Recognizing and Removing Plagiarism From Your Essay

Plagiarism guide is an unfailing friend of college students. It is something they should keep nearby every time they work on writing assignments. The only problem is, most people dismiss its importance or simply have no idea where to find it. Plagiarism is a stealing or unpermitted borrowing of someone’s ideas with the subsequent display of them as your own thoughts. When a person plagiarizes, they give people whose words they took no credit. They lie to their audience and leave a true author unappreciated, and in the end, it doesn’t matter whether they did it deliberately: if they are caught, the consequences will be severe. That’s why knowing everything about plag is vital, and we’ll be glad to help you with this.

Table of Contents

  1. Types of Plagiarism
  2. Consequences of Plagiarism
  3. How to Avoid Plagiarism
  4. How to Cite Sources
  5. How to Detect Plagiarism
  6. Plagiarism FAQ
  7. Checklist

4 Types of Plagiarism

An interesting fact students might not know about is that there are four different kinds of plag. They differ in terms of their definitions, characteristics, and severity levels, and they are something every student should avoid at all costs. The following table will reveal everything they should know to get an idea of the mistakes they might make.

1. Global Plagiarism

For plagiarism to be global, a student must take an entire essay from someone and present it as something they’ve written. Asking a friend to help out and compose a paper, taking it from one of online sites, paying someone to write it — all these instances count as global plagiarism and result in the harshest punishment if you’re been discovered.

The worst thing here is to download an online sample and submit it without even looking through it. Many online papers are flawed, so you risk copying others’ mistakes. Many topics are similar yet not identical, so downloaded works might not meet even the basic requirements.

2. Mosaic Plagiarism

This type means that a person gathered information from different sources before making a text out of them and claiming he or she is its original author. Such deception is far trickier than global plag, but it’s going to infuriate your professor with equal force.

On the plus side, discovering that this kind of paper isn’t yours is more difficult. On the other hand, you have to spend a lot of efforts on content for it to look good. All copied bits must have logical connections between them, flowing smoothly and believably. Writing something original would likely take as much time, so mosaic plagiarism isn’t worth it.

3. Copy-and-Paste Plagiarism

The name already reveals what this plagiarism type is. When students copy information directly from a source before inserting it into their academic works, it’s known as copy-and-paste method.

Whether you took a short phrase, a long sentence, or even a paragraph from someone, displaying it as your unique content, it is going to fall under copy-and-paste plag. It could be tempting to do this for finishing work faster, but results won’t justify the means. Paraphrase quotes or statements — it won’t require many efforts.

4. Self-Plagiarism

This is a pretty unexpected kind of plagiarism that happens more often than you could imagine. Students create lots of academic essays during their studies, and some of them have similar themes. Sometimes it’s a big temptation to just take bits from previous papers and make them a part of your new one. But sadly, it won’t make it original.

Just because you are the author of both essays doesn’t mean you can base them on one another. Professors expect each work to be 100% unique, so this is something you should respect.

Read also: How professional paper writing services can help you avoid plagiarism.

Consequences of Plagiarism Students Face

Plagiarizing is dangerous in many respects. Students hear a lot about how to plagiarize without getting caught, but many of them treat it as some scary tale. That’s because they don’t really know what they are risking. Here are four common results.

Failing the course

If professors suspect you have stolen your content or were too careless to cite it properly, they could give you a final failing grade. This won’t be just an F for a specific assignment — the efforts you’ve poured into the entire course will be nullified. It’s one thing when the studies just started, but if you’ve spent months on them and now it’s all gone, it’ll be devastating.


Another consequence for committing plagiarism is suspension or downright expulsion. Your university might also take other actions against you — for example, they can suspend you for a month and ask you to write a 10K long paper on plagiarism in academic circles for making sure you understand what you did wrong. No one likes this! Expulsion is more permanent and upsetting since you risk losing years of your efforts. That’s why copying any content is absolutely not worthy of dangers involved.   

Copyright infringement

In most serious cases, the offending parties might face legal consequences. If you took someone’s original work and this person issued an official complaint, you might have to go to court or be forced to pay a compensation sum.

Destroyed reputation

One of the major dangers of plagiarism detection is the blow your reputation is going to take. Whether you are a student, a scholar, or an employee somewhere, the act of plagiarism could haunt you for years. There are records about cases like this, and any person that considers hiring you can check them. If your work is connected with writing or creativity in any way, you’ll never build a career there because people are going to assume you could steal someone’s content again. This label never dies completely, especially if the situation was loud and ugly.

Tips on How to Avoid Plagiarism 

For keeping their academic works original at all times, students should know the best ways for avoiding plag. We’ve collected five most helpful tips that you’ll need. Try keeping them in mind as you work on your essays!

