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How to Put a Quote in an Essay

Last Updated: November 28, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,634,259 times.

Using a direct quote in your essay is a great way to support your ideas with concrete evidence, which you need to support your thesis. To select a good quote , look for a passage that supports your argument and is open to analysis. Then, incorporate that quote into your essay, and make sure you properly cite it based on the style guide you’re using.

Sample Quotes

how to put quote in essay

Incorporating a Short Quote

Step 1 Incorporate short direct quotes into a sentence.

  • For instance, let's say this is the quote you want to use: "The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold."
  • If you just type that sentence into your essay and put quotes around it, your reader will be disoriented. Instead, you could incorporate it into a sentence like this: "The imagery in the story mirrors what's happening in Lia's love life, as 'The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold.'"

Step 2 Use a lead-in...

  • "Critic Alex Li says, 'The frequent references to the color blue are used to suggest that the family is struggling to cope with the loss of their matriarch.'"
  • "According to McKinney’s research, 'Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.'"
  • "Based on several recent studies, people are more likely to sit on the park benches when they're shaded by trees."

Step 3 Put quotation marks...

  • You still need to use quotation marks even if you're only quoting a few words.
  • If you're in doubt, it's best to be cautious and use quotes.

Step 4 Provide commentary after...

  • For example, let’s say you used the quote, “According to McKinney’s research, ‘Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.’” Your commentary might read, “This shows that yoga can have a positive impact on people’s health, so incorporating it into the workplace can help improve employee health outcomes. Since yoga makes employees healthier, they’ll likely have reduced insurance costs.”

Step 5 Paraphrase

  • When you use a paraphrase, you still need to provide commentary that links the paraphrased material back to your thesis and ideas.

Using a Long Quote

Step 1 Introduce a long direct quote, then set it off in a block.

  • The reader will recognize that the material is a direct quote because it's set off from the rest of the text. That's why you don't need to use quotation marks. However, you will include your citation at the bottom.

Step 2 Write an introductory lead-in to tell the reader what the quote is about.

  • "In The Things They Carried , the items carried by soldiers in the Vietnam war are used to both characterize them and burden the readers with the weight they are carrying: The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water." (O'Brien 2)

Variation: When you're citing two or more paragraphs, you must use block quotes, even if the passage you want to quote is less than four lines long. You should indent the first line of each paragraph an extra quarter inch. Then, use ellipses (…) at the end of one paragraph to transition to the next.

Step 3 Indent the block quote by .5 inches (1.3 cm) from the left margin.

  • Your block quote will use the same spacing as the rest of your paper, which will likely be double-spacing.

Step 4 Use an ellipsis to omit a word or words from a direct quote.

  • For example, “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s the only one who’s begun to move on after their mother’s death” might become “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s … begun to move on after their mother’s death.”
  • Don’t eliminate words to change the meaning of the original text. For instance, it’s not appropriate to use an ellipsis to change “plants did not grow faster when exposed to poetry” to “plants did … grow faster when exposed to poetry.”

Step 5 Put brackets around words you need to add to a quote for clarification.

  • For example, let’s say you want to use the quote, “All of them experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.” This doesn’t tell the reader who you’re talking about. You could use brackets to say, “All of [the teachers in the study] experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
  • However, if you know the study is talking about teachers, you couldn’t use brackets to say, “All of [society experiences] a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”

Step 6 Provide commentary after a quote to explain how it supports your ideas.

  • If you don't explain your quote well, then it's not helping your ideas. You can't expect the reader to connect the quote back to your thesis for you.

Step 7 Paraphrase the quote to condense it to 1 or 2 sentences, if you can.

  • For instance, you may prefer to use a long block quote to present a passage from a literary work that demonstrates the author's style. However, let's say you were using a journal article to provide a critic's perspective on an author's work. You may not need to directly quote an entire paragraph word-for-word to get their point across. Instead, use a paraphrase.

Tip: If you’re unsure about a quote, ask yourself, “Can I paraphrase this in more concise language and not lose any support for my argument?” If the answer is yes, a quote is not necessary.

Citing Your Quote

Step 1 Cite the author’s...

  • An MLA citation will look like this: (Lopez 24)
  • For sources with multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Anderson and Smith 55-56) or (Taylor, Gomez, and Austin 89)
  • If you use the author’s name in your lead-in to the quote, you just need to provide the year in parentheses: According to Luz Lopez, “the green grass symbolizes a fresh start for Lia (24).”

Step 2 Include the author’s...

  • An APA citation for a direct quote looks like this: (Ronan, 2019, p. 10)
  • If you’re citing multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Cruz, Hanks, and Simmons, 2019, p. 85)
  • If you incorporated the author’s name into your lead-in, you can just give the year and page number: Based on Ronan’s (2019, p. 10) analysis, “coffee breaks improve productivity.”

Step 3 Use the author’s last name, date, and page number for Chicago Style.

  • For instance, a Chicago Style citation will look like this: (Alexander 2019, 125)
  • If you’re quoting a source with multiple authors, separate them with the word “and:” (Pattinson, Stewart, and Green 2019, 175)
  • If you already incorporated the author’s name into your quote, then you can just provide the year and page number: According to Alexander, “the smell of roses increases feelings of happiness” (2019, 125).

Step 4 Prepare a Works...

  • For MLA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories , vol. 2, no. 5, 2019, p. 15-22. [17] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • In APA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. (2019). A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in "Her Darkest Sunshine." Journal of Stories , 2(5), 15-22. [18] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • For Chicago Style, your article citation would look like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories 2 no. 4 (2019): 15-22. [19] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Selecting a Quote

Step 1 Select a quote that backs up the argument you’re making.

Tip: Quotes are most effective when the original language of the person or text you’re quoting is worth repeating word-for-word.

Step 2 Make sure the quote is something you can analyze.

  • If you’re struggling to explain the quote or link it back to your argument, then it’s likely not a good idea to include it in your essay.

Step 3 Avoid using too many direct quotes in your paper.

  • Paraphrases and summaries work just like a direct quote, except that you don’t need to put quotation marks around them because you’re using your own words to restate ideas. However, you still need to cite the sources you used.

Community Q&A

wikiHow Staff Editor

  • Always cite your quotes properly. If you don't, it is considered plagiarism. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Write an Essay

  • ↑ https://www.ursinus.edu/live/files/1160-integrating-quotespdf
  • ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-incorporate-quotes-.html
  • ↑ https://helpfulprofessor.com/quotes/
  • ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/using-sources/quotations/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html
  • ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
  • ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/periodicals.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

Medical Disclaimer

The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.

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To put a quote in an essay, incorporate it directly into a sentence if it's shorter than 4 typed lines. For example, you could write "According to researchers," and then insert the quote. If a quote is longer than 4 typed lines, set it off from the rest of the paragraph, and don't put quotes around it. After the quote, include an in-text citation so readers know where it's from. The right way to cite the quote will depend on whether you're using MLA, APA, or Chicago Style formatting. For more tips from our English co-author, like how to omit words from a quote, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps

How to use Quotes in an Essay

A quote can be an effective and powerful literary tool in an essay, but it needs to be done well. To use quotes in an essay, you need to make sure your quotes are short, backed up with explanations, and used rarely. The best essays use a maximum of 2 quotes for every 1500 words.

Rules for using quotes in essays:

  • Avoid Long Quotes.
  • Quotes should be less than 1 sentence long.
  • Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples.
  • Use Max. 2 Quotes for 1500 words.
  • Use page numbers when Citing Quotes.
  • Don’t Italicize Quotes.
  • Avoid quotes inside quotes.

Once you have mastered these quotation writing rules you’ll be on your way to growing your marks in your next paper.

How to use Quotes in an Essay

1. avoid long quotes.

There’s a simple rule to follow here: don’t use a quote that is longer than one line. In fact,  four word quotes  are usually best.

Long quotes in essays are red flags for teachers. It doesn’t matter if it is an amazing quote. Many, many teachers don’t like long quotes, so it’s best to avoid them.

Too many students provide quotes that take up half of a paragraph. This will lose you marks – big time.

If you follow my  perfect paragraph formula , you know that most paragraphs should be about six sentences long, which comes out to about six or seven typed lines on paper. That means that your quote will be a maximum of one-sixth (1/6) of your paragraph. This leaves plenty of space for discussion in your own words.

One reason teachers don’t like long quotes is that they suck up your word count. It can start to look like you didn’t have enough to say, so you inserted quotes to pad out your essay. Even if this is only your teacher’s perception, it’s something that you need to be aware of.

Here’s an example of over-use of quotes in paragraphs:

Avoid Quotes that are Too Long

Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors on economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

This student made the fatal mistake of having the quote overtake the paragraph.

Simply put, don’t use a quote that is longer than one line long. Ever. It’s just too risky.

Personally, I like to use a 4-word quote in my essays. Four-word quotes are long enough to constitute an actual quote but short enough that I have to think about how I will fit that quote around my own writing. This forces me to write quotations that both show:

  • I have read the original source, but also:
  • I know how to paraphrase

2. Do not use a Quote to that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph

These are three common but fatal mistakes.

