Plagiarism: Maximum Number of Consecutive Words to Copy

Sometimes, defining what plagiarism is hard to pin down. That’s…

Sometimes, defining what plagiarism is hard to pin down. That’s because there are a number of ways you can paraphrase someone else’s work, yet still be accused of plagiarism. One rule states that the maximum number of consecutive words plagiarism standard is five.

That is, if you use five words consecutively from a source, that is considered plagiarism. While this is a common saying, there is no legal precedent for it.

Students standing before school hall after successfully graduating. They look like they are celebrating.
Photo by Leon Wu on Unsplash

What Is the Maximum Number of Consecutive Words You Can Plagiarize Rule?

Legend among students and academia states that you can 4-5 words of a source before it is considered plagiarism.

Regarding longer works, if you are looking to commercially publish a book. You have a longer document at your disposal. You can choose to just elaborate on what has been written with a maximum of 6 or 7 consecutive words.

Origins of the Maximum Number of Consecutive Words Plagiarism Rule

Checks on the Internet for the origin of this rule have not revealed a clear beginning of this idea. It seems based on the algorithms of plagiarism detection software, like Turnitin. Turnitin analyzes texts for plagiarism by looking for similarities between strings of words, usually 5 or longer.

But the maximum number of consecutive words plagiarism rule has very little basis in what is considered actual plagiarism.

Most academics want students to understand, it’s not so much about how many words that are copied. It’s not about recognizing this quote out of context and assuming the source the text is from.

This is why, in many people’s opinion, the maximum number of consecutive words plagiarism rule is considerably broken.

Is the rule be completely useless? No. If academia was so lenient with students, it might as well throw any rule out.

But students need to understand. There’s built-in precedent for plagiarism, which sets the bar for acceptable behavior.

Take for example an Honor Code. If someone asks you to do something. You see no rule written in stone that says that you shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean that there are not standards for acceptable behavior.

What Constitutes Actual Plagiarism

Returning to an idea introduced earlier, plagiarism has more to do with the unacknowledged borrowing of ideas than words that have been copied.

Why? Because if you borrow someone’s ideas and change the words to avoid the maximum number of consecutive words plagiarism rule, you are still plagiarizing .

Also, understand that if you use expressions that are commonplace or words commonly strung together, that isn’t considered plagiarism.

So you see, this is a complex topic.

To Wrap Up

Ultimately, it may be a wise investment to do some research into what plagiarism is, and what it is not. If you plan to have an academic or journalistic career, this is worth your while.

Frequently asked questions

How many words are in a row in Turnitin?

If you are writing a paper for publication, you should use three words. If it’s a thesis, you can write up to five words. According to Turnitin guidelines, small matches must be excluded by a minimum of nine words.

Is using QuillBot cheating?

If it is not intended. Rather than writing exclusively for the user, QuillBot strengthens original ideas and text. Use of someone else’s writing and passing it off as their own is considered cheating, regardless of whether QuillBot was used or not.

How do I copy and paste without plagiarizing?

By using quotes, you can avoid Copy and Paste plagiarism. If your quote is more than four lines long, you can use block quotations. Block quotations are permanently indented from the main body of the page.

Is copying two words plagiarism?

Sometimes plagiarism is simply dishonesty. If you buy, borrow, or steal an essay to turn into your own work, you are plagiarizing it. Copying word-for-word or changing a word here and there while copying without enclosing the copied passage in quotation marks and identifying the author is also plagiarism.

Is copying 5 words plagiarism?

Five of a writer’s words in a row constitute plagiarism of another person’s. Students may also be unable to give the writer’s ideas credit.

How do I lower my Turnitin score?

If your similarity index is high and you want to reduce it, check that: (a) quoting marks (“.”) are used around every quote as you reference the source, (b) you are not overusing quotations,.

Can a single word be plagiarized?

Having a long string of generic words reproduced cannot be considered plagiarism, so copying a single word – if used for the first time, or by a novel source – could be considered.

Is copying half a sentence plagiarism?

If a partial sentence was about a particular discovery reported in a specific paper, and that partial sentence had been copied to a new paper as if it was related to the new paper. It is likely that this could be considered plagiarism.

Does Turnitin check word for word?

Turnitin doesn’t check word for word. There are several ways how software scans for similarity. Keyword analysis is one method. Turnitin will scan for similarity between your paper and the work that is available in its database using specific keywords.

How do I change words to avoid plagiarism?

  • Use synonyms in substitute words. For some terms, such as globalization, you won’t see alternatives.
  • Make changes to the sentence structure. Use conjunctions or break sentences up.
  • Use parts of speech instead.
  • Make mistakes with grammar.

Does paraphrasing remove plagiarism?

A paragraph is plagiarism if it is too close to the original wording (even if you quote the source). You should quote a sentence or phrase instead of directly copying it. If you properly cite the author’s ideas and put the author in your own words, paraphrasing is not plagiarism.

What does turnitin consider plagiarism?

There is no plagiarism check on a piece of work in Turnitin. Instead, we will check a student’s work against our database, and if there are instances where a writer’s writing matches or is consistent with one of our sources, we’ll flag that for you.

Can QuillBot beat Turnitin?

This is how QuillBot beats Turnitin, which paraphrases content word-by-word and transforms the whole text into new content. Proofread your work and make sure it looks natural. Don’t let your instructor discover that you used QuillBot to complete your assignment.

How many words can I copy before plagiarism?

Plagiarism: taking any sequence of more than three words without citing is theft from others. Use of an image (a photograph, table, or graph) without citing is plagiarism, and may also violate copyright laws.

What are the 4 types of plagiarism?

  • Self Plagiarism
  • Accidental Plagiarism
  • Direct Plagiarism. A plagiarism-free transcription of a piece of another’s work without attribution or quotation marks occurs through direct plagiarism.
  • Mosaic Plagiarism
Plagiarism: Maximum Number of Consecutive Words to Copy

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.

Plagiarism in Journalism: Its Meaning and How to Avoid It

Writing is a wide array of interests that covers different professions and passions. In terms of news writing, journalists should…

May 31, 2022

The Difference Between Plagiarism and Appropriation in Art

People confuse the difference between plagiarism and appropriation. What they don’t understand is that these two terms differ from one…

May 31, 2022

6 Ways to Write Plagiarism Free Content — A Bloggers Guide

Generating unique plagiarism free content is one of the most important factors for optimizing your content and achieving higher SERP…

May 31, 2022

Using Plagiarism Checkers for Research Papers

With the web being so vast and expansive, it’s no wonder more, and more people are turning to it for…

May 30, 2022

6 Best Free Plagiarism Checker Online

What is the best free plagiarism checker today? You might have a paper or assignment due in the upcoming day,…

May 30, 2022

How to Copy and Paste Without Plagiarizing

The copy and paste function in your word processor is powerful. It can save your lots of time. But it…

May 30, 2022

Is Citing a Source Incorrectly Plagiarism?

There are lots of ways you can plagiarize deliberately. When you do, people will likely say you deserve whatever punishments…

May 30, 2022

Top 10 Best plagiarism checker for bloggers in 2022

We have highlighted free and paid plagiarism checker for bloggers in this article. You will absolutely love our list! Plagiarism…

May 30, 2022

Famous Plagiarism Cases That Will Surprise You

Plagiarism isn’t just for us ordinary folk. Several celebrities have committed acts of plagiarism that will leave you saying wow.…

May 26, 2022