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What Is Plagiarism and How Do You Avoid It?

What Is Plagiarism and How Do You Avoid It?

By Lela S.



It’s 10 PM. You’ve been writing that CLN article for hours. You’re missing just a few paragraphs, and then you can send it to Lela and go to bed. You’re tired. But the more you write, the less seems to be getting done. You can’t think of ANYTHING ELSE to do with plagiarism.


Sounds familiar?


What do you do in this scenario? Do you go to Wikipedia, search up the topic you’re writing about, copy and paste the whole article into thesaurus.com, change up a few words and call it a night? This option may seem tempting, but this is a big no-no. This is a CLN article. And CLN has over thirty thousand viewers.


You see, plagiarism might not seem like such a big deal at that moment, but it’s actually a crime that is taken very seriously. Okay, maybe not a crime, but it’s still a very big deal. It’s an act of online theft. This non-plagiarized article will tell you all about plagiarism and how to avoid it.


What is plagiarism?


According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to "plagiarize" means:

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own

  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source

  • to commit literary theft

  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

(not plagiarizing this definition becuz I gave credit to Merriam-Webster. Thanks Merriam.)


In other words, plagiarism is taking someone’s work, in the form of an article, for example, without giving credit to or asking permission from the original owner. An example of plagiarism would be copying and pasting Tay’s article, How To Make The World A Better Place into a document, and turning it in as an essay at school, saying you wrote it.


Note from Tay,

Dear person who copied my How To Make The World A Better Place article for a school project,

WHY!

With great joy and no sarcasm at all,

Tay


In CLN articles, plagiarism would be to copy an article from, say, CBC News, and write that the article is by you. This is a serious crime. How serious? It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward, which is considered fraud, according to U.S. law.


What are the different types of plagiarism?


There are many different types of plagiarism. Sometimes, it can get confusing as to what’s plagiarism and what’s not. The rules for plagiarism can vary in different places, but here are the most common standards for plagiarism.


1. Verbatim or Direct Plagiarism


This is the most obvious form of plagiarism, and the most common, too. It involves copying a source word-for-word. For example, if Lea had looked at my “Minecraft Hypixel Down for 24+ Hours: DDoS Attack” article and copied the paragraph below for her own CLN article, “What is a DDoS attack?”, this would have been verbatim plagiarism.


“What is a DDoS attack? DDoS attacks are when one host infects multiple computers with a virus. The users might not even know that they are being used, like zombies. Your computer might even be one of those, and you might not even know it! Once enough computers have been infected with this virus, these computers spam a server or website so that the server will overflow with internet traffic, or viewers in the case of CLN. On Hypixel, this not only happened to the website, but also to the Minecraft server. Most likely, this is why they implemented a queue. However, over the next few days, the flow became too strong for the server to handle, which is why Hypixel went into emergency maintenance.”


2. Paraphrasing Plagiarism.


Paraphrasing plagiarism is using someone else’s work and paraphrasing it, or changing a few words in the plagiarized text, and saying it’s yours. For example, if Emily chose Skye’s “Review: Instant Ornaments by Junzo Terada”, paraphrased it, and submitted it at a writing class, then that would be paraphrasing plagiarism.


Here’s an example:


Plagiarized Text: “Instant Ornaments is a really cool, easy kit that is fun for all ages. Inside, there are cardboard sheets with designs on them to pop out and put together, and envelopes so that you can send them to your friends. It also comes with over 15 feet of string for hanging them up.”


Paraphrased Text: Instant Ornaments is a fantastic, simple kit that may be enjoyed by people of all ages. There are cardboard sheets with patterns on them to pop out and assemble together, as well as envelopes to mail them to your pals. It also includes approximately 15 feet of twine for hanging them.


*This paraphrased text was made by using a paraphrase generator, QuillBot.


