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 “he/she 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:
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.
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.
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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 .
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
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.
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.
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Quotation basics: grammar, punctuation, and style, some general quotation guidelines.
In an effort to make our handouts more accessible, we have begun converting our PDF handouts to web pages. Download this page as a PDF: Quotation Grammar, Punctuation, and Style Return to Writing Studio Handouts
When writing a formal essay, you will often need to use quotes from a text or texts as evidence to prove your point or to make an argument. Below are grammar and punctuation guidelines to help you integrate those quotes into your essay successfully.
We recommend consulting a style manual or your instructor for specific queries.
Periods and Commas
- You do not need to use any punctuation before a quotation if it forms part of your own sentence.
Example: Dennis cries that he is “being repressed!”
- Use a comma when introducing a quote with a phrase such as ‘he said.’
Example: The old man protests, “I don’t want to go on the cart.”
- Place parenthetical citations outside the end quotation mark, but before the punctuation.
Example: King Arthur declares, “Let’s not go to Camelot. It is a silly place” (13).
Colons and Ellipses
- Use a colon when introducing a quotation with a full independent clause (one that can stand on its own).
Example: Emily feels frustrated by his response: “Is there someone else that we can talk to?”
- Use an ellipsis (three periods, sometimes with spaces between: ‘…’ ) to indicate an omission in a quotation (Exception: it is not necessary to use an ellipsis when omitting words at the beginning of a quote unless you are using a block quote format).
Example: “The kind of intelligence a genius has … leaps with ellipses.”
- When you want to omit one or more full sentences, use a period and a space before the three ellipsis dots.
Example: “Hatred paralyzes life. … Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
Slashes and Brackets
- When you are quoting poetry, use a slash ( / ) to mark a line break.
Example: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments” (1-2).
- Use square brackets to add a word, change a pronoun, or change a verb tense in the quote.
Original quote: “It’s my duty as a knight to sample all the peril I can.”
In your essay: Sir Galahad thinks “it’s [his] duty as a knight to sample all the peril [he] can.”
Question Marks and Exclamation Points
- With a question mark or exclamation point, there is no need to use a comma or a period.
Example: The interested observer wonders, “Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?”
- If the mark is part of your sentence and not part of the quote, it goes outside the last quotation mark.
Example: I don’t think we can ever understand the “ineluctable modality of the visual”!
- MLA style calls for use of a block quote (indent 10 spaces, or 2 tabs) when citing five or more lines of typed prose or four or more lines of verse. APA style calls for block quotes when citing forty words or more.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate. / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. (1-4)
Quote Within a Quote
- When using a quote within a quote, single quotation marks are used for the inner quote.
Example: Josh laments, “Every time I try to talk to someone it’s ‘sorry this’ and ‘forgive me that.’”
Last revised: 08/2008 | Adapted for web delivery: 05/2021
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Quoting and Paraphrasing
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College writing often involves integrating information from published sources into your own writing in order to add credibility and authority–this process is essential to research and the production of new knowledge.
However, when building on the work of others, you need to be careful not to plagiarize : “to steal and pass off (the ideas and words of another) as one’s own” or to “present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”1 The University of Wisconsin–Madison takes this act of “intellectual burglary” very seriously and considers it to be a breach of academic integrity . Penalties are severe.
These materials will help you avoid plagiarism by teaching you how to properly integrate information from published sources into your own writing.
1. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993), 888.
How to avoid plagiarism
When using sources in your papers, you can avoid plagiarism by knowing what must be documented.
Specific words and phrases
If you use an author’s specific word or words, you must place those words within quotation marks and you must credit the source.
Information and Ideas
Even if you use your own words, if you obtained the information or ideas you are presenting from a source, you must document the source.
Information : If a piece of information isn’t common knowledge (see below), you need to provide a source.
Ideas : An author’s ideas may include not only points made and conclusions drawn, but, for instance, a specific method or theory, the arrangement of material, or a list of steps in a process or characteristics of a medical condition. If a source provided any of these, you need to acknowledge the source.
You do not need to cite a source for material considered common knowledge:
General common knowledge is factual information considered to be in the public domain, such as birth and death dates of well-known figures, and generally accepted dates of military, political, literary, and other historical events. In general, factual information contained in multiple standard reference works can usually be considered to be in the public domain.
Field-specific common knowledge is “common” only within a particular field or specialty. It may include facts, theories, or methods that are familiar to readers within that discipline. For instance, you may not need to cite a reference to Piaget’s developmental stages in a paper for an education class or give a source for your description of a commonly used method in a biology report—but you must be sure that this information is so widely known within that field that it will be shared by your readers.
If in doubt, be cautious and cite the source. And in the case of both general and field-specific common knowledge, if you use the exact words of the reference source, you must use quotation marks and credit the source.
Paraphrasing vs. Quoting — Explanation
Should i paraphrase or quote.
In general, use direct quotations only if you have a good reason. Most of your paper should be in your own words. Also, it’s often conventional to quote more extensively from sources when you’re writing a humanities paper, and to summarize from sources when you’re writing in the social or natural sciences–but there are always exceptions.
In a literary analysis paper , for example, you”ll want to quote from the literary text rather than summarize, because part of your task in this kind of paper is to analyze the specific words and phrases an author uses.
