Think of this as coaching on how to meet this requirement. If you need for me to talk with you about this, just ask.
When you use the
links on this webpage, you remain on this page. The reason for putting
the two things together on one page is because they share the same simple
remedy (a brain trick) and the same Basic
Concepts on Plagiarism and “Half-Copy” Plagiarism.
You can scroll down or click to go to these
parts of this page:
You must follow common standards to reveal
to your reader who created the words and/or found the facts you are using in
your writing. This is a requirement in courses and in some jobs.
one form of plagiarism is copying words but not using quotation marks (“”) as
required. Another form is covered in the syllabus. To quote the
syllabus, plagiarism and
cheating include use of
unauthorized books or notes, securing help in a test, or copying tests or
assignments; they will result in a failing grade for the assignment. If any portion of a writing assignment is
copied from the Internet or another source, the result will be an F (0) on
Before you worry about quoting something,
make sure that what you want to quote helps your content.
If it does help your content, then make
sure you understand two things:
the basics of facts and citations and quotation
so you know how these two things work together.
= How you show exactly where the reader can find the fact
that you use.
marks = How you show who created (and
owns) what words.
also need to understand both:
copying the author’s phrases or unique uses of words without quotation marks (“”) and copying the author’s structure
can be what The Bedford Handbook
calls “half-copy” plagiarism
quotation marks (“”) are not
required for proper nouns (such as the Mississippi River) or common nouns
(such as river). Click here
you are sure you want to quote (to use the author’s exact words) and
understand those basics above, then use the brain trick (below).
You must follow common standards to reveal any
changes you made to the author’s words. This may not be just a punctuation error. You may be misleading your reader about the evidence.
The rules for showing
what you have taken out (…) of the author’s words or put in ([ ]) are complex
and for most of us they are not worth
learning. In this course, you
also may not:
the author’s meaning
Make the author’s
sentences look grammatically incorrect.
You can avoid both of
those problems by following the brain trick (below). Once you are sure you want to quote (to use the author’s exact words)
and understand those basics above, then use the brain trick (below).
Do make sure to build double
checking into your habits. What is to double check? It
is to check something that has already been checked. (This section is repeated in the prevention
link available from Good Habits for Evidence 3 about how to double-check when
you have used quotations.)
For some people, it helps to use another sense (such as touching or
hearing) to help yourself spot your own errors:
1. With citations, by touching. You touch the fact in the source and then in your paper
(or in your list of what you plan to write in your paper). This method
shows how to use another sense (tactile) to help your brain pay attention.
2. With quotations, by touching and saying each syllable distinctly. You not only touch
each letter in the source and in your paper, but also say each syllable
aloud. Increasing numbers of students are making themselves (or the authors
they are quoting) sound illiterate. When you read things aloud, your ear
tells you what your inexperience with language and your eye can’t recognize.
To repeat, The rules for showing what you
have taken out (…) of the author’s words or put in ([ ]) are complex and for
most of us they are not worth
trick lets you be accurate but avoid learning those rules:
This section was developed as I worked with students. I’d find out that many did not understand something and—over the years--I’d finally found a way to present it where they did understand. As I tried to help, I found these simple tables (things I first sketched on their notebook paper at first) worked best.
If you use a fact in the author’s words, citation is not enough; you must also use quotation marks.
What are the rules for citation and use of quotation marks? The rules vary depending upon whether you are writing:
· A fact from the source in your own words
· A fact in the author’s words (in other words, you are quoting):
They have the same requirements for citation (although your professor may choose not to require it for an assignment). They have different requirements for quotation marks.
What Kind of Fact Are You Using
Do You Need Citation (Page # etc.)?
Do You Need Quotation Marks (“”)?
A fact in your own words
No <Notice this.
A fact in the author’s words
Yes <Notice this.
Specifics about this course:
If you use the author’s words, you
must use quotation marks. In this
course, you may not plagiarize or
quote, you also must use the rules for quoting. The Brain Trick (above) is your
best way out. If you still have
questions, please ask.
These examples deal with whether you would need quotation marks on these four uses of an author’s words in a paragraph in your paper. What you do depends:
· on what words the author wrote
· on what words you want to write
What the Author Wrote
What Words You Want to Write
Do You Need Quotation Marks (“”)? and Why
the Mississippi River
the Mississippi River
No – Proper nouns (like Mississippi River) belong to all of us.
the green, roaring river
No – Common nouns (like river) belong to all of us.
the green, roaring Mississippi River
the roaring Mississippi River
These are the author’s unique string of words so you identify his words, with the “” made larger below so you can see them:
Trade was harder because of the “roaring Mississippi River.”
This is the author’s labeling of a condition and it is easier to be clear by using the words, with the “” made larger below so you can see them:
The author explained that the “roaring” river made trade more difficult.
Students are usually puzzled about plagiarism or “half-plagiarism” or “patchwriting” being marked because they lack some basic information.
Here are the basics.
The submission of a paper with words from an
author without citation and/or without quotation
marks can be the professor's evidence that
Some professors may not notice, but some may call it plagiarism and act accordingly.
Do not assume that past responses by professors guarantee what future professors (future bosses) will want.
2. If you do things in bullets below, some professors may label your work as “half-copy” plagiarism or “patchwriting” (terms from The Bedford Handbook, page 746) if you:
· Either copy an author’s phrases without quotation marks (“”)
· And/or use the author’s sentence structure and just swap a few words with what you think are synonyms
not assume that past responses by professors guarantee what future professors
(future bosses) will want.
I have found this
information helps some students:
In my life, I never saw a safe decision
made with anything but careful reading.
In my life in varied industries, I never saw a job that paid for
“half-copy” plagiarism and never saw a job that paid well for passive reading.
I did see some people demoted to a lesser job because they did not read correctly.
I do not know for sure, but my guess is that some were fired.
· In my life in some industries, I saw some employees
o Who knew and understood all company documents
job meant they carefully selected
words from company documents to use in their communication with customers.
Copying carefully selected words from company documents is not plagiarism if you are doing that for the company. It is a company employee using company documents for the company’s business.
Caution: It is, however, plagiarism (and perhaps theft) if you copy company documents to use in your own business.
Reminder: It is also plagiarism if you copied a paper (or parts of a paper) from the Internet and submitted it to this class as though you wrote it.
· In my life after returning to teaching in the community college, I have seen only 2 adult students in 13 years (and that is working with over 5,000 students) who were in fields where they made a living copying words from one place to another.
Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2019
History – Dr.
281.239.1577 or email@example.com
 The quoted terms of "half-copy" plagiarism and "patchwriting" are explained on page 746 in the ninth edition of The Bedford Handbook by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers.