Is It Plagiarism to Use the Same Essay Twice?

Everyone knows that committing plagiarism is a severe academic misconduct that is punishable in accordance with the law. Plagiarism is considered unethical because the writer fails to acknowledge the original source, thereby using other people’s work and presenting it as their own.

Educational institutions and publishing firms continue to fight any form of plagiarism.

Nevertheless, there has been controversy surrounding the issue of self-plagiarism. This form of plagiarism is perceived to happen when one resubmits their own work.

Therefore, this article seeks to shed more light on self-plagiarism by asking pertinent questions like, is it plagiarism to use the same essay twice?

Is It Plagiarism to Use the Same Essay Twice?

Using the same essay more than once is plagiarism. This form of plagiarism is popularly known as self-plagiarism. Reusing your own work is considered plagiarism because you fail to acknowledge that you had presented, published, or presented the same paper. It is also a form of absolute laziness.

When you submit an essay for the first time, you give away the essay’s copyrights while you retain the intellectual ownership of the concepts and findings of that essay. Therefore, reusing the essay or its information without proper reference or authorization is wrong because it is self-plagiarism.

Although some may deem it harmless, one should avoid self-plagiarism at all costs, the main reason being integrity concerns. It is usually assumed that each publication will contain new information and discoveries that will serve the reader with new perspectives and concepts. Therefore, presenting an uncited essay twice means that you are plagiarizing the first submission and defying this widespread notion.

However, reusing the paper might be considered safe from plagiarism when you rephrase them comprehensively, reference it, or use its words and concept to form a framework for composing a new paper. Nevertheless, inform your professor, publisher, or reader that you have used some portions of your previous essay to create the new one.

Can You Submit the Same Essay Twice?

You cannot submit the same essay twice and get away with it. Remember, when you submit an essay for evaluation, you claim the paper to be original to you and new too. Therefore, submitting the same essay for the second time violates its originality which can be equated to committing plagiarism.

It is wise to note that the process of essay writing is supposed to gauge your research and writing skills and help you understand your progress over time. But, on the other hand, submitting an essay twice denies you the opportunity to develop these skills and beats the essence of the whole idea of learning.

Nevertheless, you can submit the same essay for the second time as long as you have permission from your instructor. In such a case, you will not have issues with the professor, even if a plagiarism detection software flags your work for committing plagiarism.

Can Professors Tell if You Reuse a Paper?

Professors can definitely detect if you reuse a paper. Remember, the professors employ the services of plagiarism detecting and prevention software to check similarities. Such programs, an excellent example being Turnitin, are so effective that they will notify the professor if the paper has been reused.

Turnitin and other plagiarism detection software check for similarities by comparing the submitted paper against many internet sources as well as their massive repositories of previously submitted papers. If you had submitted the paper you wish to reuse through any of these platforms, the similarity they produce would convey your paper as self-plagiarized.

Therefore, after your professor studies the similarity report, they will know that you resubmitted the paper and flag you for plagiarism.

However, your professor may be using an online plagiarism checker that is not linked to your institution’s internal repository. In such a case, you might be lucky because the program will not verify your work for self-plagiarism.

Is Reusing Your Own Words Plagiarism?

Reusing your own words in a paper is a form of plagiarism. While it may seem paradoxical, recycling your own words is deemed as copyright infringement, which is plagiarism in the eyes of the law. This fact is regardless of whether you are the original creator of those words.

If you must reuse your own words to build on previous research and develop a new piece, ensure that you let your course instructor and readers know. In such a case, rewrite the material in a new way and ensure that you cite your previous article properly.

There is a likelihood that at least once in your academic life, an instructor will allocate you a topic that you may have explored before. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, never be tempted to resubmit the same work, even for a new course or institution. Instead, conduct new research and write a new paper.

Do Professors Check for Self-Plagiarism?

Professors check for all kinds of plagiarism, including self-plagiarism. As earlier mentioned, different professors in various academic institutions employ multiple techniques to check for self-plagiarism. They have to do so to evaluate their students’ ability to create new pieces of writing from similar concepts and topics.

One of the most effective techniques professors use to check for self-plagiarism is online plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin. In cases where the institution has an internal paper repository, Turnitin will definitely compare the paper with the previously submitted one. After studying the Turnitin report, the professor will certainly see that the student had submitted the paper before.

In addition, some seasoned professors offer their students assignments whose topics are similar to previous assignments. In such cases, students are tempted to submit their previous work for the new assignment. Here, the professor will know that the student resubmitted their previous paper, which they will treat as self-plagiarism.

How Serious Is Self-Plagiarism?

Many educational institutions punish self-plagiarism in the same manner, they would with the other forms of plagiarism. For students who self-plagiarize, plagiarism may lead to an automatic failure in the paper and, in some cases, the whole course, as well as academic suspension and probation.

In the worst scenario, your institution may even expel you for academic dishonesty.

For an academic or researcher, self-plagiarism can have dire implications ranging from a slow or denied publication to charges of copyright violation. If the paper you submit is too identical to any of your existing literature, the publisher will most certainly reject it or ask for significant revisions.

This will have an effect on your credibility as a researcher and may result in subsequent rejections in the future.


After reading this article, you will agree that committing plagiarism is both dishonest and unethical. Therefore, every student, researcher, and professional writer should strive to avoid the vice by conducting comprehensive research on the given topics and using the information to compose original papers.

However, is it plagiarism to use the same paper twice? Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding this issue, it can only be logical to accept that self-plagiarism is still plagiarism. Therefore, this article is meant to caution any person who intends to resubmit their old papers to avoid doing so unless their instructors go ahead.