I take plagiarism very seriously, and any assignment I deem to contain plagiarized material will be given a grade of 0. It is very important in all disciplines to clearly show which ideas are your own, and which are someone else’s. This both emphasizes your unique insights, along with the dividing line between work you’ve done, and work others have done.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘plagiarize’ as:
“to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”
That sounds pretty serious, and it is. Most everyone knows this already though! What most people don’t know is what really counts as plagiarism. The key idea is this:
If I can Google for a few unquoted words from your assignment and find the source they came from, it is plagiarism.
Now of course you don’t need to cite things like the word “the” if the original author used it. That said, plagiarism isn’t just about quoting words you borrow from other sources; it’s also about citing when you paraphrase or derive ideas from another source. It should be obvious where the division is between your thoughts and the original authors thoughts – that’s the purpose of citations.
It’s worth noting that in general copying an entire work, putting quotes around it and citing it may not be considered plagiarism, but it certainly will not result in a passing grade. The intent of assignments are that you do the principal work.