Essay quotes that start sentences or end paragraphs make you appear passive.

If you use a quotation in an essay to start a sentence or end a paragraph, your teacher automatically thinks that your quote is replacing analysis, rather than supporting it.

You should instead start the sentence that contains the quote with your own writing. This makes it appear that you have an  active voice .

Similarly, you should end a paragraph with your own analysis, not a quote.

Let’s look at some examples of quotes that start sentences and end paragraphs. These examples are poor examples of using quotes:

Avoid Quotes that Start Sentences The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. “Children have the ability to learn through play and exploration. Play helps children to learn about their surroundings” (Malaguzzi, 1949, p. 10). Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.

Avoid Quotes that End Paragraphs Before Judith Butler gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex, men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time. “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).

Both these quotes are from essays that were shared with me by colleagues. My colleagues marked these students down for these quotes because of the quotes:

  • took up full sentences;
  • started sentences; and
  • were used to end paragraphs.

It didn’t appear as if the students were analyzing the quotes. Instead, the quotes were doing the talking for the students.

There are some easy strategies to use in order to make it appear that you are actively discussing and analyzing quotes.

One is that you should make sure the essay sentences with quotes in them  don’t start with the quote . Here are some examples of how we can change the quotes:

Example 1: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “children have the ability to learn through play and exploration.” Here, Malaguzzi is highlighting how to play is linked to finding things out about the world. Play is important for children to develop. Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.

Here, the sentence with the quote was amended so that the student has an active voice. They start the sentence with According to Malaguzzi, ….

Similarly, in the second example, we can also insert an active voice by ensuring that our quote sentence does not start with a quote:

Example 2: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice In 1990, Judith Butler revolutionized Feminist understandings of gender by arguing that “gender is a fluid concept” (p. 136). Before Butler’s 1990 book  Gender Trouble , gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex. Men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time.

In this example, the quote is not at the start of a sentence or end of a paragraph – tick!

How to Start Sentences containing Quotes using an Active Voice

  • According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “…”
  • Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) argues that “…”
  • In 1949, Malaguzzi (p. 10) highlighted that “…”
  • The argument of Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) that “…” provides compelling insight into the issue.

3. Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples

Earlier on, I stated that one key reason to use quotes in essays is so that you can analyze them.

Quotes shouldn’t stand alone as explanations. Quotes should be there to be analyzed, not to do the analysis.

Let’s look again at the quote used in Point 1:

Example: A Quote that is Too Long Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults.  “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors in economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.”  (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

This student has included the facts, figures, citations and key details in the quote. Essentially, this student has been lazy. They failed to paraphrase.

Instead, this student could have selected the most striking phrase from the quote and kept it. Then, the rest should be paraphrased. The most striking phrase in this quote was “[poverty] is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761).

So, take that one key phrase, then paraphrase the rest:

Example: Paraphrasing Long Quotes Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. In their analysis, Mistry et al. (2016) highlight that there is a misconception in American society that hard work is enough to escape poverty. Instead, they argue, there is evidence that over 40% of people born in poverty remain in poverty. For Mistry et al. (2016, p. 761), this data shows that poverty is not a matter of being lazy alone, but more importantly  “a consequence of structural and social barriers.”  This implies that poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

To recap,  quotes shouldn’t do the talking for you . Provide a brief quote in your essay, and then show you understand it with surrounding explanation and analysis.

4. Know how many Quotes to use in an Essay

There’s a simple rule for how many quotes should be in an essay.

Here’s a good rule to follow: one quote for every five paragraphs. A paragraph is usually 150 words long, so you’re looking at  one quote in every 750 words, maximum .

To extrapolate that out, you’ll want a maximum of about:

  • 2 quotes for a 1500-word paper;
  • 3 quotes for a 2000-word paper;
  • 4 quotes for a 3000-word paper.

That’s the maximum , not a target. There’s no harm in writing a paper that has absolutely zero quotes in it, so long as it’s still clear that you’ve closely read and paraphrased your readings.

The reason you don’t want to use more quotes than this in your essay is that teachers want to see you saying things in your own words. When you over-use quotes, it is a sign to your teacher that you don’t know how to paraphrase well.

5. Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays

One biggest problem with quotes are that many students don’t know how to cite quotes in essays.

Nearly every referencing format requires you to include a page number in your citation. This includes the three most common referencing formats: Harvard, APA, and MLA. All of them require you to provide page numbers with quotes.

Citing a Quote in Chicago Style – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990, 136).

Citing a Quote in APA and Harvard Styles – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).

Citing a Quote in MLA Style – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 136).

Including a page number in your quotation makes a huge difference when a marker is trying to determine how high your grade should be.

This is especially true when you’re already up in the higher marks range. These little editing points can mean the difference between placing first in the class and third. Don’t underestimate the importance of attention to detail.

6. Don’t Italicize Quotes

For some reason, students love to use italics for quotes. This is wrong in absolutely every major referencing format, yet it happens all the time.

I don’t know where this started, but please don’t do it. It looks sloppy, and teachers notice. A nice, clean, well-formatted essay should not contain these minor but not insignificant errors. If you want to be a top student, you need to pay attention to minor details.

7. Avoid quotes inside quotes

Have you ever found a great quote and thought, “I want to quote that quote!” Quoting a quote is a tempting thing to do, but not worth your while.

I’ll often see students write something like this:

Poor Quotation Example: Quotes Inside Quotes Rousseau “favored a civil religion because it would be more tolerant of diversity than Christianity. Indeed ‘no state has ever been founded without religion as its base’ (Rousseau, 1913: 180).” (Durkheim, 1947, p. 19).

Here, there are quotes on top of quotes. The student has quoted Durkheim quoting Rousseau. This quote has become a complete mess and hard to read. The minute something’s hard to read, it loses marks.

Here are two solutions:

  • Cite the original source. If you really want the Rousseau quote, just cite Rousseau. Stop messing around with quotes on top of quotes.
  • Learn the ‘as cited in’ method. Frankly, that method’s too complicated to discuss here. But if you google it, you’ll be able to teach yourself.

When Should I use Quotes in Essays?

1. to highlight an important statement.

One main reason to use quotes in essays is to emphasize a famous statement by a top thinker in your field.

The statement must be  important. It can’t be just any random comment.

Here are some examples of when to use quotes in essays to emphasize the words of top thinkers:

  • The words of Stephen Hawking go a long way in Physics ;
  • The words of JK Rowling go a long way in Creative Writing ;
  • The words of Michel Foucault go a long way in Cultural Studies ;
  • The words of Jean Piaget go a long way in Education Studies .

2. To analyze an Important Statement.

Another reason to use quotes in essays is when you want to analyze a statement by a specific author. This author might not be famous, but they might have said something that requires unpacking and analyzing. You can provide a quote, then unpack it by explaining your interpretation of it in the following sentences.

Quotes usually need an explanation and example. You can unpack the quote by asking:

  • What did they mean,
  • Why is it relevant, and
  • Why did they say this?

You want to always follow up quotes by top thinkers or specific authors with discussion and analysis.

Quotes should be accompanied by:

  • Explanations of the quote;
  • Analysis of the ideas presented in the quote; or
  • Real-world examples that show you understand what the quote means.
Remember: A quote should be a stimulus for a discussion, not a replacement for discussion.

What Bad Quotes Look Like

Many teachers I have worked with don’t like when students use quotes in essays. In fact, some teachers absolutely hate essay quotes. The teachers I have met tend to hate these sorts of quotes:

  • When you use too many quotes.
  • When you use the wrong citation format.
  • When you don’t provide follow-up explanations of quotes.
  • When you used quotes because you don’t know how to paraphrase .

how to use quotes in an essay

Be a minimalist when it comes to using quotes. Here are the seven approaches I recommend for using quotes in essays:

  • Avoid Long Quotes in Essays
  • Do not use a Quote that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph
  • Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples
  • Use a Maximum of 2 Quotes for every 1500 words
  • Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays
  • Don’t Italicize Quotes
  • Avoid quotes inside quotes

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument. This handout will help you decide when and how to quote like a pro.

When should I quote?

Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). And quotations are only one type of evidence: well-balanced papers may also make use of paraphrases, data, and statistics. The types of evidence you use will depend in part on the conventions of the discipline or audience for which you are writing. For example, papers analyzing literature may rely heavily on direct quotations of the text, while papers in the social sciences may have more paraphrasing, data, and statistics than quotations.

Discussing specific arguments or ideas

Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:

“At the beginning of World War Two, almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly.”

If it is especially important that you formulate a counterargument to this claim, then you might wish to quote the part of the statement that you find questionable and establish a dialogue between yourself and John Doe:

Historian John Doe has argued that in 1941 “almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly” (Doe 223). Yet during the first six months of U.S. involvement, the wives and mothers of soldiers often noted in their diaries their fear that the war would drag on for years.

Giving added emphasis to a particularly authoritative source on your topic.

