What Is It and How to Avoid It?

What is Plagiarism?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines plagiarism as:

  • the act of using another person's words or ideas without giving credit to that person

Using someone's words or ideas without their permission or without giving them credit is a form of stealing, lying, and cheating. All recorded original ideas are protected by the copyright law.

According to, the following are forms of plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not

Copyright laws also protect images and videos. The copying of images or videos to place in one's own work is plagiarism.

Funny but teaches about Plagiarism

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

  • The main way to avoid plagiarism is to cite all sources.
  • Citing sources lets readers know you have borrowed ideas from someone else. It also provides readers with the information necessary to find those resources if they would like to read them.
  • It is not necessary to cite common knowledge.
  • When in doubt, always cite the source.