Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as “the wrongful appropriation or purloining, and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas (literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc) of another” (2192).

Wait, huh? Purloining? What the..?

Okay, in normal people language, plagiarism is when you take something that is not yours (an idea, words, drawing, etc) and pass it off as your own without giving credit to the original author.

For example, if I had simply written “Plagiarism is the wrongful appropriation or purloining, and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas (literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc) of another” then I would be plagiarizing. Why? Because I am taking someone else’s words and passing it off as my own.

How do I avoid plagiarism/plagiarizing?

So, you may be saying to yourself, “I don’t want to plagiarize and get an F on my paper. How can I avoid plagiarism?” Well, that is a good question. The most important step to not plagiarizing is making sure you are properly citing your sources. Now you may be asking yourself, “Well, what do I cite?” Another good question; you are just full of them today. You should cite the following things:

  • Direct quotes
  • Words you paraphrase or summarize
  • ideas
  • Statistics
  • Graphs
  • Artwork (drawings, photographs, paintings, etc)
  • Surveys
  • Experiments
  • Music
  • Videos
Lastly, this is my personal advice to you and I’m going to give it to you free of charge. When in doubt, cite. You can always ask a teacher or myself, but if you are too shy or are at home, play it safe and cite the source. It will be the difference between an A paper and an F paper.
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