What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you copy someone else's word, ideas, or art without telling your reader (your teacher and peers) exactly where you found them.
There are different forms of this word.

  1. Plagiarism (noun)
  2. Plagiarize (verb)
  3. Plagiarist (noun the person who plagiarizes)

Plagiarism and American Culture

In American schools, plagiarism is considered very bad because the teacher wants to know YOUR ideas.

When you plagiarize, it appears that you are stealing someone else's ideas and trying to deceive the teacher.

The teacher wants you to succeed. If you are confused, ask him or her for help.

Example of Plagiarism

Now that we know how serious plagiarism is let's look at an example of plagiarism.

Perhaps you are writing a class paper on traditions in China. You find an interesting article on an internet site.

Then you find some ideas that you want to use from the article.


So you copy the words and put them directly into your paper.

You put the word in quotation marks " "

However, you do not tell the reader WHERE you found the ideas. This is plagiarism.


Common problem for AAU Students

Sometimes students don't understand that plagiarism happens regardless of where they find words or ideas.

Let's look at a few sources of information which are common problems for AAU students.

  1. The Internet
    Even if the information is "just a fact" you should always tell your reader where you found it.
  2. Course Modules or Library Materials
  3. Other Students
    You must do your own work. If you turn in work that was done by another student – even with their permission – you are still plagiarizing.


  • Plagiarism is when you use someone's ideas without telling your readers which ideas are not yours AND where you found them.
  • At AAU, the teacher is interested in YOUR ideas. It is important to show the teacher which ideas are not yours.
  • To learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it, please watch the other plagiarism presentations.