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Citation Guide

Discover and explore the basics of why and how to cite.

Plagiarism Examples

Plagiarism occurs under a few different circumstances, sometimes committed intentionally, and sometimes accidentally.

Intentional Plagiarism is the most egregious type, where the author understands that he or she is committing an infraction. Remember that plagiarism is a crime against both the original author and against the reader.

Intentional plagiarism is the deliberate use of another's words or ideas without attribution, or with improper attribution.

Intentional plagiarism would also include paying or otherwise signing your name to a work produced by another person or sharing your work with another person with the intention of allowing them to pass it off as their own.

Unintentional Plagiarism is often the result of carelessness or neglect. The effects are the same as if the author committed plagiarism intentionally. 

When you sign your name to a work, you are certifying that you did your due diligence and followed the rules that careful scholarship demands. Being in a hurry is never an excuse for plagiarism.

Types of Plagiarism

Here are some examples of a few different types of plagiarism.

I. Verbatim Plagiarism

Original Passage:

“It’s almost as if the immune system is struggling to ‘pick a lane,’ Dr. Wherry said. This disorientation also seems to extend into the realm of B cells and T cells — two types of immune fighters that usually need to stay in conversation to coordinate their attacks. Certain types of T cells, for instance, are crucial for coaxing B cells into manufacturing disease-fighting antibodies” (Wu). 

Student Example: Verbatim Plagiarism 

It’s almost as if the immune system is struggling to ‘pick a lane,’ Dr. Wherry said. This disorientation also seems to extend into the realm of B cells and T cells — two types of immune fighters that usually need to stay in conversation to coordinate their attacks. Certain types of T cells, for instance, are crucial for coaxing B cells into manufacturing disease-fighting antibodies.

Thoughts: The student has cut-and-pasted this passage from the original and not used quotation marks. This is the most egregious form of plagiarism. Note that even if the student had cited the author, Wu, the passage would still be plagiarized without adding "quotation marks." Always practice careful scholarship. Simply forgetting quotation marks means the paper is plagiarized!

II. “Right-Click Method”/Altered Passage Plagiarism

Original Passage:

“It’s almost as if the immune system is struggling to ‘pick a lane,’ Dr. Wherry said. This disorientation also seems to extend into the realm of B cells and T cells — two types of immune fighters that usually need to stay in conversation to coordinate their attacks. Certain types of T cells, for instance, are crucial for coaxing B cells into manufacturing disease-fighting antibodies” (Wu). 

II. Student Example: “Right-Click Method”/Altered Passage Plagiarism

It’s almost as if the immune system is having difficulty to ‘pick a lane,’ Dr. Wherry said. This confusion also seems to apply to the area of B cells and T cells — two types of immune responders that normally need to stay in communication to coordinate their assaults. Some types of T cells, for example, are critical for encouraging B cells into creating disease-fighting antibodies (Wu). 

Thoughts: The above example is absolutely plagiarized! Just changing some words to their synonyms is not paraphrasing, and worse, it makes the passage more difficult to understand. The student did not bother to paraphrase the text properly because he left the author’s syntax intact. This paper will be submitted to the dean as an example of plagiarism. Do not let this happen! Simply changing a few words is cutting corners at its worst. Giving the in-text citation does not make this example legitimate. This student would have been better inserting the original as a direct quotation rather than improperly paraphrasing the passage. As it stands, this paper would be graded as a zero and an made an academic violation of record for the student. 

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