation format Position within the source

Include the author’s complete name the first time you utilize a source. You may also want to describe their credentials, so the reader knows why they’re an authority.

Narrative Structure

  • Author’s Surname 
  • Year of Publication 
  • Page number

Narrative Example

Allison Pegworth, author of Keeping Peace (2018), described how men, women, and children were smuggled into other regions and captured into slavery in the 1930s (p. 50).

After the initial mention of an author, just their last name should be used. You may also use a pronoun if the reader knows to whom it refers, such as when many paraphrases of the same author appear in the same paragraph.

A suitable verb is also included in the signal sentence. The verb in the above example is “described.” In APA style, these verbs are in the simple past or past perfect tense.

Notifying the Reader When a Paraphrase Concludes

Similar to the beginning, the conclusion of a paraphrase must be conveyed to the reader.

Bibliographical Citation

Citations are at the end of a quote or paraphrase. A parenthetical citation includes the author’s last name, a comma, and the publication year in APA format. 

If the author’s last name and date were mentioned at the beginning, they’re not needed at the end. A page number is not required to paraphrase, but it is recommended. 

The purpose of citations is to let the reader follow your research. If the source you paraphrase is lengthy or complex, using the page number will assist the reader in locating the original text. 

Before the page number, use a lowercase ‘p’ followed by a period and a space. Use two lowercase p’s followed by a period when paraphrasing information that spans more than one page.

Format: Parenthetical Citations

Paraphrase text indicating 

  • Last Name of the Author
  • Year of Publication
  • Page number

Example of a Narrative Citation

Jameson (2018) states that tall people have an economic advantage over short people in places where height isn’t supposed to matter (pp. 20-22).

Example of a Parenthetical Citation

Tall people have an economic advantage over short people in places where height isn’t supposed to matter (Jameson, 2018, pp. 20-22).

Parenthetical Citation

Parenthetical citations go at the end of a quote or paraphrase. In APA format, the information in a parenthetical citation is the author’s last name, a comma, and the year of publication. 

If the author’s last name and the date are at the beginning of the paraphrase, do not repeat them at the end. A page number is optional for paraphrasing, but it is a good idea. Part of the reason for citations is to allow a reader to follow your research. 

If the source you paraphrase is long or complex, a page number will help the reader find the original material. Place a lowercase ‘p’ followed by a period and a space before the page number. If you’re paraphrasing material over more than one page, use two lowercase p’s followed by a period.

When Neither Page Numbers nor Authors Are Given

Certain materials, including web pages, lack page numbers. Occasionally, a writer will reference the paragraph number. Write ‘para’ followed by a period, a space, and the paragraph number in this instance. 

If the paraphrase spans many paragraphs, add an ‘s.’ If the content is too long to count paragraphs, use the chapter name or number instead.


The Food and Drug Agency (2015) regulates the export, import, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale, and use of chemicals in the US. despite reports stating otherwise. (para. 2)

The citation in parentheses is part of the sentence, so the period is to the right of the parenthetical quotation.

The information comes from a source without page numbers. Thus, paragraph numbers have been utilized instead.

Also, observe that there is no author listed in this instance. Instead, credit is given to the FDA. Likewise, no author is listed on the webpage where this material is located. The authorship is attributed to the organization. The organization’s name will be listed in the author position on the references page.

Specific organizations have widely recognized abbreviations. If so, use the organization’s full name the first time, then the abbreviation in square brackets.

For all subsequent citations, only the abbreviation should be used. If you are uncertain whether an organization’s abbreviation is widely recognized, err on the side of reader clarity and use the full name.

Connecting the Reference Page

A reader can use an in-text citation to locate the source on the references page. The complete citation is provided on the references page. A reader can readily find the text if they wish to continue reading. 

A citation within the text (in-text citation) includes the author’s surname. This is the initial information on the references page, making it simple to link the in-text citation with the correct source.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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