In research papers , you should quote from a source
- to show that an authority supports your point
- to present a position or argument to critique or comment on
- to include especially moving or historically significant language
- to present a particularly well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarized
You should summarize or paraphrase when
- what you want from the source is the idea expressed, and not the specific language used to express it
- you can express in fewer words what the key point of a source is
How to paraphrase a source
- When reading a passage, try first to understand it as a whole, rather than pausing to write down specific ideas or phrases.
- Be selective. Unless your assignment is to do a formal or “literal” paraphrase, you usually don?t need to paraphrase an entire passage; instead, choose and summarize the material that helps you make a point in your paper.
- Think of what “your own words” would be if you were telling someone who’s unfamiliar with your subject (your mother, your brother, a friend) what the original source said.
- Remember that you can use direct quotations of phrases from the original within your paraphrase, and that you don’t need to change or put quotation marks around shared language.
Methods of Paraphrasing
- Look away from the source then write. Read the text you want to paraphrase several times until you feel that you understand it and can use your own words to restate it to someone else. Then, look away from the original and rewrite the text in your own words.
- Take notes. Take abbreviated notes; set the notes aside; then paraphrase from the notes a day or so later, or when you draft.
If you find that you can’t do A or B, this may mean that you don’t understand the passage completely or that you need to use a more structured process until you have more experience in paraphrasing.
The method below is not only a way to create a paraphrase but also a way to understand a difficult text.
Paraphrasing difficult texts
Consider the following passage from Love and Toil (a book on motherhood in London from 1870 to 1918), in which the author, Ellen Ross, puts forth one of her major arguments:
- Love and Toil maintains that family survival was the mother’s main charge among the large majority of London?s population who were poor or working class; the emotional and intellectual nurture of her child or children and even their actual comfort were forced into the background. To mother was to work for and organize household subsistence. (p. 9)
Children of the poor at the turn of the century received little if any emotional or intellectual nurturing from their mothers, whose main charge was family survival. Working for and organizing household subsistence were what defined mothering. Next to this, even the children’s basic comfort was forced into the background (Ross, 1995).
According to Ross (1993), poor children at the turn of the century received little mothering in our sense of the term. Mothering was defined by economic status, and among the poor, a mother’s foremost responsibility was not to stimulate her children’s minds or foster their emotional growth but to provide food and shelter to meet the basic requirements for physical survival. Given the magnitude of this task, children were deprived of even the “actual comfort” (p. 9) we expect mothers to provide today.
You may need to go through this process several times to create a satisfactory paraphrase.
Successful vs. unsuccessful paraphrases
Paraphrasing is often defined as putting a passage from an author into “your own words.” But what are your own words? How different must your paraphrase be from the original?
The paragraphs below provide an example by showing a passage as it appears in the source, two paraphrases that follow the source too closely, and a legitimate paraphrase.
The student’s intention was to incorporate the material in the original passage into a section of a paper on the concept of “experts” that compared the functions of experts and nonexperts in several professions.
The Passage as It Appears in the Source
Critical care nurses function in a hierarchy of roles. In this open heart surgery unit, the nurse manager hires and fires the nursing personnel. The nurse manager does not directly care for patients but follows the progress of unusual or long-term patients. On each shift a nurse assumes the role of resource nurse. This person oversees the hour-by-hour functioning of the unit as a whole, such as considering expected admissions and discharges of patients, ascertaining that beds are available for patients in the operating room, and covering sick calls. Resource nurses also take a patient assignment. They are the most experienced of all the staff nurses. The nurse clinician has a separate job description and provides for quality of care by orienting new staff, developing unit policies, and providing direct support where needed, such as assisting in emergency situations. The clinical nurse specialist in this unit is mostly involved with formal teaching in orienting new staff. The nurse manager, nurse clinician, and clinical nurse specialist are the designated experts. They do not take patient assignments. The resource nurse is seen as both a caregiver and a resource to other caregivers. . . . Staff nurses have a hierarchy of seniority. . . . Staff nurses are assigned to patients to provide all their nursing care. (Chase, 1995, p. 156)
Critical care nurses have a hierarchy of roles. The nurse manager hires and fires nurses. S/he does not directly care for patients but does follow unusual or long-term cases. On each shift a resource nurse attends to the functioning of the unit as a whole, such as making sure beds are available in the operating room , and also has a patient assignment . The nurse clinician orients new staff, develops policies, and provides support where needed . The clinical nurse specialist also orients new staff, mostly by formal teaching. The nurse manager, nurse clinician, and clinical nurse specialist , as the designated experts, do not take patient assignments . The resource nurse is not only a caregiver but a resource to the other caregivers . Within the staff nurses there is also a hierarchy of seniority . Their job is to give assigned patients all their nursing care .
Why this is plagiarism
Notice that the writer has not only “borrowed” Chase’s material (the results of her research) with no acknowledgment, but has also largely maintained the author’s method of expression and sentence structure. The phrases in red are directly copied from the source or changed only slightly in form.
Even if the student-writer had acknowledged Chase as the source of the content, the language of the passage would be considered plagiarized because no quotation marks indicate the phrases that come directly from Chase. And if quotation marks did appear around all these phrases, this paragraph would be so cluttered that it would be unreadable.
A Patchwork Paraphrase
Chase (1995) describes how nurses in a critical care unit function in a hierarchy that places designated experts at the top and the least senior staff nurses at the bottom. The experts — the nurse manager, nurse clinician, and clinical nurse specialist — are not involved directly in patient care. The staff nurses, in contrast, are assigned to patients and provide all their nursing care . Within the staff nurses is a hierarchy of seniority in which the most senior can become resource nurses: they are assigned a patient but also serve as a resource to other caregivers. The experts have administrative and teaching tasks such as selecting and orienting new staff, developing unit policies , and giving hands-on support where needed.
