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Using Quotes in Essays

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There are many questions that could appear when you start writing an essay and need to use a quote in your essay. As we strive for helping students to find solutions to their problems, below you will find the right answer to any question you have regarding the usage of quotes in essays.

How much should I quote?

The first rule you should remember – the extensive usage of quotes will hardly enrich your essay. The main of idea of an essay written on your own is expressing your own thoughts. Quotes serve as the helper to make your piece of writing perfect but you should be careful with quoting a passage.

There are some situations when it is preferable to quote a passage to support your idea.

  1. The passage you are quoting is elegant and memorable in its writing style.
  2. You use the quote as the proof of your ideas, argument.
  3. You are going to analyze the passage in the next lines of your essay.
  4. You want to argue with someone’s opinion and prove the correctness of your own words.

If you think that a paragraph from one of your sources is worth being mentioned but not quoted, you may summarize or paraphrase it, highlighting the main idea.

Why should I always identify my sources?

When you read a book, you know its author. When the reader comes across a quote in your essay, he should be aware of its origin. The source should come first, before the quotation. For example, if your essay is read in front of the audience, people are likely to miss out that the sentence you have already read was the quotation (in case you put a quotation at the end).

The legitimate example of introducing a quotation:

Dickens paid much attention to the influence of outer factors on own well-being. This is clear as he writes in Great Expectations, “The late stress upon me had enabled me to put off illness, but not to put it away; I knew that it was coming on me now, and I knew very little else, and was even careless as to that”.

How should I introduce a short quotation?

When the quotation is short, you’d better make a brief introduction.

As Ernest Lismore from W.Collins’ Mr Lismore and the Widow was puzzled he started asking himself various questions: “What could be the old lady’s object in ascertaining that he was still free from a matrimonial engagement?..”

If you want to strengthen your analysis, then presenting your own argument works well:

Men are rather cautious when they meet woman they Like as they are afraid of her having children and a husband. In Mr Lismore and the Widow, Wilkie Collins proves these words when describes Ernest Lismore’ feeling: ” What could be the old lady’s object in ascertaining that he was still free from a matrimonial engagement? If the idea had occurred to him in time he might have alluded to her domestic life, and might have asked if she had children. ” (5). Yet their willing to become loved is stronger than anything else.

Introducing quotations, pay attention to two possible ways of punctuation. When a quotation is introduces with a full sentence, a colon at the end of the introductory sentence is always used. In case a quotation with an incomplete sentence is presented, then a comma after the introductory phrase should be placed. However, it has become grammatically correct to use a colon rather than a comma:

Collins writes: “Ernest Lismore was thoroughly puzzled.”

If you are blending the quotation into your own sentence using the conjuction that, any punctuation is needed:

Collins writes that “Ernest Lismore was thoroughly puzzled.”

What phrases can be used to diverse my quotations?

The following verbs are commonly used to introduce quotations: argues, writes, notes, reveals, states, claims, insists, observes, suggests etc.

The following phrases help the writer introduce quotations: 1) in the words of X,… 2) in X’s view, … 3) according to X, …

How should do I introduce a long quotation?

If your quotation is lengthy, introduce it with a full sentence. In case your quotation is longer than four lines, quotation marks are spare. A block quotation is better than a long quotation:

O.Wilde’s play The importance of Being Earnest gets people of all ages and social class grinning, if not realizing themselves the importance of being earnest:

It seems to be mine. Yes, here is the injury it received through the upsetting of a Gower Street omnibus in younger and happier days. Here is the stain on the lining caused by the explosion of a temperance beverage, an incident that occurred at Leamington. And here, on the lock, are my initials. I had forgotten that in an extravagant mood I had had them placed there. The bag is undoubtedly mine. I am delighted to have it so unexpectedly restored to me. It has been a great inconvenience being without it all these years. (410)

Block quotations help to demonstrate your grasp of the source material but they need to be followed by your own analysis. In case the analysis is lengthy, break the paragraph into some paragraphs.

How can I inform a reader that I’ve altered my sources?

The removed text is usually replaced with an ellipsis — three periods surrounded by spaces:

In A Case of Fever, R.Barr comments that “this doctor … was not like the usual Atlantic physician. ” (9).

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