This page contains information on avoiding plagiarism and on ensuring your work is recognized as your work. The page also contains information for teachers and potential volunteers.

Avoiding Plagiarism
Revising essays on the basis of critical feedback is standard practice in academic writing. It is encouraged by teachers. Acknowledging such feedback is also standard practice, while failure to acknowledge the use of others’ work is considered plagiarism. The WPA (Council of Writing Program Adminsitrators) defines plagiarism in this way:

"Plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source."

Different cultures define and punish plagiarism in different ways, but the above definition is a good working definition for most western institutions, which institutions tend to punish plagiarism severely.If you get help from, acknowledge it in your essay. This is required by our Terms and Conditions and will ensure that you do not violate your institution’s plagiarism policy.

Sample General Acknowledgement: “I wish to acknowledge the advice offered by an expert who reviewed an earlier draft of this essay on”

Sample Specific Acknowledgement: “My argument about prudence in Billy Budd was developed in response to a suggestion offered by an expert who reviewed an earlier draft of this essay on”

Ensuring your work is recognized as your own
Include identifying information with any essay you submit: your name, course, or teacher’s name. For example, on the essay you submit to the site, include a statement like “By A. Smith for English 204, UCLA.”
Also include an acknowledgement of any help received on your essay.

If Your Teacher Asks about Your Essay on
Explain that you submitted the essay for critical feedback to an educational site. Point to the date of submission and the username.

Prove that you submitted the essay by leaving a comment. Your username will appear next to the comment. Your comment can contain identifying information. For example: Written by A. Smith for Professor Goodman.

Invite your teacher to contact us with any questions at

Further information about plagiarism for teachers and students
The WPA statement on plagiarism
Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) information on plagiarism.

A Note for Teachers is a resource for students and teachers.
The site was founded by a professor of English literature, who to date has provided all reviews on the site. We do not charge for this service or offer any paid services whatsoever. We do not provide a proofreading or editing service. We do not sell essays. We are not affiliated with sites that sell essays or with sites that provide “writing services” for a fee; we do not link to any such sites or promote to them in any way. The purpose of the site is to contribute to the democratization of online education and to complement the work of teachers. If you discover your student’s essay on this site, ask your student about it. Your student will have no difficulty demonstrating that the work is original by logging in to the site and leaving a comment under her or his username. Please also encourage your student to include an acknowledgment of feedback they have received in essays they turn in to you. If you have any questions or comments about a particular essay or its review, please contact us at

Essays and reviews published on the site become a public resource for students and teachers. The terms and conditions of the site stipulate that teachers may make use of essays and reviews for pedagogical purposes. You can print out essays and reviews to use for classroom activities or base assignments on the content of the site. Occasionally, students who have submitted essays return to the site to post their revised essays. This creates a group of documents (essay draft, review, revision, further review) that can be pedagogically very useful.

The content of the site should also be of use to teaching assistants, novice teachers, or university students planning to become teachers, all of whom may find it useful to peruse the feedback provided on the site as they learn about the challenge of responding to student essays.

Can You Contribute?
As the site grows, we will be asking teachers with experience responding to undergraduate essays to consider offering their help to this project. If you are interested in volunteering to review essays, in whatever volume you wish (from one per day to one per month) please contact us at

If you wish to get involved immediately, you can leave critical feedback in the comment section of any posted essay. You can also help by sharing your knowledge of the site on blogs, institutional websites, or social networking sites. While we greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word, we ask that you do not require students to submit essays to the site. We do not have the resources to meet the kind of demand that would create, and the site’s aim, moreover, is to help the student who sincerely wants to work on their writing; we wish to accomplish that aim by making the site discoverable by students who seek out legitimate help on their own. You are welcome to require your students to contribute critical comments on essays posted on the site.