Writing an academic paper is one heck of a task. You spend many sleepless nights brainstorming and gathering relevant data. Then, you complete the writing process, and everything seems perfect.
But to your surprise, the lecturer grades the paper and rejects it because of plagiarism.
How could that be possible if I wrote the paper in my own words?
Unfortunately, that’s the reality of plagiarism checks. You are always at the mercy of automated algorithms. Even if you wrote the paper without copying someone else’s work, your essay could still get flagged as plagiarized content.
Therefore, you need to find out what plagiarism entails, how plagiarism detectors work, and why these checks are necessary.
A Grammar Check for Peace of Mind
Creating an academic work covers a myriad of processes, starting from writing to submission. The writing stage is the most important part of the process since it focuses on bringing life to your ideas.
However, the plagiarism checkpoint is also necessary if you want some peace of mind. But why should I check my writing for plagiarism?
The answer varies depending on the purpose of writing. You need to check if your sources are correctly cited. Also, some ideas you thought were unique might have been worked on by someone else.
Furthermore, you don’t want the stigma of being tagged a plagiarist. This ill repute will follow you throughout your academic and professional career.
In the university, your professor might send you the paper to edit if plagiarism is detected. Some no-nonsense professors might just penalize you straight away. But if you are publishing the work in a magazine, you won’t get the opportunity to edit.
Consequently, the editors will spot the copied idea and label you an idea thief. No time for corrections; no chance for repentance.
Why is Grammar So Important Anyway?
Apart from plagiarism detection, grammar is also an important reason to check your paper before submission. You need to review every idea and sentence to make sure everything is in order.
But why waste time checking grammar?
First of all, academic writing is an intro to creating career-based professional documentation. This is not a blog you write for your fans or the email you send to your parents. So, you must express your ideas using formal industry-relevant vocabulary.
Furthermore, proper grammar helps people understand your thoughts perfectly. Spelling blunders can skew the meaning of a sentence entirely. Even a single alphabet can get you in serious trouble.
Let’s check out some examples:
A: Farming fools [tools] are necessary for the development of subsistence farming.
B: The work of both artists compliment [complement] each other.
Moreover, students often get carried away when writing essays and drop a few personal pronouns (I, We, Me). Your perspective should only appear in the conclusion.
Essentially, you need to review your grammar once your final draft is complete. And if you don’t trust your language proficiency, used an online essay corrector (like Grammarly) to fine-tune your grammar.
Check for Unintentional Plagiarism
Let’s face it: plagiarism can be unintended sometimes. And this is the most frustrating because you won’t even know the cause of the problem.
However, this issue is why I always check my essay for unintentional plagiarism. You can never tell when you mistakenly share an idea that has been expressed elsewhere.
One example that comes to mind is the Leibniz and Newton debacle over the invention of calculus.
Both men came up with the same idea independently. However, the puzzling part of the story was that both men had no prior contact. Yet, they came up with a similar idea almost at the same time.
Although Newton’s influence helped him take credit for the work, this episode proved that an idea could exist in multiple minds simultaneously.
This is why you always need to conduct a literature review whenever you are working on a paper to determine if your idea is a novelty.
What Exactly Does a Plagiarism Checker Do?
Since you now know the nerdy details of a plagiarism checker, let’s check out what they actually do. But you must note that only the premium version of advanced essay checkers can offer you excellent paper analysis.
Here are the perks of using a plagiarism checker for your written tasks:
- Checks the paper for uniqueness
Anytime you upload your paper, your heart stops in anticipation of the uniqueness index. You want your paper to be as unique as possible. Fortunately, most academic institutions accept 85% uniqueness and above. The only question is why 100% uniqueness is acceptable despite being practically impossible.
- Corrects grammar
Advanced plagiarism checkers provide a free grammar check option. They even highlight wrong spellings and punctuation errors that you might have omitted during your manual review.
- Produces detailed reports
Plagiarism checkers provide similarity reports for papers. This color-coded similarity report highlights portions of your text that match external sources. Although a similarity report does not indicate plagiarism, teachers can use it as evidence to accuse you of plagiarism.
