5 Ways We Accidentally Plagiarize

While it is clear that intentionally taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own is plagiarism, there are numerous other ways you can commit this act of cheating without even realizing it. Below are some of the most common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their papers, and what you can do to avoid making these common mistakes.  

Still not sure if you have accidentally plagiarized in your paper? Try our BibMe Plus plagiarism checker! It can help identify passages that may need to be cited. Bonus: It’ll then help you create an MLA or APA citation for you right then and there!

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to know what it is and how it happens in the first place. So, let the learning begin!

  1. Using the same essay you wrote for one assignment and handing it in for another assignment.

Even though this may not seem like cheating, using a paper you wrote for one class and handing it in for an assignment in another is in fact plagiarism. The specific term for this action is “self-plagiarism,” and many students don’t understand that it can get them in trouble. Even though the work is your own, you must still cite it: for example, if you reference a previous essay you wrote in the essay you’re currently writing. Be sure to include both an in-text citation and an entry in your works cited page. Give yourself the credit you deserve!    

  1. Incorporating text from a source into your own paper, changing one or two words, and providing a citation.

Using too many exact words from the source you’re referencing is a form of plagiarism. To make sure you do not do this accidentally, try writing out the idea that is expressed in the source, not the exact sentence or sentences. Then, rewrite that idea in your own words, and include a citation for the source. Being a good paraphraser is key to avoiding plagiarism.

  1. Using data presented by the author in their work, and only citing the author’s comments on the data.

You have to cite all information that has come from an outside source. Therefore, if you include data in your paper that another author has presented in their own work, be sure to cite the work by that author and the source where they found that data. This information can often be found underneath the dataset in a caption, or where the author mentions the data within the source.

  1. Including information from a personal communication, like an email, without providing a citation.

Personal communications, such as texts and emails, must be cited just like any other source if you’re using information from them in your research paper.  Even though they may not be considered “formal” sources, such as scholarly journals or books, they still another person’s thoughts or ideas, and therefore deserve an accurate citation.

  1. Having disorganized notes and outlines that are difficult to follow.

The most effective way of avoiding accidental plagiarism is to have an organized note-taking system that includes all of the quotes and information you want to include in your paper, as well as the sources in which you found those pieces of information. That way, when you’re ready to make your bibliography and hand in your paper, you know exactly which sources you need to make citations for. Try starting these notes at the very beginning of your paper-writing process, so you can be sure you haven’t left any important sources out.


Before you start your next paper, sharpen those writing skills with our grammar guides on verbs, determiners, what is a conjunction, adjectives, and other parts of speech.

Commonly Confused Words Everyone Should Know

You’re smart. You know this; we know this; and your professor knows this. But is your writing doing you justice?

When you write a paper, as long as you comprehend the coursework and do adequate research you’re bound for an A, right? But simple mistakes and misused words can take a paper that’s great in concept to one that’s mediocre in execution. Let’s avoid some common pitfalls and learn the right way to use the commonly confused words below. If you need more help with writing in general, give BibMe’s grammar check a try!

Ironic vs. Coincidental

Ironic and coincidental are two words that are commonly confused and often used interchangeably—even though they shouldn’t be.

Ironic is an adjective used when something said is actually the opposite of it’s true meaning, or when an unexpected event is the opposite of what was expected—often in an amusing or mocking way.

Coincidental, on the other hand means something random or that happens solely by chance.

Usage Examples:

It is ironic that Mary and Jim decided to go to brunch with separate groups of friends, yet ended up at the same restaurant. It is coincidental that later that day Mary received a gift card from her mom for the very restaurant she went to for brunch. If only Mary had received the gift card earlier!

Lie vs. Lay vs. Laid

Prepare to take notes, folks.

Lie is what a person does when they’re not telling the truth (verb). It is also the actual falsehood told (noun).

Lied is the past tense of when you didn’t tell the truth.

Lie is also what a person does if they are going to go recline somewhere.

