Stop what you might ask. Stop plagiarizing when writing. Why do you think you can copy someone else’s writing and use it for your website, social media, forums, and elsewhere without crediting the original author. Stop that! You are stealing when writing when you do that. You are committing a crime.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition is:
: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source
: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
In other words, you are using someone else’s words as yours, even though they are not your words. Now, that is just plain shameful, don’t you agree? Now, I will agree; it is not easy to not plagiarize sometimes. That is because there are multiple ways you can plagiarize. And in some cases, you may not even recognize you are doing it.
Ways You Can Plagiarize
While no one seems to agree on how many different ways you can be caught plagiarizing, the common ways are anywhere from four to ten, depending on how you search in your browser and the results you see.
According to the Katie Murrell Library at Lindsey Wilson College, they summarize eight common types that are described in their chart below.
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What Can I Do to Avoid Plagiarism
I use Grammarly. While I try very hard to stop plagiarizing when writing, I am sure I miss a lot. Grammarly helps to keep me honest.
Plagiarizing When Writing Can Be Too Easy
There are steps you can take to avoid plagiarism. These steps are the ones I follow.
- First, I am very, very careful when I am doing my research. I use the most current information I can get on the internet, starting with that content published within the last year. You can also search Google for current content as recent as the past hour. (I’m not sure about other search engines) In addition, you can lock down your searches by past month, past week, and past 24 hours.
- You don’t want to rush your research. This first step of your writing project takes time, effort, and carefulness. Take lots of notes, and make sure to give credit where it is due. These days, it is so much easier to take digital notes. One resource I have found to be helpful is Google Keep.
- Another way to avoid plagiarism is to be conscientious about doing your own work. Sure, copying and pasting may be quick and easy, but it is risky and not worth it.
- Fourth, I mentioned that you need to give credit to the person it belongs to. That means if you get information from a book, magazine, website, graphics, and more, you need to cite where you got that information.
- Finally, you need to understand the best way to paraphrase. The UCLA Library says this: “Simply using synonyms or scrambling an author’s words and phrases and then using these “rewrites” uncredited in your work is plagiarism, plain and simple. Good paraphrasing requires that you genuinely understand the original source, that you are genuinely using your own words to summarize a point or concept, and that you insert in quotes any unique words or phrases you use from the original source. Good paraphrasing also requires that you cite the original source. Anything less and you veer into the dangerous territory of plagiarism.”
So, what am I saying here? Plagiarizing when writing is severe and can have harmful consequences. There is the Grammarly Instant Plagiarism Check. Other tools like Copyscape can help you, also. The greatest thing you can do to avoid plagiarizing when writing is to be careful. If you don’t know for sure whether you should or shouldn’t cite your resources, then, by all means, err on the side of caution and cite your sources.
Pam Lokker is a master writer and a virtual assistant professional who enjoys content writing. Borlok Virtual Assistants, LLC (Borlok VA) has been the place to get global expert VA services with quality and on-time delivery for many years. We are now focusing on writing blog posts, press releases, articles, and web content, as well as proofreading and editing.