Common Types Of Plagiarism: How To Classify And Avoid Them

Common Types Of Plagiarism: How To Classify And Avoid Them

Writing academic papers is not a difficult task. Knowing the structure and fundamental principles, you can complete any essay relatively quickly. However, there is a pitfall that can make essay-writing a real pain in the neck. It's called plagiarism. The article discusses what plagiarism is, main types of plagiarism, and how to avoid it.


What is plagiarism

According to the well-established websites, plagiarism occurs when the writer doesn't give credit to scholars' research and findings and includes that information in their own paper. Educational institutions treat such academic dishonesty very earnestly, which can lead to severe penalties. 

What if you plagiarize? 

It depends on an academic institution which penalties it is likely to use. If a student is involved in plagiarizing when writing a paper, they are very likely to fail the course. For instance, if one hasn't given credit to the authors when writing a B.A., M.A., or Ph.D. diploma, they are likely to be expelled from the university. The higher the academic level is, the more potent sanctions are. 

How many types of plagiarism are there? 

Since every university treats plagiarism differently, there are various types of plagiarism. By default, there are five main plagiarism types one has to stay away from. They are:

  • Intentional
  • Accidental
  • Direct
  • Mosaic
  • Verbatim
  • Each one has its own features and characteristics, which we will further overview.

Two types of plagiarism 

Based on intent, intentional and accidental are two main types plagiarism. One might ask what is the difference between them since the person still plagiarizes. With the first type, it is already clear that the writer fails the paper. Whereas the second can cause less severe penalties. In any case, in no way does it mean accidental plagiarism is allowed. 

1. Intentional

Intentional plagiarism means the plagiarist commits the crime on purpose. And even though they completely understand the issue, they still do that. This common type usually results in the most serious penalty, such as expulsion from the educational institution. Type plagiarism in Google to learn more about it.

2. Accidental or unintentional 

When it comes to accidental plagiarism, it has different cases. For example, accidental plagiarism occurs when a person misquotes the source, inadequately cites it, or simply forgets to refer to the scholar. 

5 main types of plagiarism 

There are five main types of more detailed plagiarism that are widely perceived by different academic institutions. They are: 

  • Direct
  • Mosaic
  • Verbatim
  • Self-Plagiarism
  • Paraphrasing

If the mentioned intentional and unintentional were more general terms, these are fully described types of plagiarism existing these days. Let's discuss them in a broader scope.

check list with two points: copy and original

Direct, word for word, or complete 

If a person copies another writer's work and doesn't provide information about the original sources, it is considered direct plagiarism. The writer may omit some sentences or phrases from the main source. However, the entire idea remains the same. Take a look:

Original Text

The Cold War was the most important political issue of the early postwar period. It grew out of longstanding disagreements between the Soviet Union and the United States (281).

An Outline of American History, Office of International Information Programs United States Department of State

  Direct plagiarism example

The Cold War was a crucial political issue during the postwar period. It appeared on the basis of disagreements between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Patchwork or mosaic plagiarism 

Another class is mosaic plagiarism (or patchwork). When a student copies the source's content but writes it in a slightly different way, for example, using a different vocabulary, it is called mosaic plagiarism. 

Original text 

France and Britain engaged in a succession of wars in Europe and the Caribbean at several intervals in the 18th century. Though Britain secured certain advantages from them – primarily in the sugar-rich islands of the Caribbean – the struggles were generally indecisive, and France remained in a powerful position in North America at the beginning of the Seven Years War in 1754.

  Mosaic plagiarism example

Even though France and Britain were successful in being in wars in Europe and the Caribbean, the losses were indeterminate. However, it was a win-win situation for France, which let the country rule in North America in the mid of the 18 century.

Copy-paste or verbatim plagiarism 

Copy-Paste plagiarism, also known as verbatim, is a similar type to direct plagiarism. Verbatim plagiarism is characterized by a unique opening sentence, followed by a completely copy-pasted passage. 

Original source

Superpower relations in the late 1980s were driven by political turmoil in Eastern Europe. The United States and the world watched as popular uprisings for democratic reforms resulted in the fall of communist governments throughout the region. 

  Copy-paste plagiarism example

The end of the Cold War can be counted from the end of 20 century. Superpower relations in the late 1980s were driven by political turbulence in Eastern Europe. The United States and the world observed as popular revolts for democratic changes resulted in the fall of communist governments throughout the area. 


Self-plagiarism is one of the most often used kinds of academic dishonesty. Students mislead the audience by demonstrating an old piece as exclusive and original. Besides that, students always forget to ask the teacher whether they can rely on a previously written piece. Not to mention citing it. 

