February 24, 2017


Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s creative work without due acknowledgement. Plagiarism could be committed either intentionally or unintentionally. Regardless of how it occurs, plagiarism is a serious offence and is devoid of ethics.


The term plagiarism was first used in the early 17th century. It derives from the Latin plagiarius, meaning “kidnapper” or “abductor” from plagium, meaning “kidnapping”, which comes from the Greek plagios, meaning “one who acts indirectly.” Although originally it was used to mean someone who steals someone else's child, gradually came to mean to pass off someone else's work as one’s own. The derivatives of plagiarism include:
  • plagiary noun
  • plagiarist noun
  • plagiarize verb
  • plagiaristic adjective

Forms/Characteristics/Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a very ambiguous term and it is not possible to draw its exact boundary. However, in general sense its characteristics may include but not limited to the following:
  1. Misusing another person’s work: This is an intentional form of plagiarism. Usually students/writers commit this type of plagiarism in the following cases:
  • Submitting a paper, examination, or assignment written by another person.
  • Copying portions of another's writing without enclosing the copied passage in quotation marks & acknowledging the source in a list of work cited.
  • The use of a unique term or concept that one has come across without acknowledging its source.
  • The paraphrasing or restating of someone else's ideas without acknowledging that person.
  • Internet accessed sources and materials that are not properly attributed to the source or creator.
  • Purchasing an essay or paper from a "dealer" on the Internet, a frat house, sorority library or anywhere else and calling it as an individual work.
  • Borrowing another student's paper from a previous semester and calling it own work.
  • Having someone else do the work, for free or for hire.
  • Collectively researching and writing a paper with other students and each turning copies into different class sections claiming it as individual work.
  1. Misusing resources: This is an unintentional form of plagiarism. Usually this type of plagiarism occurs when the students/writers commit the following mistakes:
  • Improperly documenting quoted, paraphrased or summarized source material.
  • Falsely citing something that was never actually consulted, or making up a citation.
  • Failure to establish and maintain sustained open communications with the individual who is responsible for approving and evaluating the submission.
  • Citing some resources in the Works Cited (bibliography) list but intentionally omitting them in parenthetical citations.

How to Avoid plagiarism

In most cases, plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing the audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. The most practical way to this is to use parenthetical documentation. For example:
  1. Yoga is an ancient health-art developed and perfected over the centuries by the sages and saints of ancient India (Dunne 9).
  2. Desmond Dunne writes that Yoga is an ancient health-art developed and perfected over the centuries by the sages and saints of ancient India (9).
The parenthetical references “(Dunne 9)” and “(9)” suggest that the segment comes from the preface of a work by Dunne occurring in page 9. By the author’s last name, the readers will be able to find the complete information for the source from the Works Cited (Bibliography) list:

Works Cited
Dunne, Desmond. Preface. Yoga Made Essay. By Dunne. London: Granada, 1971. 9-11.


Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New Delhi: Affiliated E-W P, n.d.

“Plagiarism”. KidsHealth. 2008. Nemours. 4 August 2008
< http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/plagiarism.html>.

“Plagiarism in essays”. Mantex. 2008. Mantex. 4 August 2008
< http://www.mantex.co.uk/books/essays.htm>.

Tanvir Shameem Tanvir Shameem is not the biggest fan of teaching, but he is doing his best to write on various topics of language and literature just to guide thousands of students and researchers across the globe. You can always find him experimenting with presentation, style and diction. He will contribute as long as time permits. You can find him on:


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