There will be times when you want to highlight the words of a particularly important and authoritative source on your topic. For example, suppose you were writing an essay about the differences between the lives of male and female slaves in the U.S. South. One of your most provocative sources is a narrative written by a former slave, Harriet Jacobs. It would then be appropriate to quote some of Jacobs’s words:

Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from North Carolina, published an autobiographical slave narrative in 1861. She exposed the hardships of both male and female slaves but ultimately concluded that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”

In this particular example, Jacobs is providing a crucial first-hand perspective on slavery. Thus, her words deserve more exposure than a paraphrase could provide.

Jacobs is quoted in Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

Analyzing how others use language.

This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language.

Examples of topics that might require the frequent use of quotations include:

Southern colloquial expressions in William Faulkner’s Light in August

Ms. and the creation of a language of female empowerment

A comparison of three British poets and their use of rhyme

Spicing up your prose.

In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language. All quotations, however, must closely relate to your topic and arguments. Do not insert a quotation solely for its literary merits.

One example of a quotation that adds flair:

President Calvin Coolidge’s tendency to fall asleep became legendary. As H. L. Mencken commented in the American Mercury in 1933, “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”

How do I set up and follow up a quotation?

Once you’ve carefully selected the quotations that you want to use, your next job is to weave those quotations into your text. The words that precede and follow a quotation are just as important as the quotation itself. You can think of each quote as the filling in a sandwich: it may be tasty on its own, but it’s messy to eat without some bread on either side of it. Your words can serve as the “bread” that helps readers digest each quote easily. Below are four guidelines for setting up and following up quotations.

In illustrating these four steps, we’ll use as our example, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quotation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1. Provide context for each quotation.

Do not rely on quotations to tell your story for you. It is your responsibility to provide your reader with context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where, and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. So, in providing context for our above example, you might write:

When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression.

2. Attribute each quotation to its source.

Tell your reader who is speaking. Here is a good test: try reading your text aloud. Could your reader determine without looking at your paper where your quotations begin? If not, you need to attribute the quote more noticeably.

Avoid getting into the “they said” attribution rut! There are many other ways to attribute quotes besides this construction. Here are a few alternative verbs, usually followed by “that”:

Different reporting verbs are preferred by different disciplines, so pay special attention to these in your disciplinary reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of any of these words or others you find in your reading, consult a dictionary before using them.

3. Explain the significance of the quotation.

Once you’ve inserted your quotation, along with its context and attribution, don’t stop! Your reader still needs your assessment of why the quotation holds significance for your paper. Using our Roosevelt example, if you were writing a paper on the first one-hundred days of FDR’s administration, you might follow the quotation by linking it to that topic:

With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.

4. Provide a citation for the quotation.

All quotations, just like all paraphrases, require a formal citation. For more details about particular citation formats, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . In general, you should remember one rule of thumb: Place the parenthetical reference or footnote/endnote number after—not within—the closed quotation mark.

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Roosevelt, Public Papers, 11).

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1

How do I embed a quotation into a sentence?

In general, avoid leaving quotes as sentences unto themselves. Even if you have provided some context for the quote, a quote standing alone can disrupt your flow.  Take a look at this example:

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

Standing by itself, the quote’s connection to the preceding sentence is unclear. There are several ways to incorporate a quote more smoothly:

Lead into the quote with a colon.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.

Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (Rowling, p. 176).

The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker. Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.

“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2).

“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Dividing the quote may highlight a particular nuance of the quote’s meaning. In the first example, the division calls attention to the two parts of Hamlet’s claim. The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular. As you decide whether or not you want to break up a quote, you should consider the shift in emphasis that the division might create.

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence.

When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression.

Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma.

The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

How much should I quote?

As few words as possible. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, so quote only the most pithy and memorable parts of sources. Here are guidelines for selecting quoted material judiciously:

Excerpt fragments.

Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented:

“I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:

Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

Excerpt those fragments carefully!

Quoting the words of others carries a big responsibility. Misquoting misrepresents the ideas of others. Here’s a classic example of a misquote:

John Adams has often been quoted as having said: “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here’s the rest of the quotation:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

As you can see from this example, context matters!

This example is from Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press, 1989).

Use block quotations sparingly.

There may be times when you need to quote long passages. However, you should use block quotations only when you fear that omitting any words will destroy the integrity of the passage. If that passage exceeds four lines (some sources say five), then set it off as a block quotation.

Be sure you are handling block quotes correctly in papers for different academic disciplines–check the index of the citation style guide you are using. Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations:

  • Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon.
  • Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.
  • Single space or double space within the block quotation, depending on the style guidelines of your discipline (MLA, CSE, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
  • Place parenthetical citation according to your style guide (usually after the period following the last sentence of the quote).
  • Follow up a block quotation with your own words.

So, using the above example from John Adams, here’s how you might include a block quotation:

After reading several doctrinally rigid tracts, John Adams recalled the zealous ranting of his former teacher, Joseph Cleverly, and minister, Lemuel Bryant. He expressed his ambivalence toward religion in an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson:

Adams clearly appreciated religion, even if he often questioned its promotion.

How do I combine quotation marks with other punctuation marks?

It can be confusing when you start combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. You should consult a style manual for complicated situations, but the following two rules apply to most cases:

Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.

So, for example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.”

In the above example, both the comma and period were enclosed in the quotation marks. The main exception to this rule involves the use of internal citations, which always precede the last period of the sentence. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries” (Poe 167).

Note, however, that the period remains inside the quotation marks when your citation style involves superscript footnotes or endnotes. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.” 2

Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.

Take a look at the following examples:

I couldn’t believe it when my friend passed me a note in the cafe saying the management “started charging $15 per hour for parking”!

The coach yelled, “Run!”

In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the outrageous nature of the parking price change. The original note had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation.

How do I indicate quotations within quotations?

If you are quoting a passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.

Here’s an example of a quotation within a quotation:

In “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “‘But the Emperor has nothing on at all!’ cried a little child.”

Remember to consult your style guide to determine how to properly cite a quote within a quote.

When do I use those three dots ( . . . )?

Whenever you want to leave out material from within a quotation, you need to use an ellipsis, which is a series of three periods, each of which should be preceded and followed by a space. So, an ellipsis in this sentence would look like . . . this. There are a few rules to follow when using ellipses:

Be sure that you don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the quotation by omitting material.

Take a look at the following example:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus and serves the entire UNC community.”

“The Writing Center . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location.

Do not use ellipses at the beginning or ending of quotations, unless it’s important for the reader to know that the quotation was truncated.

For example, using the above example, you would NOT need an ellipsis in either of these situations:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus . . .”

The Writing Center ” . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses.

For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual.

“The boys ran to school, forgetting their lunches and books. Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

“The boys ran to school. . . . Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma.

“The red car came to a screeching halt that was heard by nearby pedestrians, but no one was hurt.”

“The red car came to a screeching halt . . . , but no one was hurt.”

Is it ever okay to insert my own words or change words in a quotation?

Sometimes it is necessary for clarity and flow to alter a word or words within a quotation. You should make such changes rarely. In order to alert your reader to the changes you’ve made, you should always bracket the altered words. Here are a few examples of situations when you might need brackets:

Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence.

Suppose you were quoting a woman who, when asked about her experiences immigrating to the United States, commented “nobody understood me.” You might write:

Esther Hansen felt that when she came to the United States “nobody understood [her].”

In the above example, you’ve changed “me” to “her” in order to keep the entire passage in third person. However, you could avoid the need for this change by simply rephrasing:

“Nobody understood me,” recalled Danish immigrant Esther Hansen.

Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation.

For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets.

“The principal of the school told Billy [William Smith] that his contract would be terminated.”

Similarly, if a quotation referenced an event with which the reader might be unfamiliar, you could identify that event in brackets.

“We completely revised our political strategies after the strike [of 1934].”

Indicating the use of nonstandard grammar or spelling.

In rare situations, you may quote from a text that has nonstandard grammar, spelling, or word choice. In such cases, you may want to insert [sic], which means “thus” or “so” in Latin. Using [sic] alerts your reader to the fact that this nonstandard language is not the result of a typo on your part. Always italicize “sic” and enclose it in brackets. There is no need to put a period at the end. Here’s an example of when you might use [sic]:

Twelve-year-old Betsy Smith wrote in her diary, “Father is afraid that he will be guilty of beach [sic] of contract.”

Here [sic] indicates that the original author wrote “beach of contract,” not breach of contract, which is the accepted terminology.

Do not overuse brackets!

For example, it is not necessary to bracket capitalization changes that you make at the beginning of sentences. For example, suppose you were going to use part of this quotation:

“The colors scintillated curiously over a hard carapace, and the beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello.”

If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes.

“The beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Not: “[T]he beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. 2012. The Modern Researcher , 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Put a Quote in an Essay

Home / Blog / How To Put A Quote In An Essay (with Examples)

How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Examples)

Introduction

When writing an essay , it is essential to incorporate quotes from reputable sources to support your arguments and ideas. However, knowing how to use quotes effectively is crucial in maintaining the flow and clarity of your essay. This blog will discuss the proper ways to put a quote in an essay with examples.

