Plagiarism occurs when a writer uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common) knowledge without acknowledging its source (adapted from the WPA - Council of Writing Program Administrators ).

It can also occur:

  • when the writer acknowledges sources but not in an appropriate manner. 
  • when the writer, in attempting to paraphrase or summarize, does not use his or her own language and writing style to relay what a source has said. 

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism can occur intentionally or unintentionally, but in either case the repercussions can be severe (University Calendar Sections and, see also School of Graduate Studies Regulation 4.12 Academic Misconduct). 

Plagiarism, whether intended or not, is considered to be a kind of stealing. In an academic context, it also prevents both the writer and the reader from seeing the writer’s actual position in what is really an ongoing conversation.

It is important to note that faculties, departments, and individuals apply varying degrees of scrutiny to their readings of students’ texts. However, our advice is to err on the side of caution.

Examples of Plagiarism

Below are examples of the most prevalent forms of plagiarism, along with commentary and examples of ways to correct them.* 

* In these examples, APA documentation style is used. Please ensure that you use the documentation style required by your instructor.

Please consider the following passage from George Orwell’s famous essay, Politics and the English Language, which will be used as the source material for all examples:

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)