Plagiarism Happens So Get Over It  

Posted by Heidi in

Before I am pelted with virtual rotten fruit and vegetables (my fridge is full of them so lay off already!) I’m talking about unintentional plagiarism.

The kind that happens when no one is looking. Not even you.

The kind that happens because you read thousands of bloggy words a day and some of them just stay with you like barnacles on a ship (only they are much nicer than barnacles in that they are nothing like barns or even acles which, duh! b/c acles” isn’t a real word even if “barns” is).

Case in point: I don’t know for sure which bloggist started up with the word “helk” as I have seen it around a lot lately but as a swear-word-repressed child I love it to the very fiber of my bones. As a result, there are times when I just can’t help but use it even though it is far from my own creation.

(What was that? You want me to stop using your “word”? Go ahead, make me! Go on! Hold my head in the toilet water until I pass out! But when I get out of here the word most likely to stream from my mouth like a bat outta hell is “helk”.)

Then there are all the great ideas for blog posts one simply can’t resist. I suppress them into the deepest core of my none-too-deep brain (which is to say--none too deep) where I forget about them entirely until one day I write a sassy, kick-a (I ripped that off of some bloggist somewhere) of a blog post and a kind commenter informs me it is funny and cute and JUST like so-and-so’s post from last week.

What the HELK?

Then there’s the “that way”, or it’s coattail cousin, “like that” as in “I’m just a plagiarist like that”. Believe me, I truly try to control myself with these cutie-patootie phrases since I associate them so closely with one bloggist in particular and she has this “thing” about plagiarism (she’s paranoid like that) so I use it sparingly. In my deepest heart of hearts, I know it’s not “me” to talk that way and using those phrases are a total and complete rip-off. Yet some things, heaven help me, just have to be “said”.

I’m a fatalist like that. Or that way. Depending. (Whatev!)

(If you liked this post, you just might want to consider voting for me HERE. Please? Pretty, pretty please? If you do, leave a comment, and I will go to your blog and read it every day (if I don’t already) and become a follower and EVERYthing! Pinkie-promise!)

This entry was posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 at Monday, January 12, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

57 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I am always really nervous that I am unintentionally plagairizing someone, or I come up with the same idea as someone else, and they think I copied them.

January 12, 2009 at 12:04 PM

But see, that's not plagiarism. Using HELK and the like is how the language evolves. Now if you lifted actual paragraphs from someone's blog, there'd be reason for kicking a. :D

Bloggers should be flattered that something they did is moving into the bloggy vernacular.

January 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM

I agree with all of it. I can't seem to be cool and witty on my own, but if I steal someone else's word, voila! I'm cool!

And an accidental plagiarist. Oops.

January 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Kristina, just keep reading only the first sentence of every post as you do which will allow you to claim total innocence. :) Annette--I know, I'm stretching the literal meaning of the word plagiarism. It's what I do. Sorry if it makes you crazy! But, alas, not sorry enough to stop. I totally agree about the flattered thing. So why hasn't my word "bloggist" taken off yet? (jk--I know why not). Erin, try not to worry. As Annette says, it isn't really plagiarism. The sincerest form of flattery is imitation. Regarding finding your own voice, when writing, it doesn't have to be truly all your own. Writing voices are like anything else--faddish.

January 12, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Wow. That some impressive emoting going on there!

January 12, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I actually went back this morning and re-wrote a comment because the word "helk" slipped in there unawares and I worried... Ahh... I'm feeling so much freedom now that I can snag a few fun words :)

Hey, Shakespeare invented words - and they were adopted into usage... Pretty sure there's no fee I have to pay every time I say "prithee" (like, really - when was the last time I said THAT?)

And with the b'zillion blogs out there, ideas are flyin' around right and left - I didn't imagine for two seconds that it was anything more than coincidence when 4 of us posted about phobias last week... (and if it was - yay, someone's maybe reading my blog!)

January 12, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Unless the phrase is copy righted it is fair game. It's part of the natural evolution of the language.

Plagiarizing an idea . . . that's a little more complicated. But a phrase is not an idea. Especially not a swear-word substitute phrase.

How silly. I agree with Annette Lyon.

January 12, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Funny post, Heidi! It was so kick-a! Seriously, you know how to write a kick-a post.

Oh, and I answered your question about my uncle in my comments.