- Detects switched alphabets
Sometimes, your text might contain alphabets borrowed from a different language. Although students often use this trick to deceive plagiarism checkers, the issue might be with your word processor’s encoding. So, a plagiarism checker will help you detect these inconsistencies before you submit your paper.
How Does the Online Plagiarism Checker Work?
When you upload your paper to a plagiarism checker, the program generates a similarity report within a few seconds. And sometimes, the results of these similarity reports are so outrageous that you start wondering ‘how this crap works’ anyway.
So, let’s take a look at what happens once you upload your paper to an essay check platform.
Once you upload your paper, a computer program goes through your essay’s contents and crosschecks it with other internet databases. This program uses an AI-optimized algorithm that matches similar strings (lines of text) across multiple platforms. The AI also checks images, tables, and graphs.
Similarly, this check considers other materials on the site’s local database — every paper ever submitted within a specified period. The software will highlight the text as plagiarism, even if the paper originally belongs to you. After all, the program is not optimized to know that the previous work is yours.
So, if there are any similarities in context and phrasing, the paper checker will highlight that text fragment. Even if you change a sentence’s wording, the algorithm will still detect the rearrangement.
I am a practicing doctor = I practice as a doctor.
Furthermore, advanced plagiarism tools can detect citations. So, citing your sources will decrease the amount of flagged content in your writing.
Reasons Your Teacher May Run Your Paper Through a Plagiarism Detector
Teachers always warn students about the possible repercussions of plagiarism. They always stress the fact that every paper should be unique.
Some professors even give students an automatic F once the document exceeds the acceptable similarity limit.
But why do teachers go through the trouble of checking every paper for plagiarism?
The answer is suspicious activity.
Every teacher knows their student’s capability. So, a student with poor language skills submitting a properly-written essay will raise major red flags. You obviously didn’t master the language overnight.
As a result, the teacher will check the paper to ensure the student did not copy the paper from an online source.
Furthermore, when your instructor finds an idea in your paper that sounds familiar, they will double-check to determine if you paraphrased the thought.
Also, if they notice that you cited the wrong source, it will prompt them to run the entire paper through a plagiarism checker. This will give them a clearer picture of other possible tricks you pulled in the paper.
Remember that these teachers are seasoned pros with an ample understanding of student tricks. They also have extensive experience in the subject.
What are the Different Types of Plagiarism?
Since we’ve discussed intentional and unintentional plagiarism, not all forms of plagiarism are equal.
Of course, students succumb to their laziness and decide to copy someone’s work verbatim. Others get more creative and switch things around like a puzzle. But sometimes, you are just unlucky to use the wrong in-text citation.
So, let’s take a look at some examples of plagiarism and how you can avoid them in your writing.
Examples of plagiarism & How to prevent it
When you copy ideas from a previously published work without giving yourself credit, it is considered plagiarism. Think about it: the person checking the work doesn’t know the author, but they recognize the idea. So, they will automatically flag the idea, not knowing that it belongs to you.
Prevention: Don’t be lazy: consider every assignment a different challenge and write it from scratch. Even if the topics are identical, you must conduct new research. And if you really want to use parts of the previous paper, your teacher must approve it.
- Direct plagiarism
Direct plagiarism is when you blatantly copy someone’s work without providing a citation to the original. This form of plagiarism is common among students who wait for the last minute to copy-paste their assignments.
Prevention: Don’t steal people’s work. If you see a fascinating idea, include it in your paper and credit the author.
- Partial plagiarism
Copying fragments of another person’s work is partial plagiarism. It is also commonly referred to as paraphrasing. It involves rewriting sentences to give them a unique spin. But the thing is: ideas are the same irrespective of the presentation. And although a plagiarism checker might not detect the trick, most teachers can.
Prevention: If you don’t want to quote someone directly, summarize the thought and mention the source in-text.
- Mosaic plagiarism
As the name implies, mosaic plagiarism involves copying from different sources to come up with a salad. This technique is called patchwork. It requires skill and concentration to pull off. Mosaic plagiarism is always tempting when working with low-level plagiarism checkers, but experts and advanced software can detect it.
