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Assumed you only regard changes of words within a text, f.i.., a poem. And each word should at most be changed once. Then the number of changes you could possibly make is equal to the number of words. Say w is the number of words and say c is the number of word changes (so 0<=c<=w) The change rate r shall be equal to c/w (so 0<=r<= 1). Now ...


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I doubt that there is a hard and fast line. I suppose a publication might say, "If the revised poem has at least 50% of the words changed it is acceptable". But I doubt they do. One could, of course, play games with this sort of thing. You could take a completely original poem and cry, "Look! It includes the phrases 'undying love' and 'made for each ...


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Happily since this is a practical question, one does not need to solve Theseus' Paradox to provide an answer. The intent behind the rule is to provide distinctive work, i.e., no reader will think "I have read this before." To determine whether a new work is too similar to a previous work, one should consider whether a reader would think the work had been ...



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