Shortening a quote
Don’t be a sloppy note-taker. Unfortunately, accidental plagiarism is all too common, and it has serious consequences. You may not have meant to plagiarize, but if you write someone else’s words down without indicating that you are using a direct quotation, you are plagiarizing whether it was intentional or not (after all, merely relying on lecture notes and not on your own research is lazy and not acknowledging direct quotes as you take notes from texts reflects poor organization). Always indicate quotations in your notes. It’s also better to write down a lot of quotations and then paraphrase them later than to write down a paraphrased version. The danger here, particularly if you don’t alter the quote much, is that you’ll unwittingly change it back to the quotation later, in revision. It’s better to have the original right in front of you. If you find yourself unable to choose better language, just quote it properly.
We all know you should use at least a few quotes to support your research essay, but you shouldn’t just throw them in because a research paper needs quotes.
Don’t pick a few random quotes from one of those quote websites (you know which sites I’m talking about).
Those random quotes from famous people—such as, “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do,” by Isaac Asimov—sound cool, but unless you use them in the perfect context, they’re just filler. They aren’t credible research sources.
FYI: Even though beginning your introduction with a quotation can be an excellent strategy, random celebrity quotes aren’t the best choice for the opening lines of your paper.
Don’t pick random sentences from your sources, either. It can be tempting to quickly paste them in your paper and hope they (sort of) make sense.
Sure, there are times when you’ll get lucky and the quotes will pretty much work, but most times, they’ll be awkward quotes that don’t support your arguments.
Now that you know what you absolutely should not do when quoting, you need to know what you should do. Ready to learn how to put a quote in your essay like a pro? Here are four tips to help you move from amateur to pro status.
Incorporating direct quotes into your writing is an excellent way to expand upon and back up your ideas with solid, fact based evidence. Additionally, quotes help to support your argument and can be used to develop your topic ideas or thesis statement.
It doesn’t matter which style of writing you are using – all literary styles require the use of proper citations whenever you are including words that are not your own in your work. Take note, if you use a quote in your essay and you neglect to give the proper credit to the original source – you are committing plagiarism.
At a grade school, or even a high school level, sometimes this might be overlooked as a novice error or inexperienced oversight. However, at the college level or higher, this could result in expulsion.
Writing the perfect introduction for an essay is often the most arduous part involved in creating an essay. While it is true that there are many ways to write an introductory paragraph, there will be times where it will make sense to start a paper with a quotation.
First things first, steer clear from overused quotes and clichés – you know, the ones that litter your Facebook newsfeeds. Unless it is extremely relevant, your reader will not want to read the same quote they’ve read day in and day out – “Keep calm and…” anyone?
Consider using a surprising or shocking comment.
- Use a quote from someone that you would not have expected them to say
- Quote someone who is not a major celebrity (James Earl Jones and Ben Stiller have said enough!)
- Consider using a well-known quote, but question it. Contradict what the original author said, prove them wrong, or use it to paint an even bigger picture, analyzing their words to find a greater meaning.
Research the quote in context; this will help you to best determine whether or not it should be included in your essay. To expand on this, make sure you know who you are speaking to.
- Will you reader be familiar with the person you are quoting?
- Could the quote be viewed as offensive in anywhere?
Using quotes in your essay is a good way to hook the reader, engaging with them and enticing them to continue reading. Whichever quote you choose to use, make sure that it contributes to your essay and doesn’t distract from it.
Using a quote in your paper is pretty straightforward; quoting a quote, however, requires a little more attention to detail.
Firstly, you will need to determine the part of the secondary source that you wish to quote. For explanation purposes, the secondary source is the work that uses the quote that you wish to include in your paper – this is also referred to as an indirect quote.
Whenever you endeavor to call upon only a portion of the writing from the secondary source, it is best to utilize the most relevant segment that creates a strong comment about the quote being used indirectly.
It is in good practice to remember to properly introduce the secondary source, prior to using the quote. For example, you might choose to write: According to Myles McLeish, author of A journey through the psyche of the broken man.
Secondary quotes are identified differently than standard passages. Use “double quotation marks” to indicate the secondary source, and ‘single quotation marks’ to indicate the quote itself. You may also need to include a parenthetical citation after the author’s surname.
- When following APA citation guidelines, you will include the publication year after the name of the writer. The page number will come after the quote.
- Under the MLA citation guidelines, you will add the page number after the name of the author.
Do not forget to include the entry into your reference list. You reference list should contain every single source that you’ve included parenthetical citations for in the body of the essay. In the event that you are using indirect quotes, you need only to list the secondary source on your reference list.
How you will cite a quote depends largely on the citation method or style that you’ve been instructed to use. For example, under MLA (Modern Language Association) citation style, you will cite the full name of the writer and also the page number every time you include a quote in your essay.
Citing shorter quotes: Adhering to MLA style guidelines, a short quote is defined as anything that is smaller in length four typed lines. If the quote you are incorporating into your work meets that requirement, you will a.
It is acceptable to input the name of the author either before the quote, or in parentheses at the conclusion of the quote. The page number will be written at the end, there is no need to use anything to signify that it is a page number.
Start the habit of briefly introducing the quote with a short paragraph, don’t just slap in a quote and hope that the readers can figure it out on their own. You can also use your introduction to introduce the author in place of using their name in parentheses at the end. Another option is to introduce the quote, input your citation, and then add commentary.