Plagiarism is a finicky thing. More often than not, students just know that plagiarism means copying someone else’s work. And yet, so many students face bad grades as the result of plagiarism, without even realizing it.
So, what is plagiarism?
Almost all schools have their definition of it, but they are almost always the same. Plagiarism means you use the ideas or writings of someone else without giving credit. This can mean many things.
- It can refer to using a line of text from another journal or book without putting the quotation marks around it and the footnote.
- It can mean using an idea another writer already published without a citation. Instructions just want to know which ideas you came up with on your own, and which ones you came up with after consulting another source. There is nothing inherently wrong with coming to your own conclusion after consulting another work. Even if you arrived at the same conclusion as another writer, and then read about their conclusion after you had the thought, you should still cite the other source.
- It can also mean citing the source but reproducing the words without the quotation marks. Sometimes we assume that common phrases or words from historical figures do not need quotes, especially if everyone knows them. But you should always use quotation marks. Better to be safe, than sorry, as they say.
- Borrowing the structure of another piece without giving credit is another form of plagiarism. This typically happens when you are not paying attention, are tired, or otherwise lazy. This happens when you perhaps replicate the same style or words of another writer without giving credit. You cannot write your thesis statement if that thesis is just a re-worded copy of another thesis you read.
- Borrowing does not have to be from another published author. You might borrow words from another essay you wrote in a different class, or from another student paper. Frustrating as it is, you still have to cite your sources, even if that source is yourself.
So, how do you avoid plagiarism?
Well, you need to understand your subject matter. If you actually understand your subject, what you want to write, then you will not end up just rephrasing what another author wrote in order to make your point. You also need to distinguish your ideas and conclusions from those you read anywhere else. Anywhere.
It can get tricky when you are told as a student to use direct quotes sparingly, yet you can get in trouble for not using quotation marks. This is even trickier if your teacher has put a limit on the number of quotes you can use. Thankfully, there is a solution.
Use a Free Plagiarism Checker
A plagiarism tool is effective, efficient and affordable. It offers students a way to check texts for originality. Do not be fooled by the expensive plagiarism detection services. Instead, use a free plagiarism checker that lets you check your text 5 times per month for free. Being able to check multiple times will help you double and triple check that you rectified any errors. If you place a single order with our service, then you get to check 100 times per month. With this plagiarism checker, you can find any content you may not have correctly quotes, cited, or anything else. Anything that exists online will be flagged so you can make the right changes.
Overall, you can defeat plagiarism if you get to know your subject. If you do not understand the subject or the task, talk to your teachers or do some more research before you write. Also, use a plagiarism tool to help you learn when and where you might have made mistakes so that you can avoid them in the future.
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