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how to check for essay plagiarism

Personalized Writing Help When You Need it

Unintentional plagiarism, grammar mistakes, and uncited sources  can turn what you thought was a good paper into a poor one. When you’re writing a paper the last thing you want is for your message to get lost due to incorrect punctuation or confusing sentence structure. You know that the great ideas in your head would make for a standout paper, if only you could get them written clearly on the page. If this struggle sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Great ideas may be an essential part of high-quality writing, but they’re not the only component. Excellent papers and essays clearly express strong ideas with good grammar, proper punctuation, spot-on spelling, and thorough, careful citations. While this may sound like a lot, your teachers and professors are grading you on your skills as both a writer and a researcher, which means your assignments will require an ethical and attentive approach. Luckily, there is no shortage of available tools to help you along your way.

You could use a plagiarism checker free, though, these tools often lack grammatical support. Given the high stakes and rigorous requirements, the aid of a plagiarism checker without the needed support of a grammar checker could mean the difference between an “A” paper and a “C” or even “D” paper.

Thankfully, the EasyBib Plus plagiarism tool provides all-in-one support to cover all your bases. Our premium essay checker is convenient, easy to use, and includes access to a grammar and spell checker, plus a plagiarism checker. With a single scan, you’ll receive personalized feedback to help identify potentially missing citations and help improve your sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, and more.

Not sure if that noun is spelled correctly, or if the preposition at the end of your sentence is grammatically correct? The EasyBib Plus plagiarism tool is your one-stop shop to help check plagiarism, get grammatical suggestions, correct spelling and punctuation errors, and help create polished papers you can be proud to turn in. And, we haven’t told you the best part yet: you can try our tool free and scan your work for grammar suggestions right now!

Access all the tools today!

how to check for essay plagiarism

A Grammar Check for Peace of Mind

You know that grammar plays a significant role in your assignments. Not only does it factor into your overall grade, but without clear and precise language, your ideas can lose their impact or might even be misunderstood entirely. Still, with so many different parts of speech and rules to learn and apply, it’s not uncommon to get them mixed up and find yourself questioning your knowledge now and again:

Can you use an adverb to modify a noun? (No. You need an adjective for that.)

Well, can you use it to modify a pronoun ? (Still no.)

What do they modify, then? (Almost everything else. Fun, right?)

Ugh. (That was an interjection .)

Does this have to be so difficult? (Nope!)

Scanning your paper with the EasyBib Plus writing tool delivers more than the basic punctuation and spell check functions that come standard in word processing programs. You’ll receive immediate, targeted feedback that can help improve the sentence structure and style of your writing. Not only can this help ensure that you don’t lose points off your grade for grammatical errors such as mismatched verb tense, but it can also help to clarify your meaning and strengthen your arguments by eliminating confusing punctuation and run-on sentences that confuse readers.

Reviewing your work to correct errors and refine the flow of your writing is a critical part of the revision process for novices and novelists alike. Even the most conscientious of wordsmiths might make mistakes, such as using a conjunctive adverb in place of a coordinating conjunction or pairing a plural determiner with an uncountable word. They likely appreciate a subscription-based or free grammar check as much as a beginning writer. That’s why the EasyBib Plus writing tool is designed for all writers, from students who are still learning the fundamentals to published professionals who get paid by the word.

The EasyBib Plus writing tool provides quick, targeted feedback that you can use to help improve your writing immediately. Also, our free resource library is available 24/7, just like the rest of our tools, to help you brush up on the areas that challenge you the most (Conjunctive what? Uncountable who?) That means you can continue to sharpen your skills and improve your writing over time, which will help make finishing your next project easier.

Ready to give your paper a boost? Sign up for EasyBib Plus or scan a paper right now for a free spell check—it’s easy!Just upload or copy and paste your paper to the online grammar check tool and, in a matter of seconds, you’ll be able to receive up to 5 feedback cards so you can begin polishing your draft.

To learn more about proofreading tools, you can find more info here. Or, for more tips on grammar, punctuation, and style, check out this useful reference .

Why is Grammar So Important, Anyway?

Why is grammar important? As long as others know what you mean, does it really matter if you use proper grammar? These are age-old questions, but the answers remain unchanged. Grammar is important for many reasons:

Communication:  Communication is about more than merely listening and talking. We communicate in myriad ways: with our voices, our mannerisms, our facial expressions, our actions, and frequently, our written words. Written communication is just as important as all the other ways we broadcast our thoughts and feelings. Unlike our other communication methods, though, written communication leaves a record. While most of us relax our style when talking to or texting friends, the fact remains that more formal venues require a more formal tone. Proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation are a necessary element of professional and academic writing, so running your work through a spelling and grammar check before you submit it is an absolute must.

Clarity:  Expressing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions is an uphill battle when you communicate them with less-than-stellar punctuation, spelling, and grammar. A missing or misplaced comma, for example, can entirely change your meaning:

  • Call me Ishmael = My name is Ishmael.
  • Call me, Ishmael = I want Ishmael to call me.

Spelling errors can result in similarly muddled meaning:

  • Her shoes perfectly complemented her dress. = Her shoes and dress go well together.
  • Her shoes perfectly complimented her dress. = Her shoes can both speak and engage in flattery.

Grammar deficiencies such as a dangling modifier yield similarly confusing results:

  • I saw the girl’s purple backpack in the library. = The purple backpack belonging to the girl is in the library; I saw it.
  • I saw the purple girl’s backpack in the library. = You know the girl who mysteriously turned purple? I saw her backpack in the library. This week has not been easy on her.

Credibility: Establishing your credibility is critical whether you’re writing for school or business. Proving that you can reliably communicate using proper grammar is essential to establishing and maintaining the trust of your teachers, professors, readers, customers, and colleagues.

To learn even more about the importance of English grammar in writing, check here .

What Happens After I Upload My Paper?

Once you upload a paper, the EasyBib Plus grammar checker scans your text and highlights grammar issues within your document so you can see it in context. For users running a grammar check and spell check using the grammar check free tool, up to the first 5 issues are shown. For subscription subscribers, all of the areas that require your review will be highlighted once the scan is complete.

No matter which version of the tool you’re using, your feedback will include detailed explanations so you can understand why the text was flagged. Other highlighted areas will include examples of how the issues can be fixed. Some will include a detailed explanation as to why the issue was flagged. This personalized feedback allows you to make an educated decision about whether to edit your text or dismiss the suggestion, so you’re always in control of your final draft.

Subscription users also have the plagiarism checker at their disposal when scanning their papers for style and grammar suggestions. Just as with our other writing tools, when you use the tool to check plagiarism, changes are never made without your review, so you are always in the driver’s seat. You can review each highlighted area as well as the sources of matching text and will always be given a choice to either accept or ignore both citation and grammar suggestions.

Whether you are a student or a professional, the EasyBib Plus tools are powerful allies that can help you improve your paper, establish credibility as a writer, and maintain an ethical writing process.

Try our checker free for 3 days to see what you think*. Trust us; you’ll wonder how you got along so far without it!

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how to check for essay plagiarism

Check for Unintentional Plagiarism

Persistent use of the best grammar checker and spell checker you can find will help to shape up the style and substance of your composition. However, to ensure the integrity of your work and root out unintentional instances of academic dishonesty, you’ll also need to incorporate a subscription-based or free plagiarism checker for students.

The ability to scan your paper and check plagiarism and grammar before submitting your work is an invaluable tool for students. It’s so valuable, in fact, that students are not the only ones who consistently use this type of software.

Many teachers and professors use a service to ensure that student papers are original and include properly formatted and sourced citations for all reference materials. For some, this may be a consistent element of their grading process, while others may utilize one only when they feel there is a reason to do so.

What Exactly Does a Plagiarism Checker Do?

If you’ve used an online plagiarism checker before, you may be familiar with the process that these tools employ. For those who have never used one, it can be helpful to understand how these tools work and what you should expect as a result of using one.

The most basic free tools will scan your paper and provide you with a percentage that indicates how much of your work is original. This feature can be useful to a point, as some instructors and institutions set a percentage for the amount of similar text that is considered acceptable. This policy does not mean that they are lenient about academic dishonesty but, instead, that they recognize that similar or even matching word choice is not always an indicator of copying.

