What is Plagiarism and how to avoid it in your essay?


“To steal and pass off ideas or words of another as one’s own”

-The Merriam Webster dictionary

In today’s information-rich world, the integrity of written works is more crucial than ever. One of the gravest offenses in academic and professional writing is plagiarism.

At its core, plagiarism is a deceptive practice that undermines the ethical foundations of scholarly work and intellectual property. While it may seem straightforward, plagiarism is actually a multifaceted issue that can manifest in a variety of ways—from using someone else’s content without proper citation to claiming another’s idea as your own. And make no mistake, the consequences are severe: many institutes consider plagiarism as a very serious offense especially the French classes in Brisbane.

In this article, we’ll delve into the various forms of plagiarism and offer actionable tips on how to avoid this serious offense in your essays.

The various forms of plagiarism

It’s not just about copying text; the issue spans various forms:

  • Using content without crediting its rightful owner.
  • Extracting an idea from an existing piece and presenting it as new and original.
  • Failing to use quotation marks when quoting someone.
  • Considering literary theft to fall under the same category.

Stealing words

A frequent question that comes up is, “How can words be stolen?”

It’s important to understand that original ideas, once expressed, become intellectual property. In the United States, the law states that any idea you express and record in some tangible form—be it written down, voice-recorded, or saved in a digital document—is automatically protected by copyright. This means that using someone else’s recorded ideas without permission is considered a form of theft, commonly known as plagiarism.

Stealing images, music, and videos

Using an already existing image, video, or music in your own work without asking permission from the rightful owner or without suitable citation is considered plagiarism. Though unintentional in countless situations, media theft has become very common but is still considered a fraud. It may include:

  • Using someone else’s image in your own feature writings.
  • Performing on an already existing music track (cover songs).
  • Embedding and editing a chunk of the video in your own work.
  • Borrowing a lot of composition pieces and using them in your own composition.
  • Recreating a visual work in your own medium.
  • Remixing or re-editing audio and videos.

Plagiarism is more than unauthorized copying or a casual oversight; it is a form of intellectual fraud that seriously undermines the foundations of trust, integrity, and originality in both scholarly and professional settings. Understanding its various forms is crucial for upholding integrity across all types of work.

How to avoid plagiarism in your essays

It is clear from the facts stated above that plagiarism is an unethical act and must be avoided at all costs. While writing an essay one faces a lot of difficulties when dealing with plagiarism.

To avoid those difficulties here are a few tips in the table to help you out:

Understand the context• Rephrase source material in your own words.
• Read the text twice to understand its main idea.
Writing quotes• Use outsourced information exactly as it appears.
• Include proper quotation marks.
• Follow correct formatting.
Where and where not
to use citations
• Cite content from your previous essays.
• Not citing your past work is self-plagiarism.
• Any facts or scientific revelations are not supposed to be cited.
• Common knowledge is also not needed to be cited.
• You can use a reference to play on the safer side.
Citation management• Keep a record of all citations.
• Keep references for every source of content that you use.
• Use citation software like EndNote.
• Consider multiple references.
Plagiarism checkers• Use plagiarism detection tools regularly.
• Tools provide a thorough check for plagiarism.

It is not wrong to research from the previously published work. In fact, researching from the already existing scholarly articles is the greatest way to understand your topic and the progress that follows. What’s not okay is that you read the text and rephrase it with more than half of it being similar to the original content. That is how plagiarism occurs. In order to avoid it, the suggestion is to read and re-read the research thoroughly until you grab the main idea clearly. And then start writing it in your own words according to your understanding, trying to use as many synonyms to the original text as possible. This is by far the most foolproof way to avoid it.

Consequences of being caught for plagiarism:

  • Essay cancellation. Your submitted work may be completely disregarded, affecting your course grade.
  • Rejection. Academic journals or conferences may decline your submissions, affecting your professional development.
  • Academic probation. You may be put on academic probation, putting your reputation at risk in your educational program.
  • Termination. In extreme cases, students may be expelled from their educational institution, causing long-term career damage.
  • Transcript stain. A record of it can be a permanent black mark on your academic transcript, affecting future educational and job opportunities.

Consider yourself lucky if you get out of these cases with merely a warning.


Plagiarism is a serious ethical violation with severe consequences, such as expulsion or academic probation. It’s essential to differentiate between valid research and plagiarism by understanding your sources and expressing them in your own words. Following proper citation practices and using plagiarism detection tools can help avoid this trap. A warning, if received, should serve as a strong call to uphold academic integrity.

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