A new school year is almost here for many students, so let’s think about a HUGE rule everyone must follow: do not plagiarize!
First, you have to know what plagiarism means. To plagiarize is to copy someone else’s words or ideas without giving that person credit. We can’t copy from other people and pretend it is our work. That’s stealing, and plagiarism is against the rules in schools and can result in failed grades or even being expelled from a university.
You need to be aware of accidentally plagiarizing too. It is so easy to copy/paste sentences, paragraphs, or even pages, so if you do that, you need to make sure you immediately include the source so you can give credit properly. Keep the source in your notes so you know where the information came from and put quote marks around what you copy/pasted so you know it is not your own writing.
Read what you need to, close the webpage or book, and then write about what you read in your own words. You may use facts (the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912) and specific terms (Industrial Revolution) in your writing, but you can’t use exact phrasings or sentences. Absorb the information but use your own words to express those ideas.
Really, knowing what plagiarism is, why you must avoid it, and how to be aware of plagiarism are the best first steps to avoid it. For now, know that much and be vigilant in avoiding plagiarism throughout your school years.
Also, you should know that most teachers can sense plagiarism, and it is easy for them to find the sources of copied material, so plagiarizing is never worth the damage it can cause. Be careful with your writing, and if you have questions about how to give a source credit, ask your teacher!