The Most Common Forms of Student Plagiarism

November 21st, 2016

Reading time about 13 min

Learn About the Most Common Forms of Student Plagiarism

The word ‘plagiarism’ has come from the Latin word ‘plagiarius,’ which means ‘kidnapper’ or ‘thief.’ If someone illegally copies parts of another writer’s work and uses it in his writing, it is called plagiarism. For students and writers who treasure their writings must be careful about plagiarism, especially some of the more common forms of student plagiarism. Plagiarism is a severe offense, and plagiarized content fails to serve the purpose; that is, to reach the readers.

Writing papers for school can sometimes be a tedious task. Between the reading, researching, and sometimes needing to come up with your own opinion, finding the right words to write -see what I did there- can be somewhat difficult. When you accidentally forget the necessary requirements of quoting and citing your sources, you may find yourself guilty of committing plagiarism. Let’s take a look at the most common forms of student plagiarism.

There are several forms of plagiarism. Some of the most common forms of plagiarism are –


Going to the Library

Direct Plagiarism

This is the most obvious form of plagiarism, as it makes it easy to identify the writing is not your own. If you copy word for word and do not use quotation marks, it immediately raises a red flag for your teacher to be considered direct plagiarism.

Mosaic Plagiarism

This is when the writer takes passages from a source and doesn’t use quotation marks. It can also be replacing words for synonyms to appear as your own kind of writing. It is important to remember to include the quotation marks even if it is a paraphrase as this indicates the source you used.

For example, the source says, “Let’s contribute a sum for this noble work so that we can be proud of us when our purpose is served.” 

The student may write it as, “Let’s donate a sum for this noble cause so that we can be proud of ourselves when our work is done.” Well, this is an example of Mosaic plagiarism.


While it may not sound like plagiarism, using your previous work in a new piece of writing without permission is considered plagiarism. This includes papers from previous years, different courses, and even different schools (ie high school compared to college courses).

Unintentional Plagiarism

It is one of the most common types of plagiarism committed by students. On occasions, the students neglect the need to cite his source or misquotes it. It is an instance of unintentional plagiarism.

If the students do the citation but fail to do it correctly or unintentionally use similar phrases, that is called unintentional or accidental plagiarism. Though it is not done wilfully, it is still a punishable offense.

Paraphrasing Plagiarism

Using paraphrased content from another writer’s work is also a type of plagiarism. If the student acknowledges the work rightly, then this will not be considered plagiarism. If the student wants to avoid the consequences of plagiarism, then he can either use his own words or give proper credit to the author.

Example of paraphrasing plagiarism: “As late as the 18th century, the most common usage of the word ‘wilderness’ in the English language referred to landscapes that generally carried adjectives far different from the ones they attracted today.”

The student may rephrase it as, “Before the 18th century, the word “wilderness” had very different associations than it does today.” It is an example of paraphrasing plagiarism.

Inaccurate Citation

If the student use proper quotation mark to distinguish the part of the source material but fails to mention the author and work name properly, then this inaccurate

Hence, to prevent such issues that legally and morally harm the reputation of the student, a student should use a plagiarism checker that has upgraded technology. Copyleaks is one such plagiarism checker that uses sophisticated technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide accurate results in almost no time.

These are some of the common forms of plagiarism that your teachers are automatically on the lookout for. Before you finish your paper, it’s always a smart idea to scan for plagiarism in your own work to be positive you cited your sources correctly, with Copyleaks.


Which Is the Most Commonly Used Form of Student Plagiarism?

The most common forms of student plagiarism are paraphrasing plagiarism and mosaic plagiarism. If the student paraphrases parts from another work or substitutes some words of the original content with synonymous terms and doesn’t mention the source, then it will be an instance of plagiarism.

Can You Plagiarise Yourself?

Yes, it is called self-plagiarism. If the student copies one of his/her previously submitted papers or a portion of it for his new project, it is called self-plagiarism without the professor’s permission.

Can One Consider Paraphrasing to Be a Form of Plagiarism?

Paraphrasing itself is not plagiarism. If the student uses the content of another article by paraphrasing it but does not mention its source, then that is a sort of plagiarism.

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