If you have ever written a college essay or published an article, you are definitely familiar with plagiarism issues. In both the academic and publishing world, it’s taken very seriously. What’s more, plagiarism is prohibited on the web. You might know that the search engines like Google penalize websites that contain duplicate content.
By the way, there are several different types of plagiarism, such as intentional and unintentional. While the first one is done on purpose, the second one is absolutely accidental. But still, none of them can be justified.
Why plagiarism is morally wrong
It’s a sort of theft
For some people, plagiarism looks less severe than theft of physical property, but it’s actually just as bad. By using someone’s ideas, you are stealing intellectual property.
It’s a form of cheating
By submitting plagiarized content at school or publishing someone’s work, you gain credibility, which is not really yours. Such behavior is absolutely dishonest and considered cheating.
All the qualifications and perks earned through plagiarism are unfair. If you get a certificate or gain visibility by plagiarising, it will be unfair since they don’t represent your actual knowledge and skills.
Plagiarism-free essay writing
Now that you understand why plagiarism is so bad, you are probably wondering how to avoid it. As mentioned above, plagiarism can be unintentional, so just relying on yourself is not enough. Even if you don’t use someone’s ideas on purpose, you may do it accidentally.
To make sure you’ve done essay writing without plagiarism or crafted a unique article, you can use special tools. So-called plagiarism checkers detect plagiarism in your text and highlight parts that are similar to someone’s work. Hence, you can either change them or completely remove them to make your writing 100% unique.
How plagiarism kills creativity
Plagiarism may lead to a number of negative consequences, from poor grades at college to disrupted reputation in society. Students can be even expelled, while employees may ruin their careers because of plagiarism. We’ll discuss those consequences in more detail below. Apart from the risks mentioned in this paragraph, plagiarism has detrimental effects on creativity.
First of all, stealing someone’s intellectual property decreases your motivation to work. And no wonder why! What’s the point in producing original material if you can just use someone’s ideas? Unfortunately, such an approach makes you lazy. Secondly, copying content published on the web leaves no room for out-of-the-box thinking.
By duplicating texts, you get used to thinking like others and you can’t look at things from a different perspective. Also, plagiarism has nothing to do with inspiration. It’s impossible to stay inspired if you repeat the same copy-paste actions from day to day.
Some other consequences of plagiarism
Quite often, plagiarism leads to student suspension or expulsion. Even if it doesn’t, the academic record still reflects the ethics offense, which may interfere with entering another school or college. Those who already started their career may also put it at risk by plagiarizing someone’s ideas. It’s really difficult to earn respect nowadays, especially if you are a business person, public figure or politician. To build expert credibility, always offer your own view that is different from mainstream.
Publishing plagiarized news reports or articles may lead to financial issues. If you were caught on using someone’s content, you may be obliged to pay a fine. So it’s much cheaper to do your work properly and generate original content than to pay a penalty.
How to paraphrase your text
If you’ve discovered that your text contains unintentionally plagiarized parts, you can make them original by paraphrasing. Here is how to do it.
- Start at a different point
Start introducing the information from a different point than in the original source. But note the text must still be coherent and clear. Don’t change the information order if it makes a passage vague and confusing.
- Use synonyms
Try to use as many synonyms as possible. For example, you can change “big” to “immense”, “ability” to “capacity”, etc. If it’s hard for you to think of synonyms, turn to a thesaurus. But don’t overdo it because sometimes it’s important to use original terms.
- Change the structure
One of the easiest ways to paraphrase the content is by transforming its grammar structure. For example, if the original sentence is in the active voice, you can change it to passive, so the sentence is led by the object, not the subject.
- Break and combine the sentences
Paraphrasing often results in too wordy sentences. To avoid it, play with the number of sentences, breaking them into shorter pieces. And you can also do the opposite if the original sentences are too short.
Angela Boggs is a journalist and web content writer. She has extensive experience in writing articles for different industries, including Finance, Tech, and Healthcare. Angela also organizes workshops for students, teaching them to create original and informative texts.