How to Detect and Avoid Incremental Plagiarism in Speech

Incremental Plagiarism — Stolen Words and Phrases

Unfortunately, deceptions, lies, and stolen ideas are common occurrences in any creative work.

Intentionally or not, many people cross the moral and ethical line and use someone else’s work for personal gain. 

Plagiarism is an unforgivable sin and any real academic knows that even the smallest mistake can endanger their career and reputation. 

In this article, we’ll discuss incremental plagiarism.

Have You Ever Heard of Incremental Plagiarism?

There are many types of plagiarism — some include claiming an entire intellectual property of somebody else, while others include the repetition of your own thoughts. 

But one kind is particularly vicious since it is very dishonest and difficult to spot — incremental plagiarism. It often appears in public speeches and other forms of verbal expression. 

What Does This Term Mean?

In order to explain such phenomena in a simple manner, we can say that incremental plagiarism refers to taking fragments, phrases, or original words from someone else’s speech. 

The person who commits this kind of plagiarism gradually builds a complex and seemingly authentic statement they will present as their own even though it’s not. It is made up of other people’s ideas, metaphors and expressions that, unfortunately, are very difficult to spot.

How To Recognize Incremental Plagiarism?

To outsmart anyone who wants to present someone else’s work as their own, you need to understand how it is possible to create this kind of fraud. Here’s what you need to pay attention to.

1. Direct Imitation

Direct imitation is usually very obvious — the offenders don’t even try to hide it. Fortunately, this kind of appropriation is subject to copyright laws in almost every part of the world.

2. Citation Issues

Never take anyone’s words unless you are ready to be honest about it. When you’re speaking, just like when you’re writing, sayings and quotes must be under quotation marks and you have to mention the original source. 

If you are not sure how to add citations to your speech, it’s better to leave them out. Otherwise, you can commit plagiarism. 

The same problem occurs when it comes to accuracy. Take, for example, the American president, Donald Trump. He will be remembered for randomly talking about numbers and statistics that don’t exist. No public person should use unverified information like that.

3. Self-Plagiarism 

It may seem illogical, but when it comes to writing academic content such as scientific articles or research papers, the use of personal material from previous projects may lead to originality issues.

There is often controversy over whether it is possible to steal from ourselves or not, but this type of repetition is also considered plagiarism.

How to Prevent Plagiarism?

Certain things can help you identify plagiarised content. All you need to do is devote a little more time to the content — it doesn’t matter if you are the author or you are just responsible for the piece. 

As a content owner or reader, you can use handy tools to “measure” to which extent a piece of text is original. As a writer, you need to acquire some skills and learn to create authentic and high-quality content. Choose words carefully, write using your own unique style and never take shortcuts.

1. Make a Solid Plan

When you have a clear picture of what you want to talk about, it is easy to decide where and how to introduce citations and do it the right way.

2. Check Your Sources

Before you mention other authors in your work, make sure you are quoting the right persons. Check all your references twice. It may happen that your source is trustworthy but it contains errors from the sources it used to gather information.

3. Be Honest

Speech is a different form of writing, so many speakers get confused when they need to mention their sources. Nevertheless, being frank and always indicating the source of what you are saying is a great practice. As a speaker, you will look particularly gallant, knowledgeable, and confident.


Incremental plagiarism is less noticeable than plagiarism in writing. Yet, it is not impossible to spot something in one’s speech that has been stolen from somebody else. When you are speaking publicly, you have to be careful as one wrong quote can compromise your entire reputation. 

If you can’t find a proper way to mention another author, skip that entire paragraph. If you doubt the accuracy of the information you’re presenting, it’s better not to mention it at all. Sometimes it is easier and smarter to use less words to express your ideas.

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