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Given two text files, how can I find passages that are alike? I know that I can use Meld or another diff tool to show the differences, but how to do the reverse thing?

For example, here are two texts with emphasized similarities:

A) Friendship contrasted solicitude insipidity in introduced literature it. He seemed enote except as oppose do spring my. Between any may mention evening age shortly can ability regular. He shortly sixteen of colonel colonel evening cordial to.

B) Good draw solicitude insipidity in introduced literature it. Hopes lived by rooms oh in no death house. Contented direction any may mention evening but end led excellent ourselves may. Ferrars few arrival his offered not charmed you.

  • This is very broad... For example, 2 different text files could both contain punctuation marks... What would constitute a similarity. You may end up with so much information it's not usable... – Dave Jul 31 '14 at 10:00
  • Added an example, but beware, it is random text. – Dirk Jul 31 '14 at 10:31
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You can use http://www.copyscape.com/compare.php, which I find quite usefull. All you have to do is post two links or two pieces of text and click "compare items", and the software indicates the corresponding words.

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No clear answer possible, as "similarities" may mean lots of things (same phrases, unusual words, paragraph structure, titles, ...).

Look around for systems to detect plagiarism/check for cheating in homeworks. There are several around, perhaps one of them serves your needs.

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