However, some schools do not tolerate any form of incremental plagiarism, period. In these institutions, “check paper for plagiarism” is likely a standard action when grading all papers.

With a free plagiarism checker, the percentage of word-for-word plagiarism in your text may be the only feedback you receive. Moreover, some of these providers may wade in unethical waters, and offer essay writing services in conjunction with their checking services. This is why many students and teachers prefer subscription-based checkers that focus on integrity, such as the EasyBib writing tools.

With our premium tools, you get more than just supporting proof that your paper is original and in your own words. Your writing is scanned for potentially matching text and areas that needs your attention is highlighted. We’ll provide you with the source of the matching text so you can review it and decide how to proceed. If you agree that a citation is needed, our citation tools and resources will provide you with the information you need to help format and insert the new sources in your text as well as your works cited page.

How Does the EasyBib Plus Online Plagiarism Checker Work?

The EasyBib Plus writing tool provides an all-in-one spell check, grammar review, and plagiarism checker that not only helps you with the paper you’re writing now but enables you to gain new knowledge and improve your writing for the future, too.

Our essay checker searches online for phrases, sentences, or passages that are similar to those in your paper. If it returns matching text, this may indicate that you have passages that are missing citations.

Just as with many checkers, our tool will tell you how many instances of matching text it finds in your paper. Our plagiarism tool is designed to do more than most free tools, however.

When a portion of your paper is flagged for review, we provide you with the source that it matches. As with our online spell check tool, you have the power to review each area and choose how to proceed. If you decide to cite the flagged text, you can review the suggested source and access our citation tools to help create a proper citation and start building a bibliography for your paper. Or, you may determine that no citation is needed, in which case it’s simple to dismiss the suggestion and continue to the next section.

If you’re unsure about how to proceed, our library of resources can help you learn more and make an educated decision. In this way, you gain more than just the ability to correct your work; over time, you can learn how to avoid plagiarism altogether.

Reasons Your Teacher May Run Your Paper Through a Plagiarism Detector

As stated previously, your teachers and professors grade papers with a fixed process that includes “check paper for plagiarism” as a standard, across-the-board action. Others may check for plagiarism only when they feel there is cause to do so. There are a few red flags that may stand out to them while reviewing a paper that would lead to their running a plagiarism check, including:

Style/Voice:  Most teachers are familiar with the style and voice that you use in your writing. While most will hope that the feedback they provide when grading your work will help you to improve problem areas over time, a paper or essay that has a dramatically different style or voice than the work you’ve previously submitted can be a red flag.

Inconsistency:  Changes in the font, font size, formality, formatting, and more may indicate that portions of a paper have been copied and pasted. If these inconsistent passages are not presented as quotations or don’t include citations, this may further indicate to your teacher that there’s plagiarism in the paper.

Old References:  Part of a well-researched paper is verifying the legitimacy and relevance of your sources. While some older references may be acceptable depending on the topic, if all of your sources are outdated, it may lead your teacher to believe that you’ve recycled your own work or someone else’s.

Looking for a checker to try? With EasyBib Plus you get unlimited checks to give you peace of mind when turning in your papers!

What is Plagiarism?

If you’re looking for a free online plagiarism checker , you’re already aware that it’s not something you want to be found in your papers. However, you may still be wondering: what does plagiarism mean? It’s a reasonable question and one that merits exploring. After all, some of the actions and circumstances that fall within the plagiarism definition come as a surprise to those who only learn that they’ve committed them after it’s too late.

So what is plagiarism? To define plagiarism in the most basic sense, you might say that it is taking someone else’s ideas and words and passing them off as your own.

If your goal is avoiding plagiarism entirely, you’ll need to go beyond the basics to thoroughly define plagiarism, recognize it, and keep clear of it. Some examples of plagiarism that students find surprising include forgotten citations, poor paraphrasing, and re-submitting your own work in whole or in part for more than one assignment. This useful article provides more help in recognizing and understanding the different forms that academic dishonesty can take.

Of course, using your own words and ideas does not count as plagiarism, nor does using common knowledge . Basically, common knowledge is information that is well known by the average person. Examples of common knowledge:

  • there are 12 months in a year
  • the freezing point of Celsius is zero degrees
  • Socrates was a Greek philosopher

So should you only include your original thoughts and common knowledge in your papers? Of course not! Research-based assignments are meant to demonstrate your skills as a researcher, after all, as well as your ability to build upon the work of others to formulate new ideas. To avoid accidentally committing an act that falls within the plagiarism definition when you’re using another person’s words or ideas, though, you need to give them proper credit. This means you’ll need to clearly identify direct quotations or properly paraphrase them when including them in your paper.

Regardless of your approach, you’ll also need to cite your sources according to the style your professor specifies. Generally, you will use MLA format for the arts and humanities and APA format for the sciences, but it’s always best to check with your instructor when you’re unsure.

If you know what style to use but still aren’t sure how to create your citations, don’t fret! Our library of resources includes free guides to help you learn about various styles so you can properly structure and place them. And our premium tools not only help you check grammar, spelling, and originality in your papers, but subscribers also enjoy access to our citation creation tools!

What are the Different Types of Plagiarism?

In addition to the question “what is plagiarism,” you may also be wondering, “why do students plagiarize?” While some students do intentionally plagiarize because they believe they can pass off someone else’s work as their own to avoid spending time on their assignments, many others do so accidentally. They may not understand how broad the plagiarism definition is or they haven’t learned how to research and cite their sources properly. That is why it is vital to recognize plagiarism in all of its forms if you wish to ensure the integrity of your work.

Examples of plagiarism & How to prevent it

Direct plagiarism:

Intentionally copying another person’s work without including a citation that gives credit to the source. When most students are asked to identify potential plagiarism examples and behaviors, this direct and deliberate act is what they think of first.

  • Prevention: If you use an idea or quote from another source, cite it in the text. Make it clear that it was not your own words. 

Incremental plagiarism:

Copying parts of another person’s work, such as phrases, sentences, or paragraphs without crediting the source. When deciding which tools to use to check a paper for plagiarism , instructors often seek out those that will identify incremental forms as well as instances of direct copying and similar phrasing.

  • Prevention : Decide to either directly quote the phrases or sentences you want to use, or write a good paraphrase. In both cases, be sure to add a citation. Using a plagiarism checker could also help you identify problematic passages.

Self-plagiarism:

Academic self-plagiarism occurs when a student submits the same paper or parts of a paper for more than one assignment. When your instructors are grading your papers, they’re assessing your research and writing skills in the present. When you submit work that you completed in the past, they are both unable to evaluate your current skills and unaware that you haven’t completed the assignment.

  • Prevention: Write a new paper for each assignment you’re assigned. If you feel strongly that your past work could enhance your new paper, speak to your instructor and ask for permission first.

Misleading citations:

Including a citation for a quote or idea that misrepresents the source material. This can occur if a student does not understand the reference they are citing; if a student includes a citation for a disreputable source; or the source material simply does not align with the idea or argument that the student has attributed to it.

  • Prevention: Carefully review your assignment to understand it. As you research, take the time to evaluate each source notes . Remember, it’s better to have quality citations over an abundance of citations.

Invented sources:

If a reference in a student’s bibliography is found not to exist, it is considered an invented source. This may occur if a student couldn’t find a reputable source to back their argument, or if they needed to include additional references to meet the requirements of the assignment and chose to take an unethical shortcut rather than completing the required amount of research. No matter the reason, this behavior ultimately hurts them in the long run. Not only will they fail to gain the experience they need to conduct research in the future properly, but they’ll also experience significant consequences if they’re caught.

  • Prevention: Set aside time to do proper research so you can find enough sources. Start creating a list of sources as you’re researching and take good notes. This will help you keep track of your sources so none are forgotten. If you do end up forgetting where a quote came from, a paper checker could help you pinpoint the original source. 

Patchwriting/Spinning:

Patchwriting is often confused with paraphrasing, but there’s a significant difference. When you paraphrase, you demonstrate that you understand the topic well enough to restate it in your own words. When you patchwrite or spin, it is more akin to a word-swapping game; there’s no need to understand the subject, merely to have access to a thesaurus so you can substitute enough synonyms to mask the source material. This can be intentional, but it may also be a result of having a poor understanding of how to paraphrase.

