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The Write Kitchen

Plagiarism and Essay Writing

Hello, students, parents, and teachers,

First of all, happy 2014!

We'll be spending the first three months of the new year reviewing how to write expository and persuasive essays.

But before we begin, we must define and understand an important term: plagiarism.

Plagiarism means to use (to copy or to paraphrase) another person's original words or ideas in your writing (or any other form of communication) as though they were your own (without crediting or citing the source or sources of the words or ideas you used). 

Common-knowledge information, however, does not need to be credited or cited. For example, a writer wouldn't need to credit the idea that rain comes from clouds (since it's common knowledge), but would need to cite his/her source(s) of information if he/she were to explain the process in scientific terms (not common knowledge). 

The following websites will shed more light on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it:

Here's a document on creating a "works cited" page.

And this visual is especially useful:

Remember that plagiarism is wrong because it's both stealing and lying. Plus, you can't learn to write well if all you do is copy someone else's writing. In other words, when you cheat, you cheat yourself out of learning. And you'll probably get caught. So instead, trust yourself to do your very best writing, and cite your sources.

Now on to the expository essay. An expository essay is a multi-paragraph paper that presents, explains, or analyzes information (personal or not; researched or of common knowledge) on a particular subject.

The following documents will help you review how to write a proficient five-paragraph expository essay. Study them and then plan and write the first draft of a personal or common-knowledge (no research; no need to cite) expository essay on a topic of your choice.

Steps to Writing a PAPER (PDF — 59 KB)

Ideas for Writing a Hook (PDF — 102 KB)

Methods of Elaboration (PDF — 98 KB)

Paragraph vs. Essay (PDF — 85 KB)

Next month we'll take a look at the revision process and move on to the persuasive essay.

Happy writing,

Write Cook

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