Plagiarism is derived from Greek and Latin terms for kidnapping

Plagiarism is presenting the words or ideas of someone else as your own without proper acknowledgment of the source. If you don't credit the author, you are committing a type of theft called plagiarism.

When you work on a research paper you will probably find supporting material for your paper from works by others. It's okay to use the ideas of other people, but you do need to correctly credit them.

When you quote people -- or even when you summarize or paraphrase information found in books, articles, web pages, or other sources -- you must acknowledge the original author.

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism Activities 1


Intentional "borrowing, purchasing, or otherwise obtaining work composed by someone else and submitted"2 under another's name.


Not always thought of as academic dishonesty, patchwriting is "half-copy[ing] the author's sentences . . .by plugging your synonyms into the author's sentence structure."3 It can occur whether or not the original author is cited.

Failure to Cite

Summarizing, paraphrasing or using author's exact language without properly citing the source using footnotes, endnotes or parenthetical notes.

Failure to Quote

Using original author's exact language without using quotation marks or block quotation. Often results from students' inexperience with the material or discourse community

© University of Michigan. Used with permission.

1 Model taken from Rebecca Moore Howard, "Plagiarism, Authorships, and the Academic Death Penalty," College English 57 (Nov. 1995), 788-806.
2 Ibid., 799.
3 Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook, (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998), 572.

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