What is plagiarism? Taking someone’s ideas and representing them as your own is considered plagiarism in the United States. It is considered a breach of ethics by both professional and academic communities. Are there any exceptions to this rule? In the U.S., the short answer is no. Using someone’s ideas as if they were your own is always plagiarism. If you do it accidentally, it’s still plagiarism. If you put someone’s ideas into your own words and do not give them credit, it’s still plagiarism. If someone’s ideas are expressed visually (as photographs, tables, drawings, graphics, diagrams, etc.) and you use them as your own, it’s still plagiarism. If someone’s idea is used in a speech, conversation or letter and never published anywhere and you use it as your own, it’s still plagiarism. When in doubt, cite it. Learn more about reasons for citing sources beyond plagiarism.