How to remove plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying text or ideas from others without citing the source. Using images of others without citing the source also falls under plagiarism. Plagiarism is not allowed!

Plagiarism is not just using short or long pieces of text without citing the source, or submitting someone else’s paper under your own name. There are also more subtle forms of plagiarism. A few examples of this are:

  • Using someone else’s figure or graph that you’ve changed a few things into;
  • Do not put quotation marks around a text that you quote verbatim;
  • Indicate the source incompletely, so that others cannot find the original text if they wish;
  • Use the text from a particular source in several places in your own text, but only refer to that source in one place.
  • Copying the work of fellow students and even collaborating with fellow students without mentioning it can also be considered plagiarism by your teacher. If you are not sure whether you can work together, ask your teacher!

Important: Utrecht University checks students’ products for plagiarism!

Plagiarism can be recognized by:

  • the occurrence of a style break in the text (smooth vs. stiff, scientific vs. popular language, introduction vs. corpus vs. conclusion);
  • unexpected language (too scientific or too sophisticated);
  • differences in formatting in a text;
  • different reference styles;
  • errors in or lack of references;
  • deviation from the actual subject;
  • lack of recent references.

So in order to avoid any plagiarized content we must paraphrase from


Paraphrasing is expressing the ideas of others in your own words. Here you try to keep the meaning of a passage from the original text without copying that text verbatim (as with quoting). You can do this, for example, if the original passage is very long or complicated. Paraphrasing is allowed, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The source is properly listed (even if it is an internet source);
  • It is clearly indicated what your own ideas are and what you have adopted from someone else.

When paraphrasing, it is important that you really describe the other person’s ideas in your own words. Just changing a few words, or rearranging the sentence order, is not enough. That is considered plagiarism. It is better to quote the text of the other person literally and let your own ideas follow.


Citing is literally copying a text. Quoting is allowed, provided all of the following conditions are met:

  • The source is properly listed (even if it is an internet source);
  • The quote has been taken verbatim and in the original language;
  • The beginning and end of the quote is clearly marked (eg by putting the quote in quotes or indenting it as a block of text).
  • You use a quote to clarify a point, or if you want to analyze the original formulation of another. You may not use a quote as a substitute for your own text. Your report should therefore never consist of quotes pasted together. That is plagiarism, even if you do refer to the source!

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