Do you know about incremental plagiarism? It’s a sneaky form of plagiarism that uses small bits of someone else’s work without credit. In this article, we will discuss incremental plagiarism and provide examples to explain why it is a severe issue. 

By the end, you’ll better understand how to avoid this type of plagiarism and how to credit the original work.

What is Incremental Plagiarism?

Incremental plagiarism, also known as small or snippets of plagiarism, is when someone takes bits, and pieces of someone else’s work, and uses them in their work without proper citation or attribution. It can happen in various forms, such as weaving plagiarism, where the writer blends the copied material with their writing or quoting plagiarism, where they use direct quotes without citation. Incremental plagiarism can happen intentionally or unintentionally, but it’s still plagiarism.

Comparison with Other Types of Plagiarism 

Incremental plagiarism differs from other types of plagiarism, such as direct plagiarism, where someone copies and pastes a piece of someone else’s work and claims it as their own. In contrast, incremental plagiarism takes small parts of someone else’s work and incorporates them into their work without acknowledging the source. It’s not as severe as direct plagiarism, but it’s still a form of academic misconduct.

How Incremental Plagiarism Occurs

Incremental plagiarism can occur in unusual ways. For example, a student might be researching a topic and find a great paragraph from a source. They might copy and paste the section into their paper, thinking they’ll return to it later to rephrase it. But they must remember to rephrase it and not submit the paper as is. In other cases, a writer might need more time or feel that their work could be better, so they add quotes or paraphrases from another source to beef up their work.

Impact on Credibility and Ethics

Incremental plagiarism may seem minor but can impact the credibility and ethics of the author. When someone uses someone else’s work without proper citation, they are not giving credit where it is due. This can harm the original author’s reputation and misrepresent the plagiarizer’s work. It’s also unethical and dishonest to take someone else’s work and use it as your own.

Examples of Incremental Plagiarism

Let’s look at some examples of incremental plagiarism:

Example 1: Using Quotes without Proper Citation 

One typical example of incremental plagiarism is when a writer includes a quote from another source without citing it. When you use someone else’s exact words, you need to put them in quotation marks and include a citation to give credit to the original author.

For example, imagine you’re drafting a paper on climate change and want to include a quote from a scientist’s report. You’re committing incremental plagiarism if you don’t put the quote in quotation marks and cite the source.

Example 2: Reusing Previously Submitted Work

Another type of incremental plagiarism is when a student submits work previously submitted for another class or assignment. This can be a bit trickier to catch, but it’s still a form of plagiarism

If you’re going to reuse your work, make sure to get permission from your professor and cite your previous work. Otherwise, it’s plagiarism.

Example 3: Weaving Copied Data or Paraphrased Ideas without Credit

Sometimes, writers will take information or ideas from someone else’s work and rephrase them or weave them into their writing without giving proper credit.

For example, imagine you’re authoring a paper on the history of the internet, and you come across a great article that discusses the creation of the World Wide Web. If you rephrase the information in the article without giving proper credit, you’re committing incremental plagiarism.

Example 4: Incremental Plagiarism in Public Speaking

Finally, incremental plagiarism can also occur in public speaking. This might happen if a speaker uses someone else’s ideas or words without giving proper credit.

For example, imagine a politician giving a speech and including a quote from a famous historical figure without giving proper credit. That would be a form of incremental plagiarism in public speaking.

Common Forms of Incremental Plagiarism 

Here are some common forms of incremental plagiarism that you should be aware of:

Paraphrasing without Proper Citation

Paraphrasing means restating someone else’s idea in your words. While paraphrasing is acceptable, you must give credit to the original author through proper citation. Otherwise, it’s considered incremental plagiarism.

Example: Original sentence: “The sky is blue because of the scattering of sunlight by the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Paraphrased sentence: “The Earth’s atmosphere causes sunlight to scatter, making the sky appear blue.”

Mosaic Plagiarism  

Mosaic plagiarism is when you copy and paste various sentences from various sources and weave them together without proper citation. It’s also known as weaving plagiarism.

Example: Original sentence: “Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, and it’s a rocky planet with a thin atmosphere.” 

Mosaic plagiarism: “The fourth planet from the sun is Mars, a rocky planet. Mars has a thin atmosphere.”

Patchwork Plagiarism

Patchwork plagiarism is when you copy and paste multiple sources’ work and present them as your own without proper citation.

Example: Original sentence: “Research has shown that regular exercise has various health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes.”

Patchwork plagiarism: “According to research, exercising regularly can reduce the risk of heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes.”

Collusion in Group Assignments

Collusion is when group members present the same work as their own. It’s essential to give credit to individual contributions in group assignments.

Example: Group Assignment: “Write a report on the impact of climate change on the environment.”

