Plagiarism is...

"an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author."


Put simply, plagiarism happens when:

  • you try to pass off another's work as your own
    • this includes an author's words and their ideas

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism can usually be divided into two main types: deliberate and accidental plagiarism. When most people think of plagiarism, they think of deliberate plagiarism, but most plagiarism happens accidentally.

Deliberate plagiarism

  • example: Buying a paper from the internet, copying large sections of text and pretending that you wrote it

Accidental plagiarism

  • example: Using the words of a source too closely when paraphrasing, using and/or building on someone else’s ideas without citing their work

The more specific types of plagiarism include:

  • Global plagiarism
    • Using an entire text by someone else and passing it off as your own
  • Paraphrasing plagiarism
    • Rephrasing someone else's words as your own 
  • Verbatim plagiarism
    • Copying parts of a text and placing them directly into your own work 
  • Mosaic plagiarism
    • Combining various ideas and words from multiple sources and passing it off as your own work
  • Self-plagiarism
    • Reusing your own work from previous work you've submitted and acting like it is new and original material
  • Incorrect citations 
    • Not properly citing a source, like leaving off information

Information from Types of Plagiarism by Raimo Streefkerk

Real Life Consequences

Plagiarism isn't just something that will get you in trouble in academic settings. If you are caught plagiarizing at your job or in other aspects of your life, you could face serious consequences. The following are three real life examples of how plagiarizing can cause unwanted consequences:

  • In 2003, the President of Hamilton College resigned because he didn't cite the sources he used in his convocation speech.
  • Jonah Lehrer resigned from his position at the New Yorker  after he fabricated quotes by Bob Dylan and plagiarized multiple times.
  • In 2012, the president of Hungary, Pal Schmitt, resigned to do allegations that he plagiarized parts of his dissertation.