Thursday April 30th. Eigo Kiso 2, 9:00-10:30 and 10:40-12:10. (Class #1)
Friday May 1st, Post-grad English Abstracts, 1:10-2:40. (Class#1)

Friday May 1st. Sogo Eigo 1, 9:00-10:30 and 10:40-12:10. (Class #1)


A Ten-Point Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism


1) 'Plagiarism' is the academic crime of taking other people's work and putting it into your writing as if it is your work. It is like theft.


2) There are two main kinds of plagiarism: word-for-word plagiarism and

lack-of-reference plagiarism.


3) Word-for-word plagiarism means you copy somebody else's writing into your writing exactly as it is in the original. However, there is an issue of how many words in a row you can use before it is considered to be plagiarism. The best answer is 'seven or more.' If you write seven words or more in a row that are the same as in the original, you are almost certainly committing plagiarism. Why seven? Because there are many phrases in English that are five or even six words long:


the fall of the Roman Empire


That is six words long, but is a common expression. There are many other cases, such as dates, that can remain in the original form:


on March 1st, 1963


So, six words is the barrier you should not cross when taking some phrase from the original writing. Beyond six words means that you are copying the original work. That is unacceptable.


4) However, this does not mean that you can copy from the original source and just change every seventh word, or move the same words around. All teachers will still consider this as plagiarism. You must change the overall grammar as well, putting the original sentences into your own words. This is called paraphrasing. You can also paraphrase the original sentences and write less. This is called summarizing. These are both skills you should practice.


5) If you really think the original words are important and you want to use them, you should put them in quotation marks and give them a citation to the original source. You must do this every time your word-for-word quote is seven words or longer. There are several ways of doing citations. Ask your teacher for advice about a style that is acceptable.


6) Even though phrases of less than seven words may not, in theory, be classed as plagiarism, you should still give citations for them when you want to point out that these are the exact words that someone used.


According to polls, Clinton's election was 'all but inevitable.'


The phrase 'all but inevitable' is very powerful, so it is useful in this case to point out that these were exactly the words used.


7) To summarize, never use a chain of seven words or more taken from a source without using quotation marks and giving a citation. Use quotation marks for phrases of even less than seven words when they give a strong, specific idea, and then give a citation to the original source. Also, don't worry at all about short phrases, also called 'collocations,' that are standard English expressions:


sign a contract


8) After you paraphrase or summarize your original source into your own words, your writing is safe from word-for-word plagiarism, but you must still give a reference that shows where you got the information from. If you do not do that, you are guilty of a lack-of-reference plagiarism.That is because you now 'own' your writing, but you do not 'own' the research or ideas that the original writer did or had. You do not have to give the reference after every sentence. Give it when you finish your paraphrase or summary. The longer your assignment is, the more references you should have of different sources.


9) The most important exception to giving references due to other people's research or ideas is where the original writing is common knowledge that any educated adult could be expected to know:


Paris is the capital of France.


That does not need a reference because everybody should know it. (And it is less than seven words, so there is no problem about word-for-word plagiarism.)


10) Finally, when translating from Japanese, word-for-word plagiarism is virtually impossible, of course. But lack-of-reference plagiarism is possible. Give a reference when your original source is in Japanese. You must treat it the same as an English source. Be honest in your academic writing.


D. Horsley - based on guidelines at School of Education, Indiana University at Bloomington


Paraphrasing Exercise #1


From the English Wikipedia article on the Titanic (it may have changed):


RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. There were an estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, and more than 1,500 died, making it one of deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.


Exercise: paraphrase the above passage.


Change the words.

Change the grammar.

Cut up and/or join sentences.

BUT, keep the meaning the same.

You may use your dictionary.

You may use the Japanese Wikipedia, but do not add any more information.


Paraphrasing Exercise #2


From the English Wikipedia article on Robots (this may have changed):


A robot is a machineespecially one programmable by a computercapable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded within. Robots may be constructed on the lines of human form, but most robots are machines designed to perform a task with no regard to how they look.


Exercise: paraphrase the above passage.


Change the words.

Change the grammar.

Cut up and/or join sentences.

BUT, keep the meaning the same.

You may use your dictionary.

You may use the Japanese Wikipedia, but do not add any more information.


Now write your two paraphrases in an email to me. You don't have to write the original sources on this page - only your paraphrases, and send the email to me by the end of class if you can. When you have done that, you have finished for today's class. I will give you feed back either directly by email or on this page in the next class.

If you are still not sure what plagiarism is, visit the Wikipedia site. Here is a link to the Japanese version to make things easier for you.

Finally, Please read this article about the proper way to send emails to your teachers. Make notes and follow this advice whenever you email your teachers in English: 

Thanks for today and hang in there!



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)