Verbatim vs paraphrase

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Verbatim and paraphrase are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the difference between the words verbatim and paraphrase, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Verbatim is a term that is used when quoting something word for word, using exactly the same verbiage that was used originally. When quoting something verbatim there is no room for interpretation, the passage is an exact replica of the original passage. The word verbatim is used as an adverb and as an adjective. The word verbatim is taken directly from the Latin word verbatim, which means word for word.

Paraphrase means to convey the meaning of a communication without quoting the communication word for word. Paraphrasing something can be very helpful when communicating quickly or when the original passage is hard to understand. However, paraphrasing is open to interpretation and can be dangerous. Paraphrase is used a a verb and a noun, related words are paraphrases, paraphrased, paraphrasing. The word paraphrase is derived from the Greek word paraphrasis, which means a free rendering.


Here’s what he said, verbatim: “I think when you come to sarin gas – there was no, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Ashad [sic] is doing.” (The Rolling Stone Magazine)

Jose Arango, the county Republican chair, also paid tribute to his friend via Facebook this morning. Here is what the post said verbatim: “Russell Maffei a brother a friend a good soul with a great love to the Republican Party Russ was like and respected throughout the community , he dedicated his life to the GOP even at the last minute of his life he was working for the NJ GOP he loved to be the State Committee Man was running for re election this year in June 6 primaries and as JC Chairman was the column of the county organization , God Bless Russ and Marie Toure , our prayers are with the families.” (The Hudson County View)

The Latin phrase, which translates as “Rome has spoken, the matter is finished”, is a paraphrase of St Augustine and refers to the ultimate authority of the Pope. (The Catholic Herald)

To paraphrase the title of a Jane Austen novel, we shouldn’t let our “sensibilities” overcome our good “sense” of right and wrong. (The Salt Lake Tribune)