Why Use Quotes in an Essay?

Quotes are used in an essay to support or reinforce the writer's arguments and ideas. They provide evidence for your claims and demonstrate that your argument is backed up by research and authority. Incorporating quotes also helps to provide context and depth to your writing and can add a unique perspective to your essay.

Types of Quotes

There are two types of quotes you can use in your essay: direct quotes and indirect quotes.

Direct Quotes: Direct quotes are the exact words used by the source that you are quoting. When using direct quotes, you need to use quotation marks and indicate the source.

Example: According to John Smith, "The Earth is round."

Indirect Quotes: Indirect quotes are a paraphrase of the original source. When using indirect quotes, you do not need to use quotation marks.

Example: John Smith claims that the Earth is round.

How to Put a Quote in an Essay

When using quotes in an essay, there are several rules that you need to follow to ensure that your writing is clear, accurate, and appropriate. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Choose a Relevant Quote

Before you start writing your essay, identify the quotes that you want to use to support your arguments. Ensure that the quotes you select are relevant, reliable, and add value to your essay.

Step 2: Introduce the Quote

Introduce the quote by providing context and indicating who the source is. This will help the reader understand the significance of the quote and its relevance to your argument.

Example: According to Jane Doe, a renowned climate scientist, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity."

Step 3: Use Quotation Marks

When using a direct quote, use quotation marks to indicate that you are using the exact words of the source.

Example: According to Jane Doe, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity."

Step 4: Provide the Source

Provide the source of the quote, including the author's name, the title of the book or article, and the page number. This will help the reader find the source if they want to read it.

Example: According to Jane Doe, a renowned climate scientist, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity." (Doe, The State of the Climate, p. 25)

Step 5: Punctuate Correctly

Punctuate the quote correctly by placing the comma or period inside the quotation marks, depending on whether it is a part of the quote or your sentence.

Step 6: Explain the Quote

Explain the significance of the quote in your own words. This will help the reader understand how the quote supports your argument.

Example: Jane Doe's quote highlights the urgency of addressing climate change as it poses a significant threat to human survival.

Step 7: Cite Your Sources

Ensure that you cite your sources correctly using the citation style specified by your instructor or the style guide for your discipline.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Quotes in an Essay

Using quotes in an essay can be tricky, and many students make mistakes that can impact the quality of their writing. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using quotes in an essay:

Failing to provide context: It is essentialto provide context when using a quote in an essay. Failure to do so can confuse the reader and make the quote appear out of place. Always introduce the quote and provide some background information about the source and why you are using the quote.

Overusing quotes: While quotes can add value to your essay, it is essential not to overuse them. Use quotes sparingly and only when necessary. Overusing quotes can make your writing appear lazy, and it may give the impression that you are not confident in your own ideas.

Incorrectly citing sources: Always cite your sources correctly using the citation style specified by your instructor or the style guide for your discipline. Failure to do so can lead to accusations of plagiarism , which can have serious consequences.

Misquoting or altering a quote: When using a direct quote, it is essential to use the exact words of the source. Do not alter the quote or misquote the source as this can distort the meaning and accuracy of the quote.

Failing to explain the quote: When using a quote, it is important to explain its significance and how it supports your argument. Failure to do so can make the quote appear irrelevant and disconnected from your essay.

Examples of Quotes in an Essay

Here are some examples of how to use quotes in an essay:

Example 1: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Should students be required to wear school uniforms?

Quote: "School uniforms promote a sense of unity and equality among students, and they help to reduce instances of bullying based on clothing." (Johnson, School Uniforms, p. 10)

Explanation: The quote supports the argument that school uniforms can have a positive impact on student behavior and reduce instances of bullying. It is introduced with the source and provides context for the argument.

Example 2: Persuasive Essay

Topic: The importance of recycling

Quote: "Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 463 gallons of oil." (Environmental Protection Agency)

Explanation: The quote provides a powerful statistic that supports the importance of recycling. It is introduced with the source, and its significance is explained in the following sentences.

Example 3: Expository Essay

Topic: The history of the American Civil War

Quote: "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." (Lincoln, Gettysburg Address)

Explanation: The quote is an iconic line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which is a significant event in American history. It is introduced with the source, and its significance is explained in the following sentences.

Incorporating quotes in an essay can add depth, context, and authority to your writing. However, it is important to use quotes effectively and appropriately. Always choose relevant and reliable quotes, introduce them with context, use the correct punctuation, explain their significance, and cite your sources correctly. By following these guidelines, you can effectively use quotes in your essay and improve the quality of your writing.

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A Guide to Using Quotations in Essays

Quotations Add Credibility to a Persuasive Essay

  • Love Quotes
  • Great Lines from Movies and Television
  • Quotations For Holidays
  • Best Sellers
  • Classic Literature
  • Plays & Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • Short Stories
  • Children's Books
  • M.B.A, Human Resource Development and Management, Narsee Monjee Institution of Management Studies
  • B.S., University of Mumbai, Commerce, Accounting, and Finance

If you want to make an impact on your reader, you can draw on the potency of quotations. The  effective use of quotations  augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays more interesting.

But there is a need for caution! Are you convinced that the quotation you have chosen is helping your essay and not hurting it? Here are some factors to consider to ensure that you are doing the right thing.

What Is This Quotation Doing in This Essay?

Let us begin at the beginning. You have a chosen a quotation for your essay. But, why that specific quotation?

A good quotation should do one or more of the following:

  • Make an opening impact on the reader
  • Build credibility for your essay
  • Make the essay more interesting
  • Close the essay with a point to ponder upon

If the quotation does not meet a few of these objectives, then it is of little value. Merely stuffing a quotation into your essay can do more harm than good.

Your Essay Is Your Mouthpiece

Should the quotation speak for the essay or should the essay speak for the quotation? Quotations should add impact to the essay and not steal the show. If your quotation has more punch than your essay, then something is seriously wrong. Your essay should be able to stand on its own legs; the quotation should merely make this stand stronger.

How Many Quotations Should You Use in Your Essay?

Using too many quotations is like having several people shouting on your behalf. This will drown out your voice. Refrain from overcrowding your essay with words of wisdom from famous people. You own the essay, so make sure that you are heard.

Don't Make It Look Like You Plagiarized

There are some rules and standards when using quotations in an essay. The most important one is that you should not give the impression of being the author of the quotation. That would amount to plagiarism . Here are a set of rules to clearly distinguish your writing from the quotation:

  • You may describe the quotation in your own words before using it. In this case, you should use a colon (:) to indicate the beginning of the quotation. Then begin the quotation with a quotation mark ("). After you have completed the quotation, close it with a quotation mark ("). Here is an example: Sir Winston Churchill made a witty remark on the attitude of a pessimist: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
  • The sentence in which the quotation is embedded might not explicitly describe the quotation, but merely introduce it. In such a case, do away with the colon. Simply use the quotation marks . Here is an example: Sir Winston Churchill once said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
  • As far as possible, you should mention the author and the source of the quotation. For instance: In Shakespeare ’s play "As You Like It," Touchstone says to Audrey in the Forest of Arden, "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." (Act V, Scene I).
  • Ensure that the source of your quotation is authentic. Also, verify the author of your quotation. You can do so by looking up the quotation on authoritative websites. For formal writing, do not rely on just one website.

Blend Quotations In

An essay can seem quite jarring if the quotation does not blend in. The quotation should naturally fit into your essay. No one is interested in reading quotation-stuffed essays.

Here are some good tips on blending in your quotations:

  • You can begin your essay with a quotation that sets off the basic idea of the essay. This can have a lasting impact on your reader. In the introductory paragraph of your essay, you can comment on the quotation if you like. In any case, do ensure that the relevance of the quotation is communicated well.
  • Your choice of phrases and adjectives can significantly boost the impact of the quotation in your essay. Do not use monotonous phrases like: "George Washington once said...." If your essay is written for the appropriate context, consider using emphatic expressions like: "George Washington rocked the nation by saying...."

Using Long Quotations

It is usually better to have short and crisp quotations in your essay. Generally, long quotations must be used sparingly as they tend to weigh down the reader. However, there are times when your essay has more impact with a longer quotation.

If you have decided to use a long quotation, consider paraphrasing , as it usually works better. But, there is a downside to paraphrasing too. Instead of paraphrasing, if you use a direct quotation , you will avoid misrepresentation. The decision to use a long quotation is not trivial. It is your judgment call.

If you are convinced that a particular long quotation is more effective, be sure to format and punctuate it correctly.   Long quotations should be set off as block quotations . The format of block quotations should follow the guidelines that you might have been provided. If there are no specific guidelines, you can follow the usual standard—if a quotation is more than three lines long, you set it off as a block quote. Blocking implies indenting it about half an inch on the left.

Usually, a brief introduction to a long quotation is warranted. In other cases, you might need to provide a complete analysis of the quotation. In this case, it is best to begin with the quotation and follow it with the analysis, rather than the other way around.

