Plagiarism is the presenting of others’ ideas as if they were your own. When you write an essay, do a project, or create anything original, it is assumed that all the work, except for that which is attributed to another author or creator, is your own work. Be aware that word-for-word copying is not the only form of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offense and may take the following forms:

  • Copying word for word from another source and not giving that credit source credit.
  • Cutting and Pasting from Internet or database sources without giving that source credit.
  • Paraphrasing the work of another and not giving that source credit.
  • Adopting a particularly apt phrase as your own.
  • Reproducing any published or copyrighted artwork, both fine and commercial.
  • Digitally duplicating or downloading any copyrighted software, programs or files.
  • Paraphrasing another’s line of thinking in the development of a topic as your own.
  • Receiving excessive help from a friend or elsewhere, or using another project as your own.

[Adapted from the Modern Language Association’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: MLA, 1995: 26.]