You Have Received the RulesThere most definitely is a set of rules.
In every English handbook there is a section on plagiarism with rules and examples. You are expected to have read the plagiarism sections and understood the rules, even if you’ve never, ever had an English teacher say the word “plagiarism” to you.
Plagiarism is . . .
Plagiarism is Pretending Another’s Information is Your Own
Plagiarism is Using Quotation Marks Incorrectly
Plagiarism is Improper Citation
Plagiarism is Sloppy Documentation
Plagiarism is Quoting Inaccurately
You Might Be Asking Yourself,
In most English classes across the country, footnotes are a thing of the past. Proper documentation is MLA documentation. This page will use MLA documentation.
your handbook under MLA (Modern Language
Association), or go to the MLA
created by Purdue's O.W.L. You will see headings
offering to explain to
you “parenthetical citations” or “in-text
citations” and “works cited”
other documentation styles besides MLA. These
include APA, IEEE, CBE,
Toburen, and Chicago Style. You may not “mix and
styles. In most English classes, you must use
MLA. In some classes, you
may have a choice of documentation styles.
What are Parenthetical or In-Text Citations?
Use Parenthetical or In-Text Citations
Parenthetical or In-Text Citations: An Example
Our example involves a paper on horses using Alice Walker’s book, Anything We Love Can Be Saved as a source.
We read page 169, where Walker writes, “Horses are some of the most beautiful creatures Nature has devised. They are a symbol to us of all that is graceful, fluid, and free. Our Souls need them.”
We begin our paper by writing,
Horses are beautiful.
Is this plagiarism?
No. Many people see horses as beautiful. This is common knowledge. As you have read in your textbook, you don’t cite common knowledge.
We continue writing,
Horses are symbols to us of grace and freedom.
We know that we have taken this idea from Walker, but we changed the words around quite a bit. Is this plagiarism?
idea is not common knowledge. People do not walk
around thinking, “Oh,
horse, symbol of grace and freedom!”
Consider the Following Examples. The underlined portions show us where we have quoted word for word. We need to put quotation marks around those two sections of words, or put those two sections in our own words, or quote the whole thing directly from Walker. We also need to change the sentence structure. Right now, our “paraphrase” is plagiarism.
Our Words: Horses
are symbols to us of
grace and freedom.
Our Words:Horses are symbols to
us of grace and freedom.
Also note that in these previous examples, the words symbol, grace, and free are altered in form, but not changed.
In order to paraphrase effectively,
Horses are symbols to us of grace and freedom.
According to Walker, the
iconography of elegance and liberty
are well represented by the horse.
Parenthetical or In-Text Citations: A Paraphrase Example
credit Walker before the information is
presented and put the page
number at the end:
Or we can
put Walker and the page number at the end:
Parenthetical or In-Text Citations: A Direct Quotation Example
We decide to use Walker’s phrase “Our Souls need them” from the following excerpt:
“Horses are some of the most beautiful creatures Nature has devised. They are a symbol to us of all that is graceful, fluid, and free. Our Souls need them.”
real way to paraphrase that sentence.
Horses bring many hearts in motion; they fulfill some of our deepest fantasies and desires. They have moved the most eloquent of writers to say of horses, “Our Souls need them” (Walker 168).
Let’s look at what we have done.
They have moved the most eloquent of writers to say of horses, “Our Souls need them” (Walker 168).
reader wanted to know who this “most eloquent”
writer was, all he or
she would have to do would be to consult the
works cited page of the
essay to find out it’s Alice Walker.
What if, while proofreading, we think, “I want that to be less assertive-sounding for stylistic reasons” and change the quote to
“Our Souls may, sometimes, on rainy days, need them” (Walker 168).
what Walker wrote? Compare the two:
Is this an
improvement? That’s not the point. The point is,
the quote is now
incorrect. We have changed Walker’s words. No
one has permission to do
that to Alice Walker, or any writer used as a
must be quoted EXACTLY.
It may be
tempting to clean up Benjamin Franklin’s grammar
or to give Emily
Dickinson some real punctuation, but such
changes are plagiarism.
Brackets and Ellipses
the spelling of a word, changing a letter from
upper to lower case, or
changing the verb tense in an exact quotation
without indicating it as
such with brackets or ellipses is plagiarism.
