Using and Acknowledging Sources

Paraphrasing and quoting - Task 1


Compare the original excerpt with the two rewrites. Can you explain why the first is unacceptable, while the second one is OK?


Original excerpt: Unacceptable paraphrase: Acceptable paraphrase:
You plagiarize when, intentionally or not, you use someone else's words or ideas but fail to credit that person. You plagiarize even when you do credit the author but use his exact words without so indicating with quotation marks or block indentation. You also plagiarize when you use words so close to those in your source, that if your work were placed next to the source, it would be obvious that you could not have written what you did without the source at your elbow. (Booth, Colomb, and Williams 167) It is plagiarism intentional or not, to use someone else's ideas or words without giving credit to that person. Even if you give credit to the author, it is plagiarism to use his exact words without quotation marks or block indentation. It is also plagiarism to use words so close to the original that if someone put your work next to it, it would be clear that you couldn't have written what you did unless you had the original there with you. (Booth, Colomb, and Williams 167) Booth, Colomb, and Williams warn against three types of plagiarism: 1) using the "words or ideas" of a source without identifying it; 2) giving credit to a source but copying its language, in whole or in part, without benefit of quotation marks; or 3) echoing the sentence structure and phrasing of the original so closely that anyone can see the writer was depending on it heavily as he wrote (167).



  This paraphrase is unacceptable because its language is too close to the original, even though the source is identified. This paraphrase is acceptable, because the author has put the ideas in her own words, and cited the source.

This exercise has been taken from Finding It! a Research Skills Tutorial developed by the Jackson Library at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA. We gratefully acknowledge their permission to use it. (