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Filtering by Tag: Plagiarism

In this month's Ask WriteCheck column, a student asks about how to stop future plagiarized Facebook posts.

Hi WriteCheck,

So upsetting: I wrote something on my Facebook page, poured my heart into it and, lo and behold, it was lifted and now appears as one of my Facebook "friends'" posts ... word for word! It is still on my Facebook page, dated September 25th, 2013. I cannot begin to tell you how upsetting this is to me. Worse yet, her friends commented on how beautifully said the sentiments were, and she accepted the accolades without explaining that she had not written it herself. What can I do to make sure this does not happen to me again?

Please help. 

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Ask WriteCheck

Published on by kennethb.


Zombies are Nietzsche's abyss. They are the Last Men. They are the antithesis of his heroic, creative übermensch. They are parasite nihilists which would expand their numbers exponentially until, having consumed all resources (that is, people), they would slowly decay, rotting away into putrid nothingness.

That is something you do not want to be. Keep that image in your mind. You do not want to be a putrid nothing.

Plagiarism is intellectual zombism. When you're asked to write a paper or story, you're asked to be a creative hero from the Nietzschean perspective. Writing something truly creative and meaningful makes you more of an übermensch. Taking from others, stealing their ideas and claiming them as your own, makes you an existentialist villain, a zombie of the mind (rather than the braaiiiiiinnn).

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Published on by Guest.

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Knowing how to avoid plagiarism is essential, whether it's writing an academic paper or a blog post. Copying-and-pasting text from the internet can be precarious, but if you know how to correctly navigate three specific areas, you will reduce the risk of being involved with unintentional plagiarism. What are these three areas? Watch this short video to find out what English Professor Renee Nimtz recommends students learn about when it comes to attributing others' work. Watch the short video (2:35 minutes):

3 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism -- Summary, Paraphrase and Quote

There is so much talk about plagiarism these days! But how do you actually avoid plagiarizing? Three ways to save yourself from plagiarizing are summary, paraphrase and quote.

Let’s start with summary.  This is one students are pretty familiar with, but that doesn’t mean it’s so clear cut.

A summary is a condensed version of the original text that highlights the main or key ideas in YOUR own words.  So if you were going to summarize a chapter, it might be a page.  If you were going to summarize a paragraph, it might be a couple of lines.

The second way to avoid plagiarism is with a paraphrase.  A paraphrase is typically the same length as the original text but written in YOUR own words, like a summary. So a paraphrase of a page would be about a page; a paraphrase of a paragraph would be roughly the same length as the original paragraph.  The real trick to paraphrasing is making sure you use your own words and NOT using the words from the original source.

A quote seems so easy because you merely take the original text, put it in quotation marks and put it into your paper.  Well, not so fast.

Students tend to think that they should quote the most in the paper.  And why not? It’s the easiest, and tends to make the paper longer, but by quoting someone, you are saying something about the text.

You are saying that the way the person wrote the text him or herself is so powerful and so impactful that if you were to rewrite it in any way, it would lose it’s impact and value.  If that is not the case, you should summarize or paraphrase it.  You should actually quote the least.

That means that if you put “” marks around text, it better be really powerful language.

So with summary, paraphrase and quote, for which of these do you need a citation?

This is a trick question; they all need a citation.  If you borrow any ideas or language from someone or a text (or a Youtube video), you must include a citation.

A good rule of thumb for summary, paraphrase and quote, is to 1. Introduce the ethos of the author or original text, 2.  include the summary, paraphrase or quote, 3. Cite the original source and 4. Discuss the borrowed material and how it relates to the remainder of your point/paragraph or paper.

Writing with summary, paraphrase and quote is a skill that requires practice and care to get it right, but remember, there are only these three ways to borrow outside sources and each needs a citation.


Google vs Google Scholar [video]

Why isn't Wikipedia a reputable source? [video]



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WriteCheck receives hundreds of questions from students around the world about plagiarism, citation, grammar/writing, and many other tricky situations that may occur at school. This new "Ask WriteCheck" column will share some of these questions, provide answers to help the inquisitor, and help other readers who may find themselves in similar situations. In this debut "Ask WriteCheck", a student writes about how to get out of an unintentional plagiarism situation.

Ask WriteCheck

Hi WriteCheck,

I had homework in which I had to present to the class. When I presented my report to my instructor, he said I plagiarized because someone from the other class already presented the same report to him. I didn't know about it. We coincidentally presented almost exactly the same report. Was that plagiarism?

Thank you, Dio


Hi Dio,

Sounds like a tough situation to be in. The short answer to your question is "yes"--unintentional plagiarism is still plagiarism. However, I would sit down with your instructor and ask him/her to specify which aspects of your homework were considered to be plagiarized. There is a possibility that the nature of the homework assignment promoted students’ use of the same sources. Did all of the students present their homework to the class? If so, who went first, you or the other student? If not, you have a strong case that your work was plagiarized by the other student.

The burden of proof is on your instructor to prove how you plagiarized. If your homework assignment was truly your own original work, you will be familiar with your work. Ask your instructor to orally quiz you on different parts of your homework and you can substantiate how it is your own idea.

