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General Writing and Grammar Help/meaning of "take credit for something"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I'm not sure of the meaning of the expression "to take credit for something", I think it means the following: to say that are responsible for something good that happened, to say something happened because of you. Is my understanding of the expression correct? In other words, do the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. I'm so angry with my manager because he took credit for the building I designed.
2. My wife took credit for the song I wrote.
3. You shouldn't take credit for other people's work.
4. Mike took credit for the project's success.

Answer
Dear Glen:

I'm not sure of the meaning of the expression "to take credit for something", I
think it means the following: to say that are responsible for something good
that happened, to say something happened because of you. Is my understanding of
the expression correct? In other words, do the following sentences make sense
and are they grammatically correct?
1. I'm so angry with my manager because he took credit for the building I
designed.
2. My wife took credit for the song I wrote.
3. You shouldn't take credit for other people's work.
4. Mike took credit for the project's success.

*** All of your sentences are correct.  When someone takes credit for doing something, his action is considered negative.  It is a kind of stealing.  For instance, one of the major problems for English teachers and professors is that students do not write their own essays.  Instead, they search the internet for essays dealing with their assigned topics.  [For some of the essays, the students must pay money, but for many of the essays, the download is free!]

The students submit these "stolen" essays as having been written by themselves.  They are TAKING CREDIT FOR THE WORK OF OTHER PEOPLE.  In the academic world, this situation is commonly called "plagiarism," since the guilty students TOOK the work of other people and called these essays their own.

It is a very serious problem in the United States.

There are several programs that help expose the guilty students.  One program is called "Turn It In."  The English department at my university requires students to upload their essays to "Turn It In."  The program then compares a student's essay to the hundreds of thousands of internet sources.  The essay is then returned to the professor with "markings."  If there are no marking on the examined essays, the professor knows that the essay is original.  However, portions of the essay [or the entire essay] are highlighted in RED, if they are taken word-for-word from another source.  If there are portions highlighted in GREEN, that text is similar to the words of someone else, with just a few minor changes.

Several years ago, one of the senior English students [an "honor" student] was presented with an award for the best senior paper.  I was in attendance when she tried to make an oral presentation of her work.  I asked her several questions about the novel, James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."  She was unable to answer even the simplest of my questions.  The chair of the department had already given this student the award.  Another professor submitted the entire essay to Turn It In.  When the essay was returned to the professor, 87% of the words were taken directly from an essay posted on the internet by someone else.  The award was rescinded and the student was given a failing grade for the course, a course that was required to graduation.  She did not graduate and no one has seen her since.

She was guilty of TAKING CREDIT FOR WORK SHE DID NOT DO.

Sorry for the lengthy story, but I am particularly sensitive to this problem.

Ted  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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