It is expected that your writing is your writing. Plagiarism refers to the action of taking the words or ideas of another person and using those words or ideas like they are yours. This is viewed differently in different cultures. In some cultures, copying what another person wrote is a way to honor the original writer. In American educational settings, plagiarism is not viewed this way. Plagiarism in the United States is viewed as stealing another person's work. There are very serious consequences for stealing another person's words or ideas and using them in your writing. You should never plagiarize any part of any assignment in any of your classes.
There are many ways to plagiarize. You should be familiar with them so that you don't do it accidentally. Some examples of plagiarism include copying text word-for-word (or with a few changes) from something without citing the author, copying too much from one source, and improperly crediting the source. Compare the quote to the examples of plagiarism in the following box.
Example: Types of Plagiarism
"Children master the grammar of their native language by collecting hundreds of examples of correctly formed sentences. This process takes time, but it is worth it because the result is that they have a native ear" (Clark, 2017, para. 8).
Plagiarized Version: Copy and paste without source information
Children master the grammar of their native language by collecting hundreds of examples of correctly formed sentences. This process takes time, but it is worth it because the result is that they have a native ear.
Plagiarized Version: Paraphrase the idea without source information
A native ear is the gradual result of children hearing many examples of their native language used correctly.
You should never copy a quote and change just a few words (with or without the source information):
Children learn the grammar of their first language by hearing lots of examples of correctly formed sentences. This takes time, but it is worth it because the result is a native ear.
Even if you include the source information and you have only changed a few words, this is not correctly paraphrasing and still considered plagiarism.
When you include research in your essays, you need to properly quote, summarize, or paraphrase as well as include the proper citation. Each of these skills will be explained in this book.