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Examples of Plagiarism

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Manish Jindal

February 28, 2024


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Examples of Plagiarism

Key Takeaways

  • Plagiarism goes beyond just copying text and encompasses various forms like paraphrasing without citation, using visuals without attribution, and misrepresenting common knowledge.
  • Plagiarism is not limited to academia but can occur in professional work, journalism, creative fields, and even social media, always demanding proper attribution.
  • Both intentional and unintentional (due to misunderstanding or negligence) plagiarism are ethically problematic and have consequences.
  • Recognising different forms, citing sources properly, and upholding ethical standards are crucial for fostering a culture of academic integrity and originality.

In the realm of academia and intellectual discourse, plagiarism stands as a cardinal sin, a betrayal of trust, and a violation of ethical standards. Yet, despite its notoriety, plagiarism can take on various forms, some more subtle than others.

By exploring real-life examples of plagiarism, we can better understand the nuances of this pervasive issue and its implications for scholarly integrity.

7 Examples of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is not a one-size-fits-all transgression but rather a spectrum of unethical practices that undermine the principles of originality and intellectual honesty.

Here are several common examples of different types of plagiarism:

Direct Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism involves verbatim copying of someone else’s work without proper attribution. This blatant form of academic dishonesty leaves no room for interpretation and constitutes a clear violation of ethical standards.

Example: A student finds an online journal article and copies a paragraph verbatim into their essay without quotation marks or citation. The original text from the article is inserted into the essay as if it were the student’s own words.

Paraphrasing Plagiarism

Paraphrasing plagiarism occurs when an individual rephrases or rewords someone else’s ideas or sentences without providing adequate citation. While the wording may be altered, the underlying content remains essentially the same, leading to accusations of intellectual theft.

Example: An author reads a paper and decides to use the ideas in their own work. They change a few words here and there but keep the structure and core ideas the same, without giving credit to the original author.

Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism, also known as patchwork plagiarism, involves piecing together various sources without proper attribution, creating a mosaic of borrowed phrases and ideas.

While the plagiarist may attempt to blend these elements into their own writing, the lack of original thought or acknowledgment betrays their unethical conduct.

Example: A researcher takes sentences from several different sources, changes a few words in each sentence, and combines them all into a new paragraph. This paragraph appears original at first glance but is actually a patchwork of others’ work without proper attribution.

Insufficient Citation of Quotes

Failing to provide proper citation for direct quotes is another form of plagiarism. Even if the words are attributed to the original author, the absence of quotation marks or a citation can give the false impression that the words are the writer’s own.

Example: A writer includes a quote from a famous author in their book but only mentions the author’s name without providing any information about the source, such as the title of the work, publication date, or page number.

Paraphrasing without Citation

Similar to paraphrasing plagiarism, paraphrasing without citation involves rephrasing someone else’s ideas or arguments without acknowledging the source. This subtle form of plagiarism can be difficult to detect but is no less ethically problematic.

Example: A student reads an informative article and then writes a summary of it for their paper. They put the information entirely in their own words but fail to mention that the ideas and information came from the article.

Plagiarism in Graphs

Plagiarism can extend beyond textual content to include visual elements such as graphs, charts, and diagrams.

Failing to attribute the source of data or reproducing visual representations without permission constitutes plagiarism in the realm of visual communication.

Example: In a presentation, a student uses a graph found in an online article. They do not provide any acknowledgment of where the graph came from, implying that the data collection and analysis were their own work.

Misrepresentation of Common Knowledge

Even seemingly innocuous information considered common knowledge must be properly attributed if it originated from a specific source. Failing to acknowledge the original author or source of common knowledge can still constitute plagiarism.

Example: An essay states a specific, uncommon fact about a historical event without citation, treating it as if it were common knowledge. However, this fact is not widely known and was actually taken from a specific source without acknowledgment.

Some More Plagiarism

  • Word-for-Word Plagiarism: This is similar to verbatim plagiarism, where the exact text from a source is copied without any changes or citation.
  • Complete Plagiarism: Submitting someone else’s work in its entirety as your own, such as turning in a paper you found online or one that was written by another student.
  • Source-based Plagiarism: Misrepresenting the source of information, such as citing a non-existent source or falsely attributing an idea to a credible source.
  • Accidental Plagiarism: Unintentionally failing to cite sources or improperly paraphrasing them due to negligence or misunderstanding of citation and paraphrasing rules. Despite being accidental, it’s still considered plagiarism.

Examples of Plagiarism in Various Contexts

Plagiarism is not confined to academic writings but can also occur in other contexts, including:

Professional Workplaces: Using a colleague’s work or ideas without permission or acknowledgment in reports, presentations, or projects. This includes copying significant portions of a coworker’s proposal and presenting it as one’s own.