Collusion: Group members copy and paste from the same source and present it as their work.


Self-plagiarism is when you present your work, previously published or submitted, as new work without proper citation.

Example: You submit an essay you wrote for a previous assignment in another course as a new assignment without proper citation.

Consequences of Incremental Plagiarism

Incremental plagiarism can seriously affect students, academics, and professionals. Here are some of the most common consequences:

Academic Consequences 

One of the most significant consequences of incremental plagiarism is that it can lead to failing grades or suspension from school. Students may need to realize they’re committing plagiarism by weaving someone else’s words into their writing without proper attribution. But professors and teachers can quickly spot quoting plagiarism or any other type of plagiarism and will penalize accordingly.

Professional Consequences

The consequences of incremental plagiarism can extend beyond the classroom into one’s professional life. For example, if you’re caught plagiarizing as a journalist or researcher, you’ll lose your credibility and damage your reputation. Maintaining original work in such professions where integrity is crucial is essential.

Legal Consequences 

Plagiarism can also have legal consequences, especially regarding copyright infringement. If someone plagiarizes copyrighted material, they could be sued and forced to pay damages to the owner of the original work.

In the next portion of the blog, we will discuss some of the most effective ways to avoid Incremental plagiarism and, thus, these severe consequences.

How to Avoid Incremental Plagiarism

There are some tips and strategies to help you avoid incremental plagiarism.

Properly Paraphrase and Cite Sources

Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. However, you must ensure you are not simply swapping out a few words and claiming them as your own. Reword the sentence or paragraph in a way that changes the structure and meaning of the original text.

Citing sources is crucial to avoid plagiarism. It would be best to credit the original author by citing their work in your paper. There are different citation styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago, that you can use. Check which citation style your professor prefers and follow it accordingly.

Strategies for Avoiding Mosaic and Patchwork Plagiarism

Mosaic and patchwork plagiarism occur when you combine bits and pieces of various sources to create a new document without proper citation. To avoid this type of plagiarism, you should organize your notes and research properly, use various sources for different sections, and avoid copying and pasting.

Collaboration and Communication in Group Assignments

Group assignments can be challenging, especially when it comes to plagiarism. Communicating with your group members must ensure everyone understands the guidelines and expectations. It would help if you tracked who is responsible for which section and adequately cited all sources.

Ethics of Self-Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

Self-plagiarism, or recycling or quoting plagiarism, is when you reuse your work without proper citation. While it may seem harmless, it’s still considered plagiarism. To avoid self-plagiarism, you should always check with your professor before reusing your work and properly cite your previous work.

Plagiarism Detection Tools

Plagiarism detection tools, such as ContentDetector.AI, can help you detect plagiarism in your work. Yet, using these tools as a guide is essential rather than relying solely on them. You should always double-check your work and ensure you cite all sources correctly.

Avoiding incremental plagiarism is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your work. Using a combination of the abovementioned strategies, you can ensure your work is original and properly credited.


Incremental plagiarism is a sneaky form that uses small bits of someone else’s work without credit. It differs from other types of plagiarism, such as direct plagiarism, where someone copies and pastes a piece of someone else’s work and claims it as their own. Incremental plagiarism occurs when a person takes small parts of someone else’s work and incorporates them into their work without acknowledging the source. 

It can happen in various forms, such as weaving plagiarism, where the writer blends the copied material with their writing or quoting plagiarism, where they use direct quotes without citation. This type of plagiarism may seem minor, but it can impact the credibility and ethics of the author. As a reader, you should be aware of incremental plagiarism and how to avoid it. 

Share your thoughts on this topic and contribute to the conversation.


In which case does a person commit incremental plagiarism?

Incremental plagiarism occurs when someone uses tiny amounts of someone else’s work without proper citation. This can happen when someone copies a few sentences or paragraphs from a source without giving credit or when they paraphrase too closely to the original text. It’s taking someone else’s work and incorporating it into your own without proper acknowledgment.

Is it possible to unintentionally commit incremental plagiarism?

Yes, it is possible to commit incremental plagiarism unintentionally. Sometimes, it can be challenging to know what constitutes plagiarism and what doesn’t. This is why citing your sources and seeking guidance from your instructors or academic advisors is essential.

What is the difference between incremental plagiarism and other forms of plagiarism?

Unlike other forms of plagiarism that involve copying entire passages or papers, incremental plagiarism involves small portions of someone else’s work. It can be easy to overlook these small sections and assume they don’t require citations. Still, it’s essential to recognize that any borrowed material must be cited appropriately, no matter how small.

Remember, plagiarism is a serious offense in academic writing and can lead to severe consequences. Always give credit where credit is due and seek help when in doubt. Good luck with your paper!