Examples of Plagiarism: Common Instances and Tips How to Avoid

About Plagiarism

07 Jul 2023

Explore real-life examples of plagiarism, discover its various types, and gain practical tips to avoid this intellectual pitfall.

Examples of Plagiarism

Begin your trip into the world of plagiarism right away! Here, we clarify many types of plagiarism by providing insightful cases. We break down plagiarists' dishonest tactics, from direct copying to poor paraphrasing. Read this article, and you’ll be able to navigate the academic environment with assurance and honesty by comprehending the nuances of plagiarism and taking preventive steps. Join us on this educational journey with examples, types, and tips to arm you against plagiarism clutches.

Examining common plagiarism types with examples

Plagiarism examples represent sobering reminders of the responsibilities and risks of this serious offense. Plagiarism is a severe infraction with significant effects on students and professionals. It means using most of someone else's words, concepts, or works without providing proper credit or getting their consent. It's necessary to look at the many sorts of plagiarism to comprehend better and spot incidents of it. We'll now dig into four typical forms of plagiarism, giving each one a clear definition and an illustration.

Paraphrasing plagiarism

Plagiarism through paraphrasing happens when someone paraphrases another person's work without giving acknowledgment or using an accurate reference. It entails borrowing concepts from another person and rephrasing them in your terms without citing the original author.


Suppose a student reads a study on “The development of antibiotics revolutionized the field of medicine". Later, they write in their article, “The ability to treat bacterial illnesses effectively transformed medicine," without mentioning the author of the first research paper or where the data came from. Thus, it is plagiarism.

Verbatim plagiarism 

Word-for-word plagiarism, usually referred to as verbatim plagiarism, is duplicating another person's work without making any edits or modifications. Since it shows utter disrespect for the original author's rights to intellectual property, this form of piracy is among the most obvious and immoral types.


Verbatim plagiarism occurs when a writer borrows a paragraph from a web page titled "The Value of Clean Energy Sources" and pastes it into their essay without putting it in quotes or giving the appropriate citation.

Mosaic plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism, or patchwriting, occurs when someone blends stolen words or sentences from other sources without giving due credit or using suitable paraphrases. This type of plagiarism involves gathering elements from several works to produce a text that appears to be entirely own.


Imagine that a student researches two of someone's works. The first one says, "The impact of social media on mental health is a topic of ongoing research." In the second one, they read, "Excessive use of social media platforms has been associated with increased rates of anxiety and depression."

Then, this student creates something like, "Ongoing studies are exploring the effects of social media on mental well-being, particularly noting a link between excessive usage and higher rates of anxiety and depression." It’s called mosaic plagiarism.


Self-plagiarism is the practice of using your work that was previously published or elements of it without giving due credit. Self-plagiarism is still classified as dishonest since it fakes the uniqueness and originality of the content, even though it may not require stealing someone else's work.


When an author uses exact passages or pieces from an already-published text in an upcoming book without saying it is recycled information, it is an example of self-plagiarism.

Remembering that our job is valuable when we follow ethical standards is critical. When we respect other people's hard work and develop our uniquely original content, we contribute to advancing knowledge and keep dignity in our educational and professional activities.

Examples of plagiarism in real life: Top 5 cases

Plagiarism, or using someone else's ideas or works without giving proper credit, still needs to be solved in many careers. Let's review five notable fresh cases of real-world plagiarism. These cases of plagiarism serve as a reminder of the value of original thinking and ethics in academic, creative, and professional pursuits.

Case 1: The speech scandal

In a notable incident that captured widespread attention, Melania Trump, the wife of then-President Donald Trump, delivered a speech in 2016 following his inauguration. However, the speech quickly became the center of controversy due to striking similarities between Melania Trump's words and those of Michelle Obama during her husband's presidential campaign eight years prior. This incident brought to light the plagiarism meaning, sparked a social media frenzy, and embarrassed the Trump family.

Case 2: Music and plagiarism

Plagiarism can occur in areas other than writing and public speaking, and such issues can even arise in the music industry. One such case under scrutiny involves country legend Johnny Cash and allegations of plagiarism surrounding his famous songs "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues." These accusations claimed that Cash had borrowed lyrics and melodies from other musicians, casting a shadow on his musical legacy.