January 12, 2009 at 12:57 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I don't care if you ever steal anything from my blog. I would think it a great compliment. (I myself stole my sister's song of the week idea.)

I like reading your blog and you make me laugh. Keep up the great work!

January 12, 2009 at 1:04 PM

imitation is the finest form of flattery... or something like that... I just made that up....oh,, no, I didn't.

January 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Jami--that is some impressive J you've got there! T--yah, well, Shakespeare is dead, so . . . no, really, anything that old and that completely in the everyday usage of everday man is totally fair game. In fact, I quote quite a bit of the ol' bard in Miss D. I did have to change the name from Darling Buds of May though (to Miss D) b/c it is used just a tad too often. Heatherlyn, I don't disagree with Annette at all. The post is satire. It's supposed to by funny. Alas and alack, methinks you missed the point. Alyson, however, did not. Thanks Alyson! Your uncle grew up in Pleasanton?!?! So did my nephew. And my parents were temple workers at the Oakland temple, too. I wonder if it was at the same time. My dad would have LOVED that--he loves Pickles! Just ADORES it! Spacey Chick--you rock! Thank you! Abra--bwwaahhaaahaaaa! You really ARE back, aren't you?

January 12, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Where have I been? I've never even noticed the word "helk" used in a post.

Kinda makes me want to use it.

January 12, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Someone just used helk in my comments. Ha! Bloggists are funny. ;)

My grandma's name was Helen Crane. You'll have to ask your parents if they knew her.

January 12, 2009 at 2:08 PM

We tell kids that copying is a form of flattery and yet we don't see it ourselves, its "stealing". I get both sides, but more importantly I think you wrote this awesomely! (awesomely, hmmmmm, is that a word? Oh well.)

January 12, 2009 at 2:08 PM

I must not read the cool blogs (except yours, of course) because I've never seen the word HELK in my entire existence. And I am forever annoyed because I have a great idea, and then someone else uses it before I do, and so I can't use it without them thinking I stole/copied/plagiarized/flattered them. Sigh.

January 12, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I just noticed helk for the first time last week and I thoughts to meself, "I sure like heq better for the pure under-use of the letter Q." But that's just me.
I feel like I get plagiarized a lot, but since most of my great posts never left my actual mind I can't prove it. Bummer.

January 12, 2009 at 2:20 PM

being a bloggist myself - my favorite blogger swear word is the original h-e-double-hockey-sticks. spelled just like that!

you have me addicted

January 12, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Very funny post... I have never heard the word "helk" but must admit it does roll off the rongue easily doesnt it.. lol..

Hoping you do well with the awards.. =)

January 12, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Hi Heidi. I just wanted to say that I'm the one who started the Helk word. Hee hee. I'm so glad you like it.

Now you owe me twenty bucks.

My latest word is bloggonit! But I've copy righted it, so you'll owe me twenty bucks if you use it.

Annette is right! That's evolutions, baby!

But I know what you mean. I couldn't stop saying lurve for a while.

January 12, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Crash, I confess I knew it was you but it got around so darn fast I had to stop and wonder . .. I am often wrong about things so I question pretty much everything I am adamantly sure about. But, you heard it from the horse's mouth, everyone--it is Crash's word and it will cost you only $20 to use it! Yay!

January 12, 2009 at 3:48 PM

There isn't ANYTHING out there that hasn't been blog your heart out...I'm sure if we read everyone's journals from the 1800's that they would start to sound somewhat similar? don't you think?

And who the HELK cares if you steal a word of phrase because if sounds fun to say Gad Tamn it all!!!

What the freakin' what?

Anyway...Love ya

January 12, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Helk is a fun term. I like it because it is kinda like swearing, but not really. It will be fun to see if it evolves into common usage beyond the bloggy world.

Word verification: pinge - sounds like a real word but isn't. Maybe I should assign one and make it my helk.

January 12, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Thanks for the comment, I helk you! NO? Thats not the way you use it?! Bloggonit!! Crap, there goes $40 down the drain....

Oh, of course I voted for you! :)

January 12, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I totally know what you mean. I must be very impressionable because I pick up things from others and repeat them. No chance of it not happening with me. But can't we just say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and be happy about it?

What the helk.

January 12, 2009 at 5:19 PM

So, you're saying I should totally expect to see something I posted show up here in a slightly re-worded post?? :)

And I totally steal IDEAS all the time. Like the one word thing. I don't know who started that one up -but I suppose if I clicked around enough I could.

