Let's assume I learnt what plagiarism is on different websites such as university webpages, wikipedia, dictionary webpages, articles that can be reached Google Scholar, blogs, etc. and wrote about it.

As you predict my words, sentences, paragraphs will be similar or same what I learnt from them.

Is this considered plagiarism?

Is there a standard to understand what plagiarism is exactly?


The most commonly understood definition of plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as your own.

When writing general background for a thesis or article, it's possible that you present common facts and methodologies without citing every single detail, but even then it should be clear that this is not your contribution.

When whole sentences start to resemble previous work, you need to take a step back and look at what you are saying.

Are you briefly mentioning Pythagoras' theorem? Maybe throw the word "commonly" in there.

Are you presenting someone else's findings? Cite them.

For example "The equation is given by Smith et al. as ..." or "The dates are canonically given as 450BC to 430BC [1][14][22]."

When in doubt, cite. I've yet to see someone told off for providing references to their claims.

  • 2
    A correct definition of plagiarism would include self-plagiarism. – Anonymous Physicist Mar 9 at 22:22
  • In the first sentence, if you replace "work" with "ideas" you get a better statement, I think. Plagiarism is about ideas. – Buffy Mar 9 at 22:45
  • 2
    Being about ideas, you don't avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing. Only by citing. – Buffy Mar 9 at 22:52

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