Plagiarism is a word that is too often not clearly defined. Teachers tell their students not to plagiarize but never clearly tell them what plagiarism is. Before reading the material on plagiarism, I thought I knew what it was and how to properly give credit to people for their work. I was surprised at some of the facts that I didn’t know. I did not know that it only takes 4 words to be considered plagiarism. I knew that if you made a long quote that it should be indented but I did not know exactly how many words was considered a long quote. I was fortunate to have been taught that summarizing someone else’s words is plagiarism if they are not given credit for the ideas. I have found that many students believe that if they rephrase an author’s words then giving credit is not necessary. I often wonder if teachers just tell their students to just put it into their own words and it will be alright. Students definitely need to be taught all the details of what is considered plagiarism and this education needs to start with the first papers that they are assigned to write whether it be in elementary or middle school. The repercussions for plagiarism at the college level can be devastating on the future of a young person. Until there are standards for teaching students about plagiarism, as teachers we cannot be sure of what our students have been taught previously. Unless we make the rules clear by having a discussion with our students, handing out clearly stated guidelines for plagiarism and putting posters on the wall we cannot assume they know anything. The only way we can punish students for committing plagiarism is if we know that they know the rules. We are teachers so let’s teach and then hold our students accountable.