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Mini-Module: How to Avoid Plagiarism


Skills for Learning LogoVocabulary Page 6 of 7

When you have chosen your quotes and written your paraphrases and summaries, how do you put them into a sentence in an assignment?

There are lots of frequently-used words or phrases that do this job. The most common one is "Said", for example, 

"Jones said that the impact was 65 million years ago."  

There are many different words and expressions you can use to introduce an author's ideas, so how should you choose? 
Two areas to consider are:
  • Evaluation and
  • Reporting.

Bathroom ScalesEvaluation

Putting in some of your evaluation, for example if you think the author has missed something, you can write

"Smith fails to account for XYZ"
Doing this shows the reader that you have an opinion and some confidence about your understanding. Some of the other words you can use for evaluation are:
  • overlooks ...
  • does not explain ...
  • correctly points out that ...
You can also show your evaluation of a whole paper or book, for example 
"In his useful article, Smith explains XYZ"
Some other words are:
  • useful 
  • seminal
  • thorough
  • excellent
  • important

News reporterReporting

This is saying what you think the author was doing. For example, if they are arguing, you can write:
"Smith argues that XYZ"
Or if it was not that strong, you can write:
"Smith suggests that XYZ"
You should choose the word that you think is best. There are many to choose from - here are some examples: 
  • concludes that
  • reminds us that
  • assumes that
  • asserts that
  • finds that
...the blue air filters performed better in all the tests."



In this activity, read the paraphrase, paying attention to the choice of reporting expression. Decide if the paraphrase is just reporting or is also evaluating in some way. 


Mini-Module: Vocabulary. Find out much more about academic vocabulary in another of Mini-Modules, also on this site.

Manchester Academic Phrasebank: Find academic phrases you can use in your writing. The site has thousands of examples with sentences to show how to use them. The linked page has phrases for referring to sources. Look at the other pages for all the other functions you need in academic writing.  [Opens in new window]
English Vocabulary Exercises: Build your academic vocabulary. The site has the most frequently-used academic words, with multiple-choice exercises to practise them. [Opens in new window]