I had an assignment where I had to create a web-based advertisement for a Computer that was created in the 1970 era or earlier. In my advertisement, I copied facts from Wikipedia such as "Output consisted of a row of lights", "The machine was programmed in pure machine code using an array of buttons and switches.", "The 8-bit machine offered 256 bytes of memory, implemented on Intel's type 1404 silicon gate MOS shift registers." And I cited my sources at the bottom of the site. Does this constitute plagiarism since I have copied facts and not opinions, and cited my sources?

Thank you!

  • 3
    Why do you have to 'steal' those phrases? There are many ways to convey that info. Apr 2, 2020 at 23:39
  • 2
    Did you quote the phrases as you have here?
    – Buffy
    Apr 2, 2020 at 23:55
  • I would definitively count a phrase as not correctly referenced if the quote does not come with an indication of where it was quoted from.
    – user122146
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:31
  • Your question doesn't seem specific to Wikipedia, but since you did use Wikipedia, it's worth pointing out: Did you properly cite the specific revision of the Wikipedia articles you cited? On every Wikipedia article, in the lefthand navigation bar, you'll find a link called "cite this page". This will give you easy access to a permanent link to that revision. Important to use, especially in a case like this, where it might be difficult to find the exact phrase you copied. Apr 3, 2020 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


I'll assume the quotation marks were used in the advertisement. Since you represented the text as coming from the reference, and provided the reference, it's not plagiarism.

That doesn't mean it's necessarily okay.

If the purpose of the assignment was to practice writing advertisement text, then you didn't do that and didn't complete the assignment.

If the purpose of the assignment was to practice graphical design, you might have done that, and the text might be okay.

In any case, ask your instructor what they want you to do before you submit your assignment.

  • 5
    +1 I feel we should have some canonical answers for plagiarism related questions, because the answer always seems to be "it's not plagiarism if you cite your sources correctly, but that doesn't mean that you won't fail / get 0 points.".
    – xLeitix
    Apr 3, 2020 at 8:35
  • 1
    no universal rules exist about what constitutes plagiarism. plagiarism is not a fact of nature but a legal construct. therefore, to assess whether something constitutes plagiarism, the specific legal situation needs to be clarified.
    – user122146
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:33
  • 3
    Plagiarism is not a "legal construct." That is copyright infringement. Apr 3, 2020 at 21:41
  • @AnonymousPhysicist Copyright is ALSO a "legal construct". More formal, fortunately, but Plagiarism is as well.
    – MikeB
    Jan 13, 2021 at 16:24

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