Brackets are used in a direct quotation to indicate that a word has been altered in some way or added.
and Properly Bracketed
are used in a direct quotation to indicate that
a word has been taken
ellipses show that there are words in the
sentence that are missing in
the direct quote.
Ellipses with brackets are also used when you need some information from a direct quote, but not all of it. You put ellipses--three dots--in to show that a portion of a sentence has been taken out.
Ellipses to show that more than one sentence has been taken out are also used. Then, there are four dots. Even if you take out three sentences, you still use just four dots.
Brackets have other uses. What if you wanted to change the verb tense because the rest of your paper is in past tense?
What about that capital letter ‘S’ in “Souls”? What if we just correct it?
Original “Our Souls need them” (Walker 168).
Changed “Our souls need them” (Walker 168).
PLAGIARISM! DO NOT CHANGE THE ORIGINAL!
“Our Souls [sic] need them” (Walker 168).
“Our [s]ouls need them” (Walker 168).
You Might Wonder . . . How in the world will an English professor (or another professor) know what I’ve copied or what I’ve changed?
Actually, that’s how students get busted--they don’t follow the rules and they leave a sloppy plagiarism trail behind them.
a few excerpts from student papers, shall we?
An excerpt from Halifax’s (imaginary student's) paper on getting rich in America:
It is really hard to get ahead in this country, and many people don’t realize it, but hegemony here designates participative moral-intellectual leadership, not the reified mechanical consensus that legitimizes bourgeois authority. And that’s what needs to be done.
What do you think Halifax would say if the professor called her in and asked her, what is ”the reified mechanical consensus that legitimizes bourgeois authority”?
She might reply, "What are you talking about?" Or, she might not be able to explain this particular concept.
You see, whether Halifax means to or not, she is saying these are her own ideas. They are actually E. San Juan Jr.’s ideas in his book Racial Formations/Critical Transformations. It’s not too hard to figure out: Halifax is plagiarizing. She will get an F for her paper.
Excerpt from Elke’s (imaginary student) paper on the Rabbi Max Heller:
When Rabbi Max Heller was
considered to be the new rabbi for
Temple Sinai in New Orleans, “One hundred male
heads of household comes
to discuss the candid of the young Max Heller”
(Malone 1). It was a
joyous day for Heller, and an important moment
in Louisiana history.
Check Your Quotes!
If your author is British and spells “color” as “colour,” then you must, too. Don’t let spell check change it for you. If your author uses a lot of poetic license, spelling words strangely, then you must, too, when you quote directly from him or her.
Direct quotes must be EXACT. You cannot add to direct quotes (without brackets or ellipses), and you cannot subtract from them.
There is NEVER a time that you can take information from a source and not quote it or offer a citation, unless it is common knowledge. When in doubt, quote the original.
There is never a time when you can take anything word for word, even common knowledge, and not cite it. NEVER.
The Works Cited Page: Another Potential Area of Plagiarism
paper, the word “Walker” in the parenthetical
citation corresponds to
the word “Walker” in the works cited page.
work, however, if we put Walker’s book under “A”
for Anything We
Love Can Be Saved.
Books go under author’s last names--that is the rule.
Look under MLA and “works cited” in your handbook. You’ll see that there is a standard format. Also check the OWL Documentation page.
Works Cited is centered at the top of the page. Then there are directions for each kind of work you are citing--books, journals, magazines, even web pages and telephone interviews.
Look at the samples in your book
Further Tips and Warnings:
When you collect data for your paper, write down all the information you need: title, author, date, page number, and other information.
careful when writing quotations down and
proofreading to make sure
quotations are all correct.
It is never your professor’s job to catch your plagiarism before you turn your essay in.
If your professor asks you, “Where did you get this information? Be sure to check your quotes,” you will know that something looks strange--you’d better make sure everything is just right.
Sloppy quotes in the business world can lead to lawsuits--much worse than just a poor grade.
Sloppy quotes in the medical world can lead to incorrect dosages and death.
Sloppy quotes in the architectural world can lead to collapsed buildings and loss of property and life.
is a skill you’ll be using all throughout your
college career. Getting
it right now will save you a lot of time in the