Lay is how you use past tense of lie in the sense of reclining.

Lay is what you do to an inanimate object when you put it down.

Laid is how you properly use the past tense of lay when referring to inanimate objects.

Usage Examples:

I don’t like to lie, but I lied to my roommate when I said I was going to go lie down in our dorm room. I decided not to lay down in bed, but I laid my textbooks down on my desk and relaxed with some TV. Now, I’m actually ready for bed, so I’m going to stop watching Netflix and lay my laptop down on my desk beside my textbooks.

We told you it was confusing!

Implicit vs. Explicit

Something you state very clearly, leaving no room for doubt, is explicit.

Meanwhile, implicit is when you indirectly suggest something, instead of saying it outright. It is the perfect opposite of stating something explicitly.

Usage Examples:

Growing up, my parents were quite explicit in forbidding me from listening to explicit music.

While Daniel didn’t admit that he was stressed out, it was implicit given how withdrawn he’d been acting.

Imply vs. Infer

As we previously explained, imply is what the speaker suggests without saying it outright.

Infer is what the listener deduces from what’s being implied.

Usage Examples:

Luke implied that he was going to miss Yolanda’s birthday party because they’d recently had a disagreement. Bella understood, and inferred that perhaps his absence was for the best.

Accept vs. Except

Accept is to believe or acknowledge that an opinion, assertion, or explanation is correct.

Accept also means to willingly receive or agree to something offered.

Except means ‘not including’ or everything other than the following.

Usage Examples:

I can accept that Brian didn’t want to accept my gift. Thankfully, everyone else except Brian was gracious about my generosity.

Affect vs. Affect vs. Effect

Affect (verb) means to influence someone or something.

Affect (noun), typically pronounced with a subtle difference, can refer to an emotional state.

Effect (noun) refers to a change that is the result or due to the influence of something or someone.

Usage Examples:

Bob hoped that he could positively affect his brother’s melancholy affect after losing the big game. But unfortunately, Bob’s chipper mood had no effect on Richard.

Definitely vs. Defiantly

If you’ve seen these words misused in text messages and social media posts, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s a rather common typo.

Definitely means without doubt.

Defiantly means acting with bold disobedience.

Usage Examples:

He definitely was behaving poorly by defiantly ignoring his manager’s orders.

The tricky part? If you accidentally type defiantly when you meant to use definitely, your grammar checker won’t necessarily flag it as wrong since it’s an actual word. So proofreading for context is important, as is reading your papers out loud so you can catch incorrectly used but properly spelled wording.

Supposedly vs. Supposably

Supposedly (adverb) means something is according to what is generally believed.

Supposably, on the other hand is a disputed word that has culturally gained adoption by people improperly using the word instead of supposedly.

Usage Examples:

Miguel is supposedly having a surprise concert on Sunday. “Devin is supposably going to go with me,” Mark explained improperly.

The verdict? Supposedly is the way to go. Always.

There is a plethora of commonly misused words that you may mistakenly use in your coursework. Always be cognizant of these simple mistakes, and always remember the value of proofreading your work.

5 Research Tips Your Librarian Wished You Knew

Looking for research tips to make writing that essay a little easier? Libraries and librarians are great resources for student, no matter what the topic is. Every day they help students like you find the most relevant sources for the topic you’re researching for a project—skills that are essential for carrying on into college, grad school, and real life.

Here are the things that your librarian wished you knew about libraries, research and the tools they can provide.

  1. Avoid using questions when conducting a general search online or in a database

When using a database or search engine to find sources or ideas, try to be as specific as possible with your search criteria. Avoid generalizing, and don’t forget to include proper capitalization to ensure you get the most accurate results possible.

Question words like who, how, and what sometimes muddle the search rather than help. For example, instead of typing “what is an annotated bibliography,” you’ll have different, but more relevant search results if you typed “annotated bibliography definition.”

