Definition: Mosaic Plagiarism or Path Writing

Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism occurs when a student borrows phrases from a source without using quotation marks, or finds synonyms for the author’s language while keeping to the same general language structure and meaning as found in the original.

Sometimes called “path writing,” this kind of plagiarism, whether intentional or not, is academically dishonest and punishable. Even if you footnote your source.

from QC Pages of CUNY

In plainer language, it’s basically copying by concept with key point level details rather than by word, sentence, or paragraph. You could think of it as using “Replace All” for all names, maybe a few common, often used, words, expressions, used in the text, then rewriting sentences or paragraphs at a time in your own words, as a fast way of doing this.

In another way of possibly doing this where the “path writing” name might have come from, think of the plot as a path from start to end. Along the way, you pass through key points along the path. If you work harder than the example I gave in the paragraph above, you’d then be writing a summary to identify all these key points, change some names, and basically write your way from point to point, with the points being not too far apart so as not to lose the integrity of the original story that might have made it appealing. That is, some level of details, just enough not to get sued easily for plagiarism.

Making Trails and Other Great Quotes

quotes

“Let us not follow where the path may lead.
Let us go instead where there is no path,
And leave a trail.”

– Japanese Proverb

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As there are as many minds as there are heads,
so there are many kinds of love as there are hearts.

– Leo Tolstoy

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“The difference between the right word and almost the right word
is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

– Mark Twain

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“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability
to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time,
and still retain the ability to function.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time;
it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

– Sydney Harris

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Any quotes you’d like to share?

Please leave them as a comment. Thank you.

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