Plagiarism is one of the most dangerous types of stealing. Because it implies misappropriation of other people’s intellectual property such as:

  • specifically, words;
  • phrases;
  • books;
  • songs;
  • ideas;
  • etc.

This does not exist physically, so it’s sometimes hard to identify a real author. Nevertheless, when someone gets caught in plagiarism, his reputation and results of any creative work are badly tarnished.

Although most authors make their best to create an original piece of art, they sometimes face accidental plagiarism during their work just applying phrases of common usage. There are many ways to avoid it but first, you need to understand all the levels of a plagiarism system.

Levels of plagiarism

There are 4 conditional levels of plagiarism, though in life these levels might be used jointly in one text unwillingly. An extreme way of plagiarism is when you simply copy-paste someone’s paper and submit it as your own. Paying for writing an article for you also doesn’t give you a right to claim this article yours. These are obvious, but there are more sophisticated acts of plagiarism which lead to the same unpleasant sanctions:

  1. Accidental;
  2. Paraphrase;
  3. Direct;
  4. Mixed.

Let’s take a closer look at each level.


When there is a need in making work fast, you put the links and citation in a hurry and may allow mistakes or even miss some sourced expressions. There comes accidental plagiarism which is mostly the sign of someone’s carelessness and disorganization. One good intention of mentioning sources is not enough, as many of them may have duplicated citation (using non-original ideas, phrases), so you should make enough time for thorough sources searching.


Compare two sentences: “There are some beautiful trees in the backyard” and “Wonderful trees bathed in sunlight stand in the garden behind the house”. That is a good paraphrase: semantic content of the sentence is saved (the fact that trees are in the yard), though the phrase has been creatively changed and obtained synonym description. This is clear plagiarism. There is a fine line between quality rewriting and obvious rephrasing which can bring copyright problems. For example, the bad paraphrase (pointless phrase formation change) would be: “Backyard has some trees on it, and they are beautiful”.


When you take a couple two- or three–word phrases from the original text it’s not a crime, but when the whole sentence or a paragraph is copied into your essay it is total direct plagiarism. Derived forms of direct plagiarism are dumb stealing from copyright sources or usurpation of people’s intellectual property unless you’ve bought it. Discovering direct plagiarism nowadays is very easy, considering the availability of free online plagiarism checker with percentage, and downloadable anti-plagiarism tools.


The final level of plagiarism is mixed. This one is a complicated form of direct plagiarism with some bad paraphrases and incompetent rewriting. People using this type of plagiarism often ignore any quotation and linkage. Their purpose is to fill their text with a huge heap of words which they take with a small visual changing straightly from the original text.