Okay, here’s the situation:

You read a text – a student essay, a blog post, a media article, whatever – and can’t make away with deja vu. The text sounds as if you’ve seen it before. Plagiarism checkers don’t see anything wrong with it but… Darn!… The catch is somewhere around here.

Savvy educators and editors know this catch.
Synonymized plagiarism is its name.

One of the most commonly used ways to hide duplications in writings, synonymized plagiarism modifies them so that search engines and plagiarism detection software consider them original. What can be easier, indeed? You take a sentence, replace all parts of speech there with closely related words – Ta da! No copy paste, no copyright infringement, no penalties for stealing ideas and content from others.

We can almost hear you thinking:

“If all is that simple, why the heck shall I spend time and money on plagiarism detections unable to discover duplications?”

Don’t get rattled!

First, not all plagiarism checkers are created equal. (Spoiler alert: ours recognizes synonyms.) And second, some tricks exist to help you discover this type of plagiarism in texts; in this article, we are going to share them.

But first things first:

What’s So Tricky About Synonymization?

The more advanced technologies appear to beat plagiarism, the more loopholes cheaters try to find to circumvent restrictions.

Speaking of students, they do attempts to cheat the educational system when writing academic papers. With all those essays, reviews, theses, and dissertations assigned, most youngsters prefer expending energy on doing manipulations with others’ works rather than spend time on creating own.

They go to the web in search of content on corresponding topics, rewrite it with no references, replacing original words with synonyms, and wait for A+ from professors. The favorite resource for such manipulations is Wikipedia.


PlagiarismCheck.org detects it as a 100% plagiarism:


Certainly, it’s a nightmare for students to be accused of plagiarism as consequences might be a way more dystopian than poor grades and expulsion. It’s one of the despicable acts of academia, and educational institutions move heaven and earth to defeat this phenomenon.

But not by academics alone.

Plagiarism is an issue for anybody hiring people to do writing. SEO specialists and content marketers ask freelance authors to provide blog posts, sales copies, and any other content types to share with the audience. And all these people want to be sure that contractors submit 100% original writings that don’t infringe any copyright and won’t get penalties from search engines for duplications.

After all, who wants to pay authors for poor paraphrasing?

And money is not the only point of concern here:

It’s wrong to steal content.
It’s embarrassing.
Consequences are far from pleasant.

Unfortunately, while we think on strategies and tools to use for making sure that our copies are our own, cheaters think on tricks to use for deluding plagiarism checkers. The interesting point is that the representatives of some plagiarism detection software recommend synonymization as a method of cheating.

Thus, reading the answers at Quora on how one can cheat a plagiarism checker, we see an expert (okay, let it be) sharing tips like these:

What does that suppose to mean? Do they admit their checkers are weak and unable to detect advanced plagiarism types?

Another tricky moment with synonymization is some authors don’t consider it plagiarism at all.
  • They believe it’s fine to replace words with synonyms for their works to sound original.
  • They create dozens of YouTube videos teaching others to reduce plagiarism by synonym replacement features in OpenOffice Writer and Microsoft Word.
  • And they recommend using specific synonymizing software to make your writings look original in the eyes of search engines.

Given that search engines and most software don’t see synonymization as plagiarism, is it a green light for cheaters to use others’ writings as own?

Yeah, dream on!

So what’s the solution?

Use advanced plagiarism checkers and consider your human powers to detect this plagiarism type instantly.

How PlagiarismCheck.org Detects Synonymization

As well as any other plagiarism checkers, our service will go through your content to make sure it’s clean. But as distinct from other checkers, ours is complemented with improved algorithms to detect advanced plagiarism types, one of which is – surprise-surprise! – synonymization.

Let’s see how it works.

Here’s the passage from the article of Christopher Jan Benitez, a professional freelance writer and our friend who kindly shared the review of PlagiarismCheck.org with his readers. Let’s insert it in the checker field and review the results:

Oops… 99,99% of plagiarism if copied and used as it is.

Fine, and now let’s substitute some nouns with synonyms:
Still finds 76.44% of plagiarism. Not bad! Let’s make it more challenging for our plagiarism checker and change adjectives of the original passage:
Okay, and now the dead lock of PlagiarismCheck.org comes. We take the original paragraph from Chris’ article and change all verbs with closely related words. Here’s the result:

It stands to reason, if you substitute all nouns, adjectives, and verbs with synonyms here – a completely new text will be born, the one with a different meaning and emotional tone. It will be hard to call original, and it will look like written by a ESL student with the elementary level in English.

The question is, do you want to cheat tools and search engines? Or, maybe it’s readers whom you should care about while writing?

What You Can Do Yourself to Detect Synonymization

“To exist, or not to exist?
That is the query.”

Please, don’t say that you can’t recognize synonymization here! Unlike search engines and most plagiarism checkers, a human brain reveals such duplications because it doesn’t think in terms of letters. While it can be an original sentence to a computer, a man of education will see a reference to Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be? That is the question” here.

It’s the moment when synonymization fails:
When writing, you craft texts by choosing particular words to convey the meaning, style, and connotation. Yes, you know that “boat” and “ship” can be synonyms but you understand they are not interchangeable because of different images they carry. It’s about writing professionalism, text readability, and its flow. If missing the nuances in a language, we writers turn our works into nothing but a bunch of unrelated words.

So, if a plagiarism checker doesn’t find duplications but you feel that something is wrong with the text you’re reading, here’s how you can detect its problematic spots:
It doesn’t sound natural: weird grammar constructions, low readability, word choice fails the context.
It closely echoes texts you’ve already read.
It doesn’t fit the writing style of a given author: his or her other works sound different.
It has too many stop words, wish-wash, redundant adverbs and adjectives, passive voice, parentheses, and other lexical items with no meaning.
It doesn’t sound like a logical narration: sentences or paragraphs seem unrelated to each other.
In a Word…

Synonymization is the process of substituting words in sentences with lexical items of closely related meanings. When you learn a language or craft writing skills, it comes in handy: helps to enrich vocabulary, makes your texts more engaging, and allows to develop a writing style your audience will recognize and love.

Yet, synonymization has a dark side too. It gives birth to a phenomenon known as synonymized plagiarism, a technique cheaters use to rewrite existed texts and represent them as own.

Software like PlagiarismCheck.org can recognize synonymized texts, not with standing the fact this type of plagiarism is difficult to detect. And even though search engines don’t flag synonyms as duplications, it’s still a copyright infringement to use this tactic for writing original texts. To protect your works and avoid plagiarism, consider reliable tools to check writings before sharing them with your audience.