What Is Plagiarism?

Imagine this situation: It’s almost time to go to bed, and you have been working on your book report for a long time. You are almost done. All you have to do is write the perfect conclusion. While trying to find the right words, another idea comes to your mind. Why not just copy and paste a conclusion paragraph from an online article about the book? You have written the rest of the report on your own, so copying this one paragraph should be fine, right?

Wrong! This is a form of plagiarism, which means presenting someone else’s work as your own. Nowadays, there are countless blogs and articles available online. Many students find it tempting to simply copy someone else’s work and submit it as their own. However, committing plagiarism is never acceptable.

Plagiarism can take various forms. The one we just described is called direct plagiarism, which happens when someone copies another person’s work word-for-word. Another form is patchwork plagiarism, where a person copies parts of multiple articles and combines them to create a new work.

Poor paraphrasing is another type of plagiarism. Some individuals believe that they can copy someone else’s work if they change a few words or rearrange a few sentences. However, this is not true. It is acceptable to paraphrase someone else’s idea, but it must be explained in your own words. Additionally, you should give credit to the original author by citing their work. Failing to cite a source is another way to commit plagiarism.

Did you know that it is possible to plagiarize your own work? It is true! This is known as self-plagiarism, which occurs when someone tries to present an old paper as a completely new piece. Furthermore, some individuals engage in plagiarism by paying someone else to write a paper for them. Even if the other person is aware that you are using their work, it is still considered wrong.

Plagiarism is never acceptable. People deserve recognition for their own ideas. How would you feel if you had worked hard on a paper and someone else attempted to pass it off as their own? Of course, the person who commits plagiarism is also affected by their actions. They miss out on the opportunity to learn and develop their own thinking and writing skills.

How can you avoid plagiarism? Surprisingly, it is easy to accidentally plagiarize by forgetting to cite a source or by paraphrasing poorly. Always double-check that you have placed quotes from other individuals within quotation marks. Also, make sure that you have cited your sources both within the paper and on the works cited page.

When it comes to paraphrasing, do not simply copy someone else’s work and make minor changes. Instead, read their work and take some time to comprehend what it says. To paraphrase effectively, you need to fully understand the idea. After thinking about it, explain the idea in your own words. And do not forget to cite the original work!

Plagiarism has consequences. Students can receive a low grade and get into a lot of trouble at school. When adults commit plagiarism, they may lose their job and even face a lawsuit. Plagiarism can also damage anyone’s reputation.

Everyone deserves recognition for their own efforts. After all, there are brilliant ideas swirling in your mind! We believe that all of our Wonder Friends have valuable thoughts to share. Putting those ideas down on paper can help you develop them further and share them with the world.

Give It a Try

Are you ready to continue learning? Ask an adult friend or family member to assist you with the following activities.

  • Take a look at these instances of plagiarism. Are any of them surprising to you? Did you know that plagiarism could take so many different forms? Which type of plagiarism do you think is the most common? Discuss it with a friend or family member.
  • Why is it considered wrong to plagiarize? How does it negatively affect everyone involved? Consider the consequences of plagiarism. Do you believe the consequences are appropriate? Write a paragraph expressing your thoughts on plagiarism. Then, read it to a friend or family member and have a conversation about their perspective on the matter.
  • Read more about how to avoid plagiarism. How do these practices help individuals prevent plagiarism? Which practices can you incorporate into your own writing process? Consider how you can ensure that you don’t plagiarize on your next school project.

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills/plagiarism (accessed 01 Sept. 2020)
  • https://www.scribbr.com/category/plagiarism/ (accessed 01 Sept. 2020)
  • https://www.bibme.org/blog/plagiarism/how-its-possible-to-accidentally-plagiarize/ (accessed 01 Sept. 2020)
  • https://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2017/09/05/unintentional-plagiarism/ (accessed 01 Sept. 2020)

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