Plagiarism is a nasty word. It is nasty because most students do not understand what it is. For those high schoolers getting ready to go to college next fall, it’s a word they should become familiar with.
Teaching how to paraphrase is the start of the confusion. Students are asked to summarize things they have read to make sure they comprehend it. Students are asked to restate sentences or questions, and they are asked to turn Shakespearean or other difficult language into their own words. All this is done to promote comprehension. However, students get the message that paraphrasing is okay, legitimate. NO!
Yes, plagiarism is quoting another’s words, but it is also taking another’s ideas even if they are not in the other’s words. Ah, paraphrasing is Plagiarism.
We suggest you take a look at Middlebury college professor William Harris’s essay that defines plaigiarism and even gives you some rights you have if you are accused of plagiarism. It may become handy because colleges today are very serious about academic honesty. First-year students can not afford to be ill-informed or misinformed.