This paraphrase is a patchwork composed of pieces in the original author’s language (in red) and pieces in the student-writer’s words, all rearranged into a new pattern, but with none of the borrowed pieces in quotation marks. Thus, even though the writer acknowledges the source of the material, the underlined phrases are falsely presented as the student’s own.
A Legitimate Paraphrase
In her study of the roles of nurses in a critical care unit, Chase (1995) also found a hierarchy that distinguished the roles of experts and others. Just as the educational experts described above do not directly teach students, the experts in this unit do not directly attend to patients. That is the role of the staff nurses, who, like teachers, have their own “hierarchy of seniority” (p. 156). The roles of the experts include employing unit nurses and overseeing the care of special patients (nurse manager), teaching and otherwise integrating new personnel into the unit (clinical nurse specialist and nurse clinician), and policy-making (nurse clinician). In an intermediate position in the hierarchy is the resource nurse, a staff nurse with more experience than the others, who assumes direct care of patients as the other staff nurses do, but also takes on tasks to ensure the smooth operation of the entire facility.
Why this is a good paraphrase
The writer has documented Chase’s material and specific language (by direct reference to the author and by quotation marks around language taken directly from the source). Notice too that the writer has modified Chase’s language and structure and has added material to fit the new context and purpose — to present the distinctive functions of experts and nonexperts in several professions.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that a number of phrases from the original passage appear in the legitimate paraphrase: critical care, staff nurses, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, nurse clinician, resource nurse.
If all these phrases were in red, the paraphrase would look much like the “patchwork” example. The difference is that the phrases in the legitimate paraphrase are all precise, economical, and conventional designations that are part of the shared language within the nursing discipline (in the too-close paraphrases, they’re red only when used within a longer borrowed phrase).
In every discipline and in certain genres (such as the empirical research report), some phrases are so specialized or conventional that you can’t paraphrase them except by wordy and awkward circumlocutions that would be less familiar (and thus less readable) to the audience.
When you repeat such phrases, you’re not stealing the unique phrasing of an individual writer but using a common vocabulary shared by a community of scholars.
Some Examples of Shared Language You Don’t Need to Put in Quotation Marks
- Conventional designations: e.g., physician’s assistant, chronic low-back pain
- Preferred bias-free language: e.g., persons with disabilities
- Technical terms and phrases of a discipline or genre : e.g., reduplication, cognitive domain, material culture, sexual harassment
Chase, S. K. (1995). The social context of critical care clinical judgment. Heart and Lung, 24, 154-162.
How to Quote a Source
Introducing a quotation.
One of your jobs as a writer is to guide your reader through your text. Don’t simply drop quotations into your paper and leave it to the reader to make connections.
Integrating a quotation into your text usually involves two elements:
- A signal that a quotation is coming–generally the author’s name and/or a reference to the work
- An assertion that indicates the relationship of the quotation to your text
Often both the signal and the assertion appear in a single introductory statement, as in the example below. Notice how a transitional phrase also serves to connect the quotation smoothly to the introductory statement.
Ross (1993), in her study of poor and working-class mothers in London from 1870-1918 [signal], makes it clear that economic status to a large extent determined the meaning of motherhood [assertion]. Among this population [connection], “To mother was to work for and organize household subsistence” (p. 9).
The signal can also come after the assertion, again with a connecting word or phrase:
Illness was rarely a routine matter in the nineteenth century [assertion]. As [connection] Ross observes [signal], “Maternal thinking about children’s health revolved around the possibility of a child’s maiming or death” (p. 166).
Short direct prose.
Incorporate short direct prose quotations into the text of your paper and enclose them in double quotation marks:
According to Jonathan Clarke, “Professional diplomats often say that trying to think diplomatically about foreign policy is a waste of time.”
Longer prose quotations
Begin longer quotations (for instance, in the APA system, 40 words or more) on a new line and indent the entire quotation (i.e., put in block form), with no quotation marks at beginning or end, as in the quoted passage from our Successful vs. Unsucessful Paraphrases page.
Rules about the minimum length of block quotations, how many spaces to indent, and whether to single- or double-space extended quotations vary with different documentation systems; check the guidelines for the system you’re using.
Quotation of Up to 3 Lines of Poetry
Quotations of up to 3 lines of poetry should be integrated into your sentence. For example:
In Julius Caesar, Antony begins his famous speech with “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears; / I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” (III.ii.75-76).
Notice that a slash (/) with a space on either side is used to separate lines.
Quotation of More than 3 Lines of Poetry
More than 3 lines of poetry should be indented. As with any extended (indented) quotation, do not use quotation marks unless you need to indicate a quotation within your quotation.
Punctuating with Quotation Marks
With short quotations, place citations outside of closing quotation marks, followed by sentence punctuation (period, question mark, comma, semi-colon, colon):
Menand (2002) characterizes language as “a social weapon” (p. 115).
With block quotations, check the guidelines for the documentation system you are using.
Commas and periods
Place inside closing quotation marks when no parenthetical citation follows:
Hertzberg (2002) notes that “treating the Constitution as imperfect is not new,” but because of Dahl’s credentials, his “apostasy merits attention” (p. 85).
Semicolons and colons
Place outside of closing quotation marks (or after a parenthetical citation).