  1. Databases that would otherwise cost you a fee to access are often free at your library

Is there anything more frustrating than finding the perfect journal article, only to find that it lives behind a paywall? If you find an interesting article in a paid database, ask the reference librarian at your library. Chances are, they have access to the database (which means you do, too) or to a database with similar sources.

  1. Don’t forget to check subject headings when conducting your research

These are a systematic list of terms that describe a given subject matter. Subject headings can be one word, two or more words, a phrase, a city, a country, a geographic region or a person. For example, the following are all valid subject headings:

HOSPITALS 
ELECTROCHEMISTRY 
WOMEN IN MOTION PICTURES 

Subject headings are great for three reasons. First, they can help you quickly discern if a source is actually about the topic that you are researching or not. Second, you can use subject headings in an advanced search to help you find sources that are relevant to your project. Third, you can use them to discover other articles. For example, in a database, you can sometimes click the subject heading to see a listing of all title related to that subject heading. From there, you can do a little browsing and see if any other source interests or inspires you. 

  1. Libraries have more than just books

They can provide FREE access to the Internet, archival materials, audio recordings, films, databases, and so much more. They even often offer classes that may help you in your research or develop your reading and writing skills. (Bonus tip: learn how to do a works cited page.)

  1. When in doubt, ask your librarian!

Librarians are always willing to help provide research tips and point you in the right direction if you get stuck. It’s their job! Your librarian can also help you cite sources in APA, MLA or Chicago style.


When your research is complete, don’t forget to run your writing assignment through a plagiarism checker, like the one you can find right here on BibMe! This will help ensure that you didn’t miss a citation or accidentally pick up text from your research. You can also check your assignment for grammar errors like a misspelled pronoun, incorrect subject-verb agreement, an uncapitalized proper noun, and more!

5 Common Grammar Errors on the SAT Writing & Language

Studying for the SAT Writing & Language might sound like an endless slog through obscure grammar rules. The secret, though, is that the test tends to reuse the same few concepts. If you take the time to master the most frequently tested grammar rules, you’ll find the SAT Writing & Language test much easier. (Here’s another SAT hack: to double-check your practice writing prompts, run them through BibMe’s online grammar checker!)

To make your life easier, here’s a list of 5 common grammatical errors tested on the SAT, with examples. 

1. Subject-Verb Disagreement

Here’s an example of subject-verb disagreement: Jessica are going to the park. Yuck! Sirens are probably going off in your head, indicating that there is indeed a grammatical error in that sentence. What you’re noticing is incorrect subject-verb agreement. In that example sentence, you know that “Jessica” is a singular subject, and therefore should be paired with “is,” not “are.”

The sentence should read: Jessica is going to the park. On the SAT, subject-verb disagreement is more challenging to spot. The test will spatially separate the verb from the subject so you don’t notice the disagreement. For example, the SAT loves to insert a prepositional phrase between the subject and the verb. Check out this sentence:

The group of high school students is going on a field trip tomorrow.

In this example, “group” is the singular subject of this sentence while “is” is the singular verb. The prepositional phrase “of high school students” is inserted between the subject and the verb to make it harder to see that “group” should be paired with “is.” Here the SAT is trying to trick you into finding an “error” in this perfectly correct sentence!

Keep an eye out for these prepositional phrases, and your score will certainly be in agreement with your grammar abilities.

2. Comma Splice

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses (or clauses that can stand alone as sentences) are incorrectly connected by just a comma. Take a look at this incorrect example:

I went to the grocery store to buy some apples, I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

This type of punctuation error is one of the most popular errors on the SAT. To fix a comma splice error, you can:

  • Connect the two independent clauses with a semicolon

    I went to the grocery store to buy some apples; I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

  • Add a conjunction (like “and” or “but”) after the comma

    I went to the grocery store to buy some apples, and I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

  • Separate the two independent clauses into two sentences

    I went to the grocery store to buy some apples. I ended up buying a lot of snacks.

Whenever you see a comma on the SAT, make sure it’s not being used to incorrectly connect two complete sentences!

