DailyWritingTips

Section Eight: Plagiarism Checkers

Never submit your work, even if every single word is directly from your mind, without using a plagiarism checker. Common words and phrases can often get flagged, so checking for these and tweaking them before submission can save everyone a headache.

These checkers are key tools for writers to ensure the originality of their work and avoid unintentional plagiarism. They scan texts against a vast database of published online content to identify matches or similar passages and highlight them for you.

Popular Plagiarism Checkers

1. Grammarly’s Plagiarism Checker

One part of Grammarly’s suite of writing tools compares your written text against billions of web pages and ProQuest’s academic databases. It’s reliable, easy to use, and comes with a plethora of other important tools that freelance writers need. This is why we strongly recommend Grammarly Premium. 

Best For: Academic, professional, and casual writing

Pros

Cons

  • Integrates with grammar and style checking
  • Useful for a wide range of writing types
  • Requires a premium subscription for access

2. Turnitin

Primarily used in academic settings, Turnitin compares submissions to its extensive database of academic papers, web pages, and books.

Best For: Academic writing, including essays, research papers, and theses

Pros

Cons

  • Comprehensive database including scholarly articles
  • Detailed similarity reports
  • Not accessible to individual users outside of academic institutions
  • Can flag common phrases as potential plagiarism

3. Copyscape

Copyscape offers online plagiarism detection by scanning the web for copies of your content. Just copy your whole article, paste it into Copyscape, and it will churn out any red flags. 

Best For: Web content, including articles, blog posts, and website copy

Pros

Cons

  • Simple to use with immediate results
  • Offers a banner for websites to deter plagiarism
  • Cost-per-search can add up for extensive use
  • Primarily scans web content and may not check against academic publications

Tips for Writers

  1. Always Check: Be sure to double-check your work with a plagiarism checker before submission.
  2. Use Multiple Services: Depending on your writing’s purpose, consider using more than one service to cover all bases—web content, academic papers, etc.
  3. Review Matches Carefully: Not all matches are genuine plagiarism. Review flagged content to determine if they are properly cited or merely coincidental.
  4. Cite Sources Properly: To avoid unintentional plagiarism, ensure all borrowed ideas are correctly cited according to the relevant style guide.
  5. Maintain Your Voice: While it’s important to ensure originality, make sure that the use of plagiarism checkers doesn’t lead you to alter your unique voice or the message of your writing.

Some Tips from a Pro

You can get false positives. Be aware that these tools can sometimes flag common phrases or industry-specific terminology as plagiarism. Use your judgment to discern genuine issues.

Also, when using any online tool, consider the privacy policy, especially how your uploaded content is stored or used.

Keep in mind that any plagiarism checker will also flag quote-specific material. As long as you properly source the material you use and provide that reference in a consistent manner, your work will not be considered plagiarized.