Dialogue: Paraphrasing and Quoting

Contributed by:
Learning how to attribute words to people or things in a neutral sense for story writing or messages.
1. Paraphrasing and Quoting
2. Key Words
Source - the person or people you interview
and quote in stories
Attribution - the source or sources of
information in your stories accompanied by
correct identification information
Quote - to repeat exactly what a source said
Paraphrase - a restatement or rewording of
what a source said
Quotes from sources have several functions:
1. They move the story telling along.
“I waited in the lunch line forever,” Jill Smith
said. “Then this kid rudely jumped in front
of me.”
2. They can add color or flavor to your story.
“I wanted to throw my lunch on him,” Jill
Smith said.
3. They can legitimize the information you are presenting.
“Lunch line skippers will earn themselves a detention,”
discipline coordinator Carlo Sanchez said.
4. They can state or sum up information that just can’t be
rephrased. For example, quote a source who uses an analogy.
“Lunch line skippers are like bad drivers who cut you off
and could care less,” Jane Smith said.
You want to keep your quotes fairly short, about 2 or 3
sentences maximum at one time.
Break up a longer quote by putting the attribution in the
“If I’m really hungry, I sneak in ahead of people,” said
Billy Fandango, who claims he jumps the line once a
week. “I try to find a friend in the line who will let me
in. I know I won’t get caught.”
All punctuation goes INSIDE the quotes.
All attribution words should be in PAST tense.
Use the source’s name first then the attribution
word, unless you are adding extra information.
“I love pizza days,” Jane Smith said.
“I love pizza days,” said Jane Smith, who
eats cafeteria food three times a week.
7. Attribution Words
Your attribution word should be neutral and in
PAST tense.
Stay away from YELLED, EXCLAIMED,
You want a word that implies only that the
person uttered the words, not how those
words were uttered.
8. Paraphrasing
1. Paraphrases can move a story along and set
up a story like a quote can.
2. Paraphrases can introduce a source before
you quote him/her.
3. If you can take what a source said and
explain it in better terms, then you should
paraphrase the information and attribute it to
the source.
9. Paraphrasing
4. Information that is factual but not common
knowledge that is received from a source should
be paraphrased and attributed to the source.
A common knowledge fact, for example
would be that George Washington was the
first U.S. president.
10. Paraphrasing
“The Girl Scouts sold $1,000 worth of cookies,”
said Emma Smith, leader of Scout Troop No. 2.
This is a matter of fact, and not an opinion,
therefore the material should be paraphrased.
Emma Smith, leader of Scout Troop No. 2, said
the girls sold $1,000 worth of cookies.
11. Paraphrasing
You may paraphrase the opinions of a source
as along as you attribute them.
Emma Smith said she believes Girl Scouts is
an important organization that teaches
values to young girls.
12. Partial Quotes
A partial quote is a blend of the reporter’s
words and the source’s words.
Jane Smith said she sees lunch line skippers
all the time but “doesn’t want to bother with
turning in those rude kids.”
The source’s exact words are what appears in
13. Questions?
Remember that you are the
reporter and need to exercise
good judgement when deciding
what’s worth quoting and what
should be paraphrased.
If the source said something
interesting, it’s probably worth
You should use an equal amount
of quotes and paraphrases.