3. Wrong Comparison


Check out this grammatically incorrect sentence: The performance of my sister’s band was better than my cousin’s band.

It can be tricky to spot, but that sentence is grammatically incorrect. Right now, it’s comparing a performance to a band. For wrong comparison questions, you want to ensure that you’re comparing like with like.

To fix this error, you want to be extra clear as to what’s being compared. Here are some ways you can fix that sentence:

  • The performance of my sister’s band was better than the performance of my cousin’s band.
  • The performance of my sister’s band was better than that of my cousin’s band.

It may seem repetitive, but whenever you have a comparison, ensure you’re comparing apples with apples!

4. “Who” versus “Whom”

It’s easy to get stressed about when to use “whom” since we don’t tend to use it on a daily basis. Though it’s not one of the most common types of grammar errors, knowing when to use “who” versus “whom” will make you feel more confident when taking the SAT.

On the test, “whom” usually appears after a preposition. Here’s an example of the incorrect use of “whom”:

Whom took my scarf?

In this example, you should say, “Who took my scarf?”

So when should you use “whom?” You should use it when it’s the object of a sentence. Still not sure what that means? No problem! In most cases on the SAT, there’s a preposition in front of “whom.” So if you see “to who” in a sentence, you’ll likely need to change it to “to whom” (think of the correct phrase: “To Whom It May Concern”).

5. Incorrect Modifier


Take a look at this incorrect example: After taking a long hike through Yosemite, Ryan’s sneakers were falling apart.

Here it seems like Ryan’s shoes went hiking, not Ryan. This is a great example of an incorrect modifier. The SAT loves to begin a sentence with a descriptive phrase but not immediately identify what is described. Ensure that whatever word follows the comma after the descriptive clause is what’s being described.

To fix that incorrect example, we should say:

After taking a long hike through Yosemite, Ryan noticed that his sneakers were falling apart.

Once you’ve gotten your head around these common grammatical errors, and sharpened your eagle eye with plenty of practice questions, you’ll be ready to rock the SAT Writing & Language!

While you’re at it, check out our helpful citation guides. You may not need to demonstrate how to cite a book, create MLA citations or an APA reference page for the SAT, but these guides will help you in many other language and learning situations!

Step Up Your Adjective Game!

Have you ever written a paper only to realize that you’re using the same, exact vocabulary over and over again? Acknowledged that you’ve totally used words like “logical”, “thorough,” and “crucial” so many times they’ve lost all meaning? Writing a paper for a college class can feel like a bit of a drag sometimes. When you’re working so hard on structure, citations, and formal academic voice, it’s easy to fall into a rut with your writing style.

 For your next paper, it’s time for you to mix it up! Adjectives are the spice cabinet of writing: you can’t have an interesting final product without them. You can also combine them in an infinite number of arrangements for different effects. If you’re tired of the same old words, try out some of these new ideas.

Thesaurus Time

The fastest way to finding new, exciting words to use in your papers? That trusty old friend, the thesaurus. If you’re a little nervous about trying to increase your vocabulary or you can’t think of something off the top of your head, using a thesaurus is a surefire way to ease into it. 

The trick here is to look up the ordinary or overused adjective and find a replacement that is a little more unusual or specific. The thesaurus has a ton of words that you can use to substitute for the same old adjectives—and this trick can work for a noun or verb too! If you’re not sure what to say, just use an “ordinary” word and then replace it with something in the thesaurus.

Pretty can become beautiful, cute, comely, attractive, elegant, or many more. Each of these adjectives is a little more evocative and a little less ordinary than just plain pretty. 

Specificity

The issue with commonly used words is that they’re often on the generic side; switching them out for a different adjective can have the dual benefit of making your writing more interesting and making it more specific. When it comes to academic writing, the second-most important thing is that it’s specific. The most important thing, of course, is that you proofread or run a spelling and grammar check on your paper before turning it in!

Let’s try out an example. Imagine you’re writing a paper, and at a certain point, you want to talk about a scientific discovery.

