Is there a website that checks whether a character's line or descriptive passage is exactly the same as in another novel?

There was this author who got accused of plagiarism recently.

One of her character had the following line:

"Don't go where I can't follow"

which is present in Tolkien's work.

I thought one line this general could not be construed as plagiarism, but apparently some people vehemently attacked her for that, so I was wondering how do you prevent such a situation from occurring.

  • 2
    This phrase is also the title of a book. If there was a problem with the phrase per se, that book would be getting some flak too.
    – SFWriter
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 0:38
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    Plagiarism is usually not checked on a statement by statement basis. I hope. Or else I just wracked up three counts of plagiarism, because all of these statements have been said before. Exactly what constitutes a sufficient amount of copying to be liable for plagiarism depends a lot on the situation, of course.
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 0:57
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    I added a new tag, scoping your question to creative-writing. Feel free to revert the edit, if you wish for a broad answer.
    – Double U
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 1:04
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    It's the internet. Someone will always skewer you for anything you do or don't know. Guaranteed. Learn the laws and the common sense that surrounds use of phrases. This example is not plagiarism.
    – Cyn
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 3:39
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    @repomonster: How "accused of plagiarism" was the author in question? Are we talking about something someone on Twitter said, or was there a threat of legal action by the Tolkein estate? Or something in-between? Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 5:19

2 Answers 2


As pointed out in the comments, plagiarism is not using a sentence someone else has used per se, otherwise eventually every writer would be plagiarizing.

Plagiarism is a form of copyright theft where you use passages of text and/or general story ideas or concepts in your work without indicating where they were originally used

More can be found at What is Plagiarism - Plagiarism.org

As for for your question regarding online methods of plagiarism checking, there are many websites out there which provide a free facility to check for plagiarism. I cannot vouch for how accurate they are, but at least you can attempt to prevent it if you are concerned.

A Google search for plagiarism checker provided (among others) the following:


Some writers who feel dealing with this issue might impede their writing process don't deal with plagiarism at this stage, and get help from an editor in the editing stage to deal with possible plagiarism. If you're worried you might be conducting plagiarism but you feel stopping your creative process to deal with it won't hold you back from writing, then Google is probably your best bet. I'm not familiar with a website that allows you to check for plagiarism but searching for the phrase might give you some hints. Otherwise, you might want to wait for the editing phase and then deal with it.

  • Edited and rephrased. Thank you for your comment.
    – Oren_C
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 10:12

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