What Is Plagiarism?

The word "plagiarism" derives from the Latin word "plagiare," which means, "to kidnap."

Kidnapping is not exactly something you'd like to be known for, is it?

There are many ways to "kidnap" or steal ideas, rather than people, and these ways can be both intential and unintentional.

As a member of an academic community that takes the sharing of ideas and information very seriously, and as a responsible adult, you should find it important to avoid even the suspicion of plagiarism.

To that end, it is your responsibility to learn how and when to cite your sources.

It is important to realize that understanding your source materials &mdash that is, anything you look at when formulating your written opinion about something &mdash is paramount to producing good work. Plagiarizing reveals a lack of confidence in your own understanding about these materials. If you can't put a concept into your own words, then you don't understand it.

So if you are ever tempted to kidnap someone else's words or ideas, think again. And go to a professor for help.

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