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Five Most Common Types of Plagiarism and How to Avoid Them

Five Most Common Types of Plagiarism and How to Avoid Them

Plagiarism can be simply defined as the act of taking someone else’s content and using it as your own without giving them the due credit.

Plagiarism, in whatever form it may be, is very harmful to the integrity of your content and to your reputation as a writer.

It is important to learn about the different types of plagiarism so that you can be particular about avoiding all of them.

And in this post, we are going to be doing just that.

Once we are done with the types, we will wrap everything up by giving you some tips on how you can avoid the different types of plagiarism when writing content.

5 Common Types of Plagiarism

1. Direct Plagiarism

This is the simplest and most dangerous type of plagiarism. Direct plagiarism is the act of taking some content from a source and inserting it word-for-word in your own work without giving any sort of credit to the original author.

In this type of plagiarism, there is no attempt to disguise the copied content.

This type of plagiarism can easily get detected. It is seldom of any use to the culprit.

2. Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism is slightly less blatant than direct plagiarism. In this type of plagiarism, the plagiarist takes some content from a source and then interweaves it with his own content.

This is slightly more difficult to detect as compared to direct plagiarism, but it is equally harmful…and disgraceful.

An example of mosaic plagiarism would be like this:


Mosaic Plagiarism


As you can see, a plagiarized sentence was sandwiched between two original lines…which stopped the overall percentage from being marked as 100% plagiarized.

3. Source-Based Plagiarism

Source-based plagiarism can be defined as the plagiarism that results due to incorrect citations.

In other words, when a writer adds a citation that indicates a source other than the actual one, it is defined as source-based plagiarism.

Source-based plagiarism can also occur due to the omission of an important part of the citation due to which the original source cannot be properly identified.

Similarly, if a writer was to conjure up some data which does not exist in reality, it will also be a form of source-based plagiarism.

4. Self-Plagiarism

The three types of plagiarism discussed above are usually done maliciously. However, self-plagiarism is not perpetrated intentionally, nor is it considered disgraceful.

Self-plagiarism occurs when a writer accidentally copies his own written content.

Writers who have to come up with the same type of content on a daily/weekly basis can unknowingly start using the same sentences and words repeatedly in their work.

For example, a writer could have written a blog post for a certain website. Sometime later, he could write a similar blog post, but he could accidentally mention some of the same points.

Self-plagiarism is, like we said earlier, not considered disgraceful since it is usually done unintentionally.

However, it can still be harmful since search engines and educational institutions will recognize it as plagiarism; without caring for the fact whether it was done intentionally or unintentionally.

5. Accidental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism is when a writer copies content from another source accidentally. Unlike self-plagiarism, accidental plagiarism can happen with any available source on the internet, and not just with something written by the same writer.

Accidental plagiarism occurs frequently among copywriters and professionals.

However, this type of plagiarism is often found in a very small percentage…which is negligible and ignorable.

How to Avoid All Types of Plagiarism in Your Content

There are different ways in which you can avoid plagiarism in your content. Let’s discuss some of them below:

1. Use Plagiarism Checkers

Self and accidental plagiarism are two of the most common types that can occur in your writing. The only solution to avoiding these two types of plagiarism is to use plagiarism checking tools.

These tools use several different algorithms to scan the given content against billions of online sources to check for matches.

If there are any, they will get highlighted and you will be able to fix them.

You should make it a habit to check plagiarism in every write-up that you come up with, regardless of its type and length.


Check Plagiarism


2. Don’t Copy-Paste Directly

As we saw above, the most blatant type of plagiarism is that in which content is directly copy-pasted from a source without giving any sort of credit to the original author.

To avoid this type of plagiarism, just take care not to write any content word-for-word in your work.

If the situation requires this sort of copy-pasting, you can use quotation marks instead.

Any content that is placed within quotation marks is skipped by plagiarism checkers. In other words, it won’t be included in the check and it won’t be recognized as plagiarism.

3. Paraphrase Plagiarized Content

If you do happen to get any plagiarism in your content, you can either remove the plagiarized bits or you can simply rephrase them to make the whole thing unique.

Rephrasing can be done manually as well as with the help of a tool. Doing it manually can be, while time-taking, more thorough and neater as compared to using a tool.

Using a tool, on the other hand, can be good for larger pieces of content. However, it is advisable to always do some manual checking and paraphrasing because some tools can mess up the original context.


Plagiarism is one of the most harmful things that can occur in your writing. It can damage your reputation as a writer and it can also get your website a search engine penalty.

To make things worse, plagiarism does not exist in just a single type. There are different forms of plagiarism, some of which include direct copy-pasting, mosaic, source-based, etc.

In the above post, we looked at five common types of plagiarism as well as some tips on how you can avoid them.

Avoiding plagiarism is simple enough if you know how to use plagiarism checkers and paraphrasing tools.

Plagiarism checkers can be good for detecting duplicated text in your content whereas paraphrasing tools can be good for rewriting the same to make it unique.


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