In 1967, scientists made a big discovery.

There is nothing technically wrong with this sentence, but “big” is one of the most generic adjectives out there. Try to find a substitute that adds nuance to your sentence. Even if it’s not an exact synonym, it’s more important to find an unusual adjective that gives more meaning.

 In 1967, scientists made an extraordinary discovery.

In 1967, scientists made a game-changing discovery.

In 1967, scientists made a tremendous discovery.

Each of these words carries its own connotations that give a little more texture to the sentence, and that’s important for giving readers a sense of what to expect.

A Word of Warning (Caution, Guidance, Advice)

When you’re using unusual adjectives (or nouns, or verbs), it’s easy to get carried away and include really obscure words just for the fun of it or to try to sound extra smart. Doing this, however, usually leads to the exact opposite effect: a paper full of words like pulchritudinous or capacious will often distract from the actual point of the paper and it won’t sound like you wrote it anymore. Try to walk a middle ground between using words that are unusual enough to spice up your writing without intruding on the style and flow of the paper, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can expand your vocabulary and improve your writing skills!

Now, let’s switch gears and end this post with a friendly reminder to always cite your sources. BibMe.org is here to help you develop your MLA works cited pageAPA reference page, an annotated bibliography, and more! 

SAT Reading Prep You Can Do Daily

Without the stress of group projects, quizzes, or formatting a works cited page, summer is the perfect time to start gearing up for the SAT Reading. Whether you’re on the road or at the beach, there are a few ways you can start prepping bit by bit.

Have you ever read a sentence three times only to find yourself wondering, “what the heck did I just read?” You’re not alone: one of the most common obstacles students encounter in the SAT Reading is remembering information from the passages. 

To help you work on the valuable SAT skill of retaining information, here’s a four-step process you can use to get ready for the fall SAT on a daily basis.

Step One: Figure Out How to Get the Newspaper

To start prepping, all you need is access to a good ol’ fashioned newspaper. You might be thinking, “But no one reads the newspaper anymore!” Here’s the thing: using a newspaper is a great way to prep for the SAT because one newspaper contains articles on all sorts of topics. Just like the SAT, you can read about arts & culture, current events, and more. Plus, an actual newspaper mimics the SAT since both are on paper.

An easy and free way to read the daily paper is to visit your local public library. You can try several different newspapers to see which one you like best.  

 Daily 5 minute task: none – one time task!

Step Two: Get in the Habit of Reading an Article a Day

Once you have access to the newspaper, start reading one article per day. That’s it! Don’t worry if you don’t totally understand the article. Getting in the habit of reading is the important part.

The SAT Reading will ask you to answer questions on different types of passages. To help you prepare, below is a sample weekly schedule of what kinds of articles to read. That way, you can get accustomed to reading about topics that might be unfamiliar.

Sun.

Mon.

Tues.

Wed.

Thurs.

Fri.

Sat.

Arts & culture

International news

Business

National news

Science

Local news

Whatever you like!

Like what you read? Save it to incorporate it into a research paper next year!

Daily 5 minute task: read one article a day

Step Three: Create Your Own Note-Taking System

After getting into the habit of reading an article a day for one week, begin determining your preferred note-taking method. By learning how to take notes in a way that works for you, you’ll retain more information while maintaining test-taking stamina. Taking notes on your daily newspaper article is a great way to practice.  

Most people know that underlining main ideas is helpful. Other ways to take notes include circling proper nouns, dates, and numbers, marking off lists of examples, etc. Feel free to get creative, but keep in mind that you’ll only have your #2 pencil on test day (i.e. don’t use highlighters or multi-colored pens).

 Bonus: learn how to cite sources here.

 Daily 5 minute task: take notes while reading an article

Step Four: Learn How To Identify the Main Idea

Once you’ve gotten used to taking notes while reading your daily article, end your five-minute routine by identifying the article’s main idea. A lot of the SAT Reading questions will ask you to determine the author’s main point, a skill that takes real-time practice.

