What Are The Most Widespread Myths About Plagiarism?

Monday, 01 September 2014 10:43

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What Are The Most Widespread Myths About Plagiarism?

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the   myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic… 

We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” 

by John F. Kennedy 

How often do you catch yourself thinking that a mistake you made was caused by some widespread misconceptions? If it happened more than once, then it’s high time to analyze the reasons for this outcome.

As a rule, you may tend to take wrong beliefs for truth just because of lack of reliable information or desire to carry out “an investigation” to find such reliable sources. As far as plagiarism is concerned, the latter explanation seems to be the most suitable, don’t you think so? Anyway, it’s never too late to upgrade your knowledge.

Thus, you will be able to avoid unwanted results, which can badly affect both your reputation in the Internet community and even result in financial losses, if you misinterpret certain issues related to plagiarism.

What Common Mistakes Should You Be Aware Of?

Myth # 1. “Paraphrasing” means changing the word order

Not to be misled you need to know exactly how the term “paraphrasing” is defined. According to en.wikipedia.org it is “a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words. The term itself is derived via Latin paraphrasis from Greek παράφρασις, meaning “additional manner of expression”.” [1] Consequently, changing only word order of a sentence, phrase or paragraph you decided to use in your text will be regarded as plagiarism.

Paraphrase may really assist you a great deal with avoiding plagiarism, however you still should attribute original works. Otherwise it will look like retelling of somebody’s thoughts being appropriated illegally.

Myth # 2. Only direct quoting should be attributed

To prove it is not so, you need to remind yourself of “plagiarism” definition. Following http://www.oxforddictionaries.com explanation, plagiarism is “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own” [2]. In other words, even if you mention one’s idea you need to attribute original sources properly, i.e. both inside the text you write and after it providing articles’ titles, authors’ names if any, dates of publication of the material, links etc.

Besides, if you need to use a photo, picture, table or graph, you will have to acknowledge the source as well.

Myth # 3. No copyright symbol, no acknowledgment is required

The rule, which you need to remember is that the moment a work is complete (fixed in tangible form) by its author and made public it is protected by a copyright law[3]. Ignoring this fact, you put yourself at risk of being issued a plagiarism claim.

Myth # 4. If a copyright term is expired, you can copy-paste material without citing its source

If it happens so that a copyright term of the work you want to use in your text is expired, you will need to make an acknowledgment as well. All the ideas, thoughts, statements, etc., which do not belong to you should be cited properly nevertheless the information is in public domain.

Myth # 5. It’s enough to cite a source at the end of the text

It’s not a secret that for academic papers you have to stick to a definite set of citation rules. They may vary depending on the type of format you need to present your work in, e.g.: Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.

Generally you will have to put quotation marks around the statements you want to cite and make in-text and after-text citations. After-text citation is to correspond to the following formulas: “for books – author’s name, book’s title, publisher’s name and year of publication, reference page; for magazines – author’s name, title of an article, magazine’s title, date when an article was published; for web sources – author’s name or organization’s name, page title, site title, web link” [4].

Blog citation rules are not as strict as academic ones. You may make either in-text or after-text citations or even both of them. The most common way of citing others in your blog is to provide author’s name, his or her blog name, article title and a link to his or her blog or even one of the social accounts. It worth mentioning that such sites as wikipedia.org or dictionary.com can be acknowledged simply by hyperlinking inside the text.

What Goes Around, Comes Around…

So, whatever myths you may hear of, it’s always better to double check whether they are true or false. Get in the habit of following citation rules and never turn to plagiarism, since as the headline above says what goes around, comes around. It’s an axiom, right?


  1. with regard to explanation of the term “paraphrase”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraphrase
  2. with regard to the definition of plagiarism: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/plagiarism
  3. with regard to myths about copyright:https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stopping-internet-plagiarism/your-copyrights-online/3-copyright-myths/
  4. with regard to citation rules:http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33098/How-Not-to-Steal-People-s-Content-on-the-Web.aspx


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