Cheating is lying; plagiarism is a form of cheating. The school has penalties for cheating, which you can find in the Program of Studies. It is part of the job of the school to teach you what is and is not honesty in your assignments, but it is up to you to understand what is required and to act according to that understanding.

For school definitions of and policies on cheating and plagiarism, please refer to the Program of Studies.


  • Plagiarism is theft of another person’s words or ideas and claiming them as your own.
  • If you use someone’s direct words — from a book, article, interview, film, audio recording, website, etc. — use quotation marks and cite the source.
  • If you use someone’s ideas, analysis, conclusion — any idea that is not original with you, that is not your own — and put those ideas in your own words, you must also use a footnote and cite the source. The source may be a printed text, an interview, a conversation, a film, TV, website, etc.
  • If the idea is a common one (for example, “Columbus’ status as a hero has been questioned;”or, “The Civil War had tragic consequences.”), or if the fact can easily be found in any source, you need not cite a source.

When in doubt, ask your teacher and/or cite the source.

How much help can I get with my assignments?

First, see your teacher for his/her expectations with regard to this question.

  • When collaborating with other L-S staff, peers, tutors, parents, siblings, etc., if another person gives you his or her analysis of a topic, idea(s), or gives you a solution to a problem, you must give that person proper credit. When in doubt, consult your teacher.
  • If someone makes substantial changes in the wording of an essay (more than basic editing), it is not your own work.
  • If someone else does reading or research for you, it is not your own work.
  • Consult with your teacher about his/her expectations and guidelines regarding editing and revising your work by someone other than you.
  • The English Department strongly discourages the use of Sparknotes or comparable “study guides.”

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