Paraphrasing & Summarizing Exercise

This is the last part of Wallace's Copyright & Plagiarism tutorial.Please read the following passages to garner an understanding in the art of paraphrasing. More practice is available via Web links on the Student Guide to Copyright .


Original passage:

Nobody called him Abe--at least not to his face--because he loathed the nickname. It did not befit a respected professional who'd struggled hard to overcome the limitations of his frontier background. Frankly Lincoln enjoyed his status as a lawyer and politician, and he liked money, too, and used it to measure his worth. By the 1850's, thanks to a combination of talent and sheer hard work, Lincoln was a man of substantial wealth. He had an annual income of around $5,000--the equivalent of many times that today--and large financial and real-estate investments.

Oates, Stephen B. Our Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, and the Civil War Era. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1979. p. 65

Incorrect paraphrase:

No one used Lincoln's nickname, Abe, because he detested it. It didn't go with a lawyer and politician who had worked to get away from the restrictions of his country heritage. Lincoln liked his new position, and his wealth, and used it to gauge his status. By mid-century, his skill and labor had made him a fairly wealthy man. He had a yearly income of approximately $5,000 - equal to several times that now - and hefty business and land commitments.

** This is incorrect because it uses the same basic structure as the original with some word changes and does not credit the author.

Correct paraphrase:

By the middle of the century, Lincoln enjoyed life as a well-respected lawyer and politician, having acquired a position of status and wealth that was well removed from his early "frontier background". He now was bringing in $5,000 a year (this translates to $87,500 in 1997 dollars [Derks, 2]), and had substantial "financial and real estate investments". As a consequence, he disliked being called Abe because of its association with his rural heritage. (Oates, 65)

** This is correct because it portrays the ideas of Oates' passage and gives Oates credit for his ideas. The writer has used his own words to present those ideas and has used quotation marks for those phrases that are from Oates. The writer has also included additional research on the value of the income and has sited the source for that as well.

Correct summarization:

When we think of Abraham Lincoln, the image of a wealthy lawyer is not the first that comes to mind. A man, who worked hard, struggled and came from a less than ideal background is often the picture we invoke. However, it is an incomplete portrait. Mr. Lincoln was successful both professionally and financially even by today's standards. (Oates, 65)

** This is also correct. It summarizes Oates' ideas completely in the writer's own words, but gives Oates credit for the ideas.