How To Format An Essay In Mla Style In English Things You Need to Know About Plagiarism

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Things You Need to Know About Plagiarism

Picture this: You’ve invited some friends over for dinner. Since you didn’t have time to make dessert, you stop at a local bakery and pick up a cake. After dinner, your friends congratulate you on the delicious cake you made. How do you answer? Most people would give credit to the person who made the cake: “I’m glad you liked it, but I didn’t make it. I bought it at Sunshine Bakery.” By clarifying that the cake was not yours, you are giving credit to Sunshine Bakery. The same concept applies to writing.

When you write a paragraph or essay, you should use your own words for the most part. Sometimes, though, writers want to use ideas they’ve read in another piece of writing. For example, a writer might want to use a quote from a famous politician if they are writing a paragraph about a recent election. In this case, the writer must indicate that the words are not their own, but came from someone else, and give credit to that writer. The act of indicating that a writer’s words are not original but from another source is called quoting. In academic writing, it is imperative that a writer cite all non-original sources of information.

If writers do not give credit to borrowed ideas or words, they make a serious mistake. In fact, it is academic plagiarism, and such plagiarism of ideas or words is not tolerated at all. It is not acceptable to use even a few words from another source without citing the source; the amount of information you borrow is irrelevant. To steal is to steal. If you steal a phrase or even a phrase from another source, it is still considered plagiarism. Stealing someone else’s ideas or words and using them in a piece of writing as if they were your original ideas is called plagiarism. In an academic setting, plagiarism is considered a very serious crime. In most schools, there are serious academic consequences for plagiarizing any work. For example, some schools require that the paper receive a score of 0 (zero). Other schools will definitively expel the student. In some cases, schools will take both of the above steps.

Does this then mean that writers cannot use other people’s words or ideas? No, not at all. In fact, a writer’s key points can be reinforced by using facts from outside sources or quotes from experts. Accordingly, writers are encouraged to borrow appropriate information. The key to avoiding plagiarism is to cite the source of the information.

Many students have difficulty knowing when to use a citation, especially if they believe the information is common knowledge. For example, Hessa, a student from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is writing an essay about her country. She knows that the United Arab Emirates is made up of seven emirates. Do you have to cite this information? If Hessa is writing this essay in an English-speaking country where people may not know there are seven emirates, she must cite the information. However, if the information is common knowledge in Hessa’s academic community, she would not have to cite the information.

In the end, it is better to cite the information than to risk being accused of plagiarism. Before turning in any writing, it is helpful to mark any information that is not your original writing. For any information you mark, you must give credit to the person, organization, or website that originally wrote it by citing those sources.

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