Different Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can result in consequences ranging from failing a class to expulsion. Your text is considered plagiarized if its contents match any other source online. This committing of plagiarism is done in many different ways.

Understanding the different types of plagiarism can help writers avoid unintentionally committing this offense. However, it doesn’t matter how your content got plagiarized. For a search engine or for any Educational institution, the cause is of no importance.

Many people on the internet commit plagiarism to save themselves from the labor of creating original content. According to an online source, among the respondents of a survey of high school students, 58% confessed to committing plagiarism.

In this article, we will explore the various types of plagiarism and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Why You Shouldn’t Commit Plagiarism

First and foremost, plagiarism is a highly unethical practice and should never be committed because it is a theft of content. If you showcase your expertise with the help of other people’s work, it means that you are misleading your audience.

Even from a technical point of view, plagiarism is extremely damaging for you. If plagiarism is detected in your content by a search engine, your work loses all credibility and can never show up on a result page.

So, it is essential to be aware of all the different types of plagiarism to be sure that your content is free of all of them. We will walk you through some of these main forms of plagiarism and what you can do to avoid them.

Complete Plagiarism

Although all forms of copying content are prohibited, complete plagiarism is by far the most atrocious way of doing so. As the title hints, it means copying the entirety of someone else’s work and publishing it as your own. Fortunately, this can be detected fairly easily by modern search engines.

Using other people’s work and publishing it as original means outright stealing content. If you are a new content writer and were unaware of this, it is strongly advised never to commit such a foul action.

This type of plagiarism can be perpetrated on all types of content, no matter how small or big. They can include:

  • Books
  • Newsletters
  • Articles
  • Product descriptions

Paraphrasing Plagiarism

Paraphrasing means altering a piece of text by shuffling the wording or introducing appropriate synonyms into it while conserving its original meaning. You can pick out someone’s work and paraphrase it by yourself or with the help of online tools. However, if you plan to publish it, you have to mention the original source. Otherwise, it will be considered plagiarism.

In other words, if you don’t give credit to the owner of the content, then even after paraphrasing, it will be considered a form of complete plagiarism. This is because even if you change the wording, the primary purpose of the text remains the same. Paraphrased work can only be used for promotional purposes and nothing else.

Here is an example of paraphrased plagiarism.

Original: Your text is considered plagiarized if its contents match any other source online. This can happen in various ways.

Plagiarized: A text is considered plagiarism if the content matches other online sources. This can be done in several ways.

Patchwork/Mosaic Plagiarism

This type of plagiarism constitutes incorporating unoriginal text into your work in the form of patches. This means using bits and pieces of information from someone else’s work and making it a part of your own content.

It might seem like a clever way to commit plagiarism and not get caught, but it is not. It is a dishonest and corrupt way of creating content. Even though it is hard to detect but that does not justify its use. Patchwork or mosaic plagiarism, like the other types, should never be carried out in any field of writing.

Unintentional Plagiarism

Unintentional or accidental plagiarism is another common type of plagiarism. Let’s demonstrate this form with an example.

Suppose you are researching a particular topic. While doing this research, you accidentally memorize a sentence in exact words as written on a website. Now while writing your own content, you subconsciously write that sentence in its original form. This constitutes accidental plagiarism.

That’s why checking plagiarism using online tools once is suggested to ensure you don’t accidentally use plagiarized phrases.


When your present work contains content from one of your previous projects, it is known as self-plagiarism. This type of plagiarism won’t affect you when you are writing content for yourself. For example, when writing for a client, the content should not contain anything matching your past projects.

This is because a client should get content that is 100 percent original. For them, it doesn’t matter if the plagiarism source is from the same author’s work. You have to be careful of this type of plagiarism because it is also a form of accidental plagiarism.

That’s why checking plagiarism using online tools once is suggested to ensure you don’t accidentally use plagiarized phrases. This exact phrase is written in the previous heading as well. This would be considered self-plagiarism.

Source Based Plagiarism

Not citing sources properly can also be considered a form of plagiarism. For example, when we use a piece of information such as a proven statistic from a source on the internet but do not provide a link to that source or do not provide a link at all, it will be considered plagiarism.

Let’s elaborate with an example.

40% of students admitted to plagiarizing their assignments in a test.”

Correct Citation: https://www.plagiarism.org/article/plagiarism-facts-and-stats

Incorrect Citation: https://www.plagiarism.org/

Furthermore, it could be that the source provided is invalid or doesn’t work. Even in such a case, it is considered to be source-based plagiarism. Therefore, properly citing a source is very important in writing plagiarism-free content.

How to Detect Plagiarism

It is a plagiarism report by copyscape.

You can check for plagiarism with the help of online tools. You just have to insert your content in the tool and it will scan the entire web to make sure your content doesn’t match with some unknown source. The results of a plagiarism checking tools are usually provided something like this.

Conclusive Thoughts

Conclusively, as a writer you should have in-depth knowledge about all types of plagiarism as it is a need of time. All the listed types of plagiarism are unacceptable as they can basically be defined as stealing content. Knowingly creating plagiarized content is an immoral and unethical act. You should only write original content and never rely on other people’s work.

Writing requires a certain amount of skill and, of course, hard work. You never know how much work someone puts into creating a piece of content. And if you mercilessly try to publish that work as your own, it would be unfair to the author of that particular work. So, you must avoid plagiarism at all costs.