Part of the fun of writing a book is simply the freedom that comes with it. You start with a blank sheet of paper and or a blank document on your computer. Then you fill it with language: words in whatever order you want, all pointing to a particular theme or story.
There’s something powerful about starting with a blank page and creating an article, blog, short story, or book, that has the potential of impacting thousands.
That’s what writing is.
That’s the power of writing.
Crafting your thoughts, ideas, or themes and sharing them with the world is a privilege. It’s wonderful to be able to give back.
However, sometimes there is the difficulty of coming up with something new.
If you’re a writer, chances are you’re also a reader. You’ve read multiple books in the genre you write, books in genres you don’t write, books on writing, articles on writing…you name it, you’ve read it.
But now it’s time to write your story.
The three point story structure has been used over and over. Some plot twists are even cliché by now. In nonfiction writing, some of the best sentences just stick in your subconscious. They are that good.
So when it comes time to write, it can be a little intimidating. You want to write something fresh and new, but you’ve been inspired by so many great writers and read so many fantastic books. Sometimes separating others’ writing from your own ideas can feel daunting.
You don’t want to steal their ideas, but you have been inspired by them. How do you know if you’ve crossed the line?
That’s where plagiarism checkers come in.
Using an application to check your work for plagiarism can free you up to write your best work unhindered. If a sentence has been used before, don’t worry, your plagiarism checker will let you know.
What is a plagiarism checker?
A plagiarism checker is simply a tool that checks your writing for plagiarism.
According to Merriam Webster, to plagiarize is: To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own; use (another's production) without crediting the source.
Intransitive Verb: To commit literary theft; present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
Plagiarism checks are often thought of in regards to high school or college students.
When it comes to intentional plagiarism: It's so simple to check for a fact online and copy and paste it into a paper.
Concerning unintentional plagiarism: It’s also simple to actually do the work of research and forget to switch everything into your own words.
Plagiarism often results in a failing grade for students.
When it comes to professional writers, plagiarism is likely not done on purpose but whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it’s not acceptable and can have serious consequences.
A plagiarism checker helps ensure your writing is your own, not someone else’s. As writers working on our craft, that’s what we want anyway. Let’s talk about how to make sure what we write is from our own creative minds, not someone else's.
Best Free Plagiarism Checkers
Below is a list of free plagiarism checkers. As you look through the list, take note of the different aspects each offers and which would be helpful for you, and which may not be as helpful.
According to Grammarly, their plagiarism checker, “Can detect plagiarism from billions of web pages as well as from ProQuest’s academic databases. Our free plagiarism check will tell you whether or not your text contains duplicate content. Our Premium plagiarism check highlights passages that require citations and gives you the resources you need to properly credit your sources.”
An added bonus of this plagiarism checker is it’s citation feature. It’s easy to forget to give credit to where certain information was found. Grammarly will let you know if a passage requires citation and help you figure out exactly how to do so.
The pro/con of Grammarly is that, “The plagiarism checker is part of a robust writing app that offers advanced feedback on writing mechanics like grammar and spelling as well as more complex stylistic issues like word choice, conciseness, tone, and more.”
If you want your specific writing voice to stay authentic to you, this may not be the best added feature for you.
This site uses three distinct checks: “Rearrangements in word order and overall sentence structure. Substituting words with synonyms. Changing sentence voice from active to passive, and vice versa.”
Knowing these specific checks will be applied to your writing can free you to do your research, be inspired by other writers, all while knowing if you subconsciously repeat a sentence you’ve read in your own writing, you’ll be notified to change it.
With Plagiarism Checker for students, you can check one free page before needing to upgrade to a plan.
One specific pro of Plagiarism Checker is that, “Thanks to its advanced algorithm, PlagiarismCheck.org has a significantly smaller amount of false positives and doesn't flag widely accepted short phrases.”
This can be extremely helpful if your writing is plagiarism-free except for short phrases that are accepted across the board.
Copyleaks says that, “Operating the plagiarism checker tool provided by Copyleaks is a much easier process than you can think of. To check for plagiarism for the concerned document is simple, quick, and is capable of providing you with a thorough breakdown of the text you are executing with the plagiarism checker tool.”
