As Brenda Spatt says in her book, Writing from Sources, "If you present another person's ideas as your own, you are plagiarizing even if you use your own words" (440). She illustrates this point with the following example. Suppose you want to use the material in the following passage, which appears in Leo Gurko's Ernest Hemingway and the Pursuit of Heroism:
The Hemingways put themselves on short rations, ate, drank, and entertained as little as possible, pounced eagerly on the small checks that arrived in the mail as payment for accepted stories, and were intensely conscious of being poor. The sensation was not altogether unpleasant. Their extreme youth, the excitement of living abroad, even the unexpected joy of parenthood, have their poverty a romantic flavor.
If you write the following sentence without any documentation, you have committed plagiarism:
Despite all the economies that they had to make and all the pleasures they had to do without, the Hemingways rather enjoyed the experience of being poor.
To avoid plagiarism, cite your source:
As Leo Gurko has suggested, the experience of being poor was not altogether unpleasant for the Hemingways (33).
Here are some tips on how to prevent plagiarism in your own writing:
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