Writing has always been connected with plagiarism.

The notion “plagiarism” has appeared relatively recently but its origin dates back centuries as even the first images on stone walls were copied by other tribes. Today plagiarism is widely spread on the Internet and even paper publications as not every writer realizes that he has used another person’s statement. It is natural that plagiarism can be intentional and accidental, so taking into account the way how it appeared in the text there are different excuses of authors about its appearance. Let’s us consider how different writers explain the presence of duplicated content in their pieces of writing and whether these excuses can justify them.

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The easiest thing to avoid punishment for some wrong actions is to say “I didn’t know that”. The same statement is often heard from writers, who have just started their writing career. Some of them claim that they do not know what plagiarism is or was not aware that paraphrasing is also referred to illegal actions. The others intentionally avoid using citation marking and when they are caught red-handed reply that they hadn’t thought they had been doing wrong.

The most apparent case of misunderstanding is a use of unintentional plagiarism. Many people, who take up writing, have previously read hundreds of books or articles and some of them might get stuck in their brains. With some time, other people’s viewpoints are gradually admitted as your own ones and it is impossible to distinguish what was invented personally by you and what was taken from different sources. The only advice to writers who have suffered from such unpleasant problem is to check their writing pieces for similarities and that might prevent them from such a hardly persuasive excuse as a misunderstanding.

Another important issue is to use credible sources that provide guidelines on proper marking of citations and references as well as pieces of advice how to avoid rough plagiarizing.

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The only right way to stop being accused of anything wrong is to admit your fault. This is a common excuse used by professional writers, who were noticed to plagiarize. These are mainly journalists and researchers, who usually use duplications intentionally and the only solution for them is to admit their mistakes and promise in public not to do that in future.

Plagiarism among experienced writers always results in a real informational war, where everyone wishes to humiliate him or her in public. That is why such authors try to prevent any gossips and use lapse of judgment for this purpose.

In some companies, such a kind of excuse will not prevent a journalist or writer from great penalties as large institutions consider plagiarism the biggest offense and punish writers who made a try to use it. Unfortunately, not only penalties but also more dramatic consequences can be brought about by presenting someone’s views as your own ones, so lapse of judgment is impossible to call a persuasive excuse.

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Though it may sound funny and not convincing there are still some writers, who use this excuse. Such a statement can be used by a primary school pupil, who hasn’t prepared his homework for the lesson, but not by professional writers, who have dealt with writing not for a year already. Many people put the blame on a variety of external factors, but can’t accept that the only wrong-doer in this situation is the writer himself. Lack of sleep, magnetic storms, high pressure or bad health couldn’t make a person copy-paste other people’s creations if he hasn’t meant it. It is undoubtedly a quintessential excuse as there is hardly anything that could cause writers to plagiarize. At the same time, people, who use this excuse, are not able to take the responsibility for their actions. Consequently, only a severe punishment for such unjust actions can give results and teach them not to refer to nature.

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Nobody is insured from accidental plagiarism and if a writer does not check his text for similarities before publishing it, there is a great chance that he or she will be accused of minor cases of duplication or paraphrasing. Today it is useless to argue with the majority as most of the evidence is apparent: any reputable plagiarism detection tool will show the similarities and links to the resources, so it is better to admit making a mistake honestly and offer reasons why it might have happened.

Such more innocent plagiarism cases and the behavior of the writer usually do not finish with scandals as even the best professional editor can be fallible. An apology for a truly admitted mistake will ease tension around the problem and the promise to make all the necessary corrections will eliminate it.

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The appearance of World Wide Web has increased the number of publications on different topics in thousands of times and many inexperienced writers think that if they copy a bit here and a little there that will not do any harm. The only problem is the fact that many modern websites have automatic checks of content. Moreover, Google’s latest releases of software are also aimed at detecting not original texts and that results in sites downranking.

The possibility that the duplicated content will not be detected is very low so the excuse mentioned above will end up in the not very pleasant consequences if not immediately then a little later.

All the excuses for plagiarism mentioned above can’t prevent the writer from the legal consequences as copyright infringement and ethical questions can result in criminal punishment. Of course, if the writer admits his mistake the act of plagiarism will be determined as less severe and the punishment will be more loyal. Lying or putting blame on others is considered illegal so it is always better to admit the fault and make any necessary corrections if you are caught to plagiarize. What is more effective is the advice to check every written text with credible plagiarism checkers and you will never have to use stupid excuses then.

5 Bad Excuses for Plagiarism

Also published on Medium.

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