Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism

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Plagiarism is a bad habit without a definition. Most people have an idea of what it is but its meaning has become so skewed over the years that no one really knows. Plagiarism is the Voldemort in the world of composition and literature; one word of it and you are blacklisted for cheating. How can this be though? How can the mention of plagiarism be so consequential if no one really knows what it means? This paper will not only identify the definition of plagiarism but it will also examine the concept of an original idea and how they both tie into each other.
The most used definition of plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. According to one website, plagiarism stems from the Latin word meaning “to kidnap” (Plagiarism). One article also defines plagiarism as purposely taking someone else’s “language, idea, or other original (not common knowledge) material” without source recognition (Defining). Plagiarism is so frowned upon because the educational system and businesses expect you to be creative, truthful, and do your own research rather than relying on someone else to write it for you, which makes complete sense. Many student have been expelled from their universities for plagiarizing. One student at the University of Virginia was in the Semester at Sea program when she was accused of plagiarism on a paper about their time at sea that tied in with a movie of their choice. The student copied three phrases from Wikipedia word for word. This student, however, had no idea that she had even plagiarized so when her and her classmates were asked to come forward if they plagiarized, she did not. Thus resulting in her expulsion from the program that which she was asked to leave immediately and her expulsi...

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