  The Previous Work
Language documentation must be available for the prevalent number of people and interested researchers (Berge, 2012). That is, if somebody has invested dozens of years researching an exact language, they have to ensure making their notes and findings widely accessible for forthcoming pundits. Otherwise, the entire research progress might be stuck or even become useless in the long run. Secondly, the metadata placed on the website is insufficient and may well be considered absent. This inadequate data cannot be of assistance when analyzing the material.

Example of self-plagiarized text 

Upon further examination, it became apparent that language documentation must be available for the prevalent number of people and interested researchers (Berge, 2012). If someone has invested many years researching a certain language, they have to ensure making their notes and findings widely available for future experts. Failing to do that results in the uselessness of the metadata placed on the web page. Such insufficient data cannot be of assistance when analyzing the material.

Plagiarism by paraphrasing 

Many students misunderstand paraphrasing, which is often referred to as interpretation. In any case, you need to refer to the author of the original work. Students often don’t know how to cite correctly when writing essays. They add phrases but don’t cite the sentences. As a result, it leads to plagiarism, which is punished, indubitably.

Original source

We must build a new world, a far better world – one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected. 

  Plagiarism by paraphrasing example

We have to focus on designing a new, better world, which will respect every human being.

The 4 most common types of plagiarism 

Aside from the mentioned, there are four other most common classes of plagiarism. Each of them has its own peculiarities. They are:

  1. Incorrect Citation
  2. Aggregator Plagiarism
  3. Bluffing Plagiarism
  4. Collusion Plagiarism

1. Citing incorrectly 

This type is closely related to accidental plagiarism. Incorrect citation usually occurs when a person is not fully aware of the citation style and structure. For example, a student can commit an error by following the MLA style but not including a page number of the book or article.

Incorrect citing example

Along with an easily accessible web page, the availability of information there, and substantial and informative metadata, the entire work done by Cardoso can arguably be called an apparatus (Himmelman, 2006).

Certainly, the student included the source. However, it should comprise the author's second name and page number, not the publication year.

2. Aggregator plagiarism 

Aggregator plagiarism is not a typical type, as it contains proper citations and quotes. However, it lacks critical thinking and skills related to research. Aggregator plagiarism appears in the form of several sequential citations without their examination.

Incorrect citing example

The 1996 legislation dramatically reduced the size of the welfare rolls (1). Within five years of its enactment, the number of people on welfare had dropped by over 50 percent (2). Nevertheless, even as the economy weakened in 2000, the number of welfare recipients continued to decline (3). 

3. Bluffing 

Bluffing tends to be one of the handiest plagiarism types due to its accessibility. It works the following way: a student finds the academic journal, walks through all the related ideas, glues together such incorporation, and doesn't cite the authors’ works. 

Source Text

Sociolinguistics evaluates how languages perform within specific communities. The concept of it is to analyze how a certain group of people uses the language and how it modifies it compared to other groups.

Example of bluffing 

The main subject of sociolinguistics is to determine how groups use languages. Scholars analyze different speech communities to check how such groups change the language they speak.

4. Sharing works or collusion 

Even though collusion is not commonly known, it is one of the most widespread plagiarism sorts. It involves the collaboration of two or more students to copy it and submit it. In other words, it is plagiarism inside plagiarism with minor changes.

Original text

When it comes to toxic masculinity, it is clear that the aspect is likely to create corporate mental illness, determining that extreme political correctness cases tend to be tolerable. It means that it might lead to the discrimination of people who were prone to be individuals themselves. As an illustration, men are generally believed to be those who suppress emotions or masking distress, stick to the appearance of hardness, and so forth. Other than that, they are taught that they have to be tough and not reveal their mental state in order not to become feminine or weak. Hence, a communal thought does not accept men as susceptible creatures, which leads to a false opinion that men do not have any feelings.

Example of Collusion

With regard to toxic masculinity, it creates corporate mental illness, determining that extreme cases of political correctness are tolerable. It leads to the discrimination of people who used to be individuals themselves. For example, men are generally believed to be those who stick to the appearance of hardness. They are taught that they must remain tough and not reveal their mental state to not be accused of womanliness. Therefore, a common thought does not accept men as compassionate creatures, which leads to a false opinion that men do not have any feelings.

Tips for avoiding plagiarism 

Undoubtedly, if you want to avoid plagiarism, you can manage to do that. You just have to be careful and remember the ideas you borrow. So, to omit it, make sure to:

  • Research carefully
  • Note down sources and useful pages before writing the paper
  • Follow the right formatting style and quotation marks
  • Paraphrase and cite sentences correctly
  • Use plagiarism checker

The article strives to give a clear picture of the issue of plagiarism. It has touched on the focal types of academic dishonesty and provided brief explanations and illustrative examples. On top of that, there is a list of useful tips to help students do away with such a painful concept called plagiarism. If you still struggle with plagiarism, you could use some professional academic assistance and get an excellent explanation of the subject.