And helk? That is a great word!!

January 12, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Shelle--love ya, too! (has that been said too much? I don't know . . .maybe I should cut back on the lovin' . . . or the elipses . . .does anyone know the plural of elipse?) Randi--don't you read Crash? She of the "helk" usage de jour? Alyson--love your use of the word "bloggist". Love it! Love it love it love it! It sounds even better when you say it then when I do. Lassen fam--you can say "awesomely" as often as you like, esp when referring to moi! thanks! Lara--you crack me up! You don't read Crash either? Oh me, oh my! And btw, you don't need to worry --your post today was pretty fresh! In more ways than one! Megz--bwaahhaahaaaaaa! That's too funny and so true, ain't it? Messy Jess--I am all for addiction when I am the product being consumed. I'm evil that way. Not messy Jess--thank you! You are a dear! Becky--but impinge is a word so one could pretend pinge is a form of that. I would. I think I even have. Love words! Lassen fam--wait! I recognize your mug! Melinda? Right? No? I'll get it. Eventually. Thanks for voting for me!! Nutty, in a word--yes.

January 12, 2009 at 6:03 PM

Heather, yes, b/c you have goodly posts worth stealing big time!

January 12, 2009 at 6:04 PM

What the helk are you talkin' about?

January 12, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Hee hee, I love this post! And Annette's right. You're not plagiarizing. If you want you can say "What the Halifax!" I think I ripped that off one of the Anne of Avonlea books.

"Oh, crepe paper" instead of "oh crap" is my own invention. I won't come after you if you use that either!

January 12, 2009 at 6:44 PM

I can't believe it took me this long of seeing Kristina P.'s picture to realize that she's kissing Twilight, not a medal she won.

Boy, am I observant!

January 12, 2009 at 6:46 PM
It's fair game, my friends!

Word Verification kenpoote: This one requires no explaination.

January 12, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Keri--you are a funny one! Hey, I've seen your blog before! You are the one with the little hero guy who has CP. Me too. Only mine is a big hero guy, now. Rebecca, oh nertzy! (stole that one from my mom who does NOT blog) now I will have what the crepe paper in my brain! Jami--I saw your helk definition on Crash's blog. Way to spoil all the fun, Jami! I do adore your Kenpoote definition, though.

January 12, 2009 at 8:51 PM

My wife won't let me use frak.

She doesn't appreciate the culture of the twelve colonies.

January 12, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Reed--what about frick? I won't ask about the 12 colonies as it will reveal my ignorance. Oops! Too late. . .

January 12, 2009 at 9:31 PM

The funniest plagiarism I have witnessed was when we were with a group of people and my husband told this whole story about this funny thing that had happened to him! When he was done I pulled him aside and told him that it was something that had happened to me a long time ago and I had told him about it. He was pretty embarrassed because we had laughed so much about it initially and retold it so often that somehow he really felt that it was a real thing HE had experienced.

January 12, 2009 at 9:50 PM

OMG!! What the helk are you talking about?? This was a kick-a post!!! I must spread some lurve to you! Tamn-it just when I think you've written your best you go beyond that!

Look at you go!!! :)

January 12, 2009 at 10:00 PM

Kazzy--so funny! That happens with me and my twin sister all the time! At least we were both there when it happened originally. April--you are too kind! Thanks!

January 12, 2009 at 10:21 PM

You are such a plagiarist! I don't know if I can allow you to read my blog anymore!

My sister wrote in the comments to a recent post that she loved your "absotively" and that she is going to steal it.

And all I can say is what goes around comes around! :)

(FUNNY post) (and Kazzy's comment is funny, too)

January 12, 2009 at 11:54 PM

Lisa--really? Cause now I'm totally flattered. I've been saying absotively for years but no doubt I stole it from someone long ago Oops! It's Tuesday. Going into duck and cover mode . .

January 13, 2009 at 7:07 AM

Don't get too tense, after all concerning our conversation styles, aren't we all just the sum and pieces of things that we have heard or experienced. Okay, so deep down maybe we aren't, but when talking about something as superficial as chatting isn't that the case. For example; Sometimes if chatting with someone with a strong southern accent I tend to slip into one (the accent) and I am horrified that they may think I am making fun of them which is far from the truth. So don't sweat this particular type of plagiarism because if the truth be told they probably weren't the originators either. Whew, way too long and wordy.