3. Patchwork Plagiarism


This type of plagiarism is copying another author’s words, while interweaving some of your own ideas. Here’s an example taken from Thesaurus.com:


Original text: Tigers are solitary animals. They largely keep to themselves until the mating season. They are not the group hunters that lions are known to be.


Plagiarized text: Tigers are different from lions in many ways. Unlike lions, tigers mostly live solitary lives. Tigers and lions also live in different habitats and hunt different prey. This may explain why tigers do not hunt or live large groups like lions are known to do. Our research team observed solitary behavior by all tigers during the summer we visited the preserve.


This is a type of plagiarism that is also widely used. However, this is only called plagiarism when you don’t cite the original work. That’s why we, at CLN, make sure to always cite our sources when we write articles.


4. Shared Plagiarism


Shared plagiarism is when two or more people work together to plagiarize each other’s work. This is most commonly used at school, where two students copy each other’s essays, which benefits both of them. Even though both people may have consent to copy each other, this is still considered plagiarism because they are actively using this to cheat, or lie, to another person, such as the professor.


Here’s an example from my article, Marie Curie: My Role Model.


Text 1: Everyone should have a role model in life: someone to look up to, respect, and aspire to be like. It could be anyone. Their good qualities would make you want to be like them. For me, this person is Maria Sklodowska, better known as Marie Curie, a renowned physicist, chemist and a pioneer in the study of radiation. Today I’ll tell you all about her and why she is my role model.


Text 2: Role models are people that you admire, that you look up to, respect, and aspire to be like. It could be anyone. Mine is Maria Sklodowska, better known as Marie Curie, a renowned physicist, chemist and a pioneer in the study of radiation. Today I’ll tell you all about her and why she is my role model.


5. Paid Plagiarism


Paid plagiarism is similar to shared plagiarism in the sense that two people get each other’s consent to plagiarize, and that it’s used to deceive someone else. An example in a similar context would be Lol12345 paying Emi Cooky to write an essay for her.


(Next time, Lol, ask me…)


Here’s an example:


Lol: Hey, Emi, could you do me a favour?

Emi: Sure, what is it?

Lol: If I pay you $69, would you write an essay about The Myth Of The Trojan War?

Emi: Sure!


Later…


Emi: Here’s the essay! The Myth Of The Trojan War

Lol: Alright, thanks! Here’s the cash.


This would also be an example of direct plagiarism.


6. Accidental Plagiarism


While more innocent than the other types, this type of plagiarism is still a crime. Depending on the situation, this could still be as bad as direct plagiarism, for example. This mostly comes in the form of poor or incorrect citation.


An example of this would be writing an article about plagiarism, but forgetting the source list.


…oopsies…


7. Self-Plagiarism


Is it possible to plagiarise yourself? At first glance, this might seem impossible, but when we look at shared and paid plagiarism, there is one condition.


“Even though both people may have consent to copy each other, this is still considered plagiarism because they are actively using this to cheat, or lie, to another person, such as the professor.”


(See? SEE?)


Self-plagiarism is when you copy your own, previous works, and use them for other things. For example, if Fatoom took her article, Loss Of Taste After Covid, and copy-pasted it as her own school essay, this would be called self-plagiarism, as she is using it to deceive the teacher.


How do you avoid plagiarism?


If you want to avoid plagiarism, you need to make sure to cite your sources properly. Here are the three major styles of citation:


  1. APA style (American Psychological Association): business writing and the sciences

  2. MLA style (Modern Language Association): the humanities

  3. Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style): history, theology, religious studies, the humanities, and some sciences


You don’t need to go into the specifics, there are multiple websites that can create citations for you. One of my favorites is Citation Machine®: Format & Generate - APA, MLA, & Chicago. This website quickly and efficiently creates citations that you can copy and paste into your work.


And that’s it! Thank you for reading this article on plagiarism that I hope you won’t plagiarize. If you liked this article, check out my other article on How To Write A Book Review!


Sources (cited in APA):


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