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College Writing Guide

What is Plagiarism?

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Copying someone else's work or using someone else's thoughts without giving that person credit. To avoid plagiarism, simply cite the person's work that you are quoting, paraphrasing, or basing your thoughts upon."  -from

BOTTOM LINE: If they're not your WORDS or IDEAS, you have to state whose they are by citing your sources.


When am I Plagiarizing?

If your paper has. . .  Then it's . . .
  • quotes, but you didn’t identify or cite the source
  • quotes but you changed some of the words inside the quotes
  • the author’s exact words but without quotation marks
  • ideas that aren’t yours but you rearranged the words and didn’t give credit
  • places where it’s not clear what’s your work and what’s the work of others

How Do I Avoid Plagiarizing?

Learn how to correctly integrate sources into you paper with these three techniques:

  • Quoting: an exact excerpt credited to the author set off with quotation marks. Must include a source citation.

  • Summarizing: putting the main idea of the information into your own words, citing the original source. A summary is shorter than the original, but usually gives a bigger view of the whole idea.

  • Paraphrasing: reading the piece, putting it away and writing a version in your own words. It is not as short as a summary, which may include words or phrases from the original set off in quotes. It is still cited.

For more information, check out the OWL at Purdue.

What are the Different Ways to Plagiarize?

Watch this for a good overview of the different types of plagiarism.

Created by Cape Cod Community College

Need More Plagiarism Help?

Check out these tutorials and videos for even more help on understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

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