My friend helped me with my assignment. I was having a bit of trouble and he showed me what he did. The assignment was a speech with a powerpoint in the background.

I did not receive any help in the speech and it was all my own work but two of my slides are similar to his, and I copied his table. The speech is the part directly getting assessed while the powerpoint is merely for the theatrics. This was all done with his permission and he himself showed me how he did the slides.

The powerpoint was twelve slides long. Does this constitute plagiarism?

Edit: I did cite him in a bibliography which I submitted for his contribution. I, however, did not cite him in the PowerPoint. Also, the similar slides are not in the PowerPoint anymore but the table still is.

Edit 2: I was not found guilty of plagiarism, however, I did lose 10% due to academic misconduct.

  • 1
    Is the theatrics evaluated in your grade? Apr 3, 2019 at 13:16
  • 3
    This is what I tell my students: cs.umb.edu/~eb/honesty . I'd approve of your getting help, as long as you acknowledged it. Apr 3, 2019 at 20:08
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    Could you expand on what you mean by 'copied his table', and what this table contains? Did you literally copy and paste it into your own slide deck? Or did you use the same row and column labels, or other formatting? Did you perhaps just use the same PowerPoint table presets? Was the contents of the table something you have no flexibility in reporting, such as raw data?
    – Matt
    Apr 4, 2019 at 0:05
  • 2
    Sometimes I am really surprised by questions and answers. I can give you an entire presentation. It might be unfair to the teacher, perhaps you are not learning, and other dozen - bad or not - things. But forget plagiarism.
    – Alchimista
    Apr 4, 2019 at 9:19

3 Answers 3


My friend helped me with my assignment...I copied his table...does this constitute plagiarism?

Yes: You copied his work, doing so without attribution is plagiarism.

  • 23
    But if you put a notation at the bottom: "Table from <name>" then it is not plagiarism.
    – GEdgar
    Apr 3, 2019 at 13:24
  • 4
    @GEdgar what's the betting there was no mention...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 3, 2019 at 15:47
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    The certainty exuded by this and other answers bothers me. "Helping" is not plagiarism, and we have no idea what was in this "copied" table or "similar" slides. Certainly I am concerned (particularly if OP asks the question because their teacher is accusing them of plagiarism), but I do not believe we have enough information to say that this is (or is not) plagiarism.
    – cag51
    Apr 5, 2019 at 1:21
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    @cag51 I copied his table is plagiarism to me, when done without attribution. I agree that plagiarism cases are nuanced, but, outright copying a table, seems like a clear case of plagiarism. That said, perhaps elaborate on your perspective in an answer.
    – user2768
    Apr 5, 2019 at 7:59
  • I think Matt's comment on the question is dead on -- any answer I could give based on the current facts would be very wishy-washy.
    – cag51
    Apr 5, 2019 at 15:11

Whether it is plagiarism or not, and it is, may be less important than the bigger issue that it is almost certainly academic misconduct. Only your professor can give you advice on whether it is acceptable.

Getting some help may be fine, depending on the rules. Copying a table is less fine and becomes plagiarism if done without attribution. I would disallow it if I learn of it and would encourage you to do better. Since you are a student, I would even discourage your use of "similar" slides since you learn more by working independently and that is the point of the exercise.

The proportion of the copying makes no difference. I assume that you didn't reference your friend in the slide deck, making it plagiarism. I suspect that you think it is probably wrong to do this if you didn't cite the work of your friend.

Don't lose track of the lesson that learning is the real objective, not the production of any artifact.

  • 2
    +1 for "Don't lose track of the lesson that learning is the real objective, not the production of any artifact"
    – Neal Young
    Apr 3, 2019 at 23:23
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    "The proportion of the copying makes no difference" - doesn't this lead to the heap paradox? Even with no copying, there will be at least a few words which will be the same. And if not that, then certainly some letters. If I've already seen "i++;" in someone else's program, am I forever forbidden to use it in my code? If not, then what is the smallest amount which is still fine?
    – vsz
    Apr 4, 2019 at 4:54
  • @vsz It's the process of copying (and representing as own result) that makes plagiarism, not the amount of it. If you by chance come up with the same combination of words as someone else, it's not plagiarism. If you report even a single number you knowingly took from somewhere else, and you don't cite, it's plagiarism.
    – silvado
    Apr 4, 2019 at 8:44
  • Regarding your "i++" example, it is indeed copying, but as now one will assume that you came up with that on your own, and you don't explicitly claim that this is your fancy new idea, it's not plagiarism.
    – silvado
    Apr 4, 2019 at 8:47

This is definitely not plagiarism. It's like saying you copied Microsoft's works for using PowerPoint to do your presentation. Both Microsoft and your friend created an environment for you to do your works. You don't have to give them any credit.

Your friend didn't do the works for you. You did all of it yourself.

  • 3
    I think this answer is incorrect. The OP's friend created the slides that was used in the OP's presentation, i.e. "your friend did do the works for you".
    – Allure
    Apr 4, 2019 at 7:00
  • @Allure Microsoft created the software that used in the presentation. Did Microsoft do the works? Had you ever credit Bill Gates on your presentation? Microsoft did do the works.
    – SmallChess
    Apr 4, 2019 at 7:01
  • I don't understand you. Microsoft created the program which OP's friend used to create the slides, and it's the slides that were used by the OP.
    – Allure
    Apr 4, 2019 at 7:03
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    @SmallChess If that bothers you, you can see it as a matter of expectations. Your teacher expects you to write the content of your slides. Your teacher expects you to use off-the-shelf office software. Not communicating that you used someone else's source material (e.g. tables) in your slides is deceptive because then people would assume that it's all your work. Not referencing Microsoft is accepted, because your teacher doesn't think you wrote your own software anyway. Apr 4, 2019 at 7:07
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    @SmallChess if you think that way, what could possibly be plagiarism? I could turn in my friend's assignment and say, my friend created that assignment using Microsoft Word, and since we don't credit Microsoft, I don't have to credit my friend either.
    – Allure
    Apr 4, 2019 at 7:11

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