Plagiarism And What It Really Is

Plagiarism is often equated to terms such as “copying” and also to “borrowing”. To be more specific, plagiarism to most is just copying a classmate’s assignment or just borrowing the brilliant concept of an officemate. But plagiarism means more than that. “Copying” and “borrowing” are understatements of what plagiarism really is.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary states the meaning of “to plagiarize” as:

  • to commit literary theft
  • claiming other people’s ideas and words
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
  • using other people’s work without giving credit

Plagiarism is therefore intellectual dishonesty dressed up as “copying” and borrowing”. It is a means and a process or practice of deception. The big question now is on whether or not one can actually steal the works of others which are either in words or in concepts.
One has the sole right on his/her own ideas. In the same manner, any work and discovery of one is considered to be his/her property. This notion continues to be undoubted unless someone else takes the initiative to use those ideas and works as his/her own. Taking credit of something which is not yours is a form of stealing. So the answer to this is a big yes as well, based on the United States law.
Here are some actions that depict plagiarism:

  • submitting the work of another and pretending it is yours
  • using the concepts and words of others without recognizing them
  • not enclosing the copied statements in quotation marks
  • basically expressing the same thought without giving due credit to the source of the idea

Intellectual dishonesty is becoming rampant but plagiarism as such can be lessened and to some extent can be desisted. This can be done by recognizing and giving credit to the sources of our data and concepts and by not trying to imply owning the work of others. Furthermore, it is very relevant that one should cite appropriately the sources in a manner accessible to others. Go to the page on citation to learn more about citing sources.