Incremental Plagiarism: What it Means and Ways to Avoid It

You probably heard of “plagiarism,” but you may not have heard of incremental plagiarism.

Plagiarism refers to representing someone else’s work without acknowledging it. It’s wrongfully using someone else’s content, ideas, or inventions.

Let’s create a scenario where your teacher asks you to write a paper that you have no idea about. So you copy it from your friend’s paper. That’s plagiarism.

But what is incremental plagiarism or other types of plagiarism? How can we avoid it? This post will delve into details to answer these questions.

What is Incremental Plagiarism?

photo of a library with hanging lights that are turned on.
Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Incremental plagiarism is the practice of inserting quotations, passages, or excerpts from other works without using proper citations of the original material.

Even if the majority of the text is yours, including any content that isn’t cited is plagiarism. It is a form of plagiarism that happens occasionally. Plagiarism happens every now and then throughout a piece of writing.

Think about the question: “Is my writing original?” In the event you can’t honestly answer “100%,” you may be guilty of this kind of plagiarism.

When direct plagiarism occurs in written content, it can be identified and removed easily. On the other hand, it isn’t easy to identify this type of plagiarism when it occurs within a speech.

Thus, it is very complicated to remove it from a speech or an academic paper. 

It is possible to commit plagiarism either intentionally or not, with the intentional one being considered a worse offense.

Intentional plagiarism occurs when someone uses another person’s work or idea and claims or passes it as if it was their own. What makes this worse is the fact that the student or the writer does this knowingly.

Unintentional plagiarism happens because a person is unaware of proper citation methods and styles. Even if they do not intend to present their idea or work as their own, it is still plagiarism.

Unintentional or not, plagiarism is still a crime. Let’s take a look at some pointers on how you can avoid committing it.

Tips for Avoiding Incremental Plagiarism

It is not difficult to avoid plagiarism, but it requires time and planning. When people are pushed for time, they tend to take shortcuts and make errors.

Plagiarism is commonly caused by not admitting to their sources or failing to mention when, where, or how they are quoting others. When speaking, you can’t put parentheses around the source as you would when you are writing. The quoted phrases should not be hidden.

Don’t forget to check your sources before you start citing them. It means that you must verify all the information you are considering quoting or declaring.

Use valid sources and take the time to research all of them. Additionally, you will be held responsible for making a false statement when you wait until the very last minute to make it.

Also, you should look at what you should and shouldn’t cite in your work. Common knowledge is generally not appropriate since it can be attributed to anyone.

However, you are required to cite obscure topics, studies, statistics, or comments that are not common knowledge. In general, most non-generally known facts and statements should be appropriately cited.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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