Do you know what plagiarism is?

The attitude to plagiarism varies from country to country. Find out what plagiarism is, and what consequences it can have.

How often did your English teacher draw your attention to the importance of “writing in your own words” in writing? It will be about plagiarism and attitude towards it in different countries of the world.

What is plagiarism?

Scientists Pet Curie and Alistair Pennikuk believe that people who study English can freely use and copy the materials of publications in their written works. This will allow them to cope with the difficulties in learning the language itself, and to save valuable study time.

Not many English language learners know that in US universities copying of other people’s materials is considered a punishable violation and is openly called plagiarism (plagiarism is the practice of illegally using someone else’s words or ideas in the form of one’s own).

In the US, as a punishment, a student may not take a written job, refuse to go on the next course and even be expelled from the university. Thus, in the universities of North America plagiarism is considered a serious misconduct.

According to A. Pennikuk, the borrowing of words is often perceived as theft or the commission of a crime against the author of the text. Not all, however, share this point of view on plagiarism.

For example, a number of leading experts in scientific ethics outside of North America recognize that copying texts of other authors is generally accepted and can even be considered a kind of compliment to the author.

How not to become a plagiarist

Many students know that plagiarism is a serious violation of scientific ethics, although there are those who do not know it. For example, the term “patchworking”, introduced by Rebecca Moore Howard, means direct copying by students of entire fragments from different sources, changing a number of details and creating from this their written scientific works without reference to the source material.

Some experts believe that novice authors do this unintentionally and they need it to learn how to write.

In other cases, plagiarism is the result of laziness or inattention. For example, when a student forgets to put quotation marks when making the exact statement of another author.

Nevertheless, each of the cases described is considered plagiarism.

Let’s get acquainted with a number of terms and concepts to better understand the essence of plagiarism:

Basic terms

When a teacher talks about plagiarism, he usually uses the following terms:


Paraphrasing allows you to write down in your own words the thought of the author, without distorting its meaning. Usually, the most important part of the original text is paraphrased, slightly shortening its length.

Remember that it is not enough to replace words for paraphrasing. Here you will need knowledge of synonyms and the ability to rebuild sentences.

The main aspects of plagiarism

Links and their design

When you quote the author’s statement or a paraphrased fragment of his text for the first time, you should give the author’s name. For example:

“Émile Zola wrote” (“Emile Zola wrote”)

“according to Einstein” (“according to Einstein’s statement”), etc.

At the end of the statement you quoted or a revised passage, you must specify a link to the source and page number, where you got the information you need.

Remember that the exact rules of linking in your written works depend on the requirements of your teacher. However, whatever they are, you must specify the source.

Quotations and direct statements

To design significant statements by the author, use quotation marks. Quotes indicate that all the text you have quoted is the exact statement of the author without changes.


It involves a short explanation in your own words of longer passages of the text.

Taking into account the brevity of the summarized texts, it is inappropriate for both personal opinion and use of quotations.

Now you know that borrowing texts and ideas of other authors is called plagiarism and is not welcomed in the world of education.

However, there are ways to work with copyright materials, without violating the rules of scientific ethics. It’s about paraphrasing, citing, summarizing and adding links. You should also use the plagiarism checker online to be sure that your work won’t be judged awry.

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