The following writing example was taken from Capital Community College’s guide to avoiding plagiarism, whihc is available at: http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/plagiarism.shtml . For more examples, please see their website and others listed at the end of this section.
The original text from Elaine Tyler May's "Myths and Realities of the American Family" reads as follows:
"Because women's wages often continue to reflect the fiction that men earn the family wage, single mothers rarely earn enough to support themselves and their children adequately. And because work is still organized around the assumption that mothers stay home with children, even though few mothers can afford to do so, child-care facilities in the United States remain woefully inadequate."
Some possible paragraphs for a sample paper are given here. As you read through each version, try to decide if it is a legitimate use of May's text or a plagiarism.
You Quote without citing, and without using quotation marks.
Since women's wages often continue to reflect the mistaken notion that men are the main wage earners in the family, single mothers rarely make enough to support themselves and their children very well. Also, because work is still based on the assumption that mothers stay home with children, facilities for child care remain woefully inadequate in the United States.
Version B: You have quoted some "key" words, but are still not being honest about which ones are hers, and which ones are yours.
As Elaine Tyler May points out, "women's wages often continue to reflect the fiction that men earn the family wage" (588).
Thus, many single mothers cannot support themselves and their children adequately.
Furthermore, since work is based on the assumption that mothers stay home with children, facilities for day care in this country are still "woefully inadequate." (May 589).
Version C: Women today still earn less than men — so much less that many single mothers and their children live near or below the poverty line. Elaine Tyler May argues that this situation stems in part from "the fiction that men earn the family wage" (588). May further suggests that the American workplace still operates on the assumption that mothers with children stay home to care for them (589). This assumption, in my opinion, does not have the force it once did. More and more businesses offer in-house day-care facilities.
No Plagiarism: The writer makes use of the common knowledge in May's work, but acknowledges May's original conclusion and does not try to pass it off as his or her own. The quotation is properly cited, as is a later paraphrase of another of May's ideas.
An Interactive Quiz can be found here. http://library.camden.rutgers.edu/EducationalModule/Plagiarism/
Plagiarism: In Version A there is too much direct borrowing of sentence structure and wording. The writer changes some words, drops one phrase, and adds some new language, but the overall text closely resembles May's. The writer is plagiarizing because there are NO quotation marks, indicating Version A is a paraphrase, and should be in the writer's own words.
Plagiarism:The writer now cites May, so we're closer to telling the truth about the relationship of our text to the source, but this text continues to borrow too much language.