Another thing to consider is whether you sent your homework to anyone or completed your assignment on a public computer. There is a chance that they may have copied and taken ideas from your paper with your consent or knowledge.

Always properly document your sources and how you used them. This way you can provide your instructor with several assignment drafts and notes you took from the sources you’ve used. In this way, you can provide a positive case for how you did your work and why you didn’t plagiarize.

Best of luck,



Ask WriteCheck

Published on by kennethb.

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Undergraduate at Montana State University uses plagiarism checker every semester to receive feedback on citations and to increase confidence in her papers that "everything is spot on" Featuring: Diann Quaranto, undergraduate at Montana State University pursuing a liberal arts degree

See why Diann takes the extra step to check her papers:

Straight “A” Student Uses Plagiarism Checker to Avoid Mistakes| Writecheck from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Read along:

K: What’s your area of study and what’s the official name of the institution and for what degree?

D: It’s a bachelor’s degree, a liberal arts degree. Montana State University at Bozeman. I just finished the first year. When you do a lot of online study programs, there’s a lot of writing.

K: Do you use WriteCheck because you wanted to improve as a writer or to ensure that you aren’t plagiarizing or you have seen plagiarism at your school? What was it that drew you to WriteCheck?

D: Well, the thing that drew me in was the plagiarism issue, and the paraphrasing check. One professor I just finished up with this past spring was huge on (avoiding) plagiarism and there were a lot of people in the class whose work was on the verge of plagiarism. So, I used WriteCheck in order to insure myself. I didn’t want to put all this work into these papers and then somebody comes back and says, “that’s plagiarized.”

K: What would you say to people who don’t think plagiarism is an issue?

D: Yes, it is an issue. I see plagiarism as an issue because everything has advanced so much, there’s so much writing out there. I honestly think it is foolish not to use a service like this. If I can be confident that everything is spot on, that’s worth the money. I don’t like plagiarism because it’s very important that people’s ideas are documented to the people that came up with those ideas. You can accidentally plagiarize. So, my point is, why wouldn’t you do the smart thing and run your papers through and check it out. The $7 was worth the peace of mind to know that that paper was 100% in my words. And believe it or not, I ran it through the system and it came back with one small error–and it just on sentence structure. No plagiarism whatsoever. And I ended up with an A.

D: I think WriteCheck is an entirely useful service, and a good value. I thought it came back with excellent feedback. By the way, I got A’s on all those papers. I just wanted to be sure (that I hadn’t made any mistakes), so that’s why I used it. Now this semester coming up, it’ll be the first place I go when I finish them (papers) up.


Plagiarism: Learning the Hard Way Video

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism



Published on by kennethb.

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This latest "OK or not?" poll reflects current digital practices of everyday students who do online research. Though many students would prefer to do research online because it's more accessible and it's easier, students can sometimes be confused about proper online citation practices. What do you think about the following situation?



Related: OK or not? A new poll series about plagiarism



Published on by kennethb.


Knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism is crucial for the college student. Even if a student believes that he or she has cited, paraphrased, quoted, and referenced properly, problems can occur. If too many mistakes are made in any or all of these areas, text in a paper may be technically plagiarized.

Cite Properly

Citing properly entails checking your educational institution’s writing style guidelines (APA, ML, etc.) for citation writing instructions. Follow these rules closely. Every time another’s idea is used in the essay, a citation is needed.

Paraphrase Correctly

Paraphrasing can be time-consuming, but a student must put information or ideas found from any source into his or her own words and cite the source. Copying the words verbatim is plagiarism. This exercise also helps students understand the material that they are including in their essay. Checking an essay to ensure that ideas are paraphrased and cited correctly are crucial aspects in knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism.

Insert Quotes -- And Don't Over-Quote

Quoting is another area of concern. When using the exact words of another author, three or more words, quotation marks must be included around those words. Again, a citation is needed after a direct quote. Another issue in knowing how to check a paper for plagiarism is not using too many quotes. Each educational institution or instructor should share how much quoted information is acceptable.

Reference Accurately

References are essential defenses against plagiarism. Each citation used in an essay must be supported by a reference. As with citations, references and the reference page require a specific format. A student needs to check that each citation used in his or her essay has a reference on the reference page.

Use a Plagiarism Checker

Another way to check an essay for plagiarism and to confirm that all of the essential areas have been completed properly is to use plagiarism checker software. WriteCheck plagiarism checker is available online and convenient to use, and includes a grammar check. Or using Turnitin through a school or university is equally effective. With both options, after submitting a paper, the student receives a report that includes a similarity index percentage. The index shows three types of sources: internet, publications, and student papers. Each area that shows similarity is highlighted to show with what type of source the similarity exists. Many students find that running their papers through plagiarism checker software provides  peace of mind that they haven't made any inadvertent writing mistakes.

Knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism is vital for the college student. Checking the key areas of citing, paraphrasing, quoting, and referencing can help to safeguard against plagiarism. Using plagiarism checker software can also ensure that the essay includes original material and is free of plagiarism.


6 Ways to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism Guide

Published on by bcalvano.

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