16 Mar
Quick ‘n Easy Tips for Not Plagiarizing

Look, we’ll be honest.  When we heard that a blogger plagiarized posts from Amalah, we were so angry that we almost started to Mouth Off on the subject.  But then we thought, why not use this as a teaching moment? Because many of you out there may need an easy reference guide for avoiding plagiarism.  And we are nothing if not full-service!  (We think. Also, we just made that up, so don’t start dropping off your laundry or anything like that.)

So, here are some easy and fun tips to help you remember not to plagiarize!

1. When you are about to copy someone’s words and use them as your own, don’t. Instead, make yourself a smoothie.

2. When you read something that you love on a blog, leave a comment, not a copyright violation.

3. Remember, it’s See Something, Say Something. Not Read Something, Steal Something.

4. If you are a mommy blogger and you wrote the most amazing travel post about how you just sailed around the world solo, you may have accidentally stolen it.

5. Do not mix margaritas and your computer’s copy and paste features.

6. If you are writing about a fork in the road, you better be talking about flatware or you may be stealing someone else’s idea.

7. If your post is about how you can’t believe you won so many Grammys and you want to fank all of your fans and snarf some fish and chips, you may have accidentally lifted a few quotes from Adele’s website.

8. If you’re only 27 years old, but your post is about raising babies in the Great Depression, maybe you should do a few moments of soul searching.

9. If your blog usually reads like the work of a demented 3rd grader and then one day it suddenly sounds like you got a PhD overnight, there’s a chance you maybe copied the work of someone a hell of a lot smarter than you.

10. If you don’t remember writing the words on your screen and you don’t have either a smack habit or multiple personalities, then you are probably stealing.

11. If you’re 27 and you still don’t understand the old adage, “If it’s not yours… It’s NOT YOURS” then even The Mouthy Housewives can’t help you.

12. If you find yourself constantly using catch phrases like: “Have a Coke and a smile”, “Fair and Balanced”, and “Neglecting our families to give you advice since 2009” then you are probably plagiarizing.

13. Unless it’s 1963 and you’re standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, we don’t think your “I Have A Dream” post was written by you.

14. Not sure if you’re plagiarizing? Keep this simple rhyme in mind! If your source is pissed, you’re a plagiarist!

15. When you’re proofreading your writing and you see something that seems familiar, be sure to find the missing citation before printing. Sometimes neighborhood fliers can help.

(Annoying husbands, on the other hand, do not help.)

Good luck, everyone!

22 Responses to “Quick ‘n Easy Tips for Not Plagiarizing”


Comment by Nicole.

Does that mean I can’t publish my snarky housewives column, giving advice since 2009 1/2? Darnit. back to the drawing board.
“If your source is pissed, you’re a plagiarist!”



Comment by Coffeeless.

I find all of this so shocking. What is even worse is that this is the same woman who started a witch hunt against Kristine, simply because Kristine made a joke that sailed over the plagiarist’s head. Perhaps the plagiarist was miffed because there were too many eyes watching for her to be able to copy and paste Kristine’s joke onto her own blog…

Also, this “I’m only 27” excuse is ridiculous. The woman is mature enough to get married and raise a family and yet she doesn’t understand the concept of stealing?

P.S. I feel the need to quote two of the parental reproofs that as a child I liked least, but which feel apt here: 1) People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and 2) Empty vessels make the most noise.


Comment by StephanieG.

I watched the Chrysler crisis from afar on Twitter, but couldn’t resist a snarky comment or two online during the public row. I thought at the time that the good folks at Chrysler had lost their minds and was sorry more punitive actions were not taken. I also remember thinking “things like this have a way of working themselves out.”

Worked out, indeed. I hope everyone who has ever felt slighted by Kristin is getting a good laugh out of this.


Comment by Michelle.

Hilarious, but also insightful. Love it. Also love the subtle jab of “if your 27” Nd “annoying husband”. Too funny!


Comment by AmyK.