  • Prevention: Using your own words, write down the key points of the phrase or idea, and put them together in a sentence. Be sure to include a citation as well. 

A good way to test if you’re patchwriting or paraphrasing is to remove your sources from view. If you can write about what you’ve read without looking at the source material, you likely understand it well enough to paraphrase it. If you have to review the source material with each new sentence or consult a thesaurus while writing about it (except when you’re adding direct quotations), you may be spinning your sources instead of paraphrasing them.

Academic Integrity Policies and Statements

If you’re still uncertain about what counts as plagiarism, look for your school’s/ organization’s policies on academic integrity and plagiarism. The policies of academic institutions usually cover what is considered plagiarism, the consequences of committing it, and how to avoid it. One great example is Purdue University’s Academic Integrity statement .

What are the Consequences of Plagiarism?

No matter the setting, plagiarism is not taken lightly, and the consequences can be significant. For a good reason, too! Whether in an academic or professional setting, the plagiarism consequences reflect the seriousness of the act, which is ultimately a form of theft that hurts everyone involved.

Just as with the theft of a tangible object, there can be legal punishments for plagiarism. It is, after all, a form of copyright infringement in many instances. A quick search for plagiarism articles will reveal that professional instances of intellectual theft have resulted in civil lawsuits and can even be criminally prosecuted under rare circumstances. In addition to the possible legal consequences, professionals may lose their jobs or have to start over in a new field after their acts of fraud are uncovered.

As a student, you’re likely to wonder what happens if you plagiarize in college or high school. While there will almost always be consequences for this behavior, there is no one-size-fits-all plagiarism sentence. Depending on the circumstances, academic dishonesty could result in outcomes such as:

  • You might get a zero for the assignment in which the infringement occurred.
  • You may receive a failing grade for the class. If it is a required course, this could leave you without enough credits to move on to the next level until you can repeat it and, in some instances, postpone graduation.
  • You may be expelled from your school or university.

The academic dishonesty may be noted on your transcript, which can lead to you not getting into your preferred college, graduate school, or Ph.D. program in the future.

Nobody wants to be known as a fraud or to have a reputation for dishonesty follow them through their career. And, given the consequences that can extend beyond just their reputation, it’s no wonder that professional and academic writers who wish to avoid them take the time to understand the complete definition of plagiarism and run their work through a plagiarism checker before sending it out into the world.

Even the vigilant can fall prey to inferior tools, unfortunately. Before selecting a plagiarism checker, you should understand how they work and what they can (and cannot) detect.

How We Check for Plagiarism

When exploring how to check for plagiarism, most students and professionals conclude that including a checking tool in their revision process is not only helpful but necessary. When you consider the Herculean task of checking each line of your paper against the text of each of your resources, the benefits of a checker are clear. Moreover, this manual approach would only alert you to matching text in the sources you’re aware of, after all, and leaves the sources you haven’t reviewed untouched.

But, hang on. Why would sources you haven’t reviewed factor into your review? The answer to this lies in the plagiarism definition you learned above. What is plagiarism? It’s presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, intentionally or otherwise. It is not uncommon to uncover an idea while you’re researching a topic and later misremember it as your own. This might even occur years after you originally came across it.

You might wonder: how can plagiarism be avoided if you have to account for the source of every thought you include in your work? A few exceptions minimize the scope of this. Common knowledge about your topic does not need to be supported by a citation, nor does knowledge that you gained through your personal experience. Using a subscription-based or free plagiarism checker will help you locate any passages that may fall into these categories so you can review them and decide for yourself whether a citation is needed.

EasyBib Plus writing tools provide easy, convenient, and reliable support to help you find potentially missed citations and can help you improve your paper into a high-quality paper with integrity. Simply upload your paper, select the checker, then sit back and relax as the site scans your document. In mere moments, we’ll search the web for passages of similar text and highlight duplicate content for your review.

Regardless of the tools you use to help you revise and polish your work, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you’re writing and submitting ethical work. That’s why our tools go beyond the basics and require your participation. The tool never automatically makes changes to your paper, but only flags sections that may need your attention and provides you with the matching source so you can to make an educated decision.

If you find that a citation is needed, our citation tools can help you create properly formatted citations and develop a complete bibliography. And, if you review the passage and determine that the match is coincidental, you can dismiss the alert and move on to the next.

Seamless Citation Creation

Professional writers and students alike can find creating citations incredibly confusing. Nevertheless, they are an integral part of a well-written and researched paper and a requirement in almost all academic settings. But, have you ever wondered why they are so important? Citations really do have a purpose—other than driving us crazy— that make it necessary always to cite our sources.

We cite our sources for a few important reasons:

We need to give credit where credit is due. When you use a quote from someone else’s work, you need to give credit for using their words and ideas. Research is often based on the works and ideas of others. However, to include the words and ideas of another without giving them proper credit is to plagiarize, even if the act was unintentional.

In addition, showing that you’ve done proper research by including in text & parenthetical citations and a comprehensive list of sources to back up your arguments gives your work a layer of credibility that can help you earn the trust of your reader or teacher.

Readers can find the sources you used.  When you’re writing high school or undergraduate papers, your only readers may be your instructors and peers. However, including citations at every level of writing helps to ensure that anyone who reads your work can access your sources to check their accuracy, learn more about your topic, and further their own research.

Sources can take your research and learning to the next level, too. When you are conducting research on a topic, checking the works cited or annotated bibliographies prepared by your sources can lead you down new avenues in your research to further develop your ideas and help you write your papers.

Correctly utilizing citations gives strength to your thoughts and opinions. Understanding the value of citations does not, unfortunately, make them any easier to create. We know how confusing it can be, but don’t throw in the towel on learning how to cite websites in MLA , create your APA citation website references, or format your works cited —this is where we come in!

While a free online plagiarism detector may tell you how much of your work is unoriginal and may even identify the passages that meet their plagiarize definition, a premium EasyBib Plus plagiarism checker account also gives you access to our powerful citation resources and generator so you can:

Scan your papers with the plagiarism tool to check for plagiarism-free work before you submit.

Review flagged passages to determine if they meet the plagiarism definition and create unlimited citations in APA format and MLA format for anything fitting the plagiarism meaning. Need more styles ? Check out our regular citation generator for thousands of choices and free resources to help you learn how to create an APA parenthetical citation , APA book citation , APA works cited , and so much more!

Build a full bibliography for your paper right along with your parenthetical or in-text citations, which can save you hours of work along the way compared to manually creating and formatting them.

How Else Do We Help You Improve Your Paper?

The EasyBib Plus plagiarism detector helps you check your content or paper for text that may be missing a citation—which may fall within the definition of plagiarism—to help ensure you don’t accidentally plagiarize. It also includes grammar check and spelling check tools to help identify errors and suggest grammatical tweaks that could help to elevate the level of your writing.

Running a plagiarism check couldn’t be easier! Just upload your paper to the online proofreader, and in a few moments we’ll have your writing and citing suggestions. And, there’s no need to worry about your paper after it’s been scanned.

Run a Grammar and Spell Check for Free!

There’s no denying that your schoolwork can be challenging at times, and your assignments can lead to some late nights even when you’ve started them early. The last thing you want is to submit assignments that don’t reflect your best effort, but it can occasionally be quite the juggling act to get everything done on time.

Why not let our plagiarism checker free up space on your calendar by helping you revise your papers quickly and efficiently? The EasyBib Plus paper checker is your one-stop shop to check for plagiarism, create citations, spot spelling mistakes, and receive feedback on your grammar and style.

When you proofread and do a manual spelling check on work that you’ve written, you’re more likely to overlook mistakes. This is even more likely if you’re pressed for time or trying to complete several different assignments at once. There are tricks to help minimize this, such as reading your work aloud to identify poor grammar or reading each sentence backward to find spelling errors. When time is of the essence, though, these solutions aren’t the most convenient or useful options. That’s why many students seek the assistance of online tools that will run a grammar and plagiarism check on their work.

Are you asking yourself, “ How do I check my grammar online ?” We’ve got the perfect checker for you! Our advanced tools help you find and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Our targeted feedback and free writing and citing resources help you learn as you go to improve your writing over time.