Keep in mind that the difference between a main topic and main idea is that a topic refers to  the article’s subject matter, whereas the main idea is the argument behind the topic. For example, a science article’s topic may be climate change, but the main idea is that human activity is contributing to climate change.

Daily 5 minute task: write one sentence identifying the main idea after taking notes while reading.

This four-step process over time will help to improve your reading comprehension and retention. Not only will this help you be ready for the SAT Reading, but you’ll also find that you can apply this process to your class readings too! 

ACT Prep You Can Do Daily

By Jillian Schleiden

When you picture studying for the ACT, you might imagine yourself surrounded by piles of books with dark circles under your eyes from the long hours of work. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can prepare for the ACT bit by bit, everyday. It just requires a little planning and a dash of strategy.

Here’s how you do it: 

1. Choose Your Resources

There’s a positive sea of prep material for the ACT. Walk into a bookstore and you’ll see a dozen manuals, tomes of practice questions, and even more “quick and easy” guides to getting a great score. The good news is, you only need a few specific resources:

  • A book of practice questions
  • A guide to the material covered in the test
  • 2-3 practice tests 

You can usually find these combined in one book, but feel free to mix and match. Make sure your practice tests address specific content areas within each section. For instance, the English section should show you how you did with grammar, as well as main ideas and vocabulary. (For a comprehensive review of parts of speech, check out our pages on conjunctions, nouns, adverbs, and more.)   

The ACT website also offers some free resources for studying, including recommendations for printed materials.

In addition to a book, you’ll likely find it helpful to have:

  • Sticky-note style tab markers for your books
  • A notebook and pen
  • Index cards 

2. Pinpoint Your Weak Areas

The next step is to complete a practice test. Give yourself the same testing set-up as you’ll have on the real test. This means:

  • Basic calculator only
  • No resource materials outside of what the test provides
  • No phone or other devices
  • Time limit per section

Make sure you take the test somewhere you won’t be disturbed so the setting is as realistic as possible. If you really want to be on the ball, take it in the morning. This will be especially enlightening for you if you’re not a morning person!

 Grade your test and then analyze the areas where you need the most work. Self-grading the essay portion can be a challenge, but you can ask a friend or parent to grade yours against the ACT rubric, as well as run it through our grammar checker to spot writing mistakes.

 Rank the test areas from “Help, I have no clue what I’m doing” to “I can do this in my sleep.”

3. Create Your Guide

Get out those fancy colored tabs you purchased and the study guide you chose. Color code the areas you just ranked. Your weakest areas could be red, your strongest areas could be green, and so on. Choose up to five colors.

Now, create your schedule for the week. Plan a day each week to review the areas where you already do well. Then, give two to three days to the areas where you really struggle, and the last day or two days to the middle areas. You won’t need to spend much time each day studying if you’re being this strategic.

From here, the way you attack the material at hand is up to you. You can:

  • Work from the beginning to the back of the material by color code
  • Work by subject area each week (if certain areas are a big struggle for you)
  • Start with the familiar material and work your way into the unfamiliar

Stick with your schedule every day! This daily routine is what saves you from long study sessions.

4. Study smart

Research has shown that trying to answer questions, even when you’re really not sure, and then checking your work is one of the most successful ways to learn. This is why there are so many books of practice questions! Add at least five practice questions to your studies each day.

As you create your study schedule, remember to review any test-taking vocabulary you need to know. Formal test taking language may vary from what you learn in high school. Flashcards are an easy way to master these words. If you have someone in your life willing to help, use one of your study days to have them check you card by card.

5. Re-check and Repeat

About halfway through your summer break, take another practice test in the same setting. Keeping the variables the same gives you more honest results.

You’ll see that you have new areas of need because you’ve started to master the old areas. Go back through your guide book and practice questions and reassign your colors and days of work. Now keep at it until the end of the summer!

