Article of the Week

Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!


Plagiarism occurs when a person intentionally uses someone else’s work as his or her own. There are two main types of plagiarism:
  1. Using the exact words of another person in a new document without identifying the source or marking those words as a quotation.
  2. Using the ideas or the research of another person without giving credit to that person.

Plagiarism is both theft and fraud, since a plagiarist is stealing another’s work, and claiming it as his or her own. In 1970, the singer George Harrison recorded “My Sweet Lord.” He was accused of plagiarizing the melody of The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine,” and a court ruled that he had to pay a hefty fine. Harrison had to pay a fine because he had profited off of using the melody in his own song. When a person plagiarizes, he or she gains unfairly because credit is not offered to the originator of the idea.


Here are some tips for avoiding plagiarism in your own work:

  1. As you research a paper, use note cards to write down useful quotations or information, and write the citation on the card underneath. That way, you won’t have to track down the information later on. Specify what you are writing on the card as a quotation, paraphrase, or summary, so you won’t be confused later on.
  2. Use the citations button in Microsoft Word to add citations as your compose your paper, instead of adding them after you have completed a draft. This will decrease the possibility that you will use a source without providing attribution.
  3. Be careful when using internet sources, as it is easy to simply copy and paste your information into a document without writing down the citation information. When you open up an internet source, immediately write down the publication information in your notes.


Citations: When Do You Need Them?

Make sure you cite information when it comes from any of the following sources: physical media (book, magazine, journal, tv, film, music, etc.), interview or personal communication, or internet media.

You do not need a citation when you are writing about your own experiences, opinions, and lab research. Additionally, you do not need a citation when the source is considered “common knowledge”. Normally, a common knowledge source is something that your readers will already be familiar with, or that appears in at least five credible sources. If you knew the material before your college coursework, it is probably common knowledge.