Type 4: Accidental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism occurs when a person neglects to cite their sources, or misquotes their sources, or unintentionally paraphrases a source by using similar words, groups of words, and/or sentence structure without attribution.

This happened to me once, in the long, long ago before the Internet.

I wrote a really nifty-sounding verse that I included in a piece of fiction I was writing. It went like this:

"When darkness fell across the land; And midnight hour was close at hand..."

Has a nice ring, doesn't it? I was proud of it. But does it sound at all familiar?

We must all learn how to cite sources, and we must take careful and accurate notes when doing research. Cases of accidental plagiarism are taken very seriously, and they can be brought before a school's judiciary board.

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