How to Summarize without Plagiarizing

You’ve got days or even hours until that three-page paper is due on that really obscure event in history that seems to be haunting you. While the assignment isn’t that difficult, you need to provide a summary without actualizing plagiarizing words from one or more authors. Here’s how to do it without getting in trouble.


Start with an Idea Decide on the idea you are looking to summarize. Whether it’s about specific people, places, or an event that took place it is important to home in on the exact idea you are looking to capture and form as a cohesive statement.

Read the Information and Sources If you are provided multiple sources to work with, it’s imperative to read everything over and understand which passages you are looking to connect your own thoughts with. It can also help to highlight (on physical paper or online) to see which text is most relevant.

Think and put into your own words Now that you’ve seen the work you’re referencing, it’s important to write in your own voice. The most obvious way for others to catch plagiarism is when a different voice is used. Even if the paper is academic, don’t use many high-level words if you normally don’t, as it can look suspicious. Also, be sure that you are inserting your own thoughts and citing the source that you are working with. Summarizing in your own words is easy when you know the best practices. Before you hand in your paper, be sure to scan it for plagiarism online with Copyleaks Plagiarism Detector.