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I am really paranoid/scrupulous about plagiarism and I would like to ask if what I did below counts as some form of plagiarism. A while ago, I wrote a paper and basically I don't know if the very last sentence in my conclusion sounds too much like the very last sentence of somebody else's article. My paper has gone through the plagiarism software, so it isn't like I copied and pasted their sentence; moreover, I did not just go and change a few words in the sentence either.

Here is how the sentences sounded like:

Their final sentence:

His anger did not lessen with age any more than did his habit of criticizing other composers. As he continued to argue until his passing in 2002, it was his work.

My final sentence:

What is absolutely certain is that, for Cornelius Pufferfish, his work remained his work and this was something he never allowed his fellow composers to forget.

Is it plagiarism to have a similar concluding sentence as somebody else and also have it positioned in a similar place in the paper? Although I cited this person throughout my paper, I didn't think I needed to cite this final sentence in my conclusion because it was just a general observation that could be gleaned/concluded from the argument in the body of my paper.

I mean if you wrote a paper on the causes of WW1 and discussed throughout how the naval arms race was a contributing factor, you wouldn't have to cite the following statement in your conclusion 'Thus, the naval arms race was a significant factor in the cause of WW1' even though many scholars have already said this, right?

I think I am just idiotically overthinking all this, but I am so unsure; I just get so paranoid about accidentally plagiarising and getting in trouble.

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  • Please explain what you mean by "I cited this person throughout my paper".
    – Nobody
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 9:31
  • Is the other paper also referring to Cornelius Pufferfish with "His"?
    – Arno
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 9:35
  • Yes that paper is also referring to Cornelius Pufferfish with "his." By cited throughout my paper, I mean I referenced his paper as a whole during a lit review in the very beginning and then used some of his examples (with citations) to back up my points.
    – AplombPlum
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 9:48
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    I can't answer your question but you could write something like: "As also concluded by [the paper you cited throughout your manuscript], it is absolutely certain that...."
    – erc
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 10:48
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    @csstudent1418 that's not how plagiarism works. If your comment is a joke it is not helpful, and if it is not it is flat out misleading. Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 13:15

3 Answers 3

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No. it is not plagiarism.

If, in addition to the last sentence, the rest of your paper is just a re-written version of "their" paper, then maybe there is a cause for concern.

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If you do a separate, independent, analysis of a situation, cite the original analysis, but come to the same conclusion, it isn't plagiarism. You aren't claiming their ideas as your own. You are just reinforcing their work.

If the analysis is independent then this is especially valuable to scholarship as it supports and reinforces those conclusions. This is how we arrive at something like "truth".

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    I still think it is prudent to cite that original analysis within the conclusion as well - "The previous analysis shows that, as argued by Dashwood (1943), it is absolutely certain that, for Cornelius Pufferfish, his work remained his work and that this was something he never allowed his fellow composers to forget." Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 13:17
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This isn't plagiarism so long as you properly cite the other paper at the appropriate point in your paper. You stated a fact -- that means you need to cite where you found the fact. This is a paraphrase, so you don't need quotation marks.

If you've developed this idea earlier in the paper, properly citing your sources, and you're just putting this last line in as sort of a synopsis, I don't think you'd need to re-cite here.

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  • I did intend for it to be a sort of synopsis. What I wrote was not the main conclusion/argument of the paper, but it was something that could be concluded from my findings which I developed earlier in the body. With my final sentence, I was trying to say those sort of things you say in conclusions when you are trying to conclude and be profound or weighty.
    – AplombPlum
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 19:24
  • @AplombPlum - it is not necessary to be profound or weighty in the conclusion; in fact, I don't think the paper you are concerned about was trying to be particularly profound or weighty. Have you considered that perhaps you don't need that final sentence in your own work? Seems to me this is not a case of plagiarism - you're just trying to emulate a certain style of writing, but you're not quite understanding what makes the style work. If you removed your final sentence, perhaps the way your previous paragraph ends could serve as a good enough conclusion? Oftentimes, less is more. Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 2:19

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