Question marks and exclamation points
Place inside closing quotation marks if the quotation is a question/exclamation:
Menand (2001) acknowledges that H. W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage is “a classic of the language,” but he asks, “Is it a dead classic?” (p. 114).
[Note that a period still follows the closing parenthesis.]
Place outside of closing quotation marks if the entire sentence containing the quotation is a question or exclamation:
How many students actually read the guide to find out what is meant by “academic misconduct”?
Quotation within a quotation
Use single quotation marks for the embedded quotation:
According to Hertzberg (2002), Dahl gives the U. S. Constitution “bad marks in ‘democratic fairness’ and ‘encouraging consensus'” (p. 90).
[The phrases “democratic fairness” and “encouraging consensus” are already in quotation marks in Dahl’s sentence.]
Indicating Changes in Quotations
Quoting only a portion of the whole.
Use ellipsis points (. . .) to indicate an omission within a quotation–but not at the beginning or end unless it’s not obvious that you’re quoting only a portion of the whole.
Adding Clarification, Comment, or Correction
Within quotations, use square brackets [ ] (not parentheses) to add your own clarification, comment, or correction.
Use [sic] (meaning “so” or “thus”) to indicate that a mistake is in the source you’re quoting and is not your own.
Information on summarizing and paraphrasing sources.
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). (2000). Retrieved January 7, 2002, from http://www.bartleby.com/61/ Bazerman, C. (1995). The informed writer: Using sources in the disciplines (5th ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Leki, I. (1995). Academic writing: Exploring processes and strategies (2nd ed.) New York: St. Martin?s Press, pp. 185-211.
Leki describes the basic method presented in C, pp. 4-5.
Spatt, B. (1999). Writing from sources (5th ed.) New York: St. Martin?s Press, pp. 98-119; 364-371.
Information about specific documentation systems
The Writing Center has handouts explaining how to use many of the standard documentation systems. You may look at our general Web page on Documentation Systems, or you may check out any of the following specific Web pages.
If you’re not sure which documentation system to use, ask the course instructor who assigned your paper.
- American Psychological Assoicaion (APA)
- Modern Language Association (MLA)
- Chicago/Turabian (A Footnote or Endnote System)
- American Political Science Association (APSA)
- Council of Science Editors (CBE)
- Numbered References
You may also consult the following guides:
- American Medical Association, Manual for Authors and Editors
- Council of Science Editors, CBE style Manual
- The Chicago Manual of Style
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
Academic and Professional Writing
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Direct quotes in APA Style
Published on November 12, 2020 by Shona McCombes . 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 .
- Cite the author, year, and page number with an APA in-text citation .
Table of contents
Citing a direct quote, quoting a source with no page numbers, quoting 40 words or more (apa block quotes), making changes to direct quotes in apa, frequently asked questions about apa style.
To cite a quote in APA, you always include the the author’s last name, the year the source was published, and the page on which the quote can be found. The page number is preceded by “p.” (for a single page) or “pp.” (for a page range).
There are two types of APA in-text citation : parenthetical and narrative.
In a parenthetical citation, you place the entire citation in parentheses directly after the quote and before the period (or other punctuation mark).
In a narrative citation, the author(s) appear as part of your sentence. Place the year in parentheses directly after the author’s name, and place the page number in parentheses directly after the quote.
Remember that every in-text citation must correspond to a full APA reference at the end of the text. You can easily create your reference list with our free APA Citation Generator.
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Some source types, such as web pages , do not have page numbers. In this case, to cite a direct quote, you should generally include an alternative locator, unless the source is very short.
The locator may be a chapter or section heading (abbreviated if necessary), a paragraph number, or a combination of the two. Use whichever locator will help your reader find the quote most easily.
For sources such as movies , YouTube videos , or audiobooks, use a timestamp to locate the beginning of the quote.
- Section heading
- Paragraph number
- Section and paragraph
If the quote contains 40 words or more, it must be formatted as a block quote. To format a block quote in APA Style:
- Do not use quotation marks.
- Start the quote on a new line.
- Indent the entire quote 0.5 inches.
- Double-space the entire quote.
Like regular quotes, block quotes can be cited with a parenthetical or narrative citation. However, if the block quote ends with a period, place the citation after the period.
Block quoting is particularly useful when you want to comment on an author’s language or present an argument that you will then critique. By setting the quote on a new line and indenting it, the passage is clearly marked apart from your own words. Therefore, no quotation marks are necessary. (O’Connor, 2019, p. 38)
Block quoting is particularly useful when you want to comment on an author’s language or present an argument that you will then critique. By setting the quote on a new line and indenting it, the passage is clearly marked apart from your own words. Therefore, no quotation marks are necessary. (p. 38)
Block quotes with multiple paragraphs
If the block quote contains multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph after the first.
Block quoting is particularly useful when you want to comment on an author’s language or present an argument that you will then critique. By setting the quote on a new line and indenting it, the passage is clearly marked apart from your own words. Therefore, no quotation marks are necessary.
However, it is important not to rely on long quotes to make your point for you. Each quote must be introduced and explained or discussed in your own words. (O’Connor, 2019, p. 38)
In general, a direct quote should be an exact reproduction of the original. However, there are some situations where you may need to make small changes.
You may change the capitalization of the first word or the final punctuation mark in order to integrate the quote grammatically into your sentence, as long as the meaning is not altered.
Any other changes must be marked following these APA guidelines.
