This website has been developed by Kelly McClanahan and Kenton Harsch to promote greater awareness of the complexities underlying plagiarism and patchwriting, and to provide a variety of resources for teachers or others who are interested in or dealing with issues related to plagiarism and patchwriting.

Howard (1993, p. 233) defines "patchwriting" as "copying from a source text and then deleting some words, altering grammatical structures, or plugging in one-for-one synonym-substitutes."

In our experience, student writing that appears to be plagiarized may, in fact, be patchwritten. Plagiarism is often assumed to be intentional, but students may patchwrite without the intention to deceive. The concept of patchwriting acknowledges that, as they apprentice into an unfamiliar discourse, novice writers often appropriate the language of their sources in ways that conflict with English academic writing conventions.

This site includes background information on patchwriting and plagiarism, a bibliography with "annotations links", links to other useful sites, and a teacher's resource page with lesson ideas.


Howard, R.M. (1993) A plagiarism pentimento. Journal of Teaching Writing, 11(3), pp. 233-246.


Kelly McClanahan
Academic Prep Curriculum Coordinator
Hawai`i English Language Program
University of Hawai`i at Manoa

Kenton Harsch
English Language Institute
University of Hawai`i at Manoa


If you'd like to contribute to any of these pages, please contact