Some years ago, I wrote "alternative lyrics to the song, "Laura." It basically diverged from the original except for the third and fourth lines:

(Original lyrics)

A laugh, that floats on a summer night,
That I could never quite recall.

(My version)

She sent my heart into reckless flight.
Which I could never quite re-call.

Perhaps the "key word" in both fourth lines is recall/ re-call. (The rest is "filler.")

My understanding is that in the original version, "recall," means to "remember" or "recollect." In my version, "re-call," (with the hyphen) is meant to mean "to call back."

I have long wondered, if I wrote a similar passage intending a rather different meaning for the key word, does this constitute plagiarism?

1 Answer 1


Copying ideas is not plagiarism. Copying execution is. Further, some phrases are so common they couldn't possibly be considered plagiarism.

The idea of being unable to quite recall something is not unique.

It's a little bit like me using the phrase, "it's a little bit like." I'm sure if you did a google search of the phrase, "I could never quite recall" it would return a plethora of hits.

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