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MLA Format Quick Guide

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a combination of cheating and theft.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED), the definition of plagiarism is:

 “The action or practice of
taking someone else's work,
idea, etc., and passing it off
as one's own; literary theft.”
(September 2012).

Often, especially for students inexperienced in writing scholarly papers, plagiarism is unintentional. However, whether intentional or unintentional, the consequences can be severe. So, be aware and be informed!  

“plagiarism, n.” (September 2012). In Oxford English dictionary online.Retrieved from

You are plagiarizing ...

  1. When you copy text from another source and pass it off as yours.
  2. When you pay for, or borrow, a paper that someone else wrote and you put your name on it. (And, no, editing it or changing a few words or sentences does not make it yours).
  3. When you "patchwrite" - that is, when you copy text from more than one source and put the parts together so that it looks new.
  4. When you re-use your own paper from a previous course without discussing it with your professor in advance.

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