Plagiarism Guide: Meaning & How to Avoid It

What does plagiarism mean? Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own without their consent.

What Does Plagiarism Mean?

Plagiarism is the appropriation and publication of someone else’s work, ideas, or expressions and representing them as one’s original work. The common practice of plagiarists is paraphrasing or using source material without proper citation to the original author.

Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and is a form of academic misconduct.

Plagiarism is the act of using the ideas or words of another person without proper acknowledgment or reference. This refers to any time a writer takes the words of someone else without giving the original author credit. Plagiarism also includes using phrases, or words that are similar to an author’s.

In everyday language, plagiarism, also called theft and copyright infringement, is the unauthorized use of another person’s created or publicly distributed work. It includes using someone’s work in your work without acknowledging the source or allegedly quoting from it.

When Does writing pass off as plagiarized?

Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct that involves appropriating words, or ideas, from a source and presenting them as one’s idea. It is essential to know what action is considered plagiarism and not to fall victim unknowingly. You can be found guilty of plagiarism when you:

  • Publish part of the words and ideas of an author and pose it as yours.
  • Use someone else’s words, opinions, or other information without permission and credit to the original author.
  • Incorporate the work of others into your work without full acknowledgment.
  • Take someone else’s work, insert your name and pass it off as your own.
  • Copy someone else’s work verbatim without permission and credit.
  • Use ideas from different sources, make them into one piece, and present them as your writing without acknowledging the sources.
  • Paraphrase an author’s work without crediting the author.
  • Copy past unedited or not fully edited content from another source without full credits.
  • Represent yourself as an author to writing that is not connected to you.

Intentional Vs. Unintentional Plagiarism

Plagiarism is usually carried out unintentionally but can occasionally be done intentionally to gain an unfair academic advantage. It is considered unethical, dishonest, and worthy of sanction.

Intentional Plagiarism

Intentional plagiarism is the purposeful use of another author’s ideas or content. In this case, the writer tries to deceive the reader that the work is original. The most common acts of intentional plagiarism are:

  • Using someone else’s words and paragraphs in your work without acknowledging them with a proper citation.
  • Publishing a part or whole of an author’s work and presenting yourself as the author.

Unintentional plagiarism

Unintentional plagiarism is when you fail to acknowledge the source of the work you use correctly. Although the work is not original, there is no intent to deceive. However, this is still not acceptable and passes off as plagiarism.

Unintentional plagiarism may occur in the following situations:

  • Incorrect paraphrasing. Paraphrasing goes beyond changing a word or sentence in a piece of work. An adequate paraphrase must be different from the original work. It must convey the original author’s ideas accurately but in your writing style.
  • Failure to cite sources correctly. When you fail to acknowledge an author’s work by using citations properly, your work counts as plagiarism.
  • Failure to cite paraphrased information. Citations are not necessary only when you use an author’s work verbatim. Even when you use your words to convey someone else’s idea, you need to credit the original author.

How to Avoid Plagiarizing

Plagiarism is the employment of another’s ideas or words without giving proper credit. Plagiarism is a big problem in academic circles, but there are steps you can take to avoid it when you write. The most common are:

1. Paraphrase but acknowledge the author

Paraphrase the author’s statements, but much like a footnote, provide credit by attributing the source to the author and discussing the view. Paraphrasing goes beyond changing a few words or sentences. Use your unique voice while conveying the author’s complete message. Plagiarism checkers have developed a system to reveal plagiarism, and some tools might even admit it automatically. Use a plagiarism checker to ensure you haven’t used an author’s words verbatim.

2. Use quotation marks and citations.

If you wish to use information in a well-researched and professional manner, use a quotation or citation. Quoting an author allows you to use the exact words and phrases in the source content. It is often an excellent way to emphasize something specific in the article. As long as you credit the author and cite the original article, your piece is safe from being labeled as plagiarized work.

To Wrap Up

What does plagiarism mean? Most people think of plagiarism as taking someone’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own. However, plagiarism can also result from the failure to quote someone or acknowledge them even when using your own words to convey their ideas.

Plagiarism is considered unacceptable conduct and academic dishonesty. It is best to learn how to correctly acknowledge an author when you need to use their 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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