Plagiarism Checker

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the deliberate use of someone’s words or ideas without properly acknowledging the source.  In other words, each time you copy an author’s words, phrases or sentences without informing your readers about that author, you are committing plagiarism.  Students often think that changing a few words or even the entire structure of a sentence is an alternative to citing the author and the source.  This is not true.  Even an elaborate paraphrasing of someone’s idea requires a proper citation.

Types of plagiarism

  1. “Copy & Paste Plagiarism”

“Any time you lift a sentence or significant phrase intact from a source, you must use quotations marks and reference the source.”

  1. “Word Switch Plagiarism”

“If you take a sentence from a source and change around a few words, it is still plagiarism. If you want to quote a sentence, then you need to put it in quotation marks and cite the author and article. But quoting Source articles should only be done if what the quote says is particularly useful in the point you are trying to make in what you are writing.”  In many cases, paraphrasing and then citing the original sources is a better option.

  1. “Style Plagiarism”

“When you follow a Source Article sentence-by-sentence or paragraph-by-paragraph, it is plagiarism, even though none of your sentences are exactly like those in the source article or even in the same order. What you are copying in this case is the author’s reasoning style.”

4. “Metaphor Plagiarism”

“Metaphors are used either to make an idea clearer or give the reader an analogy that touches the senses or emotions better than a plain description of the object or process. Metaphors, then, are an important part of an author’s creative style. If you cannot come up with your own metaphor to illustrate an important idea, then use the metaphor in the Source Article, but give the author credit for it.”

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5.” Idea Plagiarism”
“If the author of the source article expresses a creative idea or suggests a solution to a problem, the idea or solution must be clearly attributed to the author. Students seem to have a hard time distinguishing author’s ideas and/or solutions from public domain information. Public domain information is any idea or solution about which people in the field accept as general knowledge. For example, what a black hole is and how it is defined is general knowledge. You do not need to reference a general description of a black hole. The escape velocity of earth is also general knowledge and needs no reference. The distance to the center of the Galaxy is also general knowledge. However, a new idea about how to look for black holes or a new solution to a physics problem needs to be attributed to the authors. If you don’t know what is accepted as public domain in a particular field, ASK.”


Barnbaum, C. “Plagiarism: A Student’s Guide to Recognizing It and Avoiding It.” Valdosta State

University. (Accessed 23 January 2006).

Liles, Jeffrey A. and Michael E. Rozalski. “It’s a Matter of Style: A Style Manual Workshops for

Preventing Plagiarism.” College & Undergraduate Libraries, 11 (2), 2004, p. 91-101.

Why do students plagiarize?

Plagiarism is a very complex phenomenon because there is no single reason why some students resort to it.  In fact, even professors at prestigious colleges have been found to have plagiarized. These are some of the reasons why students plagiarize:

1- Lack of academic research and library skills
2- Lack of linguistic competence to correctly paraphrase and cite sources: this particularly prevalent among non-native speakers.
3- The student has not been instructed on how to properly cite and reference outside sources
4- Student’s lack of confidence about his/her writing skills
5- Time pressure when dealing with deadlines and finals.
6- Cultural differences: borrowing others’ words and ideas without acknowledgment is an acceptable practice in many societies.
7- Lack of interest in the course itself.

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Consequences of plagiarism:

Intellectual property is firmly protected by federal and international law.  Violators of these laws often face serious legal penalties if found guilty of intentional plagiarism.  Colleges and universities have strict policies that govern the area of intellectual property and in most cases adopt a very stern approach when dealing with students who deliberately plagiarize.   In most academic institutions, this process involves the setup of a committee in charge of reviewing the student’s records and making a decision whether that student will face disciplinary measures that can vary from a simple warning to outright expulsion from the school.

Plagiarism is a serious offense, and as a student, you must take all measures to avoid committing plagiarism in your work.  You can achieve that by following these simple measures:

How to avoid plagiarism:

1- Avoid procrastination: Writing is not an easy task even for the most seasoned writers.  Give yourself plenty of time to review your drafts and do not wait until the last minute to check your quotes and references.
2- Review, review, review.  A thorough review of your work will improve the overall quality of your writing and help you unveil potential areas of plagiarism.
3- Organization is key: Keep track of your outside sources by using a highlighter.  Each time you quote or paraphrase from an outside source, underline or highlight that text to ensure proper review and citation.  Dedicate an entire revision of your writing to references and ensure that you are using the right citing format.  For more on this, visit
4- Use a bibliography software such as EndNote to manage and organize your references.
5- Ask for help: If you have questions about your writing, don’t hesitate to speak to your professor or seek assistance from a tutor.