Plagiarism is an offense that can have dire consequences. Academic and professional writing values originality. What’s acceptable? Is 15% plagiarism a lot? This blog discusses good plagiarism percentages, opinions, and policies. This article will help you understand plagiarism, avoid it, and create original work.

Intentional vs. Unintentional Plagiarism

There is a difference between intentional and unintentional plagiarism. Deliberate plagiarism is when someone knowingly copies another person’s work and presents it as their own. In contrast, accidental plagiarism is when someone unknowingly uses someone else’s work without proper citation [1].

Examples of unintentional plagiarism include paraphrasing without proper citation or using common phrases without attribution. These types of plagiarism may happen because the author must be unaware of the correct citation format or need help paraphrasing without copying too closely [2].

Understanding Plagiarism Percentages

Understanding how plagiarism percentages are calculated is necessary to determine how much is acceptable and minimize it. Online Plagiarism checker detect similarities between a submitted text and other sources and calculate a similarity score. This score represents the percentage of text that matches other sources. 

Differentiating between similarity and plagiarism is crucial. Not all similarities constitute plagiarism, since common phrases or coincidental word choices account for some similarities. If a paper includes a lot of commonly used phrases or words, it may show up with a high similarity score. Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the paper is guilty of plagiarism [3].

If the matching text is one continuous block of borrowed material, even a 15% similarity score can be considered plagiarism. This kind of plagiarism is more severe than when several short phrases are similar. It’s essential to understand that the higher the similarity score, the more likely it is that the paper has plagiarism [4].

What Percentage of Plagiarism is Acceptable?

You may wonder what plagiarism percentage is acceptable as a writer or student. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question, as acceptable levels of plagiarism can vary depending on the industry and institution.

The context of the writing assignment is also a key factor to consider. In some cases, a higher percentage of plagiarism may be deemed acceptable. For example, a higher rate of similarity may be allowed in research papers due to the inclusion of common references or quotes.

It is essential to recognize that there is no universally accepted standard for what percentage of plagiarism is acceptable. It is crucial to check with your instructor or employer to determine their policies and standards [5]. 

Is 15% Plagiarism a Lot?

A 15% or less similarity index is considered acceptable in academic settings. However, in professional settings, the standards for acceptable levels of plagiarism are typically stricter. Many industries require writers to maintain a 5-10% similarity index or even lower [6]. 

Is 20% Plagiarism a Lot?

In some situations, a 20% plagiarism rate may be acceptable, depending on the context of the writing and the work setting. For instance, a medical research paper with a 20% plagiarism rate may be unacceptable, while a news article with the same percentage could be more acceptable [6].

Turnitin Acceptable Plagiarism

Turnitin flags any content with a similarity score ranging from 1% to 24% as green, which falls in the acceptable range. This classification allows for reviewing and editing the text to eliminate even this level of similarity [7][8].

SafeAssign Acceptable Plagiarism

SafeAssign, on the other hand, considers 15% or lower similarity score as an acceptable level of plagiarism [9].

In conclusion, while a 15% plagiarism rate may be acceptable in some academic settings, it is advisable to aim for a lower similarity percentage. It is essential to keep in mind that different industries and institutions have other policies and that the context of the writing assignment matters. The key is to be vigilant about plagiarism and strive to produce original work.

Why is 0% Plagiarism Ideal?

Plagiarism is considered intellectual theft in academic and professional settings and can harm reputation and credibility. To avoid these consequences, striving for 0% plagiarism and following proper citation practices is essential.

Finally, plagiarism is unacceptable whether it is 15%, 20%, or 25%. Intellectual honesty and ethical writing practices are essential for the success of your writing [10].

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. It can ruin your reputation as a student or writer. Is there a limit to plagiarism? 15% plagiarism—is that a lot? Plagiarism is unacceptable in any way.

To minimize unintended plagiarism, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use plagiarism checkers to verify your work is original.
  2. Cite your sources in the correct style.

This requires acknowledging the source of information, whether it’s a book, journal article, website, or personal correspondence.

To avoid plagiarism, good habits are essential. These include taking correct notes, paraphrasing information, and resisting the urge to copy and paste. Always attempt to create creative work that reflects your thoughts and ideas.

It’s also important to know what audiences and institutions expect. Citation and referencing requirements vary by field. Discuss any questions with your instructor or supervisor.

There are plenty of resources available to assist you in avoiding plagiarism, such as writing centers or academic integrity guides. Feel free to seek help if you need clarification on any aspect of the writing process.

Remember, plagiarism of any kind is not worth the risk. It’s best to produce original, high-quality work highlighting your ideas and contributions [11].


This article discusses plagiarism, its types, how it is calculated, and what plagiarism percentage is acceptable in academic and professional settings. It also provides tips on how to avoid plagiarism, such as taking correct notes, paraphrasing information, and resisting the urge to copy and paste. 

Additionally, it recommends seeking help from resources such as writing centers or academic integrity guides and discussing any questions with instructors or supervisors. Plagiarism, in any form or percentage, is not acceptable. 

Originality and Creativity are crucial to producing high-quality work. If you’re a student or professional writer, take plagiarism seriously and aim for 0% plagiarism in your work.


How can I make sure my work is original?

Use plagiarism checker tools to ensure your work is original, properly cite your sources, and paraphrase information. It’s also essential to take careful notes and avoid copying and pasting from other sources.

What is self-plagiarism, and is it considered plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is when an author reuses their previous work without proper citation or permission. While self-plagiarism is not illegal, it is considered unethical and can harm the integrity and credibility of the work.

Can I use someone else’s ideas without citing them?

No, you must cite sources when using someone else’s ideas, even if you paraphrase or summarize them. Failing to cite sources can result in plagiarism when using other people’s ideas.

Is plagiarism acceptable in research papers?

Plagiarism is never acceptable in any type of writing, including research papers. However, the fair percentage of similarity may be higher due to the inclusion of standard references or quotes.

What are some common examples of plagiarism?

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Copying and pasting from a source without citation.
  • Paraphrasing too closely without citation.
  • Submitting someone else’s work as your own.

Can you plagiarize images or videos?

Yes, using images, videos, and other multimedia without permission or proper citation can constitute plagiarism.


  1. Intentional & Unintentional Plagiarism – Citing Sources – LibGuides at Holy Family University
  2. Difference Between Unintentional and Intentional Plagiarism | Cram
  4. What is an acceptable percentage of plagiarism? (
  6. How much % of plagiarism is allowed? Will my references be excluded? | ResearchGate
  7. Acceptable plagiarism Percentage: Turnitin or SafeAssign in College (
  10. How Much Plagiarism Is Allowed in Academic Papers? —
  11. Why is Plagiarism Less than 19% allowed? Is there any logic of 19%? | ResearchGate