Say author A writes on Topic B and in this context uses quotation C which is not from the same field and appears highly original in Topic B. I then read this article, and I am myself writing on Topic B. I find the quote so useful or relevant, that I quote it myself.

Am I obliged to mention where I found the quote (namely in author A)? Or can I just use the quote? Where are the boundaries here, what do you think is acceptable, what is not? Also, if it is not ethical, that's one thing - but is it also plagiarism?

PS: If anyone has a good title for this sort of question, please feel free to edit. Not sure how to name this.

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    Why would you want to not quote author A?
    – Walter
    Jun 1, 2017 at 15:01
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    I would not mind to do that. My note taking system is sometimes getting a bit out of hand, and I am worried that at some point in the future I will accidentally do something like this without realising. I might jot down a quote, and then later find it again & use it, - and then realise that I should not have only taken down that quote, but also should have noted where & in which context I found that quote. Well, that's why I'm asking. Jun 1, 2017 at 15:07
  • You can search for a string in your computer files or on the internet. For the former, I find "File Locator Lite" helpful. // If you slip up very occasionally -- well, nobody's perfect. But if you can try to be more careful in noting the source of each quote you put in your notes, that would be best. Jun 2, 2017 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


Yes, this might be very close to plagiarism, but without knowing the details this is hard to tell. The litmus test is this: consider you are author A and somebody else does that: what would you feel?

To be on the save side, just give credit to author A for introducing the quotation C in the context of topic B (but not more). There is no harm done in this way.


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