Case 3: The lord of borrowed fantasies

Even well-known authors might become involved in disputes over claimed plagiarism. One such case involves J.R.R. Tolkien, renowned for his epic fantasy novel, "The Lord of the Rings," and accusations that he borrowed elements from Richard Wagner's operas. This intriguing history of plagiarism sheds light on the complexities of artistic inspiration and the evolution of Tolkien's work, which went from being criticized as plagiarism to being celebrated as a masterpiece of fantasy literature.

Case 4: Ethics in journalism

As proven by the NBC reporter scandal, plagiarism frequently occurs in journalism. Some readers discovered startling parallels between several published articles, which led to the discussions. Subsequent investigations revealed that the reporter needed to attribute quotes and facts from other sources accurately. This oversight triggered a significant scandal for the news organization and had far-reaching professional consequences for the implicated journalist.

Case 5: The social media plagiarism

The Instagram plagiarism conflict involving Hailey Bieber shows that plagiarism may occur outside academics and journalism. 

In 2016, she posted a picture on Instagram with motivational text that appeared to speak to internet drama related to other celebrities. She soon came under fire for allegedly stealing Melissa Molomo's quotes without giving due acknowledgment. Following this occurrence, Molomo sent a letter requesting an apology and a halt to the unpermitted usage of her work. With no more legal action being indicated, Bieber deleted the post.

We can encourage a society that respects uniqueness and ethical actions by studying such examples of plagiarism in real life and developing a culture of honesty.

How to avoid plagiarism: basic rules for preserving originality

Plagiarism is a sneaky thief that steals your originality. However, do not worry! You can prevent a problem and outsmart this fierce enemy with some imagination and helpful advice. So let's get started and let your creativity flow!

To protect yourself and others from plagiarism, follow these rules:

  • Craft a plan. Start your projects early to avoid the temptation of copying others' work. Giving yourself ample time allows you to research, draft, and revise without using plagiarism shortcuts.
  • Take notes. Remember to take notes as you research various sources! Note the title, page numbers, publication date, and author's name. These specifics will assist you in casting the correct citation spell and ward off the calamity of accidental plagiarism.
  • Use the plagiarism checker tool. Harness the power of technology! Consider a plagiarism checker as your trusty friend. It'll reveal any hidden echoes and allow you to banish unintentional plagiarism.
  • Paraphrase with flair. Don't be a copycat! Don't imitate others! Instead, add a touch of your style to your work. Remember to include in-text citations to credit the information's source.
  • Unleash the writer within. Let your imagination run wild! Develop your unique writing voice and style. Bring new perspectives and thoughts to your pages with each pen stroke. It protects against plagiarism and demonstrates how special you are.

You'll produce works that sparkle with authenticity if you adhere to these suggestions, especially using a plagiarism checker. Your individuality is your biggest strength when it comes to writing; keep that in mind. Go ahead and let your individuality shine!


In a culture where ideas abound, it is critical to understand the significance of respecting the ideas and works of others. We have gained an overview of a world where using someone else's thoughts might be immoral by reviewing examples of plagiarism.

Remember that the key to success is not imitation but the stunning tapestry of your thoughts and visions. Let your creativity fly, your voice resound, and your thoughts soar because you are creating an era where innovation and genius will triumph over copying.


  • What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use someone else's words, ideas, or work without giving them proper credit. It's similar to using someone else's invention and passing it off as your own.

  • Can I plagiarize myself?

Unexpectedly, yeah! Self-plagiarism occurs when you use your previous writing without properly crediting the source. You have to acknowledge your earlier concepts, just as you would for those of others.

  • Can plagiarism be accidental?

Yes, there are situations when plagiarism happens accidentally or without intent. It may happen when you forget to rephrase someone else's words or cite a source accurately. For this reason, it's important to double-check your work.

  • What's the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarizing?

Turning someone else's thoughts or words into your phrases is termed paraphrasing. It's a method of expressing the same idea differently. Conversely, plagiarism is the unlicensed use of someone else's thoughts or words. As a result, while paraphrasing is a legal activity, plagiarism is unethical and entails claiming credit for another person's work.

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