Skip to Main Content

Plagiarism Prevention Guide: What is Plagiarism?

This guide helps first year students how to avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

a thief with a flashlight highlighting plagiarism


According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

pla·gia·rism … is: the act of using another person's words

or ideas without giving credit to that person”


All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • Presenting someone else's work as your own
  • Copying words or ideas from someone else's work without giving credit
  • Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not

Why Plagiarism MUST be avoided?

Burglar Criminal Thief Robber  - bgs_digital_creator / Pixabay


  • Is theft of intellectual property
  • Involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward
  • May result in receiving an ‘F’ or zero for the assignment


Need Help? Ask a Librarian

In-person help available:
Mon.–Thu., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in E-101
By Email:
By Chat:


When do we cite?

You need to cite:

  • When you use words or ideas presented in a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • When you got the information through interviewing or conversing with another person, face to face, over the phone, or in writing
  • When you copy the exact words or a unique phrase
  • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials
  • When you reuse or repost any electronically-available media, including images, audio, video, or other media

Please visit our citation page.

What about Paraphrasing?

What to know about paraphrasing:

  • Paraphrasing requires citation
  • Paraphrasing is more than simply rewording the original material, it must be almost entirely in your own words
  • Any exact words that are retained should have quotation marks around them
  • The sentence structure should be yours, not the same as  in the source
  • Do not add ideas, interpretations, explanations, or assessments
Library Media Resources Center
LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue, room E101
Long Island City, NY 11101
Email the Library