Using Cute Quotes or Poetry

Some students choose a cute quotation first and then try to plug it into their essay. As a consequence, such quotations usually drag the reader away from the essay.

Quoting a verse from a poem, however, can add a lot of charm to your essay. I have come across writing that acquires a romantic edge merely by including a poetic quotation. If you are quoting from poetry, keep in mind that a small extract of a poem, say about two lines long, requires the use of slash marks (/) to indicate line breaks. Here is an example:

Charles Lamb has aptly described a child as "A child's a plaything for an hour;/ Its pretty tricks we try / For that or for a longer space; / Then tire, and lay it by." (1-4)

If you use a single line extract of a poem, punctuate it like any other short quotation without the slashes. Quotation marks are required at the beginning and at the end of the extract. However, if your quotation is more than three lines of poetry, I would suggest that you treat it like you would have treated a long quotation from prose. In this case, you should use the block quote format.

Does Your Reader Understand the Quotation?

Perhaps the most important question you must ask yourself when using a quotation is: "Do readers understand the quotation and its relevance to my essay ?"

If the reader is re-reading a quotation, just to understand it, then you are in trouble. So when you choose a quotation for your essay, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this too convoluted for my reader?
  • Does this match the tastes of my audience ?
  • Is the grammar and vocabulary in this quotation understandable?
  • How to Use Block Quotations in Writing
  • Definition and Examples of Direct Quotations
  • Definition and Examples of Quotation in English Grammar
  • How to Use Shakespeare Quotes
  • Guidelines for Using Quotation Marks Correctly
  • What Is an Indentation?
  • Practice in Using Quotation Marks Correctly
  • How To Write an Essay
  • Difference Between "Quote" and "Quotation": What Is the Right Word?
  • The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
  • How and When to Paraphrase Quotations
  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
  • Development in Composition: Building an Essay
  • Compose a Narrative Essay or Personal Statement
  • What an Essay Is and How to Write One

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  • How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

Published on 15 April 2022 by Shona McCombes and Jack Caulfield. Revised on 3 September 2022.

Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:

  • The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you’re consistent) or formatted as a block quote
  • The original author is correctly cited
  • The text is identical to the original

The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism , which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker .

How to Quote

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Table of contents

How to cite a quote in harvard and apa style, introducing quotes, quotes within quotes, shortening or altering a quote, block quotes, when should i use quotes, frequently asked questions about quoting sources.

Every time you quote, you must cite the source correctly . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style you’re using.

Citing a quote in Harvard style

When you include a quote in Harvard style, you must add a Harvard in-text citation giving the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. Any full stop or comma appears after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

Citations can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in brackets after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) . Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to Harvard style

Citing a quote in APA Style

To cite a direct quote in APA , you must include the author’s last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use ‘p.’; if it spans a page range, use ‘pp.’

An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in parentheses after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

Punctuation marks such as full stops and commas are placed after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) .
  • Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to APA

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Make sure you integrate quotes properly into your text by introducing them in your own words, showing the reader why you’re including the quote and providing any context necessary to understand it.  Don’t  present quotations as stand-alone sentences.

There are three main strategies you can use to introduce quotes in a grammatically correct way:

  • Add an introductory sentence
  • Use an introductory signal phrase
  • Integrate the quote into your own sentence

The following examples use APA Style citations, but these strategies can be used in all styles.

Introductory sentence

Introduce the quote with a full sentence ending in a colon . Don’t use a colon if the text before the quote isn’t a full sentence.

If you name the author in your sentence, you may use present-tense verbs, such as “states’, ‘argues’, ‘explains’, ‘writes’, or ‘reports’, to describe the content of the quote.

  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Introductory signal phrase

You can also use a signal phrase that mentions the author or source but doesn’t form a full sentence. In this case, you follow the phrase with a comma instead of a colon.

  • According to a recent poll, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • As Levring (2018) explains, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Integrated into your own sentence

To quote a phrase that doesn’t form a full sentence, you can also integrate it as part of your sentence, without any extra punctuation.

  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (p. 3).

When you quote text that itself contains another quote, this is called a nested quotation or a quote within a quote. It may occur, for example, when quoting dialogue from a novel.

To distinguish this quote from the surrounding quote, you enclose it in double (instead of single) quotation marks (even if this involves changing the punctuation from the original text). Make sure to close both sets of quotation marks at the appropriate moments.

Note that if you only quote the nested quotation itself, and not the surrounding text, you can just use single quotation marks.

  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘ ‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ‘ he told me, ‘ just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had ‘ ‘ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘”Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had “  (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”’ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway begins by quoting his father’s invocation to ‘remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’ (Fitzgerald 1).

Note:  When the quoted text in the source comes from another source, it’s best to just find that original source in order to quote it directly. If you can’t find the original source, you can instead cite it indirectly .

Often, incorporating a quote smoothly into your text requires you to make some changes to the original text. It’s fine to do this, as long as you clearly mark the changes you’ve made to the quote.

Shortening a quote

If some parts of a passage are redundant or irrelevant, you can shorten the quote by removing words, phrases, or sentences and replacing them with an ellipsis (…). Put a space before and after the ellipsis.

Be careful that removing the words doesn’t change the meaning. The ellipsis indicates that some text has been removed, but the shortened quote should still accurately represent the author’s point.

Altering a quote

You can add or replace words in a quote when necessary. This might be because the original text doesn’t fit grammatically with your sentence (e.g., it’s in a different tense), or because extra information is needed to clarify the quote’s meaning.

Use brackets to distinguish words that you have added from words that were present in the original text.

The Latin term ‘ sic ‘ is used to indicate a (factual or grammatical) mistake in a quotation. It shows the reader that the mistake is from the quoted material, not a typo of your own.

In some cases, it can be useful to italicise part of a quotation to add emphasis, showing the reader that this is the key part to pay attention to. Use the phrase ’emphasis added’ to show that the italics were not part of the original text.

You usually don’t need to use brackets to indicate minor changes to punctuation or capitalisation made to ensure the quote fits the style of your text.

If you quote more than a few lines from a source, you must format it as a block quote . Instead of using quotation marks, you set the quote on a new line and indent it so that it forms a separate block of text.

Block quotes are cited just like regular quotes, except that if the quote ends with a full stop, the citation appears after the full stop.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more. (16)

Avoid relying too heavily on quotes in academic writing . To integrate a source , it’s often best to paraphrase , which means putting the passage into your own words. This helps you integrate information smoothly and keeps your own voice dominant.

However, there are some situations in which quotes are more appropriate.

When focusing on language

If you want to comment on how the author uses language (for example, in literary analysis ), it’s necessary to quote so that the reader can see the exact passage you are referring to.

When giving evidence

To convince the reader of your argument, interpretation or position on a topic, it’s often helpful to include quotes that support your point. Quotes from primary sources (for example, interview transcripts or historical documents) are especially credible as evidence.

When presenting an author’s position or definition

When you’re referring to secondary sources such as scholarly books and journal articles, try to put others’ ideas in your own words when possible.

But if a passage does a great job at expressing, explaining, or defining something, and it would be very difficult to paraphrase without changing the meaning or losing the weakening the idea’s impact, it’s worth quoting directly.

A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .

For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: ‘This is a quote’ (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).

Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.

In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.

In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .

As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.

If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarises other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA  recommends retaining the citations as part of the quote:

  • Smith states that ‘the literature on this topic (Jones, 2015; Sill, 2019; Paulson, 2020) shows no clear consensus’ (Smith, 2019, p. 4).

Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted.

If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase ‘as cited in’ in your citation.

A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate ‘block’ of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.

APA uses block quotes for quotes that are 40 words or longer.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. & Caulfield, J. (2022, September 03). How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA. Scribbr. Retrieved 2 April 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/quoting/

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Quote in an Essay: Do It Properly Following the Standards

  • Essay Writing Guides

writing quotes in an essay

When proving your viewpoint, disputing, or just presenting information, it is advisable to back your words with solid arguments or citations. When you have a live discussion or speech, you may turn to other people’s words without considering proper punctuation or formatting style. However, when quoting in an essay, you need to be aware of the principal academic writing rules. This post is devoted to the pivotal peculiarities of quoting.

Quote in an Essay: What Is It?

Before we start discovering how to quote in an essay, we need to find out what a quotation is. A quote in an essay refers to a short excerpt or passage taken directly from a text, speech, or another source that is included within the body of the essay to support or illustrate a point being made by the author.

Quotes in an essay are commonly used to lend credibility, provide evidence, or add depth to an argument or analysis presented in a paper. By incorporating someone else’s words, properly cited and attributed, an author can reinforce their ideas and strengthen the overall impact of their writing. It is important to use quotes sparingly, ensuring they are relevant and effectively incorporated into the essay’s narrative to maintain a coherent flow of ideas.

How to Put a Quote into an Essay

When dealing with essay writing and finding a suitable phrase or words to refer to, it is obligatory to know how to put a quote into an essay. Improper or incorrect citations may play a nasty trick on you and spoil your GPA. Perhaps, in general, you know how to quote, but it must be mentioned that punctuation always depends on the required formatting style.