  1. Test Your Works Via Plagiarism Checker. There are free best plagiarism checker tools online that you could use when you finish another essay. Find the tool that seems the most effective, bookmark it, and keep coming back to it throughout your studies. It’ll always give you the answers you need.

  2. Never Copy Anything Directly. Yes, sometimes using sentences just the way you see them seems easy, but remember that plagiarism is dangerous. Avoid any direct copying, add paraphrases instead. At the same time, you could use direct quotes, but mention who they belong to and point out the page number.

  3. Rely on Yourself. As a writer, you are the one whose work professors want to see. Try meeting these expectations by doing your own research. Look for sources about your topic. Read the document, note down interesting ideas from there, and express them in your own words by citing the real author. The only thing you should make sure of is that the source itself is credible.

  4. Give Credit When Due. Always cite every claim that is not a part of public knowledge. For example, if you approach a random person on the street and ask them something, will they be able to give an accurate answer? If yes, then perhaps such a claim can stand on its own. If not, then add citation. In particular, this concerns dates, names, laws, new findings, etc.

  5. Check For Copyright Warnings. When working on research paper, students are going to stumble upon countless online websites. Some of them could be useful, but don’t hasten to take information from there. Check the site’s rules and conditions. There must be copyright mentions where you’ll learn whether you are allowed to use this information and how to cite it. If content is protected from usage, stay away from it and look for something else.

How to Cite Sources: Suggestions and Examples

Technical aspects of writing are extremely important and shouldn’t be underestimated. Since we’re talking about plagiarism, the relevant thing here concerns academic formatting styles. Each paper should be formatted in accordance with one of them, meaning that its margins, title page, reference list, endnotes, citations or footnotes, etc. must follow specific rules.  Styles like APA, MLA, Chicago, CMS, and Harvard are the most common. They cover different subjects, like English, Sociology, Nursing, and others, but for learning which of them are required, ask your professor. This is something they should share from the start, when they are handling down homework assignments.

During actual citing, be accurate. Don’t engage in any fake referencing because it is classified as another kind of plagiarism. If data is taken from a source, indicate it correctly, mentioning its author, date, or page number, depending on formatting guidelines. Never pretend that a fact you took from another place or made up by yourself belongs in a certain article because such things could be easily checked. Also, remember that citations should be present both within text and in works cited page. You cannot mention author Smith in an essay but then avoid indicating it in a list with sources and vice versa. Here are two examples for APA and MLA styles: if this is the format, look at these samples carefully and remember how it’s done.


In-text citation: Some scholars believe that people having multiple lives is a universal fact (Winchest 12).

Work cited list citation: Winchest, Diella. Theories on life and beyond. Lantern Publishing, 2017.   


In-text citation: 44% of people believe that reading books is one of the best sources of distraction from everyday crises (Fandos, 2020, p. 64).

Reference list citation: Fandos, D. S. (2020). “Existential crisis: Causes & Solutions.” Religion & Science, 5(2), 44-73.

How to Detect Plagiarism With Plagiarism Checkers?

For students and professors both, the best way for detecting copyright violation lies in using plagiarism tools. Look for free versions or consider paying some fee for getting even better results. After your essay is done, upload the text from it into an empty box and scan the document. You’ll see the results soon, such as percentage of similarity. Copied elements will be marked in red or in some other color. More progressive tools might offer synonyms for word replacement, so use their advice for correcting mistakes. Before you trust any checker, though, test an essay with deliberately copied sentences through several tools at once. Understand which one is most accurate and use it in the future.

What Is Plagiarism: Your Personal FAQ

What are the 4 types of plagiarism?

People could engage in global, mosaic, copy-paste, or self-plagiarism. All are extremely bad, but global plagiarism in particular is extremely dangerous and can have legal consequences.  

Is plagiarism a crime?

Yes, it is considered a crime both on academic and government levels. Repercussions could include expulsion from university, damaged reputation, mistrust of others, ruined career, etc.

What exactly is plagiarism?

It means taking ideas that don’t belong to you and failing to attribute them to a real author. Intentions are secondary here.

Is self-plagiarism illegal?

Yes. You won’t go to jail over it as a student, but you’ll still face strict punishment. For an adult, the consequences could be of more legal nature.

Final Checklist to Have Nearby

Once you think you’re done with your essay, it is time for going through the checklist and making sure you covered all the points there. Feel free to use these reminders.

  • I double-checked the formatting style template and made sure my citations are done correctly.
  • I cited every claim with information that people in general wouldn’t know.
  • I haven’t used more than 10% of direct quotes in my work.
  • All my sources are mentioned both within the text and in works cited list.
  • I haven’t used my old papers for bits of information I already applied.
  • I used a trustworthy plagiarism checker for ascertaining that every part of my text is original.

Posted by Chris M., January 31, 2021