The best part? You can use our grammar and writing tools any time of the day, any day of the year for! Looking to try it? Just upload or copy and paste your text into our online proofreader for a free grammar check with up to 5 suggestions, or sign up for EasyBib Plus today! EasyBib Plus gives you use of the plagiarism checker and unlimited access to suggestions that can help improve your spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, writing style, and grammar.

Published February 3, 2019. Updated April 9, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Melissa DeVrieze Meyer . Michele is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib. You can find her here on Twitter. Melissa is a professional writer and editor based in New Jersey. She writes for academic brands and independent publishers about writing, grammar, and literature, and creates study and curriculum materials for ESL learners. You can find her on Twitter .

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

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The only thing harder than writing a paper is editing it. Nobody’s perfect, and grammatical errors are all too easy to make. But a grammar checker could help! That’s where Citation Machine Plus comes in: a one-stop shop that pairs a top-notch plagiarism checker with a complete grammar check. It’s the perfect companion for any student. Whether you’re an expert writer who just needs a second look or could use a full-fledged crash course on brushing up your writing, we’ve got it covered.

We offer smart technology you can access day or night, for all your last-minute deadlines. Citation Machine Plus’s built-in tools can help ensure you didn’t accidentally use someone else’s words without referencing them. If it does find an issue, you can use its citing tools to quickly create a citation for it.

To power up your paper even more, our tools offer an easy spelling check and the best grammar checker we’ve ever built. Our powerful software will run a quick grammar check and spell check to catch big and little mistakes on your paper.

We think Citation Machine Plus is the best grammar checker for a fast grammar analysis and spell check to catch things you may have missed! Whether it’s an issue with subject-verb agreement, a fragmented sentence, a dangling modifier, incorrect usage of an interjection or adverb , or just a grievously misused comma, our software hunts down and points out those easy-to-correct mistakes. Plus, our program includes a reliable spell checker to help catch and correct any typos.

The only question is: What are you waiting for?

Try Citation Machine Plus and get a free grammar check for your paper, scan your paper for text that may need a citation, and rest easier knowing your paper’s had an extra review before your teacher sees it.

how to check for essay plagiarism

Plagiarism matters more than you think

You might define plagiarism as copying someone else’s work , whether by copying another student’s paper or taking passages directly from research sources and passing them off as your own work. But did you know that it’s not just about literal copying, but about making sure you credit your sources.

Think about it: would you want someone to take your hard work without crediting you? Of course not! So it’s important to make sure that you don’t accidentally use the work and research of someone else without giving them the credit they deserve and that formatting requires. A plagiarism check provides you with peace of mind that you haven’t forgotten to cite sources.

how to check for essay plagiarism

A paper check for peace of mind

Plagiarizing the works of another writer is a big deal in school and in life. Even if it’s a mistake, it’s the sort of mistake that no one wants to make because it’s a pretty serious issue. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to avoid if you have the right tools at your disposal! The first step to avoiding it is knowing what it is.

One plagiarism definition — probably the most commonly discussed one — is to directly steal somebody else’s words and pretend they are yours, or, alternately, to use someone else’s words and not give them credit. These actions are deliberate attempts to deceive, and they do happen in real life. More often, however, issues arise from not from intentional misconduct, but from innocent or careless mistakes that simply give an impression of copying because sources haven’t been credited as they should.

Most teachers ask you to cite the works of others so you learn to be an ethical researcher who does not plagiarize . In many cases, teachers will use a plagiarism tool to make sure students are following guidelines. However, with so many assignments, chores, friends, and other parts of life going on, it can be difficult to keep track of everything.

That’s why getting a plagiarism check — like the one from Citation Machine — can save you from forgetting to cite sources. It’s simple to use, catching missed citations and other errors. Finding and correcting these problems before you turn in your paper can make the difference between a stellar grade and a failing one.

Still not sure about it? Try our essay checker with Citation Machine Plus for free. Simply copy and paste or upload a paper into our tool and immediately get a grammar check!

Snag an intelligent paper check

Personalized writing suggestions at your fingertips? Yes, the dream is real, and it’s right here at your fingertips, thanks to the easy-to-use Citation Machine Plus paper checker. But that’s far from the only thing it can help you with.

Why wear out your own tired eyes after you’ve already researched, written, and proofread that long essay or term paper? Even the most attentive student might miss a minor detail or in-text citation when reviewing their own paper. Instead, use our software to check your paper and catch missed citations or accidentally copied passages of text before you turn it in. With Citation Machine Plus, a smart plagiarism check is only a few clicks away, allowing you to catch missed citations or accidentally copied text.

So why not try it out? It’s free to scan a paper and can help catch those pesky errors hiding in your text, even if it’s as simple as a quick fix of a  pronoun or a missing preposition . And with an affordable subscription plan, you can upgrade and unlock all of our powerful writing and citing tools.

How a plagiarism check helps you

We often think of citing sources to avoid plagiarizing as something that helps other people, because it’s focused on correctly crediting the work done by others and not passing it off as your own or accidentally implying that it’s your own by failing to cite sources. But using a plagiarism checker to do this actually benefits you, the student, too!

When you submit your paper to be double-checked and to make sure that you haven’t plagiarized in any way, you’re also protecting yourself. How does that work? It’s all based on the way these tools function in the first place. Most of them are built around algorithms that compare uploaded papers to a vast database of existing work. This may include research databases of published works (think papers in academic journals, books, newspapers, and other print and digital sources), as well as information found online on websites.

So when you submit to a free plagiarism checker — or a subscription-based one — you’re comparing your own writing to other writings online. Your essay is checked using algorithms. How does this help you? In short, it protects you from accidentally getting a reputation as a plagiarist. Once you’ve uploaded a paper, the checker will scan your writing to make sure that your writing is wholly your own, saving you plenty of headaches and ensuring that your original ideas are shining through clearly with support from sources, rather than borrowing too heavily from other research.

If that’s not reason enough to use a checker, then remember this: if you’re in any sort of formal writing class, whether in high school or in college, your teacher is very likely to have access to a checker through their department. “Check paper for plagiarism” is at the top of the to-do list when teachers sit down to grade papers — in fact, many have a rubric that has a section for academic honesty and proper citations.

Since your teachers are already using this kind of software, wouldn’t it be great if you could too? The great news is you can! A Citation Machine Plus subscription gives you access to a set of tools built specifically for students, allowing you to check your paper on your own, before even submitting your work for grading. The more you check on your own, the more you learn, which can help you avoid making mistakes in the future.

But that’s not all.

So, what is plagiarism?

Let’s start with the basics. You might be surprised about what really counts in the overall plagiarism definition. For instance, have you ever heard of incremental plagiarism? Also called “patchwork,”  this happens when you take bits and pieces from multiple sources, without citing, and pass it off as your own work. This is common with specific turns of phrase or ideas, but it’s also what can happen if you aren’t careful with citing all sources. A paper-checking service can help catch these issues before they get to your teacher’s desk.

When we talk about plagiarism, we’re talking about a wide variety of issues. It can mean deliberately copying from another source, whether it’s a book, an academic paper, or the work of a classmate or previous student. Using services that do work on behalf of a student, then put the student’s name on it, also falls into this category. As described above, deliberate incremental plagiarism — usually plagiarizing multiple sources and combining them to avoid detection — is also a major problem.

The above examples are probably the first answers that come to mind in response to the question “what is plagiarism?”, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Most of us wouldn’t intentionally plagiarize, but there are plenty of instances where you might do so without even realizing that you’ve done something wrong!

For instance, forgetting to cite a quoted source might result in the quoted passage tripping the algorithms when your teacher runs it through a paper checker. Or perhaps you’ve synthesized the information from your research, but you’ve inadvertently reused some particularly distinctive language from one of the original sources, making it appear like intentionally copied text even though it’s really not. Citation Machine Plus tools can help you avoid these accidents by proofreading your paper to catch any instances that could count against you and helping you fix the issues.

Here’s a detailed article if you’d like to learn more about avoiding plagiarism .

Why we cite

What do teachers want to see in your papers? When it comes to writing style, teachers will pretty much always understand that every student will have a different voice, but they’ll still be looking for certain elements that every paper should have — like citations. Essentially, the idea is to make sure that an essay has original ideas and arguments and cites sources where it uses existing information .