Prevention: Don’t copy from multiple sources. If you don’t know how to cite the sources correctly, consult any citation manual.
- Citation-based plagiarism
This form of plagiarism is mostly due to carelessness or an honest oversight when citing a source. But make no mistake; some students prefer to falsify citations and publication info. Bad news for you: most teachers are aware of this trick and can spot it easily.
Prevention: Always endeavor to cite the right author. Don’t omit any authors for works written by multiple authors. Also, confirm if the writer is not a secondary source — referencing another author in their work.
What are the Consequences of Plagiarism?
Before playing the victimless crime card, let me stop you right there.
Imagine a scenario where you spend years of your life working on a project. And just before you cash in, someone swoops in and steals the idea. Next thing you know, the person is on TV receiving accolades with your life’s work —- your blood, sweat, and tears.
How would that make you feel?
This same logic applies to plagiarizing other’s work. It is technically stealing.
However, despite the hardline approach employed by the academic society to curb plagiarism, you have to admit that not all plagiarism is the same.
Self-plagiarism can earn you a stern warning from the professor. Similarly, citation-based plagiarism might get you a harder ‘slap on the wrist’ from your teacher. Some might even penalize you for a few points.
But other forms of plagiarism will make massive dents in your reputation. You will become ostracized in the academic community. In fact, some authors might go as far as suing you for damages. And in some countries, plagiarism is considered a jailable offense.
In the past, some politicians and lawmakers have been axed following accusations of plagiarism. Consequently, these individuals have become pariahs in their field.
How We Check for Plagiarism
The process of checking for plagiarism used to be a demanding task. You had to spend multiple hours going through several sources to find the source of information. Imagine having to check over 50 hundred-page manuscripts for plagiarism.
However, the days of manual plagiarism checks are in the past, thanks to technology. You can now find advanced plagiarism checkers that can peruse multiple pages within a few minutes.
But how do we check for plagiarism?
Once you upload the paper, it goes through a series of automated scans using matching algorithms. These scans help to detect similarities between your paper’s contents and other online sources.
Furthermore, our essay checkers will highlight instances of similarity with known sources. They will indicate possible cases of mosaic plagiarism and paraphrasing.
Also, our software will draw your attention to possible inconsistencies and omissions in citations, as well as broken links to academic sources.
You will also get basic grammatical corrections for your paper, all within a couple of minutes.
In essence, always run your paper through a paper checker. This should be the last stop before submitting the paper. Check the paper for plagiarism and grammatical errors. Most importantly, try to avoid plagiarism in your writing. Don’t copy people’s work, and don’t quote yourself without citation. And if you must summarize someone’s idea, give them credit by citing the right sources.
Answers to the popular questions
What is Plagiarism?Depending on the respondent, the definition of plagiarism can take different shapes — from victimless crime to a prosecutable offense.
Students will argue that plagiarism is a victimless crime — a concept devised by lecturers to frustrate students. In the same vein, politicians will use the plagiarism tag to club their opponents into submission and label them as frauds. Similarly, career professionals will tell you that plagiarism is tantamount to a bank robbery.
The truth is that plagiarism covers all these definitions. The classic definition of plagiarism refers to passing off someone’s work as your creation.
Technically, plagiarism is the total, partial, intentional, and unintentional reproduction of another’s work without proper credit.
Plagiarism is not only limited to academic writing. You can plagiarize song lyrics, blog posts, speeches, and magazine publications.
However, you don’t have to include citations after every sentence in your paper. Some information is regarded as common knowledge and cannot be flagged as plagiarism. For example:
The sun is the center of our solar system.
Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.
Furthermore, you cannot include your thoughts since your opinions are not statements of fact. But if you have published your work in a peer-reviewed article, you can cite yourself in the new paper.
You must also provide citations for all other copied data and format them using the specified style — MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian.
What Happens After I Upload My Paper?Any paper, image, or video you upload on the internet stays there forever. They all come together to form an extensive online database of materials. So, when you submit your paper to an online essay checker free, it goes through a series of checks to determine if the content exists somewhere online. Your paper is matched against blogs, online magazines, news portals, PDFs, and other data repositories. Similarly, your paper becomes part of the universal database.