As defined in Webster's dictionary, to plagiarize is "to steal or pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own."

As most college students know plagiarism is a very serious offense usually occurring when one writes a term or research paper on a given subject. Often punishment for plagiarism consists of a failing grade in the class, expulsion from the class, or even expulsion from the college, depending on how serious the offense.

Plagiairism has been occurring for decades, and not only in the academic world, but in the professional world as well. It was proven to be found in nationally known newspapers as long ago as World War I, and the methods used to catch the thief then are still used today to catch plagiarizers on the Internet.

The introduction of the Internet has created yet another way to plagiarize, and it makes it even easier for the plagiarizer. With the stroke of a key entire paragraphs of another's work can be copied directly into the plagiarizer's document.

This is unfair to the original author who spent hours contemplating on the perfect words to use so that the material is easily read by everyone. Remember, plagiarism is also illegal by federal law.

NorthernNotes from Northern Illinois University

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