However, there are some commonly accepted standards.

Choose a relevant quote

Use quotes in an essay that support or enhance your argument, emphasize a point, or provide evidence from a credible source. Ensure that the quote aligns with the topic and purpose of your essay.

Introducing the quote

Begin by introducing the quote with context, attribution, and the source. It can be done by briefly explaining who said or wrote the quote and why it is significant in relation to your essay’s topic.

Punctuate correctly

Use quotation marks to enclose the quote in an essay and indicate that it is someone else’s words. Place any punctuation marks (like commas or periods) that belong to the quote inside the quotation marks, while those that pertain to the overall sentence are placed outside.

Provide citation

After the quote, you need to include an in-text citation to indicate the source. It typically includes the author’s name (or the name of the organization if it’s a corporate source) and the page number (if applicable). Additionally, make sure to follow the appropriate citation format required by your academic institution or professor (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago style).

Analyze and explain

After using a quote in an essay and providing the necessary citation, it’s crucial to analyze and explain its relevance to your argument. It helps connect the quote to your overall essay and demonstrates your understanding of its implications.

Remember, quotes can add credibility, depth, and support to your essay, but they should be used sparingly and always be integrated smoothly into your writing. Avoid excessively long quotes that may overshadow your original ideas, and make sure to balance them with your analysis and interpretation.

Why You Need to Identify the Quotation Source

It is crucial to identify your sources in quotes in an essay because they strengthen the credibility and reliability of your statements. By providing clear attribution to the original authors or creators of the information you are quoting, you give proper acknowledgement and respect to their intellectual property. What is more:

  • Identifying sources also allows readers or listeners to verify the accuracy and validity of the information presented.
  • It demonstrates your commitment to ethical writing, honest research, and responsible information sharing.
  • Properly identifying sources in quotations also helps in avoiding plagiarism.

An essay with quotes is often highly valued and graded since it is a sign of profound and well-thought investigation that requires an indication of the primary source.

Short Quotations in an Essay

If you need to quote in a paragraph and choose a short quotation, you should seamlessly integrate it into your writing following the next steps:

  • Provide some context to your readers regarding the topic or the source of the quotation. It helps set the stage and insert a quote in an essay. For instance, you could mention the name of the author, the work they have written, or the primary subject being discussed.
  • Next, use a signal phrase or an introductory phrase to introduce a quote in an essay. It can involve using phrases like “According to,” “As mentioned by,” or “In the words of.” Make sure to attribute the quote to its rightful owner, providing their name or relevant credentials.
  • After the introductory phrase, insert the short quotation itself. Enclose it within quotation marks (“”) to clearly indicate that you use someone else’s words.

Ensure that quotations in an essay are accurate and word-for-word from a credible source. If you need to omit or modify any part of the quotation for better clarity or conciseness, use ellipses (…) or brackets ([ ]) respectively to convey those changes.

Quote In an Essay: MLA, APA, Chicago

When citing a quote in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, there are specific guidelines to follow. Here’s how you can quote in an essay in each of these formats:

When you quote in an essay MLA, you need to include the author’s last name and page number in parentheses. For example:

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name Page Number).

In APA style, you should indicate the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number. For example:

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name, Year, p. Page Number).

  • Chicago Style

In Chicago style, there are two quotation essay methods: notes and bibliography or author-date.

  • Notes and Bibliography: In this method, you should use footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography. The first citation includes the author’s full name, the title of the source, and the publication information. For subsequent citations, use the author’s last name and a shortened title.

Footnote example:

1st citation: Author’s Full Name, Title of Source (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number.

Subsequent citation: Author’s Last Name, Shortened Title of Source, Page Number.

  • Author-Date: In this method, you should indicate the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses within the text.

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name Year, Page Number).

Remember, when citing quotes, it is crucial to properly attribute a reliable source to avoid plagiarism and provide a clear reference for readers to locate the cited material in your essay with quotes.

Quoting Articles: Introduction in Different Formatting Styles

Quoting an article in an essay in different formatting styles can add variety and visual appeal to your writing. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • In accordance with MLA formatting guidelines, you can introduce a quote by providing the author’s name and cited page number in parentheses after the quote. For example:

According to John Doe, “citation text” (25).

  • In APA formatting, you can introduce a quote by mentioning the author’s name, publication year, and page number in parentheses. Here’s an example:

Smith (2019) stated, “citation text” (p. 42).

  • In Chicago style, you have the option to use footnotes or endnotes to introduce a quote. For footnotes, you can indicate the author’s name, article title, publication date, and page number. Here’s how it can be done:

As stated by Jane Smith in her article “Wild Life,” published on April 1, 2020, “citation text”

  • In Harvard referencing, you can introduce a quote by including the author’s name, publication year, and page number, all within parentheses. Such an introduction would look like this:

According to Williams (2018, p. 10), “citation text”

Remember, it’s important to follow the specific formatting guidelines required by your academic institution or publication. These examples serve as a starting point, but always consult the appropriate style guide for accurate referencing.

Example Quotes in an Essay

The best way to cite correctly is to follow the example quotes in an essay. Here are some samples of the main formatting styles.

MLA formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith 23).
  • As Smith states, “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (23)

APA formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith, 2023, p. 23).
  • According to Smith (2023), “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (p. 23)

Chicago formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith, 2023, 23).

Now, everything is clear on how to quote in an essay and why it is important to cite properly for the sake of credibility and academic integrity.

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How to Introduce Quotes in Academic Writing

3-minute read

  • 17th October 2019

It would be hard to write a good essay  without quoting sources. And as well as using quote marks , this means working quotations into your own writing. But how can you do this? In this post, we provide a few helpful tips on how to introduce quotes (short and long) in academic writing.

Introducing Short Quotations

The easiest way to quote a source is to work a short passage (sometimes just a single word) into your own sentence. For example:

The tomb was one of archaeology’s “most intriguing discoveries” (Andronicus, 1978, p. 55) and has fascinated researchers ever since.

Here, the only requirements placing the quoted text within quotation marks and making sure the quote follows grammatically from the surrounding text.

Quoting After a Colon

If you need to quote a source after a full sentence, introduce it with a colon:

On the basis of Philip II’s estimated date of death, Andronicus (1978) draws a conclusion :  “This, in all probability, must be his tomb” (p. 76).

When using a colon to introduce a quotation, the text before the colon must be a full sentence. The text after the colon, however, can be just a few words.

Quoting After a Comma

Alternatively, you can use a comma to introduce a quote. When doing this, the quoted text should follow from the preceding sentence (usually after a word like “says” or “argues”):

Andronicus (1978) says ,  “The weapons bore witness that the tomb could not have belonged to a commoner” (p. 73).

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However, when a quote follows the word “that,” no comma is needed:

Andronicus (1978) says  that “The weapons bore witness that the tomb could not have belonged to a commoner” (p. 73).

Block Quotes

Finally, for longer quotations, use a  block quote . These are also introduced with a colon, but they don’t have to follow a full sentence. Furthermore, quoted text should be indented and the block quote should begin on a new line. For example, we could introduce a block quote as follows:

Andronicus (1978) describes the fresco in the following terms:

The barely visible painting depicts three hunters with spears and five horsemen with dogs pursuing their prey, wild boars and lions. This and three other paintings discovered in the adjacent tomb are among the few extant examples of fourth-century BC Greek frescoes. (p. 72)

This emphasizes how important the discovery was for understanding…

Usually, you’ll only need block quotes for passages with more than 40 words (or four lines). The exact rules depend on the reference system you’re using, though, so be sure to check your style guide. And, when in doubt, you can always submit a document for proofreading . We can help make sure your quotations are fully integrated into the rest of your text.

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How to Use a Quote in an Essay

Benjamin Oaks

Table of Contents

USING QUOTES IN AN ESSAY

MLA in-text citation how-to

You can take a quote from different sources of information, such as books, magazines, websites or printed journals. Using quotes in an essay serves three goals:

  • Present additional evidence to support your point of view or oppose a claim or idea;
  • Help a reader better understand a topic under analysis;
  • Strengthen your argumentation on a topic using another writer’s eloquence.

Since quotes are mostly used in Humanities, you’ll have to follow MLA citation referencing guidelines. The Modern Language Association citation manual implies two types of quotes – short and long.

  • Short quote – Is less than 4 lines of typed text and can be embedded directly into a sentence;
  • Long quote – Is more than 4 lines of typed text and requires a separate content block in an essay without quotation marks.

Writing college essays, the recommendation is to use short quotes.

Parenthetical citation

Referring to the works of other authors in-text is done using a parenthetical citation . Such a method implies the author-page style of quoting. For example:

When it comes to writing, King suggests: “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” (5)

Given the MLA in-text citation already contains King’s last name, you shouldn’t mention it in the parenthesis. If the author’s name isn’t mentioned in-text, it has to be specified in a parenthetical citation.

