Plagiarism erodes learning, disrupts learning experience and destroys credibility. A teacher can receive a plagiarized essay because a student failed to cite a source correctly, deliberate copying or buying a paper from essay mills.

How can a teacher recognize a plagiarized essay? It is possible to detect plagiarism by checking for these signs.

Use of different fonts

A sudden change of font size, style, and color without an apparent reason midway in the paper should be a red flag that a student could best custom essay writing services have introduced new content direct from the source. Changing from one formatting style to another in spacing, margins, and other areas is another reason to cause suspicion.

A mixed or incorrect citation system 

The methods of citing sources might differ from one discipline to another.  The students know the citation style that fits their subject or the institution requirements before they begin writing an essay.  Citing should be consistent in all parts of a composition and changes in citation style could mean there is plagiarism in the material.

Improper citation

Clear quotes should be within quotation marks although you cannot use it as a precise definition of plagiarism without further scrutiny.  It is still a warning sign when a teacher is sure that a student understands improper citation constitutes plagiarism and does not mitigate the consequences even when it is accidental. Words that seem to be from an author but appear in the essay without quotation or citing require an investigation.

Missing references

Random notes, non-existing footnotes, and endnotes are loose ends that could indicate a lifting of much text directly from source materials.  Incorrect or absence of referencing is an academic offense but may also be a pointer or deliberate and systematic lifting.

Outdated content

 Information that is out of tune with the discussion shows that the student copied from the source directly to the essay without an effort to read or paraphrase.

For instance, a sentence reading that “Britain is one of the EU members” after Brexit or quotes Barrack Obama as a sitting president shows that the writer got old information that he did not study or rewrite.


A paper that does not adhere to assignment instructions shows that the students bought or copied an essay with a similar topic but did not consider the writing prompts. A good policy by teachers who want to encourage students to write their work is by giving specific prompts that make an assignment to be unique. An out of line paper by a student who understands the briefing shows that he got an essay free on another for submission without changes.

Change in word usage

 An excellent teacher knows how their students write.  A student who suddenly uses pompous language in a significant number of sentences or paragraphs could have got content from another person because it is difficult to change the writing style at once.  Such changes can be subtle, but a wise teacher should read essays closely when grading to note style deviations.

Odd shifts in tense or first person could also mean that the paper content is from the words by another person. A teacher should look out for a phrase like “the patient I was treating in my clinic” when the student is an undergraduate in law but not a medical school.

The above signs plus the presence of too many hyperlinks in a hardcopy submission shows significant lifting of content. A thorough check with a reliable checker on a paper with these red flags will help to clear the doubts.