What Is Incremental Plagiarism?

What Is Incremental Plagiarism?

Incremental plagiarism occurs in “increments” or small pieces at a time. Usually, most of the writing is original with occasional plagiarized sections scattered throughout the piece.

Incremental Plagiarism Definition

Incremental plagiarism means weaving quotes, excerpts, copied data, or paraphrased ideas into a piece of writing without giving proper credit to the source material.

Incremental Plagiarism vs Global Plagiarism

Another type of plagiarism is global plagiarism. This is what many people think of when they think of plagiarizing work.

Incremental Plagiarism vs Patchwork Plagiarism

Incremental plagiarism is easy to confuse with patchwork plagiarism.

Incremental Plagiarism Examples

Here are four famous, real-world examples of incremental plagiarism.

Political Speech

In one of the most widely talked about examples of incremental plagiarism, Melania Trump, wife of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016.

Song Lyrics

Our next two examples are both songs, and both of these went to court.

Commencement Speech

This final example started as a single incident but quickly proved to be a pattern.

How to Avoid Incremental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism happens. Sometimes, we forget that we heard or read something and subconsciously use it in our writing. Other times, we just forget to cite sources.

Take Good Notes

One of the best ways to avoid incremental plagiarism is to have a good note-taking system.

Double-Check Your Writing

Hopefully, a good note-taking system will prevent any incremental plagiarism in your work. But always double check what you’ve written.

  • Is this fact common knowledge or does it need a source?
  • Are these ideas mine or did I paraphrase them?
  • Have I given attribution for all data?

Cite According to Your Style Guide

In academics especially, you can be accused of plagiarism if you fail to cite your sources properly. Pay careful attention to the style guide you are using.

Use ProWritingAid’s Plagiarism Checker

Plagiarism checkers can detect plagiarism quickly and easily. ProWritingAid has a plagiarism checker that can check your writing for instances of incremental plagiarism.



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