With the increasing popularity of digital publishing, plagiarism has become a hot-button term.

Plagiarism is a complex topic with a simple definition; it refers to directly copying another writer’s original content—including academic writing, research papers, or digital content—as one’s own without a proper citation or attribution.

Examples of plagiarism include copying an original idea or copy-pasting a line from someone else’s book without properly giving credit to the original writer.

Plagiarism is common in schools, work environments, and traditional or digital publishing. It is common in part because it’s an easy mistake to make; reusing one’s writing, for example, is plagiarism—as is unintentionally emulating another author’s work. 

Plagiarism is a severe offense—in many institutions, it is cause for expulsion or termination—but few people fully understand what plagiarism entails. 

This article contains everything you need to know about mosaic plagiarism to avoid making an irreparable mistake. 

Mosaic Plagiarism

Of all the different types of plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism, also called patchwriting, is the easiest to commit by accident. For this reason, it’s essential to understand the particularities of patchwork plagiarism.

Mosaic (or patchwork) plagiarism is when a student borrows text from a source without using quotation marks or copies of original content, changing words and sentence structure to make it seem like their original work. 

Mosaic plagiarism includes copying and pasting an author’s blog post word for word, then changing small parts of it to make it appear original.  Although the copied text is not exactly like the original, it is still plagiarism as the bulk of the text has been directly taken from another source. 

It also includes pulling quotes from different sources without using a proper citation or attribution disclaimer.

Lastly, if you copy your previous work and try to re-use it using different words, this counts as mosaic plagiarism.

Common Types of Plagiarism

There are several different types of plagiarism.

The definitions of each type of plagiarism differ according to the relationship between the original work and the copy. 

There is some overlap between the various forms of plagiarism. For example, you can directly plagiarize yourself, making the result both self-plagiarism and direct plagiarism. 

Additionally, mosaic plagiarism can also intersect with the other types of plagiarism listed below. 

Remember that accidental plagiarizing counts as plagiarism, and the consequences are often no different than they would otherwise be. 

For this reason, it’s essential to understand the difference between the various types of plagiarism. Doing so can mean the difference between success in your school or career and disastrous consequences.

Read on to learn more about the three most common types of plagiarism: accidental plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and direct plagiarism. 

Accidental Plagiarism 

Accidental plagiarism consists of stealing another author’s original content without meaning to. This is commonly seen when content is paraphrased, as the rephrased portions of the new work may resemble the source material a little too closely. 

Although the mistake was unintentional, plagiarism is a severe offense, consisting of stealing another person’s intellectual property. 

Accidental plagiarism often involves copying direct quotes word-for-word without quotation marks, rephrasing another writer’s ideas, or improperly citing sources. 

Writers must avoid this kind of plagiarism by citing sources correctly, attributing original work to the correct author, and using disclaimers or quotation marks to introduce another author’s ideas. 


Self-plagiarism is among the most common types of plagiarism since many people do not consider it a moral issue.

It consists of reusing some or all of your work without adequately citing yourself as a single source. Many students may think of reusing parts of a previous essay, but this counts as self-plagiarism.

Alternatively, an author might think they can refer to their ideas in a previous book without a good source, but this also counts as self-plagiarism.

Though you may alter the sentence structure so as not to copy your text word-for-word, self-plagiarism remains a severe problem and violates most academic institutional policies. 

Direct Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism consists of copying a text (or any part of a text) word-for-word without citing any source or disclaiming the use of another author’s work. 

This type of plagiarism is the least common since it is relatively easy to spot. Nowadays, sophisticated plagiarism checkers like QueText can easily detect plagiarism—direct or indirect. 

If you don’t spot it, whoever is reading your work probably will. 

If you are caught direct plagiarizing—and your school or employer can prove it—the consequences will likely be worse than they would for other types of plagiarism.

Consequences of Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism has natural consequences.

Most schools or work environments will not distinguish between intentional and unintentional plagiarism—and an accusation of academic dishonesty can ruin your career.

Most schools will take disciplinary action to protect academic honesty. You might face a suspension or expulsion if you are caught plagiarizing. 

Academic writing requires crediting original sources—and changing the original text’s meaning is also plagiarism.

If you plagiarize at work or publish plagiarized content, you might have to extend reparations to the original author.

For example, pop singer Olivia Rodrigo recently had to pay singer Hailey Williams for her direct plagiarism of music tracks. 

Lastly, plagiarism can result in the loss of a job or the denial of future positions.

For these reasons, it’s essential to avoid this easy mistake.

How to Avoid Mosaic Plagiarism 

Plagiarism is often unintentional.

You may be reading another author’s work and inadvertently engage in mosaic plagiarism by restating their ideas without a proper citation.

Because academic dishonesty is a serious offense with real consequences, you should take the proper precautions to ensure that your words are indeed your own.

The only foolproof way to catch plagiarism is to use a sophisticated, free plagiarism checker. You can check for plagiarism and align your text citations with the proper citation style, including APA, MLA, or Chicago. 

There is no better feeling than handing in or publishing your own words—and knowing that it’s yours—so use a plagiarism checker.