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Not including citations in the appropriate places in your text

Note: This is not strictly “plagiarism” as the term is defined, but a related problem in that your reader will not know which portion of your text is yours and which portion is something you have taken from someone else!

Original text

Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. (from Collected Essays: George Orwell, 1961, p. 353)

Example

Plagiarized text

Orwell was concerned with what he considered a dangerous link between careless language use, fuzzy thinking, and governance. He therefore appealed to his audience to view the thoughtful use of language as a universal civic responsibility. In the rhetoric of politics and politicians, doublespeak, euphemisms, and deliberate misrepresentations of what opponents have said are common - and the purpose of these uses of language is often to deliberately mislead the public. It is only when citizens are aware of and able to deconstruct the public misuse of language that we will be able to hold politicians accountable for their words (1961, p. 353).

Comment on plagiarized text - The problem in the above passage is that in putting the citation at the end of the paragraph, the writer makes it seem as if everything in the paragraph is a paraphrase of what Orwell wrote, when in fact the final two sentences, although perhaps very important to the writer’s own argument, go beyond what Orwell was discussing. This both fails to give credit to the writer for his or her own ideas and puts words in Orwell’s mouth that he did not utter on page 353! And while one might argue that this problem is not precisely an example of plagiarism, it does constitute a misrepresentation of the source material, and can get the writer into the same kind of trouble as outright plagiarism. There are several ways to solve this problem. Here are two:

Plagiarized text corrected 1

Orwell (1961, p. 353) was concerned with what he considered a dangerous link between careless language use, fuzzy thinking, and governance. He therefore appealed to his audience to view the thoughtful use of language as a universal civic responsibility. Indeed, Orwell’s concerns are just as relevant today as they were when he wrote them. In the rhetoric of politics and politicians, doublespeak, euphemisms, and deliberate misrepresentations of what opponents have said are common - and the purpose of these uses of language is often to deliberately mislead the public. It is only when citizens are aware of and able to deconstruct the public misuse of language that we will be able to hold politicians accountable for their words. (Give the citation at the beginning of the paraphrase, and interject a transitional phrase to indicate the point at which the paraphrase has ended.)

Plagiarized text corrected 2

Orwell (1961) was concerned with what he considered a dangerous link between careless language use, fuzzy thinking, and governance. He therefore appealed to his audience to view the thoughtful use of language as a universal civic responsibility (p. 353). In the rhetoric of politics and politicians, doublespeak, euphemisms, and deliberate misrepresentations of what opponents have said are common - and the purpose of these uses of language is often to deliberately mislead the public. It is only when citizens are aware of and able to deconstruct the public misuse of language that we will be able to hold politicians accountable for their words. (Placing the citation immediately after the paraphrase makes it clear that at this point the paraphrase is over.)

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