Shortening a quote
If you want to omit some words, phrases, or sentences from the quote to save space, use an ellipsis (. . .) with a space before and after it to indicate that some material has been left out.
If the part you removed includes a sentence break, add a period before the ellipsis to indicate this.
- No sentence break
- Sentence break
Clarifying a quote
Sometimes you might want to add a word or phrase for context. For example, if a pronoun is used in the quote, you may add a name to clarify who or what is being referred to.
Any added text should be enclosed in square brackets to show that it is not part of the original.
Adding emphasis to quotes
If you want to emphasize a word or phrase in a quote, italicize it and include the words “emphasis added” in square brackets.
Errors in quotes
If the quote contains a spelling or grammatical error, indicate it with the Latin word “sic”, italicized and in square brackets, directly after the error.
To include a direct quote in APA , follow these rules:
- Quotes under 40 words are placed in double quotation marks .
- Quotes of 40 words or more are formatted as block quote .
- The author, year, and page number are included in an APA in-text citation .
You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .
Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .
When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:
(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.
If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).
Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…
On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).
In academic writing , there are three main situations where quoting is the best choice:
- To analyze the author’s language (e.g., in a literary analysis essay )
- To give evidence from primary sources
- To accurately present a precise definition or argument
Don’t overuse quotes; your own voice should be dominant. If you just want to provide information from a source, it’s usually better to paraphrase or summarize .
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McCombes, S. (2022, June 16). Direct quotes in APA Style. Scribbr. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/direct-quotes/
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Suggested ways to introduce quotations
When you quote another writer's words, it's best to introduce or contextualize the quote.
How to quote in an essay?
To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format.
1. Use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation.
- The setting emphasizes deception: "Nothing is as it appears" (Smith 1).
- Piercy ends the poem on an ironic note: "To every woman a happy ending" (25).
2. Begin a sentence with your own words, then complete it with quoted words.
Note that in the second example below, a slash with a space on either side ( / ) marks a line break in the original poem.
- Hamlet's task is to avenge a "foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare 925).
- The speaker is mystified by her sleeping baby, whose "moth-breath / flickers among the flat pink roses" (Plath 17).
3. Use an introductory phrase naming the source, followed by a comma to quote a critic or researcher
Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets. APA format doesn't require brackets.
- According to Smith, "[W]riting is fun" (215).
- In Smith's words, " . . .
- In Smith's view, " . . .
4. Use a descriptive verb, followed by a comma to introduce a critic's words
Avoid using says unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.
- Smith states, "This book is terrific" (102).
- Smith remarks, " . . .
- Smith writes, " . . .
- Smith notes, " . . .
- Smith comments, " . . .
- Smith observes, " . . .
- Smith concludes, " . . .
- Smith reports, " . . .
- Smith maintains, " . . .
- Smith adds, " . . .
5. Don't follow it with a comma if your lead-in to the quotation ends in that or as
The first letter of the quotation should be lower case.
- Smith points out that "millions of students would like to burn this book" (53).
- Smith emphasizes that " . . .
- Smith interprets the hand washing in MacBeth as "an attempt at absolution" (106).
- Smith describes the novel as "a celebration of human experience" (233).
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Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words
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This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. This handout compares and contrasts the three terms, gives some pointers, and includes a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.
Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material. Anytime you are taking information from a source that is not your own, you need to specify where you got that information.
A paraphrase is...
- Your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
- One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
- A more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.
Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because...
- It is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.
- It helps you control the temptation to quote too much.
- The mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original.
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing
- Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
- Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
- Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
- Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
- Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
- Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.
Some examples to compare
Note that the examples in this section use MLA style for in-text citation.
The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers . 2nd ed., 1976, pp. 46-47.
A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
An acceptable summary:
Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).
A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.
A note about plagiarism: This example has been classed as plagiarism, in part, because of its failure to deploy any citation. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. However, we acknowledge that plagiarism is a difficult term to define; that its definition may be contextually sensitive; and that not all instances of plagiarism are created equal—that is, there are varying “degrees of egregiousness” for different cases of plagiarism.
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How to Cite a Quote
Last Updated: October 5, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was reviewed by Gerald Posner . Gerald Posner is an Author & Journalist based in Miami, Florida. With over 35 years of experience, he specializes in investigative journalism, nonfiction books, and editorials. He holds a law degree from UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and a BA in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley. He’s the author of thirteen books, including several New York Times bestsellers, the winner of the Florida Book Award for General Nonfiction, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. He was also shortlisted for the Best Business Book of 2020 by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. There are 18 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 1,249,201 times.
According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the word "plagiarize" can mean trying to pass off someone else's ideas, work or words as your own, or using those ideas, work or words without giving due credit to the source. You can avoid either misdeed by simply giving credit where credit is due. The three primary citation styles are APA, MLA, and CMS.
Cite a Quote in APA Style
Example: Smith (2013) states that citing quotes can be challenging.
The author remarks on the "difficulty of citing quotes," (Smith, 2002, p. 32) but does not go into depth. or Smith (2002) mentions the "difficulty of citing quotes" (p. 32) but does not go into depth.
These scholars agree that "quotes are useful" (Hu, Koller, and Shier, 2013, p. 75). or Hu, Koller, and Shier agree that "quotes are useful" (p. 75).
In a study, it was determined that “the sky is in fact blue” (“Obvious Observations,” 2013).
Another study showed that “clouds are white” (“More Obvious Observations,” n.d., para. 7).
The message affirmed that “the sky is in fact blue” (John Smith, email, August 23, 2013).
