How to Avoid Plagiarism

Guidelines for Avoiding Quotation Errors II

Guideline II also addresses the use of quotation marks.

Is the following statement true or false?

If you place quotation marks around some of a source's words that you reproduce, you don't have to place them around all of its words.


The statement is false.

Place quotation marks around all words copied verbatim from a source—even a few words. And again, provide a citation.

Guideline II: Place quotation marks around even part of a sentence that you reproduce.

Here is an example of properly used quotation marks:

Robert Harbison points to the "dream stories" (1970, p. 25) of Sherlock Holmes, who is less an "adventurer" than "a scientist of gossip" (p. 26). Harbison believes these mysteries reassure us "that conventional lives are not boring" (p. 26).


Though it may seem picky to expect you to quote even individual words, both writers and teachers consider adept phrasing to be a valuable commodity.

To the writer, intelligent phrasing is the basis of a livelihood. To the teacher, it shows the student is thinking. Thus, to pass off even a few words of another person as your own can be considered trying to gain an unfair advantage.

When you paraphrase, carefully examine all the words in the passage to make sure you do not inadvertently borrow the author's wording, even in part.

Guideline IV provides tips for correct paraphrasing.