Journalism: Republishing information, quotes, or entire articles from other sources without proper attribution or failing to credit the original source of a news story.

Music and Entertainment: Copying melodies, lyrics, scripts, or concepts without permission or acknowledgment. This includes using a melody from another artist’s song in your own without crediting them.

Art and Design: Replicating another artist’s work and claiming it as your own creation, whether it’s a painting, graphic design, or sculpture.

Software and Technology: Copying code from another developer without permission or failing to attribute open-source resources correctly in software projects.

Blogging and Content Creation

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: Reposting entire articles, blogs, or videos from other creators on your website or social media without permission or proper attribution.

Marketing and Advertising: Using copyrighted images, slogans, or copy from other campaigns without obtaining the rights or giving credit, presenting them as original marketing material.

Literature and Publishing: Publishing a book, article, or other written works that closely mimic the plot, characters, or key ideas of someone else’s published work without acknowledgment.

Speeches and Public Speaking: Delivering speeches or presentations that significantly borrow from others’ speeches, writings, or ideas without giving credit.

Social Media: Sharing another person’s photos, videos, or posts as if they were your own without crediting the original creator.

3 Famous Examples of Plagiarism

Jayson Blair 

Jayson Blair, a former journalist for The New York Times, was exposed for fabricating stories and plagiarising content from other sources, leading to his resignation and tarnishing the reputation of the newspaper.

Fareed Zakaria Controversy

Fareed Zakaria, a prominent journalist and commentator, faced allegations of plagiarism in his columns and books, prompting retractions and apologies from him and his publishers.

Helene Hegemann’s Novel

Helene Hegemann, a German author, faced criticism for her novel “Axolotl Roadkill,” which contained passages lifted from other writers’ works without attribution, sparking debates about literary ethics and originality.

Melania Trump

At the 2016 Republican National Convention, former First Lady Melania Trump delivered a speech that strikingly echoed one made by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The speech Melania Trump presented shared significant similarities in phrasing and themes with Obama’s earlier address.

Initially, Melania Trump’s representatives denied any allegations of copying. However, Meredith McIver, a writer on Trump’s staff, later admitted to inadvertently incorporating elements of Obama’s speech into Melania’s remarks, acknowledging the plagiarism incident.


Pharrell, too, has faced his share of copyright challenges.

In 2018, he, along with Robin Thicke, was mandated by a court to compensate Marvin Gaye’s estate with approximately $7 million. This payment was for incorporating elements of Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” into their track “Blurred Lines.”


Examples of plagiarism abound across various domains, underscoring the importance of upholding academic integrity, ethical standards, and respect for intellectual property rights.

Whether in school assignments, online content, journalistic endeavors, or artistic creations, plagiarism undermines the credibility and integrity of individuals and institutions.

To combat plagiarism effectively, it’s essential to recognize its various forms and commit to principles of honesty, proper attribution, and originality. Such commitment fosters a culture of integrity and accountability in both scholarly and creative endeavors.

Employing tools like the plagiarism detector of Bytescare, gaining a thorough understanding of copyright laws, and seeking advice from academic experts are practical steps to lessen the prevalence of plagiarism. Ensuring proper citation practices, including the use of quotation marks when quoting sentences from internet sources, is crucial.

Experience how Bytescare’s technology can enhance academic integrity by booking a demo today.


Why is plagiarism considered unethical?

Plagiarism is considered unethical because it involves dishonesty, deceit, and intellectual theft. By failing to attribute ideas or content to their original creators, plagiarists undermine the principles of academic integrity and violate the trust of their audience.

How can I avoid plagiarism in my own writing?

To avoid plagiarism, always provide proper attribution and citation for any ideas, quotes, or information borrowed from external sources. Use quotation marks for direct quotes, paraphrase accurately while citing the source, and consult style guides for formatting citations correctly.

What are the consequences of plagiarism?

The consequences of plagiarism can be severe, ranging from academic penalties such as failing grades or expulsion to reputational damage and legal repercussions. Additionally, plagiarism can tarnish one’s credibility and integrity within academic and professional communities.

What constitutes as common knowledge, and why is its misrepresentation considered plagiarism?

Common knowledge refers to facts that are widely known and easily verifiable by the general public. Misrepresenting information as common knowledge, when it is not, and failing to cite the source is plagiarism because it presents someone else’s specific findings or ideas as universally accepted truths without giving proper credit.

How can I avoid mosaic plagiarism?

To avoid mosaic plagiarism, ensure that you do not merely rearrange or replace a few words from your sources. Instead, thoroughly understand the material and express the ideas in your own words, followed by proper citation of the original sources.

Is it plagiarism if I use my own previously submitted work?

Yes, using your own work that has been previously submitted for another assignment without permission or proper citation is considered self-plagiarism. It involves presenting the same work as new, which deceives the audience regarding the originality of the submission.

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