Rules for quotations in essays

However, it has become grammatically acceptable to use a colon rather than a comma:. If you are blending the quotation into your own sentence using the conjuction that , do not use any punctuation at all:. If you are not sure whether to punctuate your introduction to a quotation, mentally remove the quotation marks, and ask yourself whether any punctuation is still required.

Quotation Marks: When to Use Double or Single Quotation Marks

Finally, note that you can deviate from the common pattern of introduction followed by quotation. Weaving the phrases of others into your own prose offers a stylistically compelling way of maintaining control over your source material. Moreover, the technique of weaving can help you to produce a tighter argument. Familiarize yourself with the various verbs commonly used to introduce quotations.

How Often Should I Quote?

Here is a partial list:. Each verb has its own nuance. Make sure that the nuance matches your specific aims in introducing the quotation. Vary the way you introduce quotations to avoid sounding monotonous. But never sacrifice precision of phrasing for the sake of variety.

If your quotation is lengthy, you should almost always introduce it with a full sentence that helps capture how it fits into your argument. If your quotation is longer than four lines, do not place it in quotation marks. Instead, set it off as a block quotation :. Hence his lack of any constructive suggestion anywhere in his work.

Academic Skills

He attacks the law, parliamentary government, the educational system and so forth, without ever clearly suggesting what he would put in their places. For in reality his target is not so much society as human nature. The full-sentence introduction to a block quotation helps demonstrate your grasp of the source material, and it adds analytical depth to your essay. But the introduction alone is not enough.


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Long quotations almost invariably need to be followed by extended analysis. Never allow the quotation to do your work for you. Usually you will want to keep the quotation and your analysis together in the same paragraph.

Hence it is a good idea to avoid ending a paragraph with a quotation. But if your analysis is lengthy, you may want to break it into several paragraphs, beginning afresh after the quotation. Once in a while you can reverse the pattern of quotation followed by analysis. A felicitously worded or an authoritative quotation can, on occasion, nicely clinch an argument.

There is some flexibility in the rule that block quotations are for passages of four lines or more: a shorter passage can be represented as a block quotation if it is important enough to stand on its own. For example, when you are quoting two or more lines of poetry , you will probably want to display the verse as it appears on the page:. What dire offense from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things.


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  6. If you choose to integrate verse into your own sentence, then use a slash surrounded by spaces to indicate line breaks:. If you need to alter your quotations in any way, be sure to indicate just how you have done so. If you remove text, then replace the missing text with an ellipsis —three periods surrounded by spaces:. If the omitted text occurs between sentences, then put a space after the period at the end of sentence, and follow that by an ellipsis.

    6 Punctuation Rules

    In all, there will be four periods. See Orwell on Dickens, above. Many people overuse ellipses at the beginning and end of quotations. Use an ellipsis in either place only when your reader might otherwise mistake an incomplete sentence for a complete one:. In some instances, you may need to abbreviate a direct quotation by cutting text between important parts of a passage. An ellipsis, three periods separated by a space [. Paring down a long quotation is a complex editorial task, so review your changes to insure that you've retained the meaning of the original text.

    In Example 1, the writer omits only those parts of the quotation that are not crucial to the meaning of the text, thereby retaining the central point of the original sentence. In Example 2, the sentence makes sense, but has lost information that is crucial to the meaning of the original text.

    How to Cite a Poem in MLA Style Like Professional

    Finally, and contrary to your best instincts, if you find a typographical or grammatical error in the original text from which you are quoting, don't correct the mistake; instead, reproduce the original and add sic after the error to indicate that the mistake is not yours. How to Integrate Direct Quotations into Your Writing Small changes can yield effective results when it comes to integrating quotations into your writing.

    For example: Original quotation: "Reading is also a process and it also changes you.