Book with one or more authors: Lastname, First Initials (year published). Title of Book . Location: Publisher. Book with no author:  X Trustworthy Source APA Style Definitive source for current APA style writing and citation guidelines Go to source Title of Book. (Year). Location: Publisher. Web page: Lastname, First Initials (date of publication). Title of document. URL. If there is no date, write n.d. If there is no author, start with "Title. (date)."  X Research source
Cite a Quote in MLA Style
The meat factory workers of Chicago “were tied to the great packing-machine, and tied to it for life” (Sinclair, 99). or Upton Sinclair described the workers as "tied to the great packing-machine, and tied to it for life” (99).
Two or three authors The authors state, “citing quotes can be annoying” (Hu, Koller, and Shier 45). More than three authors: The authors state, “citing different sources can be confusing” (Perhamus et al. 63).  X Research source
Citing How to Cite Like a Champion and Be Better Than Other Writers : Citing sources can get annoying because “it can take a while” (Cite like a Champion 72).
The sky is blue but “clouds are white” (Obvious Observations Online).
An email message confirmed that “the sky is indeed blue” (Smith).
Book with one author: Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book . City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. Note: The Medium of Publication is "Print" for paper books. Other media include Web and Radio. Book with multiple authors: Lastname, Firstname of first alphabetical author, then Firstname Lastname for other authors. Title of Book . City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. Book with no known author: Title of publication . City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. Web page:  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source “Name of Article.” Name of Website. Name of website owner, date of publication. Web. Date of access. Note: Write n.d. if no publishing date is listed. Personal interview: Lastname, Firstname of interviewee. Personal interview. Date. Published interview: Lastname, Firstname of interviewee. Interview with (Name of Interviewer). Publication or program (year): page numbers if applicable. Medium of publication. Personal message: Lastname, Firstname of sender. “Title of Message.” Medium. Date.
Cite a Quote in CMS
The people who worked in the meat factories of Chicago at the turn of the century “were tied to the great packing-machine, and tied to it for life.” 1
1 Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (Doubleday, Page & Company: 1906), 99.
With an author: John Doe, “Citing Sources,” Organization of Writing Fanatics, last modified August 23, 2013, www.blahcitingblahblah.com Page without an author: “Citing Sources,” Organization of Writing Fanatics, last modified August 23, 2013, www.blahcitingblahblah.com
Unpublished interview: John Doe, (musician) in discussion with the author, Aug 23, 2013. Published interview: John Doe, interviewed by Jane Doe, Music Lovers, Aug 23, 2013. Personal communication: John Doe, email to the author, Aug 23, 2013.
' Book with one author: Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Book with two authors: Lastname, Firstname and Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Book with no known author: Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Web page with author: Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Web Page.” Publishing Organization or Name of Website in Italics. Publication date and/or access date if available. URL. Web page without an author: “Title of Web Page.” Publishing Organization or Name of Website in Italics. Publication date and/or access date if available. URL. Published Interview: Lastname, Firstname of interviewee, place where interview was held, by Interviewer's Firstname Lastname, date.
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- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_author_authors.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_electronic_sources.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_basic_rules.html
- ↑ http://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/cite-book-no-author.aspx
- ↑ https://libguides.jcu.edu.au/apa/reference-list
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/mlacitation/intext
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_electronic_sources.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_other_common_sources.html
- ↑ https://research.wou.edu/c.php?g=551307&p=3785495
- ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/books.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/web_sources.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/interviews_personal_communication.html
- ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html
About This Article
To cite a quote using APA, put parentheses with the citation directly after the quoted material. For a citation with one or more authors, include their last names, the year of publication, and page number preceded by a "p.” If you're citing something but don't know the author, put the title of the publication and its date in parentheses. You can follow the same author-date format to cite web pages, but if you don't know the author or the date, use a shortened version of the web page title and write "n.d." after for "no date." To learn how to cite a quote using MLA or CMS, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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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.
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
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Inserting or Altering Words in a Direct Quotation
- Nancy Lewis
What punctuation should be used when words are inserted or altered in a direct quotation?
When writers insert or alter words in a direct quotation, square brackets—[ ]—are placed around the change. The brackets, always used in pairs, enclose words intended to clarify meaning, provide a brief explanation, or to help integrate the quote into the writer’s sentence. A common error writers make is to use parentheses in place of brackets.
How are square brackets used around clarifying or explanatory words?
Let’s look at an example:
Quotation with brackets used correctly around a clarifying word:
“It [driving] imposes a heavy procedural workload on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107). 
Note : Brackets are placed around the inserted word in this example to let the reader know that ‘driving’ clarifies the meaning of the pronoun ‘it.’
Quotation with parentheses incorrectly used in place of brackets:
“It (driving) imposes a heavy procedural workload on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107).
Note : Parentheses are used incorrectly in place of brackets in this example, making the inserted word look like it could be part of the original text.
Let’s look at another example:
Quotation with brackets used correctly around an explanatory insert:
“[D]riving is not as automatic as one might think; in fact, it imposes a heavy procedural workload [visual and motor demands] on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107).
Note : Brackets are placed around the inserted words in this example to provide further explanation of the “procedural workload” discussed in the original text.
“[D]riving is not as automatic as one might think; in fact, it imposes a heavy procedural workload (visual and motor demands) on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107).
Note : Parentheses are used incorrectly in place of brackets in this example, making the inserted words look like they are part of the original text.
