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Using Quotations. You can QUOTE me on that. A quote is the exact wording of a statement from a source. Quotes make an essay more believable; they are evidence that can support your thesis. Opinions supported by quoted text are evidence of good reading and thoughtful responses.

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You can QUOTE me on that

A quote is the exact wording of a statement from a source.

Quotes make an essay more believable; they are evidence that can support your thesis.

Opinions supported by quoted text are evidence of good reading and thoughtful responses.

There are several types of quotes.


Direct Quotes

Quotes printed word for word exactly as the author wrote them are direct quotes.These words appear inside quotation marks. The attribution word appears outside the quotation marks. The attribution is the phrase that tells who said it - where you got the information.


Examples of Direct Quotes

  • “I am thrilled to be representing the great State of Texas at the Free Spirit Conference,” Joe Mama, newspaper adviser said. “I owe it all to my talented students.”
  • “I’m just glad I didn’t have to spend any more time with my adviser than I did,” said Casey Deeya, who added that she enjoyed riding the subways more than attending the conference.

Indirect Quotes

  • Information from a source which is not made up of the author’s exact words is not placed inside quotation marks. This is an indirect quote, which is a paraphrase or a summary of the meaning of the direct quotation.
  • Indirect quotes are used to:
  • Express a fact stated by the source
  • Clarify a quote that is too long, confusing or dull
  • Condense the ideas of several direct quotes

Never change the meaning of a quote when you paraphrase!

(And you will still need to cite your source.)


Partial Quotes

Sometimes it might work better to use a portion of a quote to convey the information than to use an entire quote. To do this, put only the quoted words inside quotation marks.

Use partial quotes when you need to use a speaker’s exact words but the entire direct quote might be too long or too confusing for the reader.


Example of a Partial Quote

In his novel, Styles at LCC, author Harry Skaulp states that spiked hair is a“part of our cultural heritage, not merely a symbol of rebellion,”adding that he thinks nose piercing should be mandatory.


Punctuating Quotations

  • The author’s exact words go inside the quotation marks: “I am super, duper cool.”
  • The end punctuation (period, question mark, exclamation point) goes inside the last quotation mark. “Give me the damn money!”
  • When the attribution comes after a direct quote, use a comma to separate the quote from the attribution. “Here it is,”replied Bob.
  • If a question mark relates to the sentence and not the quote, place it at the end of the sentence outside the quotation marks: What kind of moron says, “I am super, duper cool”?

Punctuating Quotations

  • Use single quotation marks to indicate a quote inside a quote. “And so I told her, ‘Fix your own tire, Grandma!’”
  • Leave off the closing quotation marks at the end of a paragraph if the quote continues in the next paragraph.
  • If a quote is a complete sentence, begin it with a capital letter. If it’s not, don’t.

Punctuating Quotations

  • Use quotation marks to indicate the title of a smaller work, such as an article, essay, short story, song, poem, or speech.
  • In his essay, “Potatoes are Yummy,” Joe Smith argues that…
  • Use italics (or underline) for larger works such as a book, magazine, album, play, film, or long poem.
  • In her novel, Potatoes are Yucky, Ann Smith argues that…
  • In her novel, Potatoes are Yucky, Ann Smith argues that…

Using Quotes

  • If a direct quote is very long or boring, use an indirect quote or a partial quote instead.
  • To clarify or modify a phrase within a quote, insert brackets. “Slowly, [Bob] reached for the meat cleaver.”
  • Add the word “sic” (meaning thus) in italics within brackets after words that are misspelled or used incorrectly in a direct quote from a printed source. This indicates the quote is exactly like the original source. “Macbeth is a grate [sic] play.”
integrating quotations
Integrating Quotations

Never just drop a quotation into your paper. Always introduce it and explain it with your own prose.

There are three main ways to introduce quotations. These include:

1. Incorporate the quotation into your sentence, punctuating it just as you would if it was not a quotation.

As Bob is being beaten, he hopes he“will become unconscious but [he] can’t.”

Bob appraises Mrs. Harrison derisively, stating that“she looked so complacent, sitting there in her two-hundred dollar chair [. . . ] bought with dough her husband had made overcharging poor hard-working colored people for his incompetent services, that I had a crazy impulse to needle her.”

2. Introduce the quotation by using an attributive tag like he writes, she claims, and so on.

To describe his childlike consciousness, Wright explains,“Each event spoke with a cryptic tongue. And the moments of living slowly revealed their coded meanings.”

After going to Memphis and boarding with Mrs. Moss, Wright wonders,“Was it wise to remain here with a seventeen-year-old girl eager for marriage and a mother equally anxious to have her marry me?”

3. Introduce the quotation by writing a full sentence and a colon to introduce the quotation, which should itself be a full sentence.

Bob’s description of Madge emphasizes her fake appearance:“She was a peroxide blonde with a large-featured, overly made-up face, and she had a large, bright-painted, fleshy mouth.”

Richard Wright explains his reasons for writing:“I was striving for a level of expression that matched those of the novels I read.”

Block a quotation if it is four lines or longer. Indent the quotation one half of an inch on both sides, and punctuate it like the following example.

Wright describes how his mother’s illness

affected him:

My mother’s suffering grew into a

symbol in my mind, gathering to itself

all the poverty, the ignorance, the

helplessness; the painful, baffling,

hunger-ridden days and hours; the

restless moving, the futile seeking, the uncertainty, the fear, the dread. (Wright 29)

handling quotes in your text
Handling Quotes in Your Text

Author’s last name and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text

Romantic poetry is characterized by the“spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”(Wordsworth 263)

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a“spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”(263)


The End