Remember the Golden Rule? Do unto others as they would do unto you? Most of us would not want others to take credit for our ideas, so we don’t intentionally steal someone else’s words. But with so much information in the world, it can easily occur by accident.

Unfortunately, it happens both intentionally and unintentionally enough that teachers often take student work and run it through a scan to make sure the content is original. That’s right, even teachers sometimes use online tools from a subscription-based or free plagiarism checker. It’s even a required step for many writing classes at any level, so make sure that your paper is prepared for these kinds of checks.

That being said, no teacher really wants to flag any student’s paper, and no student wants to be flagged. That’s one reason citations are so important and a vital part of ethical research and writing. When you cite your sources correctly, you’re giving credit to the originators of the ideas or quotes, which means that there’s no plagiarizing going on — just good old-fashioned research .

When you first start learning to cite your sources, you probably learned just one overall style guide. In college and in the real world, though, the style guide you’ll need to use will depend on what field you’re in. For instance, academia often sticks with Chicago citation style , while the arts and humanities tend to prefer MLA, and APA is favored by the social and behavioral sciences.

So you need MLA format help? We got you covered! How about APA format instead? No problem! We’re all over that, too! In fact, we have many more citation styles . Our classic citation tools are available for all your formatting needs.

Here’s the best part: using our tools could help you expand your knowledge for the future! Our citation formatting tools can help you become more familiar with the most popular style guides — which will make your life easier when you go to write more essays in the future! Curious about these benefits and how it works? Here’s a great place to

Citation Machine Plus: More than a plagiarism tool

Citation Machine Plus is much, much more than just a way to check plagiarism — you can scan for grammar errors, too!

Unsure if you could benefit from a Citation Machine Plus subscription? Submit your paper for a grammar and spell check with up to 5 suggestion cards for free. A simple copy and paste or paper upload, a few clicks, and it’ll start reviewing your paper. Is an adjective used incorrectly? Is a determiner in the wrong spot?

That’s where the all-in-one Citation Machine grammar checker and spell checker comes in! With this simple but powerful software, writing can be scanned for grammar mistakes. Some of the most common errors are actually some of the simplest to fix. Even better: as you learn, you’ll make fewer and fewer of them.

The tool will highlight any errors, plus more! In fact, the tool can sometimes even tell you why your mistakes are mistakes and help you correct them. That’s why we think our grammar check is the perfect helper for your papers: it doesn’t just help to catch your errors, it also helps you learn from them so that you can improve your writing over time.

Hypothetical situation (or is it?): You have just finished writing a paper for class. Maybe you spent hours writing it, maybe you only spent an hour on it. Either way, wouldn’t you feel better turning in your paper if it was proofread and reviewed?

Everybody wants an A+. The only way to get there is through practice, hard work, and learning. Citation Machine Plus writing tools can help you develop your skills by identifying potential errors in your paper. That way you can improve your paper and learn what grammatical points to focus on in the future.

Help with formatting

As it’s more than just an essay checker, the Citation Machine Plus suite of tools has a few more tricks up its sleeve! As the name implies, these tools are built for equipping you with simple, easy-to-use citation tools to help you build a bibliography for your paper.

Citation Machine Plus: Your go-to writing source

So now’s the time to stop stressing over writing errors, accidentally plagiarizing others, and citation concerns. Let Citation Machine Plus help you write well! It’s the writing companion that can help to take your academic writing to the next level, and it will give you tools you need to become a better  writer both in and out of academic contexts.

Turning in essays for class can be stressful enough on its own, but that stress can just get compounded with worries about grammar and citations. There’s no need to stress when Citation Machine Plus is at your disposal! Its tools are easy to use, all-in-one platform that helps take the worry out of writing a paper when it comes to grammar and citations. Check for everything you need, all in one place, and learn more about how to make your writing truly shine.

Whether you need a quick check of your conjunction , noun , or verb usage, a complete grammar check, a thorough plagiarism tool, or reliable help citing sources, invest in a subscription to what we believe to be one of the most user-friendly citation tools online—Citation Machine Plus!

Easy citation creation

Let’s be honest, citations are a hassle. But the great thing about a paid or free online plagiarism checker is that you can pull double duty: when you check for plagiarism, you’re also checking to see if you’ve left out any citations! We wanted students and authors to have a one-stop shop when it comes to citing; a citation creation tool at your beck and call.

And now you do!

In addition to our paper checking tools, we have citation tools! Citing sources not only makes your work more professional, it is generally required for any formal papers or research projects. Any time you use the words or direct concepts of others, it’s vital to give credit where it’s due, and a proper citation is the means to do that. Remember: when we ask “what is plagiarism?” the answer includes improperly cited sources along with intentional copying! Teachers can often use a paper-checking service through their schools, so we’ve developed similar tools for students to use.

Our classic citation tools make it easy to create a correctly-formatted citation for APA format or MLA format citation styles. ** We have taken the hassle out of citing your sources, and — trust us — you will notice the difference.

** The APA and MLA are not associated with Citation Machine, but our citation services follow their styles.

how to check for essay plagiarism

Free Online Plagiarism Checker

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This is weighted average of all matches in your text. For example, if half of your paper is 100% plagiarized, your score would be 50%

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How to avoid plagiarism?

Proper citation style.

Avoid plagiarism by always listing the source and formatting it correctly when you are note-taking. Take care of the proper formatting and citation style when using content from outside sources.

Write on your own

Avoid borrowing and overusing large pieces of the content from outside sources, especially from Wikipedia. Write your own thoughts and use sources only to support your opinion (remember to cite it though!).

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Online Plagiarism Checker For Students

Writing an academic paper can be challenging when you’re not sure if it’s original enough to pass a plagiarism check. Of course, students take information from various sites before writing their own text. Sometimes, it just so happens that certain parts are very similar to your resources, making your professor think that you’ve just copied work from somewhere. That’s why it’s crucial for any modern college or university student to ensure that their work has 100% original content to maintain academic integrity.

Luckily, a free plagiarism checker online can solve this issue quickly and easily. Many professional writing services use a plagiarism checker for research paper. However, students sometimes forget that they should too. But with so many options that pop up when you ask Google to “check my paper for plagiarism”, how do you choose the right one for detection? We’ve got the solution in the form of PapersOwl’s free plagiarism checker tool! Our simple tool makes it convenient to check any writing task without having to spend a dime. It works quickly and highly accurately, ensuring that you get the top grade you deserve. So, if you want to check plagiarism online before turning your task in, head over to our website and get started!

Accurate Check for Plagiarism with Percentage

Many students wishing to produce original content aren’t quite sure how to get an exact percentage of plagiarised text in their work. This percentage is important since many universities have a certain limit of non-unique words you can have in your essay for it to be considered okay. If your plagiarism search doesn’t give you the exact percentage, you can’t be sure if your assignment will go through or not.

When using a free plagiarism tool, it’s essential to have this data provided to you. Only when you have it can you decide which parts to change and which ones to chuck out to achieve your desired results. Plagiarized content is a big issue in modern educational institutions, so getting reliable and trustworthy results is vital. This is the most essential requirement when you check plagiarism.

PapersOwl’s plagiarism detection tool gives you all the information you need to fix plagiarized content. Whether you’ve fallen victim to accidental plagiarism or have tried to make your life easier by copying some text from different sources, you’ll get an accurate percentage with our plagiarism checker online. If you’re wondering how to check paper for plagiarism, it’s nothing complicated at all! Simply visit our site, paste your whole essay into the relevant text box or upload the text file, click on Check For Plagiarism, and you’ll get accurate plagiarism results in a matter of seconds. You’ll see the problematic parts with plagiarism detected highlighted, with links to where similar content exists. Our service with plagiarism detector will also give you the option to check my paper for plagiarism and then to hire a professional writer to fix your task quickly if you’re busy with other things!

The Fastest Plagiarism Checker Online

Gaining insight into duplicate content only works if you get your results quickly. There are so many free plagiarism software online that promise to do the job for you. However, a lot of them are clunky, slow, and inaccurate. How can you produce original work without similarity detection you can trust?

PapersOwl stands out in this regard because it will detect plagiarism in seconds. This is a plagiarism scanner that’s able to perform a Swift Check to give you a uniqueness check right there and then. It also conducts a Deep Search, going through millions of sources on the internet to check for plagiarism. A document of about 1500 words takes only about 10 seconds to get processed! You get a clear plagiarism score of how much text is plagiarized and how much is original. All the sources that your essay matches are listed based on how much similarity there is in your academic writing. And on top of that, you get a handy Make It Unique button that’ll take you to an order page where you can ask our expert writers to rewrite your work and make it 100% unique.

