What is Plagiarism?

According to Lindey (1974), plagiarism is the deliberate act of appropriating the literary work of another author or ideas, excerpts, expressions, and other forms of writing. The author makes them appear to be his original work. Academic plagiarism occurs when a writer uses many words from a printed source or online material without using quotation marks and a clear reference to the source of information. The author often presents the same work as his or her research or writing (Lindey, 1974).

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According to Mawdsley (1985), there are six types of plagiarism. Straight plagiarism, plagiarism using quotations, simple and complex plagiarism using comments at the bottom of the page, plagiarism with hanging quotations, and paraphrasing as plagiarism.

Straight plagiarism occurs when only capitalization and sentence structures are altered to add or delete some words. Neither makes the author use quotation marks nor acknowledge the original author.

 Plagiarism using citation or quotation occurs when the author acknowledges the original author of an academic book or manuscript. The author reproduces the original work with few changes without using quotation marks or page references to the source. In this situation, the plagiarist may use exaggerated descriptions of another author’s work before reproducing the work. The author intends to convince the readers or the recipient by using flattering descriptions.

Simple plagiarism using a footnote occurs when an author changes some words slightly, making the writing appears different from the original work. The author provides the excerpt’s reference without using quotation marks. It includes the flattered use of titles or insights to flatter the leader or the recipient. This type is not easily recognized.

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Complex plagiarism using a footnote occurs when different changes and paraphrases from different pages are used with a footnote without appropriate quotation marks. The author gives the reference but not necessarily to the appropriate page. The author changes the appearance of the excerpt, but the content remains the same.

Plagiarism with hanging quotations is when the author begins with quotation marks but continues to quote even after closing the quotation marks. The author inserts the plagiarized excerpts in between genuine quotations for deception.

Paraphrasing as plagiarism involves paraphrasing without a clear reference to the source or continuous paraphrasing, even when there is mention of the source without the addition of relevant materials that add significant new information (Mawdsley, 1985).

Is academic plagiarism a problem for non-speakers only? Plagiarism is a great problem for both speakers and non-speakers because it makes the author, reader, or speaker lack originality. It makes individuals dependent on other people’s writings. This dependence kills academic competence among scholars and learners (Brogan, 1992, p.21).

Academic plagiarism is a form of theft that costs taxpayers a lot of money in terms of academics and institutions. Some of the penalties for plagiarism include; fines, imprisonment, and even expulsion from academic bodies and institutions (Brogan, 1992, p.45).

A writer can paraphrase without altering the sentence’s meaning, as expressed in the given example, ‘‘but then, it is amazing how you can manage things if you are determined enough. People did holiday jobs and made enough money” (Lindey, 1974). Paraphrase; Lindley argues that if determined, one can manage things and make enough money (Lindley, 1974).

In my opinion, academic departments, relevant agencies, and various governments should clearly identify what plagiarism is and take legal action against the culprits; those found guilty should be jailed to act as examples to others.



Brogan, M. (2009). Recycling Ideas. Journal of Modern Research, 53, 21-45

Lindey, A. (2011). Plagiarism and Originality. Westport: Greenwood Press Publishers.

Mawdsley, R. D. (2005). Legal Aspects of Plagiarism. Kansas: Light view printing Press



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