How many times have you heard that you would be punished for plagiarism? How many times have you received lesser marks that you were supposed to get only become you copied someone’s work? Thousands of students are aware of the bad sides of plagiarism and they still continue practicing it because all the warnings are not as strict as they seem. Actually, copying your friends’ essay, borrowing the whole passages from the books – these is what meant by the word plagiarism in it essence.

However, it is impossible to express all your thoughts without referring to other people’ ideas. The only problem is that you should learn how to use borrowed ideas reasonably so that it will not spoil your reputation. Mentioning what was already said by other authors is unlikely to play a mean on you when you do it in a proper way.

There are some common questions asked by students during their study and we would like to give short answers to them so that your referring to other people’s works was easier.

If I list every source used in my essay in the bibliography, borrowing the ideas would not be considered as a plagiarism? No, it would be a plagiarism. There is a way out – you should mention the references as soon as you use the idea and not just at the end of the paragraph. Name the author (“X claims”) and then indicate your own point of view (“However, there is a view that . . . “).

When I use my own words for expressing someone’s idea, should I mention names and numbers in my essay? Yes, you have to mention authors and pages and dates to show how the relationship of your ideas to those of the experts. It’s sensible to use your own words because that saves space and lets you connect ideas smoothly. No matter whether you quote a passage, paraphrase it in your own words, or summarize and highlight the main ideas, you need to mention the source.

How to differentiate which is my own idea and which I had taken from an expert? Write down the author, title and publication information at note-making stage. Summarizing essential points while reading a book in your own words helps. If you want to quote a passage, put quotation marks around it in your notes – it will remind you that you’re copying the author’s exact words.

Some simple tips for you to use experts’ ideas so that mentioning what others have said will add to your credibility.

Quotations, paraphrases, or summaries.

When you use the author’s exact words, you should enclose them in quotation marks. However, it is no good to use long quotations such as passages. It better works when you paraphrase or summarize the idea that is useful for your essay. However, naming the sources even when you do not use original words is oblogatory. As in the examples below, it’s often a good idea to mention the author’s name. Mentioning the author’s name indicates where the borrowing starts and stops and gains you some reflected glory for responding to the experts.

As Ebers writes in The Sisters (1880), ” the young Roman knew well enough all the significance of this hasty action…” (p. 249).

[APA system]

Specific facts that serve as an evidence of the truth of your argument.

If the facts you’re mentioning are “common knowledge”, then you may not need to mention the reference. If they are not, then the source is needed.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking, “Who attacked our country?”.8

[traditional endnote/footnote system]

Other recent researchers (7, 13, 19) argue the fact that the term “nanotechnology” was independently coined and popularized by Eric Drexler.

[numbered-note system for biomedical sciences]

Authoritative ideas to define whether you agree with them or not.

Usually introducing a reference indicates your point of view.

One researcher (Ehud Gazit, 2003) even argues that the term “nanotechnology” was independently coined and popularized by Eric Drexler.

[APA system]