How to Copy and Paste Without Plagiarizing

The copy and paste function in your word processor is powerful. It can save your lots of time. But it can also get you in trouble. Learn how to copy and paste without plagiarizing with the guidelines in this article.

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Photo by javier trueba on Unsplash

Ways to Avoid Copy and Paste Plagiarism

Copy and paste plagiarism is where you take material from another source word for word. You then use the copy and paste function on your word processor to put it into your work.

Most people do this to save time. It can be tedious to write out entire passages by hand. If you want to copy and paste, here are some suggestions:

1. Search and Replace Text

Copy the entire passage into a word processing application. You could use cut and paste, search and replace, or past, or a combination of these methods.

When you cut and paste (Ctrl-C), your working document is not updated until you paste the cut-and-paste text. It’s important to paste afterward. Use search and replace to search for phrases you want to change or replace the phrase with the new one.

2. Use Quotations and Citations

Another method is putting quotations marks to note that this is in fact a direct quotation from the book. There are certain ways to format direct quotes.

If the quotation is less than 3 lines: Put it in quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. This is if it does not require a special mention. Include an in-text citation for the page number(s) in brackets.

If the quote is longer than three lines: set if off from your text by beginning a new line. You should indent one inch from the left margin.

The quote itself should be double-spaced, with no quotation marks. At the end of the introductory line, place a colon. Parenthetical references should come after the quote.

Other Methods

How to Copy and Paste Without Plagiarizing

Copy and paste the text onto your word processing page. Then re-write it yourself. Using your own words and paraphrase, recreate the general meaning that the original piece intended.

You can also copy-paste main points like headings and subheadings. Then, using your own research, fill the topic in so that you don’t plagiarize.

Copy all the information you need to identify the author’s main points. Do not copy everything.

You can use a rewriter as well. Rewriters are pieces of software that allow you to rephrase a piece of text.

To Wrap Up

Even though you’re trying to save time, you should try to avoid copying and pasting. If you can’t avoid this, use the methods above so that you don’t plagiarize anyone’s work.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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