How are square brackets used to help integrate a quote properly?
Original direct quotation beginning with an upper case letter:
“The heavy cognitive workload of driving suggests that any secondary task has the potential to affect driver behavior” (Salvucci and Taatgen 108).
Integrated quotation with brackets used correctly to indicate a change in letter case:
Salvucci and Taatgen propose that “[t]he heavy cognitive workload of driving suggests that any secondary task has the potential to affect driver behavior” (108).
Note : Brackets are placed around the lower-case letter ‘t’ to indicate that the letter case has been changed. The quotation is introduced by a signal phrase, which makes the quote an integral part of the writer’s sentence; as a result of this syntactical change, the upper case ‘T’ in the original is changed to a lower case letter.
Original direct quotation written in the past tense:
“Not coincidentally, drivers have been increasingly engaging in secondary tasks while driving” (Salvucci and Taatgen 68).
Note : The authors’ words appear in the past tense in the original text.
Quotation with brackets used correctly to indicate a change in verb tense:
“Not coincidentally, drivers [are] increasingly engaging in secondary tasks while driving” (Salvucci and Taatgen 68).
Note : Brackets are placed around the word ‘are’ to indicate that the verb has been changed to the present tense, which is the preferred tense for most writing in MLA style. The past tense is preferred for APA style writing.
A word of caution : Bracketed insertions may not be used to alter or add to the quotation in a way that inaccurately or unfairly represents the original text. Quite simply, do not use bracketed material in a way that twists the author’s meaning.
Bracket Use: Quick Summary
 Salvucci, Dario D., and Niels A. Taatgen. Multitasking Minds . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . Web. 20 Feb. 2012.
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Leading Tips on How to Start an Essay With a Quote Correctly
13 Mar 2023
📰 Beginning a Paper with a Quote
📑 Types of Quotes
🎓 Use a Quote as a Hook
✍ How to Start an Essay with a Quote?
❗ The Importance of Quotation Marks: Format Your Quote Correctly
"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." - Mark Twain.
And that's how you can use a quote as a hook to start a text. It must grab the attention, be topic-related and come from reputable sources. To start an essay with a quote, you must pick phrases that should grab readers' attention and complement your thesis statement. It's essential to make proper choices as the right quote will set the whole paper tone, yet doing so is tricky.
In this article, we will share valuable information and some simple tips that may help you start your essay with a quote without worries. Using them, you can start an interesting yet unique opening that draws readers' attention and sets the stage for your work.
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Beginning a Paper with a Quote: Everything You Need To Know
Starting an essay with a quote is one among multiple methods popular with professionals and students. Numerous people use them because they can set a text tone and show text direction or support one's thesis. An appropriate quote should grab the reader's attention and shift it to the author's own words.
However, many people misuse quotes, and that can damage an essay's integrity or lose one's audience. Furthermore, if you use quotations that are not trustworthy, your writing will lose its credibility, or you'll get accused of plagiarism. Knowing how to use direct quotes in your work is crucial. Yet, not knowing how to insert them properly can cause the failure of your whole assignment.
Use Your Own Words and Avoid Quotation Misuse
If you want to avoid quotation misuse, learn not to make common mistakes. An example of such is using a quote out of context that may distort your original citation's actual meaning and ruin your thesis statement. That's why when you select quotes for essay assignments, you have to pick one that delivers an intended meaning. If you reach out to such experts, you can see that their academic papers use quotations related to the main idea of your case.
A proper quotation must accurately reflect some intended meaning. That's because these quotes are used to back up your arguments when you start an essay. Essay quotes at the start are an amazing idea because every introduction essay paragraph aims to support an argument or strengthen your thesis. They should not be overused, as they must show your analysis of a case.
Finally, the most common mistake people make is breaking set citation guidelines. Always attribute quotations to their original sources and provide proper citations based on your educational institution's rules. If you do not do so, your work will likely be labeled as plagiarized, leading to a failed assignment.
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What Are the Types of Quotes To Use In An Essay Writing?
There are various types of quotes, of which the most common are direct, paraphrased, or summary quotes. With the direct ones, students transfer the expressions intact, as they are. This way, they relay the meaning of one's remarks without changing anything. Paraphrased on the contrary are quotes in which you rephrase a saying. It can be to transfer thoughts or statements with your own terms. Lastly, summary quotes are those which give brief key points of an account from an initial quotation. Additionally, there are multiple ways to use and insert these in your introduction. Here are some examples:
Start with a quote that provokes thinking: One perfect way of starting is by challenging your audience's human nature of doubt. Put a quote at the beginning of an essay and let them assume, debate, and overthink it. This provokes them to express their beliefs or opinions about some specific statement or case. Using such is an easy way of setting intrigue and provoking your readers to engage with your topic.
Use a quotation that highlights your thesis: Every good quote can support and accentuate an argument that's part of your work. Such quotes do not only find their place at the start but throughout your essay. They should elaborate on arguments and back up your case statement.
Start an essay by using famous quotes: This method is used by any creative writing service to gain audience attention and provide high-quality texts. Doing so guarantees a well-crafted paper that can earn top grades for any student using this service. Writers will use quotations from respectable, famous people that relate to a topic. That not only boosts text credibility, but it indicates that you are knowledgeable.
Set a tone: Starting an essay with a quote is a good way to set your text tone. This way, your paper explaining arguments and quotes will elaborate on each other and will capture an overall mood. With that, you can set a roadmap for your audience or provide a sense of coherence.