All of this is done almost instantly, allowing students to continue working on their assignments without missing a beat. Not every plagiarism detection software works this quickly, making ours the best one you’ll ever use.

Plagiarism Checker Helps Boost Your Grade

A lot of students make the mistake of considering their papers automatically free from plagiarism. After all, they’ve written it themselves, so how could it be problematic? What they don’t realize is that it’s very easy to borrow some information mistakenly. Turning such a paper in can cause multiple problems, as your professor might think you haven’t done the work at all.

That is why you should always use a plagiarism scanner to test for plagiarized content in your college papers. Our online plagiarism checker for students is designed for this exact purpose. A simple, free plagiarism check could help you check plagiarism, fix any mistakes you see, and submit high-quality text that no one will question.

Our plagiarism detector has a lot going for it. It makes plagiarism detection easier than ever before. Unlike copying and pasting each passage individually into Google, simply upload the whole file into our plagiarism checker free for students, and you don’t have to do anything else. All the matches are highlighted so you know what to change.

The plagiarism test will give you a uniqueness percentage too. This will help you figure out where you stand and how much time you need to adjust anything if required. So, using our copyright checker online free to check your writing is essential. This way, you’ll submit the task only when you’re sure it meets the level of uniqueness required by your school. As a result, your grades will drastically improve when you check for plagiarism.

Benefits of Free Plagiarism Checker for Students

Our professional online plagiarism checker work offers too many benefits to ignore. With our plagiarism detector, you can enjoy highly accurate results as a comprehensive report. The plagiarism checker for students is designed to help you achieve 100% uniqueness without hassle. Here are the key advantages you can enjoy when you check plagiarism free with our plagiarism detection tool:

It’s completely free! We know you are on a tight budget and should be able to check your paper for plagiarism without worrying about payments, so we’ve made the best similarity checker free for all!

Our software detects plagiarism swiftly. It’ll show you detailed results in as little as 10 seconds so you can continue working immediately.

The report from our plagiarism tool gives you access to all the links from where it has detected similarities in your work. You can head to the relevant sites and see which information you must rewrite to improve your results.

Our best free plagiarism checker doesn’t require any skills and presents its services in a simple-to-use interface that anyone can use.

The plagiarism test allows you to get professional help with your work if you’re short on time. Simply ask one of our writers to rewrite the problematic parts of your text and enjoy top grades.

With PapersOwl plagiarism detector, there’s no need to search the internet for an accurate tool. We have many satisfied students worldwide who can vouch for our plagiarism-checking services. Give our online plagiarism checker free tries as often as you want and see how easy it is to produce original essays without spending a penny!

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How Does Plagiarism Checker Work?

  • If you already have a completed text, all you need is just to copy-paste the whole thing in the special box of the chosen plagiarism tool or website, choose suitable settings (if any), then press “check for plagiarism”. It is quite simple and takes just a few moments.
  • Once you have pressed “check for plagiarism”, the system will analyze your text and compare it with different sources to find similarities. As a rule, the duration depends on the text’s length. A standard free online plagiarism checker with percentage can give you the result within five minutes or less.
  • When the system finishes the work you will be transmitted to the reporting page – it contains the comprehensive report on your work, a percentage of its uniqueness, and a list of sources on which similarities were detected. Often, such tools also highlight the overlaps that were found.

As you can see, it is simple. However, for the best and reliable result you have to be careful. There are tons of programs and online tools that can be used but keep in mind that many of them work differently and not all are good for you. To be confident in the truthfulness of the received result, you need to select the best plagiarism checker because only a professional and high-quality software can detect all similarities and give you a reasoned assessment.

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Advantages Of Plagiarism Checker By CaPapersOwl

Why choose us? Our service offers a professional online plagiarism checker with report that will provide you with a comprehensive report to make you confident in the 100% uniqueness of your paper. Our free plagiarism checker for students guarantees the best check and here are the key advantages of using our tool that prove this:

You don’t need to pay anything to check your paper for plagiarism because we know the value of original and unique works.

One of the main benefits of our antiplagiat checker online is that it works so fast that you will not even have enough time to make yourself a cup of coffee while it analyzes your text, and it is safe!

We use the latest and the best algorithms and software in order to provide you with an advanced check and help you receive the high-quality papers.

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Plagiarism Checker FAQ

Can i check my essay for plagiarism free online, can i use papersowl plagiarism checker as a student for free, can i check my research paper for plagiarism for free, will the papersowl plagiarism report be the same as at my university, what are the consequences of plagiarism, why wait place an order right now.

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how to check for essay plagiarism

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Check for unintentional plagiarism

Scan your paper the way your teacher would to catch unintentional plagiarism. Then, easily add the right citation.

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how to check for essay plagiarism

Check Your Paper for Grammar and Unintentional Plagiarism

Welcome to your go-to review service for writing and citing with confidence! With the click of a button, BibMe Plus will review your paper for spelling, punctuation, verb tense, and other grammar issues so you can rest easy knowing that you’re submitting your best work.

After putting in the long hours to complete and submit an assignment on time, the last thing you want to learn is that a misspelled word or missing APA format or MLA format citation slipped past you and made its way into your final draft. Thankfully, your concerns about how to avoid plagiarism and typos can be a thing of the past with help from the right tools.

The BibMe Plus writing and citing tools go far beyond the basics of just proofreading; they also check your paper for plagiarism and help you build your biography quickly. Our tool scans your document for similar content on the Internet. If it encounters a passage that may need a citation, it flags it so you can review the passage, examine the source, and easily create and insert a citation if it’s needed. Try it out now!

Detect Unintentional Plagiarism

Finding out that you’ve accidentally infringed on another’s work the night before your assignment is due can leave you scrambling to rewrite sections of your paper, update your citations, and modify your bibliography at the eleventh hour.

If you find that you have accidentally plagiarized, whether on your first, fourth, or final draft, the BibMe Plus plagiarism tool has got you covered. When the BibMe Plus essay checker scans your paper, it searches the web for passages of similar text and highlights areas that may need attention. You have the power to review each flagged passage, as well as the suggested source, to determine if a citation is needed. If you conclude that you did not plagiarize, you can dismiss the plagiarism suggestion and move on to review the next.

After reviewing the suggested sources and identifying the passages which are missing citations, you can choose to start creating a proper citation right then and there. Not only can you create the citation, but you can both add it directly into your paper as an in-text citation as well as to your bibliography at the end of the paper.

All of the BibMe Plus writing and plagiarism check tools and guides are conveniently available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So it doesn’t matter if you finish your paper a week early, or a few hours before it is due; help is here whenever you need it.

how to check for essay plagiarism

How Does the Plagiarism Checker Work?

Before subscription-based and free plagiarism checkers became readily available, figuring out how to check for plagiarism efficiently and effectively was a vexing problem. After all, reviewing every sentence by hand and comparing it all with the entirety of the world’s published works for potential plagiarism would be an arduous and potentially impossible task. That’s why instructors across all levels of education often rely on automated scanning tools (like a paid or free online plagiarism checker)  to check for plagiarism and help them identify instances of academic dishonesty; and why students should, too.

A free plagiarism checker may scan your paper for matching text and merely highlight the problem areas and return a percentage that reflects the amount of unoriginal writing it uncovered. The BibMe Plus paper checker offers a lot more than a free plagiarism site and gives you the information you need to make fully informed and intelligent decisions. Our plagiarism detector reveals any passages that require your review and returns the results to you, along with links to the source that contains matching text.

how to check for essay plagiarism

About the Plagiarism Checker and Grammar Check Tools

You’ve done the research, drafted and revised your paper, and took care to credit all of your sources. The last step before you submit your paper is to proofread it in order to catch any missed errors or citations. A missing preposition , misused adverb , or misspelled interjection might escape you, but you’re unlikely to escape your teacher.

The BibMe Plus grammar checker gives you the feedback you need to help polish and improve your paper before you turn it in, not after. Not only does it flag spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, but it also gives you helpful tips that explain why the item is flagged so you can correct it, learn from it, and become a better writer.

