Do Teachers Know If You Copy And Paste

Do Teachers Know If You Copy And Paste

It can be easier to complete your assignment and other academic deliverables by copying and pasting text from outside sources, but there is always a chance that your teacher will notice.

After all, using someone’s work constitutes plagiarism which can lead to paper cancellation and expulsion in extreme cases.

Maybe you found a paragraph that would be great or you found the entire assignment submitted on Chegg or Course Hero. Can the teacher detect any copy-pasted content?

The truth is that teachers utilize plagiarism detection software to compare student work with a range of sources, including Google index, ProQuest, and several other sources, to analyze and uncover similarities, including copy-pasted text .

Keep in mind that this only applies to content that is pasted without paraphrasing. Properly paraphrased content cannot be detected by most plagiarism checkers.

How Teachers Identify Copy-Pasted Content

Copying and pasting someone else’s words into your own work is called plagiarism, a violation of academic integrity standards that, in the worst situations, can result in paper cancelation and even expulsion. So how do teachers detect such attempts by students?

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Plagiarism Checkers

The most popular means by which teachers detect plagiarism is with the help of plagiarism checkers. A few of the most popular plagiarism checkers include Turnitin, SafeAssign, and UniCheck.

To determine similarities, these tools compare student submissions with Google index, ProQuest, their proprietary in-house databases, and various other sources.

Additionally, they also include links to where the similarities were found and the percentage of similarity to each respective source.

If you copied content from any online source or information that may have been available online at some point, these tools may be able to identify similarities.

Subtle Changes

While there’re various other ways teachers may be able to identify copy-pasted content, most of these approaches are less effective compared to plagiarism checkers.

A few of these approaches include:

  • Changes In Font – Content copied from online sources may have different fonts from the font the student may be using in their assignment. Simply pasting without matching or clearing formatting could result in a difference in font styles and sizes in the assignment. Teachers would suspect copy-pasted content but may only be able to identify the source with the help of plagiarism checkers.
  • Difference In Tone – Teachers may be able to identify inconsistencies in the tone and theme of the submission. Content that is copied from external sources without thorough modification may have a completely different tone or theme from the rest of the student’s delivery.

How To Copy-Paste And Avoid Plagiarism

While we do not condone cheating in any way or form, there’re ways students can copy content while avoiding plagiarism.

Citing Sources

The best option is to appropriately cite your sources in your writing. When you don’t correctly cite your sources, you could give the impression that the facts, ideas, and language you’re employing are all your own when they actually came from another author.

Citing your sources ensures that credit is given to the original author and their sources. Keep in mind that you should follow the appropriate guideline provided by the teacher when citing sources.

Depending on the teacher, citation styles may differ (APA, MLA, and more). So, you should ensure that you determine the appropriate style recommended by your instructor to avoid any accusations of plagiarism.


There are instances when you enjoy the content of a paragraph or section you read and wish to paraphrase it or reword it for your work. Although it is not against the law, paraphrasing in academic works needs to be acknowledged out of respect for the reader.

Unless the sentence is verbatim from your source, quotation marks are not necessary; nonetheless, if you paraphrase in school-related papers, you must make this acknowledgment in a footnote, endnote, or parenthetical.

You can also leverage paraphrasing tools like Quillbot as it does a good job rewriting content by replacing words with synonyms and leveraging artificial intelligence to alter sentence and paragraph sequence.

Keep in mind that these tools aren’t perfect. So, it’s advisable to review any paraphrased content to ensure the original idea remains and also make any necessary modifications.

When paraphrasing, you should include in-text citations so your teacher can locate the source from which you paraphrased or summarized.

Is It Okay To Copy Paste For Assignments

Copy-pasting someone else’s content for academic delivery constitutes plagiarism unless you appropriately cite your references to give credit to the original source.

That said, there should be a limit to how much of someone else’s content you can use even if you adequately cite your sources.

It’s advisable to provide your own ideas instead of filling your delivery with quotations from other people. Failure to include your original ideas would lead to poor marks from your teacher.

If you choose to paraphrase any content, ensure that the entire block of content you want to use is put into your own words. Simply changing words isn’t sufficient as that constitutes mosaic plagiarism.

Consequences Of Plagiarism

While the consequences of plagiarism may differ depending on its severity and the policies of the educational institution, most institutions consider the act a breach of academic integrity policies. Consequences include:


The least punishment for plagiarism is a warning from your academic institution. This however depends on the severity of the offense as a warning is usually given in the case of minor plagiarism.

Students in such cases would simply receive a warning from their institution. Subsequent breaches of academic integrity policies would then lead to more severe consequences.

Assignment Fail

Copy and content from online or some third-party source and submitting it as your own assignment can result in failing the assignment. This punishment is mild especially since punishment may not affect overall performance in the course.

Most of the time, this may be due to the discretion of your teacher as reporting this offense could lead to serious repercussions for students.

Course Fail

Depending on the severity of the offense and the importance of the test, plagiarism could lead to students failing the course as a whole. In this case, students may be allowed to retake the course depending on the policies of the educational institution.

Revocation Of Award

In cases where the student received some form of recognition for their performance, they may lose their award once it’s proven that they plagiarized someone else’s content.

This doesn’t only apply to students as professors and other academicians could also have their qualifications and awards revoked in the event of proven plagiarism.

Suspension Or Dismissal

Most academic institutions take academic integrity violations seriously. They even have committees that oversee any academic integrity accusations to deliver fair judgment.

In severe cases, the institution could suspend the student or outright dismiss them for breaching their academic integrity policies.

While most educational institutions would refrain from dismissing students for a first-time offense, the severity of the offense could lead to harsher punishment including dismissal in some cases.

Legal Repercussion

Using someone else’s content without proper citation and referencing can lead to legal action. Keep in mind that copyright laws are absolute. Depending on the severity of the action, plagiarism may be deemed a criminal offense which can lead to legal consequences.

In Conclusion

The abundance of plagiarism checkers makes it easy for teachers to identify copy-pasted content. Students should paraphrase and cite sources to avoid unknowingly breaching their school’s academic integrity policies.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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