The Ultimate Guide on How to Summarize an Article Without Plagiarizing

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10 Mar 2022

This guide will lead you through all the steps you need to follow to summarize an article without plagiarizing.

Plagiarism is one of the most serious academic offenses you could commit, and yet it’s among the most difficult ones to get around. One wrong citation, one duplicate sentence, one forgotten source, and you risk getting a failing grade or facing far more severe consequences.

If you want a sparkling academic career, you need to learn how to summarize without plagiarizing. On occasion, that can be easier said than done, so we’ve developed this short guide to help you along.

We’ll go over the main types of plagiarism, share ways to summarize without plagiarizing and answer some of your burning plagiarism questions. Let’s get started.

How to Summarize an Article Without Plagiarizing

Is Summarizing Plagiarism? – Common Types of Plagiarism

First, let’s go over a simple question – is summarizing can be considered as plagiarism? The answer is a bit more complicated than it may appear because it depends on several factors.

If you’re restating the main concepts of the article in question, introducing new elements to your summary, or offering explanations in your own words, then no, summarizing an article isn’t plagiarism.

However, if you use direct quotes from the article without citing them, paraphrase just a few sentences while keeping much of the original article the same, or even forget to cite your sources properly, then your summary is plagiarized.

To stay on the safe side, you should always pull your finished work through a plagiarism checker before submitting it to your teacher. Additionally, you should also learn the most common forms of plagiarism there are. Take a look:

Direct plagiarism

Direct plagiarism involves copying the original article word for word without offering quotes and citations, effectively claiming the ideas are your own. To avoid direct plagiarism, make sure that you put copied parts in quotation marks and follow your teacher’s citation guidelines.


Although it doesn’t seem like it, paraphrasing is a form of plagiarism. It involves changing just a few small parts of the original work and using synonyms while keeping sentence structures and original ideas the same. 

To summarize an article without plagiarizing, you need to avoid paraphrasing. You can freely rely on the main ideas in the original article, but express your thoughts in your own words.

Accidental plagiarism 

Of course, even accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism. When your teacher pulls your work through a plagiarism checker, they won’t know whether you accidentally copied someone else’s work or not – the results will be the same.

That’s why it’s in your best interest to use a plagiarism checker yourself. It will help you spot copied work and give you a chance to better cite your sources.

How to Summarize an Article Without Plagiarizing

To ensure that your work is original and that you can summarize an article without plagiarizing, you’ll need to follow a few steps:

Step 1: Prepare

  • Go through the original article several times to gauge its main ideas;
  • Don’t pay mind to non-essential concepts in the article;
  • Find and read other sources on the same topic;
  • Take notes as you’re going through the article(s);
  • Pull unknown words and phrases and look them up in a dictionary.

Step 2: Write

  • Use the main ideas of the original article to create an outline for your paper;
  • Don’t paraphrase or use synonyms to change your work. Rephrase entire sentence structures;
  • Express yourself in your own words, even if that means using a higher word count than the original article to get your point across;
  • Use properly formatted quotations when necessary, but avoid having more than two or three quotes per 1000 words.

Step 3: Finalize your summary

  • Proofread your work;
  • Make edits to ensure that your paper is concise and authentic;
  • Cite your sources;
  • Pull your paper through an online plagiarism checker and make any necessary changes.

When you’re finalizing your summary and editing your paper, avoid looking back at the original article. It will only make it more difficult for you to make changes that will help you avoid plagiarism.

The bottom line

You need to work hard to summarize an article without plagiarizing, but the effort will be worth it. To make the whole process simpler, rely on our free online plagiarism checker to ensure that your work is error-free and authentic. Test our tool now and enjoy writing authentic papers that will improve your academic performance.


  • How to summarize an article in the easiest way possible?

To summarize an article quickly and efficiently, you first need to understand it in full. Assess its central ideas, leave out non-essential information, and restate the key points in your own words.

  • Can a summary be considered as a plagiarized one?

Yes, even article summaries can be plagiarized if you’re not paying attention to the essential details. Most commonly, that happens when you’re trying to paraphrase the article – keeping the original thought and sentence structure while changing just a few words to make it seem different.

  • Is there a way I can summarize a source without plagiarizing?

Summarizing a source without plagiarizing takes some effort. Make sure to do some research and avoid sticking to just a single source, use proper quotes and citations, write in your own words, and rely on an online plagiarism checker to review your work.

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