A quick scan of your paper with the BibMe Plus plagiarism tool will also help to reveal any passages that, while perhaps unintentional, would still be considered plagiarizing. With tailored tips and an easy-to-use interface, our writing tool can help you unlock the magic to more natural, relaxed, and efficient editing to help ensure that your writing is clear, consistent, and properly cited.

The best part about it? Instant suggestions. No further reading , waiting for a human proofreader to respond to you, or racing across campus to get to the writing center before it closes.

The BibMe Plus grammar checker is available precisely when and where you need it. Conduct an on-demand spell check and grammar check at any time of day to validate the integrity of your work, and to generate any missing citations, all in a matter of seconds.

What is Plagiarism?

Committing academic dishonesty could lead to failing grades and even expulsion Knowing the potential consequences of plagiarism certainly makes it clear why you should avoid it. However, without a concrete definition, abstaining from it can prove challenging.

If you’re wondering, “What does plagiarism mean?” an easy to remember plagiarism definition is that it’s the act of using someone else’s work or ideas without giving them proper credit . It’s important to note that this definition is not bound by intention, and students may commit it both knowingly and unknowingly in a research paper .

Learning to define plagiarism is just the first step in developing the awareness necessary to avoid it. Identifying it in its various forms is the crucial next step, combined with consistently utilizing a subscription-based or free online plagiarism checker as a non-negotiable element of your paper-writing process.

Is your paper in need of a plagiarism check?  The BibMe Plus grammar check and plagiarism tool has got you covered! It’s designed to help spot those pesky places in your paper that may get red marks from your teacher, and it couldn’t be easier to use. Simply upload or paste your paper into the online plagiarism checker and, in no time at all, you’ll receive your results and can review any areas of concern. Try it now!

Not ready to check for plagiarism yet? Not to worry–the BibMe Plus plagiarism tool is available 24/7, so you can research, write, and revise when it’s best for your schedule.

Examples of Plagiarism

While it’s critical to understand the plagiarism definition as it’s broadly defined, it’s just as vital to learn the various ways it can occur if proactively preventing plagiarism is your goal.

Direct Plagiar ism:

Direct plagiarism is the deliberate act of copying another individual’s work or idea into an assignment without providing any type of acknowledgment. An example of this would be a student copying and pasting text from a source into their project, without using quotation marks or any kind of attribution.

Incremental Plagiarism : 

Copying bits and pieces from a single sentence and adding them into a project without attribution is a form of literary theft called incremental plagiarism . Just as with direct plagiarism, the incremental form attempts to disguise when a student or writer is taking credit for words and ideas that are not their own.

Patchwriting:

When a writer rephrases another author’s words (and it remains similar to the original words) and includes them without attribution in their work, it is known as patchwriting or mosaic writing .

How does it happen? Perhaps the writer rearranged words in the sentence, subbed out a few adjectives with synonyms, or used bits and pieces of the original wording and mixed it with their own. No matter the method, the original wording is often easy to spot as it peeks through its patchwork disguise.

Self-Plagiarism:

Plagiarizing another author’s words or ideas is an issue that most students recognize as wrong, but many are shocked to learn that reusing their own words can also fit the plagiarism definition. After all, they ask, how can I steal from myself?

Self-plagiarism is less about stealing and more about deceiving. When a student refurbishes or reuses work they completed in the past and turns it in a second time instead of completing new, original work, they are not honest with their teacher. Even reusing portions or paragraphs of your previous work without disclosing it is dishonest.

Do you have a paper you want to evaluate so you can confirm you’ve completed your research responsibly without plagiarizing (by accident)? A quick scan with the BibMe Plus plagiarism tool will help highlight phrases, sentences, or paragraphs in your paper that are found elsewhere on the internet. Each highlighted section has a prompt that will also ask you if you need a reference for it. Even better? If you review the source and determine that you need to add a citation, the plagiarism check tool will guide you through the steps of creating and inserting your reference. Pretty awesome, right? We think so too.

Lesser-Known Examples of Plagiarism

There are quite a few acts of intentional or unintentional dishonesty that students are surprised to learn also meet the definition of plagiarism.

Misleading Citations:

Including misleading citations is a form of academic dishonesty that is just as serious as direct infringement.

To understand how this fits into the plagiarize definition, consider the final result. If this type of plagiarism is undetected, the writer has deceived their audience and created a false belief about the words and ideas in the source material and its author. Whether it occurs intentionally or unintentionally, misleading citations draw a false link between an idea and a source and harm a student’s credibility.

Invented Sources:

While misleading references can occur as a result of not understanding your research, invented sources are more often the result of insufficient research or intentional deception. A student who can’t find a source to back up a point they want to make or who doesn’t want to commit the necessary time to ethically complete a paper might resort to including one or more invented sources in their bibliography. Whatever the cause, an invented source creates an illusion of credibility by tying an idea to a source that doesn’t exist.

An invented source can also be the result of poor note-taking. Perhaps you found the perfect quote to include in your introduction but forgot to write down the source. You know it’s wrong to plagiarize, but unless you invent a source you’ll have to remove the quote, right?

Wrong! Rather than choosing between removing the quote or inventing a reference, let the BibMe Plus plagiarism tool free up some time by helping you find the source and create an accurate citation. It’s quick and easy to scan your paper for plagiarism and, most importantly, it’s the ethical thing to do.

What Is Not Plagiarism

With the definition of plagiarism covering so much ground, it’s easy to raise the alarms and wonder if even the most innocent of acts might be construed as plagiarizing. Our advice? Don’t panic. Instead, sit back, relax, and check out these times when you can write your heart out, worry-free:

Common Knowledge:

Information that is widely known and accepted as fact is considered common knowledge. This can either be information that is known to most people in the world, in your country, in your state, or even just in your field of study, depending on the audience for your work. For example:

J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series.

This is a fact that is known widely enough that it is considered common knowledge and does not require a citation.

If your statement is considered common knowledge, you can include it in your paper without creating a citation. Keep in mind, though, that research papers showcase new ideas and analysis. Common knowledge is acceptable to include, but make sure you mix in information from outside sources as well.

Attributed Quote or Idea:

To include the ideas of others in your papers, you need only to attribute them to the original author to ensure you safely stay on the side of academic integrity. A proper paraphrase or direct quote with a citation is an excellent way to promote a point in your paper, while also demonstrating that you fully understand the author’s idea and have completed your research responsibly.

While most writers remember to add references for direct quotes, they can sometimes forget to include references when adding paraphrases into papers. A free plagiarism site may only help these writers pinpoint passages, but the BibMe Plus tool also helps you develop accurate references, in Chicago citation style and many others, in all types of situations. Quotes, paraphrases, full references: you name it, our plagiarism checker does it, and does it well.

Now that we’ve learned what is and isn’t plagiarism, let’s look at how to avoid it entirely.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

When you first learn to define plagiarism and realize how expansive the definition is, it can be intimidating to think about all the information you have to cite. That’s where the BibMe Plus online plagiarism tool comes in by helping to spot intentional and accidental plagiarism and flagging any matching text for your review.

When you use the plagiarism tool, or any of our resources, your paper always stays in your control. You’ll be given the potential source for each flagged passage so you can review it and decide whether to create a citation or dismiss the alert.

If you find that you need to add a citation, we’ve got your back. There are BibMe citing tools that can help guide you through the process of creating and styling a citation for your paper.

No matter what tools you use to help complete your work ethically, whether they’re free plagiarism tools or not, you are ultimately responsible for the work that you turn in. Remember, the best time to find errors or unintentional infringement is BEFORE you turn in your paper, not after. When in doubt, run a BibMe Plus plagiarism check to help you find any passages that you may have missed on your own, and use the free tools to create and insert your citations in more styles than even imaginable.

Spot Writing Mistakes

Unintentionally plagiarizing isn’t the only thing to worry about when writing and revising a paper—you also don’t want to lose points for small grammatical mistakes. Luckily, the BibMe Plus grammar checker and plagiarism tool will complete a spell check and review your document for style, punctuation, sentence structure, verb tense, pronoun -antecedent agreement, and more!

