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What is Plagiarism?

Definition of the word "plagiarize" from the American Heritage Dictionary:
"To reproduce or otherwise use (the words, ideas, or other work of another) as one's own or without attribution".

 Definition of the word "plagiarism" from the Oxford English Dictionary:
"The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft".

 Paragraph on plagiarism from the SCSU Student Handbook, 2013-2014:
"Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another writer and presenting them as your own. It is a kind of academic theft, and is therefore dishonest. Once your name appears on an essay or term paper, you are stating that the ideas and language in the paper that are not attributed to another are entirely your own, and the reader assumes that these are your work. An obvious form of plagiarism is copying the exact words from your source without providing quotation marks and without giving credit to the source, usually in a footnote. A less obvious, but equally dishonest form of plagiarism is the changing of a few words (paraphrasing) or using of an author's original idea without properly introducing and documenting that change or usage. The ideas, interpretations, and words of an author belong to the author. They are the author's property. They are protected by law and they must be acknowledged whenever you borrow them". Academic Honesty, p. 96

Consequences of Plagiarism

Plagiarism - intentional or unintentional - constitutes academic dishonesty. Presenting someone else's ideas or work as one's own is equivalent to lying and is a breach of scholarly ethics which is often subject to serious consequences. Since students enrolled in college courses are continually engaged with other people's ideas through text books, lectures, class discussions, or other sources, it is very important to give credit where it is due to preserve intellectual honesty. All cases of academic dishonesty at SCSU will suffer immediate consequences which may include any of the following actions:


Written reprimand


Failure in the exam/course



(Student Handbook 2013-2014: Student Code of Conduct, p.116-118)

How Can I Tell if I'm Plagiarizing?

5 Types of Plagiarism

5 types of plagiarism