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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    Indiana University's tutor services defines plagiarism as using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.

    Trying to understand the boundaries of plagiarism. I have a hang up with this concept, obviously. Please note: I am not referring to an author's storylines - simply focusing on the arrangement of words in sentences so that the writing sounds much more educated - or more clearly written (grammar) and best expressed.

    How can one learn to write 'better' in general when he is reading for writing improvement and there are situations where the author arranges the majority of his sentences 'better' than the novice would have written it, but no one is allowed incorporate the author's words into his/her language reservior without fear of commiting plagiarism? Consider this example. Let's say in his book, an author wrote, "What are you cooking for supper, Jan?" and let's say that the person who's trying to improve his writing, used to write it this way, "What's for supper, mom?" Is the beginner writer forced to note the author everytime he wants to be interpreted more clearly/concisely?: "Mom, in the words of Charles Dicken's, what are you cooking for supper?" (...This post I've created is most likely full of plagiarism, because I used other authors' work as a means to using better grammar and I'm sure I've used some of their very words in my expressions.)

    **There aren't any new sentences out there that have yet to be created. So, what does it look like to use authors as guidelines for writing improvement - while avoiding plagiarism at the same time?

    Thank you for any enlightenment you can provide. :)
    Last edited by Shelly1; 28-Sep-2009 at 15:06.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    The point becomes clear when you look at it from the teacher's / professor's point of view. We want to read and provide feedback for YOUR work that will help you develop the skills you need.

    If you went to a medical doctor, would you hold the thermometer against a light bulb, or hold your breath, or try otherwise to give him or her an incorrect reading on measurements of your heart rate? No, of course not.

    Similarly, we want to evaluate your work for you, as you are able to produce it. We feel it's a waste of time marking and giving you credit for work that's not actually what you can produce. Why would I want to give comments to you on someone else's words?

    So, it helps you most when you don't rely on any aids, or, if you do, if you let us know where you have done so. Then we can keep the feedback appropriate and relevant.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    The point becomes clear when you look at it from the teacher's / professor's point of view. We want to read and provide feedback for YOUR work that will help you develop the skills you need.

    If you went to a medical doctor, would you hold the thermometer against a light bulb, or hold your breath, or try otherwise to give him or her an incorrect reading on measurements of your heart rate? No, of course not.

    Similarly, we want to evaluate your work for you, as you are able to produce it. We feel it's a waste of time marking and giving you credit for work that's not actually what you can produce. Why would I want to give comments to you on someone else's words?

    So, it helps you most when you don't rely on any aids, or, if you do, if you let us know where you have done so. Then we can keep the feedback appropriate and relevant.
    Please forgive my apparent ignorance: You said it helps when I don't rely on any aids. I don't understand what an aid is then. Would I be using an aid if I were to practice noticing how syntax is used in an author's book that was written in the year 1732, so that when I went to writing, I convey a message in the same manner as the author I shadowed? Is this plagiarism?

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    I did also say, "or if you do, say which you're using." I'm not here to be anyone's sparring partner. I thought you would be helped by the point of view I tried to explain.

    Educators design assignments so that learners go through a process. If you avoid the process, instead focussing on the product, you might miss the point.

  5. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I did also say, "or if you do, say which you're using." I'm not here to be anyone's sparring partner. I thought you would be helped by the point of view I tried to explain.

    Educators design assignments so that learners go through a process. If you avoid the process, instead focussing on the product, you might miss the point.
    Thank you for your responses to my thread. I am not trying to be difficult at all. Am truly confused about the concept of plagiarism and I've come here seeking help.

    Would be happy to go through the "process'', but I thought that grade school and college was a type of process - and I've completed both. Been told that good writing takes much work to accomplish. Am (apparently) confused as to what to do with the influence books should have on 'improving' my writing, in light of plagiarism. I want to handle with care.

    You mentioned that educators design assignments so that learners go through a process. Do you know of someone or a website that would be willing to guide me through this process your referring to that could hone in on my particular needs?

    Thank you for your time. :)
    Last edited by Shelly1; 28-Sep-2009 at 15:56.


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    #6

    Re: Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    Unintentional use of sentences are not plagiarism. Plagiarism is the deliberate unacknowledged use of someone else's writings with the intention of passing them off as your work. On a large scale a problem arises as to what legally is plagiarism. Baigent and Leigh lost their case against Dan Brown as [a] the theories were not in fact their own, and [b] Brown claimed to have acknowledged his use of their works in his preparation.

    Just make sure that, if you quote from another's work, you acknowledge the source properly, and don't spend too much time worrying that a sentence may be regarded as plagiarised. Even flexible English has only so many ways of expressing certain things.

  6. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Confused about the idea of Plagiarism

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Unintentional use of sentences are not plagiarism. Plagiarism is the deliberate unacknowledged use of someone else's writings with the intention of passing them off as your work. On a large scale a problem arises as to what legally is plagiarism. Baigent and Leigh lost their case against Dan Brown as [a] the theories were not in fact their own, and [b] Brown claimed to have acknowledged his use of their works in his preparation.

    Just make sure that, if you quote from another's work, you acknowledge the source properly, and don't spend too much time worrying that a sentence may be regarded as plagiarised. Even flexible English has only so many ways of expressing certain things.
    Right. Using ready-made phrases is often quicker than composing new ones. Some students are willing to take such short-cuts, in the hopes it speeds things up and doesn't matter much.

    It's when you know you're taking that short-cut that you're doing things the "wrong way."

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