Using Quotations in Your Writing. Mrs. Snipes Troy High School.
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Troy High School
1. Limit most quotations to single words or phrases:
The Misfit is a ruthless killer. Yet,
surprisingly, when he removes his
glasses, his eyes seem “pale and
defenseless-looking” (O’Connor 1135).
Laertes says that the “folly” of his tears at
Ophelia’s death “drowns” his “speech of
fire” (Hamlet, 4.6.186 – 192). This metaphor
not only expresses his feeling of helplessness,
it alludes to the way his beloved sister died—by
Original: “I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze / But that this
folly drowns it” (4.6.191-92).
Laertes says that he could express
his outrage in a “speech of fire”
Laertes claims that his “speech of fire
. . . would blaze” if the “folly” of his
grief did not prevent it” (4.6.191-92).
- a noun to a pronoun, or vice versa
The grandmother does not give any
details of the crime reported in the
newspaper story. She describes it
only as “what it says [the Misfit] did
to these people.”
Juliet describes Romeo to her
unsuspecting mother as someone
whom Lady Capulet “know[s]” that
Laertes claims that his “speech of fire…
would blaze” if the “folly” of his tears did not
“drown [ ] it” (4.6.191-92).
Note: The empty brackets show that the verb ending has been omitted.
The grandmother tries to intimidate
Bailey by “[standing] with one hand
on her thin hip” and “rattling the
newspaper” at him.
Polonius calls Ophelia “a green
[inexperienced] girl” (Hamlet, 1.3.
Keats, always an uncertain speller,
wrote in one letter, “I shall go to
town tommorrow [sic] to see him.”
Note: Because sic is a foreign word, it must be italicized.
Smooth: Laertes goes from his usual confidence to a new, helpless, sadness in one line: “I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze / But that this folly drowns it.” The swift change in his mood shows how much his only sister’s death has upset him.
Notice that the revision is not only easier to understand, but more specific. It allows the writer to comment on the question in both the sentence that introduces it and the sentence that follows it.
Secretly married to her family’s
enemy, Juliet rejects her mother’s
order to marry that gallant young
count: “When I do, I swear / It shall
be Romeo, whom you know I hate, I
rather than Paris” (3.5.122-24)