Love this. I was so angry for Amalah, and the blog-stealer’s “apology” made it worse. I’m sure she’ll be searching for a more obscure blog to “borrow” from.


Comment by Muffintopmommy.

That’s bad. Had not heard about this. Wow. I’d be mad if someone tried to blog about my muffin top and pretended it was their muffin top. Where’s the pride, you know?


Comment by Farrah.

What a hot ‘ole mess. I hate this trend in blog plagerizing, it’s insulting to everyone- writers, readers and sponsors.

Also, I thought she was ‘Really 24 not 27 at the time’ so it’s really all ok after all.


Comment by Ali.

I caught up on all the drama with that this week. AND all the stuff about that blogger trying to screw up that contest. Holy cow.
So anyway, I do have a smack habit so I am free to plagiarize the I Had A Dream speech, right? I mean, I’m only 27 (and have been for 9 years). I’m going with youth.


Comment by Annie.

Great tips but why is there a box of sperm at the bottom of the list??


Comment by Plano Mom.

If you think something is familiar and might belong to someone else, and turns out it was, FESS UP fully and completely, and don’t do it again. As I tell my children over and over again, it is not the mistake that defines the person, it’s the action they take after the mistake. I’m sad for this woman’s children that they will not learn that lesson.


Comment by Michelle Longo.

I can’t even pick a favorite tip, because all of them nearly made me spit! Well done.


Comment by hokgardner.

My mom used to teach college writing, and she had a student who plagiarized everything she turned in, so mom failed her. The woman protest the grade and demanded a meeting with my mom and the department chair. When the department chair explained that plagiarizing is the worst crime a writer can commit, the woman’s answer was, “in your opinion.” Everyone in the room was speechless.


Comment by Kate.

I want to put “If the source is pissed, you’re a plagiarist.” in my copyright description. HAHAHA! Perfection.

And, since I just turned 25, is it okay if I help the website I work for by stealing other tech writers posts? Will that exclude me from being shunned?

No? Yeah, see, that’s what I thought. I guess when I was taught all about stealing IN GRADE SCHOOL, they weren’t kidding when they said IT’S WRONG.

Funny how these lessons tend to stick to you, isn’t it? I mean, really, REALLY, stick.

I’m just sad that this incident makes a lot of us 20-something writers look like crap, especially when we bust our asses to come up with new and unique ways of writing what we want to write. It’s not like it’s easy to make something that’s probably already been said fresh and original. I spend HOURS writing ONE article, and if I happen to use something that’s not mine (a quote, a description, etc) I click that block quote button, and cite at the end of the article, just like I learned to do in school.

Has that person NEVER written a research paper? I even have my handbook from college that gives full descriptions and examples of proper citation in all its forms. Maybe I could gift it?


Comment by dusty earth mother.

Awesome, guys. Just awesome.


Comment by Anne-Marie @ Do Not Faint.

Good for you! “I’m only 27, I’m learning” — ha! *I* am also 27, and happen to love that little quote button on my blog that shows everyone that *someone else* wrote something. I also made money in college tutoring writing, and it was not hard to teach how to quote!


Comment by rojopaul.

WOW – I had no idea about any of this but I’m up to speed now after reading the links about. I thought plagiarism was confined to the college and post-grad worlds. Who knew it extended to blogs? I guess I’m naive. Or maybe I just don’t think of it BECAUSE I (and most people!) WOULD NEVER DO SUCH A THING. The audacity. P.S. I love Adele. ha


Comment by Joann.

Love this soooo much!


Comment by NandEm's mom.

The article linked to stated Kristin had to be told that she plagerized. How sad that Mr. Copy and Miss Paste just went along with her shenanigans. BTW If you copy and google whole blogs, they will come up with the original blog and any lazy/desperate bloggers who steal.


Comment by Amy.

Holy cow. Had no idea. Thanks for spreading the word. Between this and the Mike Daisey thing I’m spitting nails. Seriously? You. Screwed. Up. Big time. Own it, for chrissakes.


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