Copying from Academic Essay Examples

When you find a really good example of an academic essay, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to use it in your own essay in order to help get your point across more eloquently and succinctly. Sometimes, the words of another author really just do the job well and you want to make use of their talent to add to your own talent. While it is not strictly forbidden to use parts of another academic essay in your own essay, there are some important guidelines which you need to follow in order to insure that you are not plagiarizing the work of another author.

  • Cite the work properly: when copying from another academic essay, it is absolutely essential that you cite your source correctly. If you are directly copying and pasting from another author’s work, this is a direct quote. You will need to put it in quotation marks and include an in text citation (according to whichever style guide you are meant to follow in writing your essay).
  • Paraphrase the work properly: If you are not directly copying and pasting but simply rephrasing exactly what was written in the other author’s work, this may be paraphrasing. While it is not always easy to tell when you are paraphrasing, when you are saying it in your own words, and when you are plagiarizing; it is always better to play it safe. So, if you are explaining a specific idea which you have found in another academic essay, make sure to cite it properly in order to avoid the risk of being mistaken as plagiarizing.
  • Explain it in your own words as well: To make sure that your reader knows you really understand what you have quoted, you need to explain the portion taken from another academic essay in your own words and show how it is relevant to your topic. This is especially important when you have directly quoted the other author but it is also good to do even if you have only paraphrased the author. This is because it shows that you are not simply trying to parrot another author’s work and that you are, in fact, able to discuss this concept on your own as well. This way, the quoted or paraphrased text is simply being used to accentuate or add to your own thoughts rather than wholly replace your own thoughts.