using - borrowing words of sb

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Feb 17, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Hi All

I need to write that "using someone's words/concepts, key factors in the development of X are: this and that." I am struggling with this sentence.

Is it correct, I mean is it a proper way to write this sentence. Can I say "Borrowing" for instance?
So the problem is that I have to cite the work of someone else.
Does anyone know any better way to express this concept?

with appreciation! :shock:


Senior Member
Dec 11, 2009
Member Type
Student or Learner
(Not a teacher)

If you are paraphrasing someone elses ideas and it's a formal/academic piece of work, then you need to use a proper citation (I'm assuming the 'words' are from a book). In which case you would write something like:

"Smith and Smith (2009) describe key factors in the development of X as: ..."

If you aren't really paraphrasing, but are just using someone else's model of a topic then you can say something like:

"Following the model of Smith and Smith (2009), key factors in the development of X are: ..."

Basically, if you are using someone else's ideas in your own work, you have to cite where you got those ideas from specifically. If you are talking about a generally well known piece of theoretical information (such as Piaget's developmental stages, Einstein's theory of relativity etc), then you can get away with no citation.

If you quote exactly, then you need quotation marks, and also the page number included with the year:

'Key factors in the development of X are: "..." (Smith and Smith, 2009, p. 114)

Obviously, a full reference to the work cited is need - normally at the end, but some people prefer to use footnotes.

If it isn't particularly academic, then I would say 'following' is better than using and borrowing, regarding concepts, not words. And 'using' is better than borrowing.

"Following X's concepts, key factors..."

It would seem strange to just come out with another person's ideas/concepts without introducing them previously, or citing it properly, though.
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