I'm not a native speaker of English - how can I escape plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas or using someone else’s words as if they were your own. To avoid plagiarism, you need not only good intentions but also skills and knowledge. This includes

  • knowledge of when to quote a book/article and when to paraphrase it
  • advanced English language skills for paraphrasing well
  • knowledge of the right citation system to use
  • knowledge of how to show what is a quotation and what is a paraphrase.

If you are a non-native speaker of English, you may need to develop your language skills for paraphrasing and summarising, so that you do not use someone else’s words as if they were your own. In particular, you need a large vocabulary of formal and technical words for the subject matter, as well as skills for grammatical flexibility, so that you can rephrase the ideas in new words.

To improve your grammatical flexibility:

  • Spend as many hours per day as possible in English conversation.
  • Attend a workshop on paraphrasing skills.
  • Spend extra time studying the vocabulary and grammar patterns used in the books and articles you are reading for your course.

For more on this topic, see the links on the right...