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What constitutes plagiarism?

What exactly does it mean to plagiarize? According to the American Heritage Dicitonary, to plagiarize is to "reproduce or otherwise use (the words, ideas, or other work of another) as one's own or without attribution."

So, everybody knows it's not OK to copy word-for-word the work of another without proper citation.  But did you know that these are examples of plagiarism too?

  • Lifting multiple phrases or sentences out of the original text and rearranging them in new patterns without sufficient citation
  • Paraphrasing ideas (not considered "common knowledge") from another author without citation
  • The "Apt Term": lifting and reusing unique terms or expressions from other authors without citation
  • Submitting a paper for one class that you already submitted for another class, even if you change some of it
  • Submitting a paper that you bought or got from somebody else online, even if you change some
  • Submitting a paper that you "borrowed" from your friend who took this class last year, even if you change some

Why does it matter?

Depending on the severity of the offence, plagiarism can have serious consequences.  If you plagiarize, you may receive a reduced or failing grade, be placed on probation, or even be suspended or expelled from the University.  Additionally, the offence may go on your permanent transcript, so any future schools or employers see it.  Finally, if you are caught plagiarizing, you will lose the respect and trust of your colleagues. 

Besides, it's just not nice -- you wouldn't like it if somebody used your work and didn't credit you, would you?