Just writing about plagiarism makes me nervous. It’s such an important part of my world and so easy to do, I probably over check my work, paragraph by paragraph.
Why? As a professional writer, it is my reputation, my career and it terrifies me that I could possibly borrow someone else’s words in error or even my own.
Wait. What? How can you do that by mistake.
It can happen.
What if it is something I wrote several years ago and it’s in my head.
You mean I can plagiarize my own work?
Yes. If I reuse a blog or article I’ve written before, it’s still plagiarism.
So, let’s go back to the beginning.
While plagiarism has been around long before the internet, it has flourished as it is so much easier now to just copy and paste from anything online. Here is the thing: Everything online is copyrighted. So, it is illegal. The problem is it is difficult to trace.
Who is going to know, you ask?
The world and certainly if you are a student, your teacher will know. Also, if you are freelancing, count on your client to run your piece through a plagiarism checker.
The good news is that there are dozens of plagiarism checkers online, where you can check your work or someone else’s.
One of the very first plagiarism checkers began in the universities, Turnitin.com which was developed by teachers and professors to check on term papers and other works to be sure it was original and not purchase through a college paper mill.
Basically, plagiarism can be boiled down to a few types:
As I mentioned earlier, there is what is called:
- “Self-plagiarism” where you use previously published work and reuse it exactly as it was. Some call is unintentional plagiarism. I can see how this happens as I have years of published work on a wide variety of topics. I can only reuse the topic as long as I completely rewrite it and add new information.
- Then, there is quoting someone’s work without quotes or attribution, and not rewriting it. A huge no-no.
- Then, also, there is unintentionally neglecting to do a citation for an original work of an author.
- And, the most egregious, directly copying the work of another without citation or giving that writer credit.
So, to help you keep your words original, here is a list of online plagiarism checkers you can use: