Skip to Main Content

Plagiarism & Writing with Sources: Using Other People's Ideas

Remember that never-ending party where people came and went, and the conversation continued? As new people joined the conversation, you brought them up to speed on conversations that they missed. Chances are you will have quoted, paraphrased or summarized parts of that earlier conversation. 

"... and then Caro said "You know it, honey!" and we all laughed."

"Desmond thinks the game was fantastic, but Edu says it was a disgrace."

"Basically, Fatima solved the entire problem with a paperclip."


Academic writing is a balance between your own thoughts and ideas and the words and ideas of others. When you incorporate the work of others into your own work, you must alert your audience so they can distinguish between the two.

You can alert your audience by using one of these options:

  • Quote directly: put quotation marks around the words and identify the source.
  • Paraphrase: put the information into your own words and identify the source.
  • Summarize: take the main points, paraphrase them, and identify the source.

Why Quote?

When you quote the exact words of the original source in your own writing, you must:

  • Cite the source
  • Use quotation marks (or indent for passages longer than three lines)
  • Consult the style guide you are using for further instructions.

When writing a paper, you should not have too many quotations. Your instructors will expect you to incorporate others' ideas into your own writing using paraphrase and summary.

  • URL:
  • Last Updated: Jan 18, 2024 11:21 AM
  • Print Page