By carefully structuring what material you study by day, you’ll master new material without forgetting the old. Long hours of cram sessions are not needed to master the ACT!    


Still need to create citations? BibMe is here for you. Learn how to cite a website in MLA
 (or another style), create an APA title page, review our annotated bibliography example, and more!

4 Simple Steps to Writing a Good Thesis Statement

What is a Thesis Statement Exactly?

A thesis statement is a single sentence that explains the argument you want to present in a paper. It is most often located in the first or second paragraph of your paper. If your paper is a tree, the thesis statement is the single seed it grows from.

You Mentioned an Argument? Do I Have to Argue?

Most academic outlets expect that you will present an argument. It is not sufficient to simply report what you have read. You must take it a step further and come to a conclusion based on the information you have gathered. This conclusion is your thesis and your paper is your defense of the thesis.

Tip: If you are not sure if your paper needs a thesis, ask your instructor.

Ok, so How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?

Follow our easy steps.

Step #1: Research First

Students often make the mistake of coming up with a thesis before doing any research. A better method is to begin with research in your field of study and look for patterns or themes. Not only does this make proving your thesis easier, it also prevents you from tunnel vision that could result in your arguing a thesis that is not true.

Step #2 Inspiration List

As you research, write down any ideas or themes that you notice as you go along. Look for subjects that are recurring, interesting or controversial. As an example, let’s say you are researching street art and graffiti you might write down the following:

  • Some people love street art and others think it is vandalism.
  • Certain cities seem to attract street artists more than others.
  • Street art and graffiti are not considered the same thing.
  • More visible and public areas are prized by street artists.
  • Street art can be viewed for free.

 Tip: Keep track of where you found your most compelling research; it’s not crazy to start building a works cited page in MLA or an APA reference page this early. It just means that once you are ready to write your thesis statement, you’ll already have everything you need to build an outline for the rest of your paper.

 Step #3 Get Creative

Take a look at your inspiration list and try to draw a unique conclusion that you have not already read about. When it comes to papers, creative ideas that can be supported by strong evidence are optimal. Based on our list, we could reasonably argue that:

Street art is the most accessible modern artform. 

#4 Test It

If you can answer yes to all of the following questions, your thesis statement is ready.

Could someone reasonably dispute your thesis?

Someone could argue that the sky is green, but it is not reasonable.

Is your thesis provocative or compelling?

Interesting ideas make reading more fun for your grader, which means a better grade for you.

Is there enough research to support your argument?

A thesis is only as good as the research it is built on. Make sure that there’s enough credible information to support your research paper topic.

Is your thesis statement simple to understand?

If your statement is too long or meandering take some time to edit down to a more basic version.

Remember: a thesis statement is a research-based opinion. Keep it clear and concise and you are on your way to a strong final paper.

Want guidance on your writing? Looking for a quick plagiarism or grammar check? Or maybe you need to build citation in Chicago Manual of Style or another format. Try BibMe Plus today for help with all of it!

6 Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Job or Internship

Ahhh, it’s summer. It may be break time for most, but you have ambitiously taken on a summer job or internship. Congrats! It can provide a great opportunity to prepare for life after college as long as you make the most of your experience.

Summer jobs and internships aren’t just about putting cash in the bank—they’re also about learning what you’d like to do professionally and developing skills that enhance your education.

Here are six tips for ensuring that your summer job or internship is worthwhile, both for you and for the company at which you’re working.

If you have to write articles, lessons, or reports for your summer job or internship, it never hurts to have an extra proofread of your drafts. That’s why BibMe Plus offers a grammar checker to help spot errant grammar and potential mistakes before anyone else (like your manager) does.

1. Set Goals For Yourself

Before the summer begins, write out a list of what you hope to achieve from your job or internship. Come up with 1-2 tangible skills you’d like to develop by the time the summer ends, and share these goals with your employer. Feel free to add on to this list throughout the summer, or revise if you find yourself assigned different tasks than what you initially accepted to be doing.

