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Defining 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, so 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 elses words and passing it off as my own.

So remember, don't steal; cite.

Examples of Plagiarism

Some examples of plagiarism:

• Using material in its original format without modification (or with only slight modification), without referencing.

• Whole and/or partial copying, translating or paraphrasing without proper citation.

• Direct quotation of reference source without quotations marks or proper citation.

• Copying information and/or software without referencing the original author or owner.

Plagiarism Resources

 

How Can I Avoid Plagiarism?

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?"  The most important step to not plagiarizing is making sure you are properly citing your sources. 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 play it safe and cite the source. It will be the difference between an A paper and an F paper.

Ms. Cidney Mayes | Memorial Middle School | 120 Wescott Road | South Portland, Maine | 04106 | Tel: 207-773-5629