Types of Plagiarism

Written by ArticleReword Updated at Sep 16, 2023 Reading time: 5

Types of Plagiarism 

Presenting someone else's words, ideas, or creative works as your original work constitutes plagiarism. This act of misrepresenting the work of others as your own can occur in many forms, both intentionally and unintentionally. Plagiarism violates ethical and academic standards, so it should always be avoided. There are various types of plagiarism, and multiple reasons why properly acknowledging your sources is crucial.


Types of Plagiarism

There are several main types of plagiarism:

Direct Plagiarism

This is the most obvious form of plagiarism, where someone directly copies text from another source without attribution. This includes copying:

  • Sentences or paragraphs from a book, article, website, etc.
  • Passages from another student's work
  • Entire works of art, media, or computer code


Direct plagiarism is easy to detect and a serious breach of ethics. Failing to cite the source is plagiarism, even if you change a few words or sentence structures.

Self Plagiarism

This involves reusing your past work without citation. This includes re-submitting an assignment you completed for one class in another without permission. Even if it is your previous writing, it should be cited appropriately to avoid self-plagiarism.

Paraphrased Plagiarism

This is rewriting someone else's work in your own words but keeping the same general structure and ideas without attribution. There must be more than just changing a few words to avoid plagiarism. You must express the ideas fully in your style, not just alter the text.

Accidental Plagiarism

Forgetting quotation marks around a quote, missing or incorrect citations, and other small mistakes can lead to unintentional plagiarism. This should be avoided by carefully citing sources and proofreading work. Accidental plagiarism due to carelessness is still considered plagiarism.

Mosaic Plagiarism

Taking phrases from different sources and piecing them together without proper attribution is mosaic plagiarism. There needs to be more than citing only some sources. A sentence or fact that is not your work must be cited, even if taken from multiple places.

Citation Plagiarism

Including a citation but failing to make clear what information came directly from the source is another common problem. If words are taken verbatim from a source, this needs to be in quotes, even if cited.

Image Plagiarism

Using an image, video, audio clip, or other media without permission or attribution is plagiarism. Images found online should only be used with proper citation of the source and copyright holder.


Why Plagiarism Should be Avoided

There are many good reasons to avoid plagiarism in all forms:


Ethical Reasons


  • Plagiarism is dishonest. You are claiming ownership of work that is not your own.
  • It is unfair to the original author or creator whose work was stolen. Their effort deserves recognition.

Academic Reasons


  • Getting caught plagiarizing leads to failing grades, suspension, or even expulsion.
  • Plagiarism does not demonstrate your skills and knowledge, so grades reflect others’ work.
  • It does not allow you to get meaningful feedback to improve.

Legal Reasons


  • Plagiarism violates copyright law when work is protected by copyright.
  • In some cases, plagiarism lawsuits can be brought with severe penalties.
  • Some institutions require signing integrity policies that make you liable if caught.

Professional Reasons


  • Plagiarism damages your professional reputation if discovered.
  • It sets a bad precedent for proper citation and ethics in future work.
  • In some fields like journalism and research, plagiarism ends careers.

Moral Reasons


  • Plagiarism is fundamentally unethical and qualifies as stealing another's work.
  • Plagiarism promotes laziness rather than real effort and learning.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to start the research and writing process early. Rushing increases mistakes. Some key tips:

  • Take detailed notes when researching with citations included.
  • Use quotation marks for any phrases taken exactly from a source.
  • Paraphrase sources by taking notes in your own words.
  • Cite sources next to any information that is not your original idea.
  • Check paper for accidental plagiarism using a plagiarism checker before submitting.
  • Know proper citation styles like APA or MLA and use them correctly.
  • Only use public domain or creative commons media, or get permission to use copyrighted works.
  • Avoid excessive quoting; use sources to support your original ideas.
  • Ask a teacher if you need clarification on whether a citation is needed.


Plagiarism has serious ethical, academic, legal, and professional consequences. All forms of plagiarism, intentional or accidental, violate attribution standards and fail to demonstrate your skills. Proper planning, note-taking, citing, and proofreading can help avoid plagiarism in any writing assignment or creative work. Understanding the types of plagiarism makes it easier to eliminate from your work. Being aware of good citation practices early on establishes excellent habits for any academic or professional career. There is no reason or excuse for plagiarizing when tools and support for proper citation are readily available.



Q: What if I change every word but keep the same sentence structure - is it plagiarism?

A: More than simply changing the words is required if you use the same syntax, phrases, and structure without attribution. This would still qualify as paraphrasing plagiarism. You need to express your ideas fully in your style.

Q: What are the consequences of plagiarism?

A: The consequences depend on the circumstances but may include failing grades, damage to professional reputation, suspension or expulsion from school, loss of credentials/degrees, copyright infringement penalties, and lawsuits in severe cases. 

Q: What percentage of plagiarism is allowed?


A: There is no allowed percentage. Any unoriginal work presented without attribution, no matter how small, is considered plagiarism and should be avoided completely.

Q: Can I plagiarize myself?

A: Self-plagiarism does exist when you reuse your past work without proper citation, so you should avoid this. However, quoting limited passages from your prior work with citations is often acceptable.


Q: Is it plagiarism if I cite the source but don't use quotation marks?

A: Yes, failing to properly differentiate what text is directly quoted, even with a citation, is considered plagiarism. Any verbatim text from a source should be in quotation marks.



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