What Constitutes Plagiarism?
However, plagiarism has many forms and facets. Let’s have a look –
- Copy pasting the entire text without bothering to change even one word
- This is the most common form of plagiarism. Well, if you are lazy to write your own stuff, or can’t afford to rephrase the original text due to any circumstances, the least you can do is quote the author and give them credit in any of the following ways:
- Incorporate it into your writing (“According to James, in his biography...”)
- Add footnotes or note towards the end
- Next to your paragraph, add an in-text citation in parentheses
- Add a Works Cited List
- Add Bibliography
- Changing some random words in between
- Do you really think that changing every fourth word in a sentence written by another writer, will make it your own work? Not really. If you really want to escape the tough route or can’t write afresh due to any reasons, why take the pain of changing random words?
- Use the original text verbatim, and give them the credit.
- Changing the sentences (paraphrasing), but, keeping the essence of the original text intact
- Yes, this is also a form of plagiarism, though a bit more involved than the former. Remember the Wikipedia definition - publishing someone’s thoughts, ideas, or expressions as your own is plagiarism! Most of the writers (including me, at times) are guilty of this form of plagiarism. This is unethical, as even though you have changed, paraphrased or rewritten the sentences into your words, but the core subject idea or the content structure is still not your own!
- So, cite the author for his/her idea
Does Referring Always Means Plagiarizing?
Referring any information or fact that constitutes common knowledge or practice is not plagiarism. For example -
- Quoting historical facts in your article
- Suggesting correct grammar
- Using Idioms, Phrases
- Incorporating Mathematical formulas, etc.
Plagiarism is Not Cool. Period.
Plagiarism is not just a sin, it’s a crime. How would you feel if someone steals your prized possession, and flaunts it the very next day as his own? You don’t even have to reply to that, as I am sure you will be full of anguish and hatred!
Plagiarism or stealing someone’s intellectual property is a similar offence. If it is not your idea, and you are working around it without giving credit to the original writer, you are plagiarizing.
People take plagiarism in a lighter vein and don’t understand its gravity. I have heard some writers justifying copying by saying that everyone seeks inspiration, as not all thoughts are organic. Some say that imitation is the best form of flattery, so it’s kindda fine!
I have a suggestion for writers who want to take the easy route - If you really want to flatter people by imitating, don’t forget giving them a due credit towards the end!
Use safe text. Respect, and be respected.
Live and Love,