January 13, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Ok so maybe I lurk and stalk you lot but don't really remember if I've ever left any prints on ur blog so today I will comment, not so that you can come read my blog or follow me or anything like that {ok, so that too} but because I do like this post.
I don't think there is anything wrong with plagiarizing someone else's words, it's actually a compliment to be copied, don't u think? After all, this blogasphere is full of people spreading the love so why not share cute lil words.
Oh btw, just so u know, I voted for you last week, while I was lurking in the corner going through ur stuff..yikes, that sounds a lil creepy. Don't freak out though. LOL

January 13, 2009 at 12:04 PM

tsk tsk! I was dropping by just to mention that I finally made it over to vote at MMB (holy cats - do I really want to get involved in that insanity?) and here I find Heidi breaking her Tuesday rule! (okay, maybe 7 a.m. can be forgivable since it's before the work day begins)

and Holy Helk, crash is going to be rich if we have to pay her for all her words... I need a dictionary for Christmas!

"Jubilad" - your verifier is telling me it's a very happy boy today :)

January 13, 2009 at 12:22 PM

OK OK I'll vote for you. Plagiarism --what the helk can you do about it. We all try and be original - don't we?
We are not copy and pasting for the love of all that's holy (that's a comment I always use) Helk - cop this: my bro. in law says Gosh a Pickle Mik a Dikken. Copy that.

January 13, 2009 at 1:11 PM

How can you be plagarizing if it's based on your own story or situation or experience? And as for helk? Give me a break. If I 'created' a word, I'd be flattered if people started using it. Duh. WHAT THE HELK? lol

January 13, 2009 at 1:25 PM

Lisa--really? Cause now I'm totally flattered. I've been saying absotively for years but no doubt I stole it from someone long ago Oops! It's Tuesday. Going into duck and cover mode . .

I mean, um yeah! what you said

January 13, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Isn't it absotively posilutely? We used to say that a lot. Don't know where it came from.

January 13, 2009 at 9:28 PM

haha. I'm suddenly "like that"ing all the time. It even took me a while to figure out it came from all of this blasted blog-reading. The "plagiarism" that cracks me up is when a commenter uses an slightly uncommon phrase from my post in their comment on my post. I think, like you said, it just gets stuck in there, so those are the words they come up with to describe their thoughts.

January 13, 2009 at 10:08 PM

I just wrote the exact same post. seriously, word for word. I haven't published it yet though, if I do you won't think I stole it or anything will you?

January 13, 2009 at 11:46 PM

What the hell!? You are so kick ass sometimes!

I totally just avoided plagiarizing :)

January 13, 2009 at 11:54 PM

I'll admit, I am sometimes an idea stealer. You know those blankety days, you can't come up with your topics, I'll read my family and friends and bang, come up with something to write.

Shhhhh........don't tell on me though, kay?

January 14, 2009 at 7:41 AM


I hate plagiarism, but, sadly, I just assume it's going to happen, especially in the blog world.

But the accidental kind? I'm all about that. I'd love for some word I made up to make the world rounds!

January 14, 2009 at 7:59 AM

Hey, awesome post and very pretty layout! You're a really great writer and I love that your topics are not the same thing everyday. Christine came by my blog and used Mr. Linky to link up her favorite "small-ish" blog. You're Hers! So, I came by for a visit and I"m glad I did. Have a great day.

Oh, by the way, since I started blogging, my favorite little typed phrase is WTF? It's like cursing, but not really.

January 14, 2009 at 9:40 AM

I so love all of your comments but I can't possibly keep up! I can't catch up on your blog posts and post responses to your comments from today's post and keep my kids in the land of the living AND make a personal response to each comment left on my day off . . sorry . . . but I loved reading them!

January 14, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Geez Heidi, you suck! What kind of horrible person are you anyway?


January 14, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Rachel--you are so darn stinkin' funny!

January 15, 2009 at 7:10 AM

Consider yourself lucky, Heidi! When I am around people I like, I begin to subconsciously adopt their expressions and mannerisms. It even happens with my accent. *SHRUG*

BTW, at least you didn't "plagiarize" the term "Oh my heck!". I would have had to stop following your blog had you done that.

January 17, 2009 at 5:25 PM

James, you are so darn stinkin' funny, too! You and Rebecca would make a great pair! Oops, somebody already had that idea too? I'm just so darn unoriginal!

January 22, 2009 at 7:34 AM

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