Bonus: Propose or keep track of projects you can potentially add to your portfolio at the end of the internship. For example, published articles if you are studying journalism, or lesson plans you drafted as a student teacher.

2. Find Tasks to Do

It’s good to listen to your manager, but being proactive can also pay off. Especially if you find yourself sitting around scrolling through social media for the umpteenth time. Take the initiative to talk to your boss about what else you can be doing to help out and, if possible, make suggestions based on what you’ve seen at the company and what your capabilities are.

3. Be Positive

As an intern or summer employee, you may find yourselves tasked with mundane things like grabbing coffee, cleaning the file cabinet or updating an Excel spreadsheet. When asked by a superior to do these things, cheerfully agree and ask if there’s anything more you can do. Take every opportunity that comes your way gladly. Seize whatever opportunities you’re given and go above and beyond the call to show your full potential.

4. Make Connections

Now’s the time be chatty. At your job or internship, introduce yourself to as many people as you can to help grow and develop your professional network. Add your supervisor and others from your company on LinkedIn, and think about who you’d be able to use as a reference or have write a recommendation letter for you. After you graduate, these connections could prove instrumental in finding a job.

5. Take Notes

You probably aren’t going to remember every single thing you’ve worked on over the course of the summer off the top of your head—and that’s OK (and normal). Jot down notes at the end of each week about what you did and what you liked/disliked. Later, this will be helpful when revising your resume and figuring out whether you’d like to do something similar after graduation.

6. Ask for Feedback

Although it’s valuable to self-reflect on your own performance, it’s perhaps more helpful to receive feedback from your superiors. Schedule a chat with your manager to discuss what you’ve been doing well and where they see room for improvement. As someone who is more experienced in the industry, your boss will be in a good position to assess your performance.

Citing work for your job, internship, or class? Don’t stress! Visit BibMe.com for help easily creating APA citations, a works cited page in MLA, in-text citations and more!

The Four Kinds of Plagiarism a Plagiarism Checker Can Catch

You’ve probably heard from your teacher that plagiarizing can lead to serious academic consequences. Plagiarism is the act of copying or including information from someone else’s work in your own paper without giving that person proper credit. Thankfully, there are tools available to help you make sure you haven’t committed plagiarism, such as the plagiarism checker located right here on BibMe.

So what kinds of plagiarism can these tools catch? Read on for some details and tips.

1) Copy and pasted sections

Students frequently copy information from an online source and paste it into a draft of their paper. Sometimes this is done on purpose, but it can also be an accident, as the student may just want to use the snippet for organizational or research purposes. The problem is, it becomes very easy to forget to remove, change, or cite sources before handing in the paper. Plagiarism checkers, however, can detect this type of plagiarism, whether it was intentional or not.

2) Uncited quotes

Quotes are frequently used as evidence for an argument in research or literary analysis papers. What can be tricky, however, is remembering to properly cite each quote, no matter how small. It can be easy to forget to write these down, and a plagiarism checker is a great resource to check for any missing citations near quotation marks in your paper.

3) Uncited links

Websites can be great places to start research on a topic, giving you a wealth of information almost instantaneously. Be mindful that you can’t just copy a link into your paper as a reference, however. These do not count as proper citations, and must be formatted correctly in MLA style, APA, or any other format your teacher asks for. Plagiarism checkers can flag these links and suggest that you create a citation for them.  

4) Accidental

Not all plagiarism is deliberate. Often students simply forget to include proper citations, or they mistakenly include copied text in their paper. These accidents can unfortunately be very harmful to your grade and academic record. Thankfully, plagiarism checkers can be a second line of defense, along with careful note-taking so you don’t lose track of sources.

Want to check your paper for possible plagiarism? Check out the Plagiarism and Grammar Checker on BibMe! This fantastic tool is a student’s best friend, as it can help to check for instances of plagiarism, provide instant grammar improvement suggestions, and let you add any forgotten citations directly into your paper.

Wrapping up a paper? Try BibMe’s grammar and plagiarism check!