You can get started using Copyleaks for free with up to 20 free scans a month. Depending on your writing needs, this could be a very helpful option. If it’s necessary for you to go through more than 20 scans a month, you would need to upgrade.
Best Paid Plagiarism Checkers
If you are a full time writer, someone pursuing full time writing, or someone who writes copy (copywriter, SEO, branding, etc.) as a job, paying for a plagiarism checker may be a helpful option.
Plagiarism is serious, but with a few precautions, the weight of potentially plagiarizing can be taken off your shoulders. Some paid features may be extremely helpful to you, others may not be necessary for your specific needs.
Below are a few of the many options you can choose from.
Of this writing software, ProWritingAid says, “Check your work against over a billion web-pages, published works, and academic papers to be sure of its originality. Run the plagiarism report through the online editing tool, or through our Microsoft Word Add-In. Beware of free plagiarism checking services. Always read the fine print, as they may resell your text to others. ProWritingAid never stores, shares or resells your text.”
ProWritingAid also has many writing features such as checks for grammar, spelling, readability, and in-app suggestions as you make edits.
If you’re looking for edit suggestions, this may be the perfect software for you. However, if you are enrolled in a specific writing course or training under an author and working to stick to specific editing guidelines, this may prove to be a frustration.
Check out our ProWritingAid Review right here!
According to Copyscape, they are separated into two entities, Content Buyers and Site Owners. They break it down below:
“Content buyers – Use Copyscape Premium to check the originality of new content before publication. By avoiding duplicate content, your site becomes more valuable to your customers and more visible to search engines.
Site owners – Use Copyscape Premium to track down plagiarism of your site's content. By detecting unauthorized copies of your content, you protect your intellectual property and preserve your unique online identity.”
Copyscape premium plan offers, “3c per search (up to 200 words) plus 1c per extra 100 words.”
If you aren’t a content buyer or a site owner but want your writing checked, you could still go with Copyscape but another software may be a little more attuned to your specific needs as a writer.
Quetext says, “As an industry-leading developer of plagiarism detection technology, accuracy is at the heart of what we do. Our engineering and quality-assurance processes ensure that every update and release of our proprietary algorithm is thoroughly tested.”
Concerning citations, they say, “Our goal is to provide users with the tools necessary to ensure the integrity of their work. Our technology provides engaging feedback that helps notify users when a potentially-important citation opportunity may have been missed. We understand it’s easy to lose sources in the writing process, which is why we’ve made them simpler to recover.”
The pro plan is $9.99 a month per user and you can: Check 100,000 words (200 pages);
DeepSearch™ Extended; Citation Assistant – MLA, APA, Chicago; Downloadable Originality Report; Custom URL exclusion; Interactive Snippet Text; Premium support.
This is the main plan they offer.
However, if you need more they do offer PRO users the option of purchasing more plagiarism checks, which they call credits, from your existing account.
The Power of Words
You’re a writer because you love words. Whether you love telling stories, the power of communicating via the written word, or something else, you write because you love the power of language.
Words are powerful, but it’s important to use them well.
Everyone has something unique to offer in how they use language. It’s crucial to understand and respect this by writing in our own words every single time.
What about quotes—are you plagarizing if you use them?
Of course, sometimes we need the research of other writers or sometimes the way another author says something is just too perfect to pass up.
It’s acceptable to include information other writers have written, as long as it’s credited in the correct way.
Direct quotes are also acceptable in many cases.
Just be cautious to respect other writers’ work, give credit where credit is due, and remember your writing is why readers read your work. They want to read what you have to say and how you have to say it. That’s why they bought your book.
As you continue your journey as a writer, don’t let fear of plagiarizing someone else keep you from writing.
Using the options above can help you as you work to present your own writing in your own words, every single time.
Writer, continue reading all the books. Continue letting authors inspire your work. Continue writing. Continue editing. Continue putting your work out into the world.
Just before you click publish or finish that final edit, run your work through a plagiarism checker. Make sure it’s your writing, authentic to you and your voice, how you communicate, and then run with it.
Writing is a powerful tool. Use it well, and enjoy the process!