When it comes to writing, there’s a quote I like the most: “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” (King 5)

According to MLA guidelines, at the end of the essay, there has to be the Works Cited page . It contains the full reference featuring author’s full name, the full title of the source, the volume, the issue number, the date of publishing, and the URL (if the source was found online). Here’s an example of the full referencing in the Works Cited:

King, Larry L. “The Collection of Best Works.” Oxford University Press, vol. 2, no. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017, http://www.prowritersdigest.com/editor-blogs/inspirational-quotes/72-of-the-best-quotes-about-writing.

How to start an essay with a quote?

Starting an essay with a quote is a matter of controversy. Experts in the pro camp suggest that a quote at the beginning of an essay helps make a powerful statement right from the start. Moreover, an interesting, captivating quote grabs the reader’s attention right from the start.

Experts from the against camp suggest that when you begin an essay with a quote, you miss on the opportunity to present your own take on the subject matter. In their opinion, when writing the introduction, you have to rely only on your words. Whereas quotes are most useful in the main body, serving as an additional argumentation. In conclusion, a quote can be placed, too.

PROS & CONS OF STARTING AN ESSAY WITH A QUOTE

How to use quotes in the middle of an essay?

Main Body is the place you’re meant to state a quote or two, depending on the length of a paper. A standard 5-paragraph essay will imply you to use 2-3 quotes in the main body. More quotes aren’t necessary for such a short assignment. Two quotes in the main body will do just fine.

In the main body paragraph, a quote is placed in the middle of the passage . First, you introduce a focal sentence of a paragraph highlighting your point of view regarding a topic. After that, you provide the evidence data and argumentation, among which is a relevant quote. And finally, you smoothly transit to the next body paragraph or the conclusion. Here’re three examples of how to present a quote in one of the main body paragraphs.

Accurate integration of a citation in a text is key. Or the whole passage will sound off.

People who want to become a writer don’t really need any piece of advice. “Those (…) who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”

College essay quotes have to be naturally embedded in a text .

People who want to become a writer don’t really need any piece of advice: “Those (…) who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”

There’s also the way to write an essay with quotes in the smoothest way possible.

People who want to become a writer don’t really need any piece of advice. They simply “know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”

See how organically a quote is inserted in a sentence? That’s the best-case scenario of using a quote in a sentence.

How to end an essay with a quote?

Sometimes, ending an essay with a quote is better than merely restating your thesis statement. Citations can be taken from both primary and secondary sources. Good quotes to end an essay might be of your course professor’s. According to essay writing websites , quotations taken from the words of subject authorities and thought leaders will do great, too.

A quote ending an essay helps meet 5 objectives:

  • Provide a solid closure to your essay;
  • Fortify your point of view;
  • Give one final argument in favor of your thesis statement;
  • Establish your authority on a topic;
  • Helps your essay stand out.

Having a quotation at the end of an essay gives a good chance to score an “A”.

15 tips for using quotations in an essay

  • Look up quotes in academic sources in the first place;
  • Rely on the printed matter rather than internet sources;
  • Avoid citing information from Wikipedia;
  • Give context to every quotation you use;
  • Always use quotation marks to avoid plagiarism-related troubles;
  • Explain why the quote you’re about to use in a text is important;
  • Seek to integrate quotes smoothly in a sentence for the best effect;
  • Each quotation has to be attributed to the original source using parenthesis;
  • Gather 10-15 quotes relevant to your topic and then sift through 5 quotes that will serve you best;
  • Use the exact wording, punctuation, capitalization and sentence structure as in the original;
  • Watch your punctuation when using quotes in a sentence;
  • Avoid misquotations, as it’s a sign of a careless attitude towards the assignment;
  • Use an ellipsis (…) to withdraw a part of a quote you don’t actually need;
  • Try to use short quotes rather than long;
  • Avoid quoting quotes, as it’s where students make mistakes most often.

5 motivational quotes for essay writing

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Inspiration is a staple in every great writer’s routine. As a student, you might find drawing inspiration a bit too difficult. Here’re a couple of inspiring essay motivation quotes to help you break through the writer’s block. Or you can buy argumentative essay if doing the task yourself isn’t an option.

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work . … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”

“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive.”

Many times life catches us off balance. Lots of written homework. Tight schedule. Sudden illness. Personal matters. Writer’s block. An instructor returned the essay for revisions. At the moments like these, it’s always a good idea to have someone to cover your back. GradeMiners can always write you a new essay, rewrite an existing draft, perform an ending an essay with a quote, or proofread your text for mistakes, typos, as well as correct the use of quotations. Let us know if you need anything, and we’ll help you out!

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How to punctuate quotations in an essay

Part of English Punctuation

Do you know which book these quotations come from?

  • "We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all we’re not savages."
  • "I will live in the past, present and the future."
  • "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is man with a gun in his hand."

Show answer Hide answer

  • Lord of the Flies.
  • A Christmas Carol.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird.

Introduction to punctuating quotations in an essay

A quotation is a phrase taken directly from a text or speech .

  • In literature essays, the points you make about a text should be supported by short quotations from the text
  • There are different ways of using a quotation within the structure of an essay sentence or paragraph
  • It’s important to  carefully punctuate close punctuate Insert punctuation marks into a text.  your quotations, so that the meaning is clear

In a quotation close quotation A group of words taken from a text or speech and repeated by someone other than the original author or speaker. it’s important to make sure you use the exact words from the original text. In most literature essays, it’s better to use shorter quotations in a precise way rather than write out very long quotations. You can use single inverted commas ‘ ’ or double quotation marks “ ” to punctuate the quotation. Just make sure you stick to the same punctuation mark and don’t swap between the two.

These punctuation marks should contain the words taken from the text:

In   A Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens the character of Scrooge is described as being "Hard and sharp as flint".

In the example above, "Hard and sharp as flint" is taken directly from the text.

Remember to close the punctuation marks at the end of the quotation. Only use a capital letter in a quotation if one appears in the original text.

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Learn how to use and punctuate quotations in essays

Punctuation inside quotations

Punctuation that appears in the original text should be used in the quotation:

The character of Scrooge is described as "self-contained, and solitary as an oyster."

In this example, the comma and full stop in the phrase "self-contained, and solitary as an oyster." appear in the original text and therefore need to be included with the quotation.

Sometimes a full stop is used outside of the quotation marks, this is because the full stop belongs to the whole sentence, not the original quotation:

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens the character of Scrooge is described as being "Hard and sharp as flint".

More on Punctuation

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

How to Use Quotation Marks

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A rundown of the general rules of when and where to use quotation marks.

Using Quotation Marks

The primary function of quotation marks is to set off and represent exact language (either spoken or written) that has come from somebody else. The quotation mark is also used to designate speech acts in fiction and sometimes poetry. Since you will most often use them when working with outside sources, successful use of quotation marks is a practical defense against accidental plagiarism and an excellent practice in academic honesty. The following rules of quotation mark use are the standard in the United States, although it may be of interest that usage rules for this punctuation do vary in other countries.

The following covers the basic use of quotation marks. For details and exceptions consult the separate sections of this guide.

Direct Quotations

Direct quotations involve incorporating another person's exact words into your own writing.

  • Quotation marks always come in pairs. Do not open a quotation and fail to close it at the end of the quoted material.

Mr. Johnson, who was working in his field that morning, said, "The alien spaceship appeared right before my own two eyes."

Although Mr. Johnson has seen odd happenings on the farm, he stated that the spaceship "certainly takes the cake" when it comes to unexplainable activity.

"I didn't see an actual alien being," Mr. Johnson said, "but I sure wish I had."

When quoting text with a spelling or grammar error, you should transcribe the error exactly in your own text. However, also insert the term sic in italics directly after the mistake, and enclose it in brackets. Sic is from the Latin, and translates to "thus," "so," or "just as that." The word tells the reader that your quote is an exact reproduction of what you found, and the error is not your own.

Mr. Johnson says of the experience, "It's made me reconsider the existence of extraterestials [ sic ]."

  • Quotations are most effective if you use them sparingly and keep them relatively short. Too many quotations in a research paper will get you accused of not producing original thought or material (they may also bore a reader who wants to know primarily what YOU have to say on the subject).

Indirect Quotations

Indirect quotations are not exact wordings but rather rephrasings or summaries of another person's words. In this case, it is not necessary to use quotation marks. However, indirect quotations still require proper citations, and you will be committing plagiarism if you fail to do so.

Many writers struggle with when to use direct quotations versus indirect quotations. Use the following tips to guide you in your choice.

Use direct quotations when the source material uses language that is particularly striking or notable. Do not rob such language of its power by altering it.

The above should never stand in for:

Use an indirect quotation (or paraphrase) when you merely need to summarize key incidents or details of the text.

Use direct quotations when the author you are quoting has coined a term unique to her or his research and relevant within your own paper.

When to use direct quotes versus indirect quotes is ultimately a choice you'll learn a feeling for with experience. However, always try to have a sense for why you've chosen your quote. In other words, never put quotes in your paper simply because your teacher says, "You must use quotes."

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  • The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples

The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples

Published on March 14, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on February 28, 2024.

