Even though you’ve been up all night trying to write this paper about a book you only heard of a few hours ago, and medically speaking, you should be dead after that pack of Red Bull you just tore through, you’ve got a paper to finish. The letters on your screen turned into weird squiggles about thirty-seven minutes ago, but regardless of your problems you should still be concerned about accidental plagiarism. In honor of the serious medical conditions that we’ll all inevitably incur later in life due to our destructive habits, here are seven easy ways to avoid accidental plagiarism:
Always paraphrase and cite the original work:
Hey, we get it. You don’t feel like coming up with brilliant ideas and that’s fine. Just take someone else’s words, put em’ in your own words, then give that bad boy a line of attribution and you’re good to go.
Sometimes an idea is so good that it just applies to everything. Like sliced bread or darts. Except instead of throwing darts, you throw paper airplanes with thumb tacks scotch-taped to the front. Unfortunately, recycling ideas from past moments of genius is a form of plagiarism. Track down your evil clone and make sure he stops copying everything you do. Jeez, Gerald.
Run away from your problems:
Mankind has always been subject to our most primal “fight or flight” instincts. In this case, flight. Your best bet is to run away to sea and maroon yourself on a deserted island where your only companion will be a volleyball that you’ll call Wilson who will be your best friend until you lose him at sea. Oh also, you’re Tom Hanks.
Create your own language to avoid any issues:
Oooghx blark farkelmak blookiefook ghot bik blorphin vokiel apow poxiq eiow ieow. Owoxie owpxi wolwo nxolw gi “ziwoei zpoi bieow hophie oxie?” Pieox woxiel paix oelxsoi poxiw! Ohixo coew poiw mxoe (bpoiew wixow blook youwix twip). So yeah, just do this instead. Peasy squeezy lemon easy.
Sometimes an idea is so good that it just applies to everything. Like sliced bread or darts. Except instead of throwing darts, you throw paper airplanes with thumb tacks scotch-taped to the front. Unfortunately, recycling ideas from past moments of genius is a form of plagiarism. Track down your evil clone and make sure he stops copying everything you do. Jeez, Paul.
Go back in time and prevent the birth of the original author:
Time travel is cool. Not plagiarizing is even cooler! Put these two things together and now you’re ice cold. You can’t plagiarize something that never existed, and the easiest way to do that is by to make sure the original author was never born. A reverse-Back to the Future situation. Also while you’re at it, befriend an eccentric old “scientist”. They’re all the rage these days.
Plagiarize on purpose:
The only 100% effective way to avoid unintentional plagiarism is to plagiarize intentionally. You can’t be faulted for doing something on accident if you did it on purpose. Not only that but your professors are going to be so intimidated by your power move that they probably won’t even bring it up. What could go wrong?
With these handy tools in your metaphorical belt, you can approach exam season with the confidence of someone who knows how to time travel. Just make sure not to erase yourself from the fabric of time.