Plagiarism in a Sentence

What is plagiarism in a sentence? Learn about plagiarism in sentences, how to tell if a sentence is plagiarized, and how to properly cite sources to avoid plagiarism.

Whether you’re writing a single document or a book, your words have value and impact. Taking someone else’s ideas or work without proper acknowledgment — even a single sentence, is considered plagiarism. 

Plagiarism undermines a writer’s credibility and can have serious, sometimes severe consequences ranging from harming your reputation to legal repercussions. Knowing what plagiarism is and how to avoid it is a must, no matter what you’re writing. 

Learn about plagiarism in a sentence, what plagiarism involves, and ways to avoid it

What It Means to Copy a Sentence

Whether you’re a high school student writing an academic paper, a professional journalist, or a programmer, copying a sentence constitutes plagiarism just as much as copying an entire paragraph, a whole page of code, or any other work made by someone else. 

When you copy a sentence to use in your own work, you’re essentially taking someone else’s ideas, words, or expressions and presenting them as your own.

If you include someone else’s words or ideas in your work — you have to give them credit.  

  • In academic papers, you can add a Works Cited page. 
  • In other cases, you might be required to add a footnote at the bottom of the page.
  • Then, for online publications (like blog posts), you often add a backlink with a mention of the author

Review the information below to learn how to cite your sources

How to Properly Cite Sources in a Sentence

So, how do you give the original author credit for their idea, expression, or phrasing? There are different ways to do this depending on the style preferred by your company or school. 

Here are three of the most common citation methods:

APA Style

In-text citation (Author-Date):

  • "According to Smith (2020), effective communication is crucial in leadership."
  • "Effective communication is crucial in leadership (Smith, 2020)."

Direct quote:

  • "Smith (2020) stated, 'Effective communication is crucial in leadership' (p. 15)."

MLA Style

In-text citation (Author-Page):

  • "Smith argues that effective communication is crucial in leadership (15)."
  • "Effective communication is crucial in leadership (Smith 15)."

Direct quote:

  • "Smith argues, 'Effective communication is crucial in leadership' (15)."

Chicago Style


  • "Effective communication is crucial in leadership."¹
  • Footnote/Endnote: ¹John Smith, Effective Leadership (New York: Publisher, 2020), 15.

Direct quote (Author-Date):

  • "Effective communication is crucial in leadership (Smith 2020, 15)."

Note: Style guides may update and change their citation guidelines. For further reading on proper citations across different types of sources (such as books, websites, and journal articles), review the latest citation style guides for APA Style, MLA Style, and Chicago Style.

Why Does Originality Matter?

Properly citing authors and their work helps to avoid plagiarism in a sentence. To expand on this excellent foundation, take a step back and think about how to conceptualize the idea. Consider how to put it into your own words using your experience and what you’ve learned. 

This helps ensure that what you’re presenting is your own work. Over time, this builds your credibility and reputation as a writer. 

Contributing your original ideas and perspectives helps drive innovation and progress. Putting your original ‘spin’ on different concepts, be they content or code, also encourages you to think critically and develop your professional skills. 

Creating Unique Sentences From Existing Ideas

Of course, it’s one thing to say you should think authentically and infuse originality into your ideas — it’s another thing entirely to actually do it. So, how do you go about creating unique sentences from existing ideas? 

  • First, make sure you understand the original idea. 
  • Read the text carefully to fully grasp key points and nuances. 
  • Look for ways to break down complex ideas into simpler ones with your unique writing style and voice. 
  • Add in your perspective or additional insights to create something that is entirely yours. 

Then, always cite the original author if you’re unsure to prevent plagiarism.

How Technology Identifies Plagiarism in a Sentence

There are many ways that technology can uncover plagiarism in a sentence. The most common is through text-matching algorithms. Text-matching algorithms scan submitted text and compare it to databases, websites, academic essays, and more to find exact matches in the submitted text.

However, many examples of plagiarism in a sentence go far deeper. They are often much more varied and subtle. For this reason, sophisticated tools and algorithms, such as fingerprinting and semantic analysis, are also common detection methods that use features like:

  • Synonym recognition (to detect paraphrasing)
  • Contextual matching
  • NLP (Natural Language Processing) to identify similar words and sentences 

Many advanced models, including, also use machine learning features such as ongoing training and pattern recognition to find and flag instances of potential plagiarism. 

The bottom line is this — plagiarism in a sentence is just as much plagiarism as if it were an entire page or essay. 

Understanding how to properly cite work and give credit where it’s due helps prevent instances of plagiarism. At the same time, it fosters integrity and credibility. Formulating ideas and expressing them in your own words also cultivates your writing abilities and boosts credibility as an authority in that field. 

The plagiarism checker helps you avoid plagiarism in a sentence (and elsewhere in a document) by leveraging the latest advanced technology. With comprehensive plagiarism detection abilities, detailed fact-checking, and its ability to detect AI writing, is a quick and efficient way to detect plagiarism in a sentence.

Sherice Jacob

Plagiarism Expert Sherice Jacob brings over 20 years of experience to digital marketing as a copywriter and content creator. With a finger on the pulse of AI and its developments, she works extensively with to help businesses and publishers get the best returns from their Content.

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