An in-text citation is a short acknowledgement you include whenever you quote or take information from a source in academic writing. It points the reader to the source so they can see where you got your information.

In-text citations most commonly take the form of short parenthetical statements indicating the author and publication year of the source, as well as the page number if relevant.

We also offer a free citation generator and in-depth guides to the main citation styles.

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Table of contents

What are in-text citations for, when do you need an in-text citation, types of in-text citation, frequently asked questions about in-text citations.

The point of an in-text citation is to show your reader where your information comes from. Including citations:

  • Avoids plagiarism by acknowledging the original author’s contribution
  • Allows readers to verify your claims and do follow-up research
  • Shows you are engaging with the literature of your field

Academic writing is seen as an ongoing conversation among scholars, both within and between fields of study. Showing exactly how your own research draws on and interacts with existing sources is essential to keeping this conversation going.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

An in-text citation should be included whenever you quote or paraphrase a source in your text.

Quoting means including the original author’s words directly in your text, usually introduced by a signal phrase . Quotes should always be cited (and indicated with quotation marks), and you should include a page number indicating where in the source the quote can be found.

Paraphrasing means putting information from a source into your own words. In-text citations are just as important here as with quotes, to avoid the impression you’re taking credit for someone else’s ideas. Include page numbers where possible, to show where the information can be found.

However, to avoid over-citation, bear in mind that some information is considered common knowledge and doesn’t need to be cited. For example, you don’t need a citation to prove that Paris is the capital city of France, and including one would be distracting.

Different types of in-text citation are used in different citation styles . They always direct the reader to a reference list giving more complete information on each source.

Author-date citations (used in APA , Harvard , and Chicago author-date ) include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number when available. Author-page citations (used in MLA ) are the same except that the year is not included.

Both types are divided into parenthetical and narrative citations. In a parenthetical citation , the author’s name appears in parentheses along with the rest of the information. In a narrative citation , the author’s name appears as part of your sentence, not in parentheses.

Note: Footnote citations like those used in Chicago notes and bibliography are sometimes also referred to as in-text citations, but the citation itself appears in a note separate from the text.

An in-text citation is an acknowledgement you include in your text whenever you quote or paraphrase a source. It usually gives the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number of the relevant text. In-text citations allow the reader to look up the full source information in your reference list and see your sources for themselves.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

  • APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
  • MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
  • Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
  • Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2024, February 28). The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved April 2, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/in-text-citation-styles/

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  • A Research Guide
  • Writing Guide
  • Grammar and Punctuation

How to Place a Quote in an Essay

How to write a quote, how to start an essay with a quote.

  • 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.
  • Will you reader be familiar with the person you are quoting?
  • Could the quote be viewed as offensive in anywhere?
Read also: Does Turnitin detect plagiarism or not? Read this article to be on the alert!

How to quote a quote

  • 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.

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How to cite a quote

  • Use brackets to include your own information, in order to assist the reader in understanding the context of a quotation
  • Use ellipses (…) to remove parts of a quote that might now be relevant to your paper

Quote examples

Inspirational quotes.

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Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

Tips for writing an effective college essay.

College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.

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Stuck on what to write your college essay about? Here are some exercises to help you get started.

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Learn how formal your college essay should be and get tips on how to bring out your natural voice.

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IMAGES

  1. How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps (2024)

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  2. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

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  3. Academic Guide For Students: How to Put a Quote in an Essay

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  4. 006 Starting An Essay With Quote Example Quotes ~ Thatsnotus

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  5. Citing A Quote In An Essay Mla

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  6. Using Quotes in an Essay: Ultimate Beginner's Guide

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  4. For the edit comp! @Rubyphoenix4158

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  6. How would you say 'SUCCESS' in one word..? ! #successquotes #success #trendingshorts #shorts

COMMENTS

  1. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

    1. Cite the author's last name and page number in parentheses to cite in MLA. Write out the author's last name, then list the numerical page number. You don't need to separate them with a comma, and you don't need to put "p." or "page" before the page number.

  2. How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps (2024)

    Simply put, don't use a quote that is longer than one line long. Ever. It's just too risky. Personally, I like to use a 4-word quote in my essays. Four-word quotes are long enough to constitute an actual quote but short enough that I have to think about how I will fit that quote around my own writing.

  3. Quotations

    Learn how to quote like a pro in your academic paper. Find out when and how to use quotations, how to set them up and follow them, and how to cite them correctly. See examples of different types of quotations and how to use them for different purposes.

  4. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Examples)

    Step 6: Explain the Quote. Explain the significance of the quote in your own words. This will help the reader understand how the quote supports your argument. Example: Jane Doe's quote highlights the urgency of addressing climate change as it poses a significant threat to human survival.

  5. How to Quote

    Citing a quote in APA Style. To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use "p."; if it spans a page range, use "pp.". An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  6. Using Quotations in Essays

    A good quotation should do one or more of the following: Make an opening impact on the reader. Build credibility for your essay. Add humor. Make the essay more interesting. Close the essay with a point to ponder upon. If the quotation does not meet a few of these objectives, then it is of little value.

  7. Using Quotes in Academic Writing

    A Quotation or Quote is a word-for-word extract of someone else's words. There are two types of quotes: direct and indirect. · Direct quote - is when the words of an author are used by someone else. · Indirect quote - is when the ideas of an author are restated, this is also known as paraphrasing.

  8. MLA Formatting Quotations

    For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2 inch from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing ...

  9. How to Quote

    Citing a quote in APA Style. To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use 'p.'; if it spans a page range, use 'pp.'. An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  10. INTEGRATING A QUOTATION INTO AN ESSAY Center for Writing and Speaking

    time you use a quotation from a source in an essay, introduce the author and the work that the quotation is attributed to before you use the actual quotation in the essay. Later in the essay, you simply need to address the author's last name before using the quotation. Try not to get stuck saying "he says/she says" throughout the whole essay.

  11. Direct quotes in APA Style

    Revised on June 16, 2022. A direct quote is a piece of text copied word-for-word from a source. You may quote a word, phrase, sentence, or entire passage. There are three main rules for quoting in APA Style: If the quote is under 40 words, place it in double quotation marks. If the quote is 40 words or more, format it as a block quote.

  12. Quotations

    when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or. when you want to respond to exact wording (e.g., something someone said). Instructors, programs, editors, and publishers may establish limits on the use of direct quotations. Consult your instructor or editor if you are concerned that you may have too much quoted material in your paper.

  13. Quote in an Essay ― How to Insert and Format It Correctly

    How to Put a Quote into an Essay. When dealing with essay writing and finding a suitable phrase or words to refer to, it is obligatory to know how to put a quote into an essay. Improper or incorrect citations may play a nasty trick on you and spoil your GPA. Perhaps, in general, you know how to quote, but it must be mentioned that punctuation ...

  14. How to Introduce Quotes in Academic Writing

    Quoting After a Comma. Alternatively, you can use a comma to introduce a quote. When doing this, the quoted text should follow from the preceding sentence (usually after a word like "says" or "argues"): Andronicus (1978) says, "The weapons bore witness that the tomb could not have belonged to a commoner" (p. 73).

  15. How to Put a Quote in Your Essay Like a Pro

    Tip #3: Seamlessly integrate quotes. Another strategy you might consider when adding quotes in your paper is to seamlessly integrate them in the middle of a sentence, much like you would a paraphrase. In this case, the quote isn't introduced by a signal phrase but is part of the sentence. Here's an example from a paper about mandatory ...

  16. Using Quotes in an Essay: Ultimate Beginner's Guide

    Quotations are an instrument to prove your point of view is correct. An essay aiming for 85+ score points contains 2-4 quotes. Each citation supports the thesis statement and strengthens your argument. Quotations are mostly used in Humanities. Social Sciences rely more on paraphrasing, data analysis and statistics.

  17. How to punctuate quotations in an essay

    quotation. it's important to make sure you use the exact words from the original text. In most literature essays, it's better to use shorter quotations in a precise way rather than write out ...

  18. Using Quotation Marks

    Direct Quotations. Direct quotations involve incorporating another person's exact words into your own writing. Quotation marks always come in pairs. Do not open a quotation and fail to close it at the end of the quoted material. Capitalize the first letter of a direct quote when the quoted material is a complete sentence.

  19. Quote Within a Quote

    You might also find in an essay or book that the systems of speech marks are the opposite. These are usually British writing pieces. The single quote marks are for outer quotes, while double quote marks are for inner quotes. ... Single quotes should enclose the main quote. Put the periods and commas outside quotation marks. But if you write for ...

  20. The Basics of In-Text Citation

    At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays, research papers, and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises). Add a citation whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

  21. How to Place a Quote in an Essay How to Write a Quote

    How to start an essay with a quote. 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. Selecting the most appropriate quote, and understanding how to best incorporate it into an ...

  22. Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

    Sample College Essay 2 with Feedback. This content is licensed by Khan Academy and is available for free at www.khanacademy.org. College essays are an important part of your college application and give you the chance to show colleges and universities your personality. This guide will give you tips on how to write an effective college essay.