The BibMe Plus grammar check tool gives you more depth and insight than a standard spell checker. When you scan your paper, the proofreader highlights areas for your review and provides prompts to help you make an educated decision about how to proceed before accepting or ignoring each suggestion. And, since our grammar and spelling check gives definitions and explanations, it can help you improve your writing over time.

This service is for all writers, from those who have complete confidence in their writing ability to those who are just starting to write. No matter what your writing level, let the BibMe Plus grammar and plagiarism checker free up your time with a quick and thorough review that leaves no noun , determiner , or conjunction unchecked! Upload your paper now and start improving your writing today.

Types of Plagiarism and 6 Tips to Avoid it in Your Writing 

types of plagiarism

Plagiarism in research is considered a form of cheating and extremely unethical as it undermines the academic integrity. It continues to be one of the main reasons for manuscript rejection, which makes it critical for academics to understand the most common types of plagiarism and how to avoid this in their academic writing. In simple terms, plagiarism can be defined as the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as one’s own without properly crediting the original source. In this article we’ll delve into the different types of plagiarism and offer practical tips to steer clear of this ethical sinkhole.  

Table of Contents

Deliberate plagiarism, self-plagiarism, paraphrasing plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism, accidental plagiarism.

  • 6 Practical Tips to Avoid Plagiarism 
  • Avoid potential instances of plagiarism with Paperpal  

Common Types of Plagiarism

Research is built on the existing knowledge in the field. Considering the common phrasing and terms used to describe academic methods and contexts, there is a high chance of some level of similarity being present in your work. This is especially true for those who are new to academic writing or those who have English as a second language, who may rely on past publications to guide how they present their original ideas and concepts. This risk of similarity may be mitigated by understanding the types of plagiarism in research writing. 

The most blatant form of plagiarism, this involves copying someone else’s work word-for-word without giving them credit. This type of plagiarism is a direct violation of academic integrity and fairly easy to detect using plagiarism checkers. An example would be lifting entire paragraphs and inserting them into their own work without quotation marks or proper citations, which is considered a form of cheating and plagiarism in academia.   

Also known as text-recycling or redundant publication, self-plagiarism occurs when a researcher submits their own previously published work or parts of it to another publication without properly acknowledging previous works. Researchers are expected to adhere to ethical standards by transparently disclosing any reuse of their prior work to avoid misrepresentation. While there may be cases where self-referencing or repurposing one’s own work is legitimate, it’s a problem if the author tries to pass this off as new, original content. For example, submitting a manuscript to different journals without disclosing a major overlap in content with a paper they’d previously published is self-plagiarism.  

While paraphrasing is an essential writing skill, researchers need to be careful not to misuse it. This type of plagiarism occurs when you rephrase someone else’s ideas or content without properly attributing the original source. While the language may be different, the underlying concepts and structure remain the same and failure to credit the original source is unethical. One such example is paraphrasing passages from a textbook and presenting it as their own, instead of quoting or summarizing the text with the right citation.  

This occurs when you blend phrases, ideas, or data from different sources together to create a new piece of work, without properly citing the original sources. While not copying any one source directly, such patchwriting is considered a type of plagiarism if the previous works are not acknowledged. One example of mosaic plagiarism would be writing a literature review for a research paper and borrowing sentences or rephrasing ideas from various sources without citing them.  

This type of plagiarism occurs when a researcher inadvertently neglects to credit the original source. This may be sheer forgetfulness, misunderstanding of citation guidelines, or an unintended duplication of another’s work. For example, forgetting to cite a paper you had read earlier and referenced in your research paper. While unintentional, it is still flagged as cheating and plagiarism by journals and institutions looking to uphold academic integrity.  

6 Practical Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a significant issue in academia, but with the right strategies in place, it can be avoided. Here are some proven strategies to help you navigate the complexities of academic writing while producing original, authentic content. 

  • Be aware of specific citation styles of your institution or target journal and follow these rules carefully. 
  • Maintain notes of all the sources used in your research so you don’t miss citing them when writing. 
  • When paraphrasing someone else’s work, maintain your own authentic voice and cite sources correctly. 
  • If your plan to build on another’s work, seek their permission in advance to avoid copyright violations. 
  • When unsure about when and where to attribute sources, seek guidance from your supervisors or PIs. 
  • Before you submit, be sure to run your work through an online plagiarism checker to avoid accidental plagiarism.  

Avoid potential instances of plagiarism with Paperpal 

Paperpal, an AI academic writing assistant, focuses on providing comprehensive support at every step of the writing process, including a trusted plagiarism check  that allows authors to check their work for similarity. It scans your writing against billions of online sources and provides a detailed plagiarism report with a similarity score and side-by-side comparisons allowing you to quickly assess and address any issues before submission. If you haven’t tried this online plagiarism prevention check yet, don’t miss out. Get started with Paperpal now to avoid any accidental plagiarism!  

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free!

Related Reads:

  • Plagiarism Prevention: Why You Need a Plagiarism Check (Even When You Think You Don’t)!
  • Plagiarism Checkers vs. AI Content Detection: Navigating the Academic Landscape
  • Addressing Your Queries on AI Ethics, Plagiarism, and AI Detection
  • Similarity Checks: The Author’s Guide to Plagiarism and Responsible Writing

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7 Surefire Signs That ChatGPT Has Written an Essay Revealed

how to check for essay plagiarism

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have revealed the seven telltale signs that a piece of written content was generated by ChatGPT , after carefully analyzing more than 150 essays written by high school students and undergraduates.

They found that ChatGPT loves an Oxford Comma, repeats phrases and spits out tautological statements practically empty of meaning at a much higher frequency than humans.

While the findings are interesting, the sample size is quite small. There's also no guarantee that the linguistic habits and techniques identified couldn’t and wouldn't be used by a human. What’s more, AI content detection tools are largely unreliable; there’s still no way to know for certain that any given written content is AI-generated.

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The 7 Telltale Signs Content is AI-Generated

The researchers at Cambridge analyzed 164 essays written by high school students with four essays written with a helping hand from ChatGPT.

The ChatGPT-assisted essays were generally more information-heavy and had more reflective elements, but the markers at Cambridge found that they lacked the level of comparison and analysis typically found in human-generated content. 

According to UK-based publication The Telegraph , which broke the story, the researchers identified seven key indicators of AI content:

  • Frequent use of Latin root words and “vocabulary above the expected level”
  • Paragraphs starting with singular words like “however”, and then a comma 
  • Lots of numbered lists with colons
  • Unnecessary clarificatory language (e.g. “true fact”)
  • Tautological language (“Lets come together to unite”)
  • Repetition of the same word or phrase twice 
  • Consistent and frequent use of Oxford commas in sentences

Are There Any Other Ways to Spot ChatGPT Plagiarism?

Yes and no. There are many tools online that claim to be able to detect AI content, but when I tested a wide range of them last year, I found many to be wildly inaccurate.

For instance, OpenAI’s own text classifier – which was eventually shut down because it performed so poorly – was unable to identify that text written by ChatGPT (effectively itself) was AI-generated.

Even Turnitin has been using automated processes to detect plagiarized content in academic work for years, and they’ve also developed a powerful AI content checker. The company has always maintained that verdicts arrived at by their tools should be treated as an indication, not a cast-iron accusation.

“Given that our false positive rate is not zero” Turnitin explains in a blog post discussing its AI content detection capabilities.

Surfshark logo

“You as the instructor will need to apply your professional judgment, knowledge of your students, and the specific context surrounding the assignment”.

None of these tools are infallible – and worse still, many of the free ones you’ll find lurking at the top of the Google Search results are completely and utterly useless.

Is It Wrong to Use AI for School or College Work?

While asking AI tools like ChatGPT and Gemini to write you an essay isn’t quite “plagiarism” in the same way copying content written by other people and passing it off as your own is, it’s certainly not advised.

Whether it’s objectively plagiarism or not is likely irrelevant – the educational institution you’re enrolled in has probably created guidelines explicitly banning generative AI. Many universities have already taken a similar approach to peer review and other academic processes.

Besides, the whole point of writing an essay is to consider the range of ideas and views on the topic you’re writing about and evaluate them using your head. Getting an AI to do it for you defeats the whole point of writing the essay in the first place.

Our advice – considering the consequences of being accused of plagiarism while at university – is to stick to the rules. Who knows – you might learn something while you're at it!

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at [email protected]

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