As you see, there are many ways of using a quotation. Pick one based on your essay goals.
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Using a Quote as a Hook: When and Why?
When crafting any type of paper, it's crucial to use quotes that are not only attention-grabbing but also relevant to your topic. Many great essay examples written by PapersOwl specialists are a proof of that. These experts know how to make quotes a powerful tool to engage with readers. Taking into consideration their experience, we provide you with examples of when you could use one:
When introducing a new topic or a newly found case: A good quotation will show relevance in such situations. It will gain people's attention while showcasing new topics and establishing their importance.
If you are in the writing process of a historical essay: In such situations, any quotation from any case-related historical figure may provide context and spark interest in readers.
Personal experience: For such essays, quotations not only can grab one's audience but serve as proof of your experience with this case. They show your perspective and give a deeper nuance when writing arguments, which affects those reading your paper.
To support written arguments' main point: It's an outstanding way to start by hooking all readers up while backing up your claims.
When challenging their beliefs: This is perfect for argumentative essays where you have to challenge their commonly held view. Such quotations engage with people and make them think and be eager to read more.
Using a quote relevant to your case is necessary, so always ensure you use a proper one that creates parallels between all sections. If you don't see a proper connection, you can seek help from experts who edit essay theses. Many professional editors at PapersOwl can easily edit your text flow and create an effective introductory paragraph by providing reworded statements or better quotations. Additionally, they may help check all relevant sources for credibility, see if they deeply relate to your topic, and if they support your claims or bring controversy.
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How to Start Essay with a Quote To Support Your Thesis Statement?
To start a paper with a quote, you must choose one that brings up the proper tone of your paper. The quotation source must be credible and fit your essay context. Finally, each phrase you pick must support your assertion while demonstrating your case proficiency. All of that's important because the purpose of quotes is to make a good hook for essay and grab the attention of your target audience, which happens via knowledge and trust. So, without further ado, we'll show you the best expert advice on how to start an essay with quoted terms:
Consider your target audience: Thinking about your readers is a significant thing to do when starting an essay with a quotation. You must consider their age, background, expertise, and interests. If you write for the general public, use quotes from any popular book or movie. If it's for educational purposes, use one from academic writing or other reputable sources.
Select a relevant quote for the entire essay: A quotation on the spot will generate interest in the audience while supporting your thesis. It's crucial to check the credibility of this direct quote, as it can shape the tone and style of your academic paper. For example, writing about personal experiences has nothing to do with well-known historical figures and quotations from their works.
Introduce it properly: After selecting a quotation, you must introduce it to your readers. That happens by directly presenting it at the beginning of your paper or after a specific sentence. Ensure you do not do a long quote introduction, as it may be boring. Provide some context explaining why you have it in your work and don't forget to cite it.
Explore the quotation and its connection to your claims: After covering it by providing a brief account, you should point out how it connects to your statement and why. You can analyze it within one or two sentences by providing key points of why you used it while keeping all around the central theme of your topic.
By considering all the intimidating aspects, starting essays with quotes may be easy only if you have done it before and understand everything properly. Yet, given the peculiarities of these types of papers, you may be faced with difficulties in using a quotation correctly. In such situations, you should contact professionals who can write your assignment and explain the main points to consider for the best results. Like that, you will have an outstanding paper written by experts with an effective introduction that holds a powerful meaning and will capture your reader's attention.
Tip: Avoid frequently used quotations, better focus on something that can surprise the audience and show you've done some research.
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The Importance of Quotation Marks: Format Your Quote Correctly
Quotation marks are important because they showcase the writer's use of someone else's quoted words. So, these marks and citing are essential elements of all written assignments that use quotes. Using them is vital because they allow the readers to distinguish the writer's remarks from the source's. Additionally, these marks serve as a way to maintain the accuracy of your words and boost credibility. Not using quotation marks risks causing confusion and misinterpretation of the initial quote. That may further cause issues related to plagiarism, which can ruin your paper.
Using them properly is placing quotation marks at the beginning and end of original phrases. A quote should be written without any changes. That includes punctuation signs and letter capitalization. If it starts with a capital letter, write it like that. If there are some grammatical errors, you also write it like that, as its main idea is to change nothing but transfer the source meaning and complement your statement with them.
Four Perfect Quote Starters for Essays
In theory, knowing how to open an essay with a quote is easy but not enough. Sometimes we all face difficulties explaining key points or placing quotation marks properly. In such situations, it's in human nature to seek help. That's why you can reach out to experts and buy narrative essay or any other type of paper written by specialists. Not only will this get you a good grade in college, but you may gain some essay writing insights and learn how to use a good quotation properly.
Malcolm X. "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." 1964. (MLA 8 format)
That is an excellent example of a quote that may be used in educational-related academic essays. It presents a powerful statement underscoring the need to prepare for the future by relying on teaching. If you plan to write an essay in MLA format , note that all sources/authors' names are in front of the phrase, followed by the quotation marks, the saying, and lastly, the date of the quotation.
Frost, R. (n.d.). In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. (APA 7 format, usually you add a date - if there's no specified one, add n.d).
Perfect for those writing argumentative essays related to life or nature. After this quote from Robert Frost, every student can express their written arguments after grabbing the reader's attention. The quotation is perfect for such topics because its simplicity showcases the inevitability of change.
Mandela, Nelson. "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." (Chicago/Turabian format).
This quote is a remarkable example of how you can start and hook the readers in. First, it's a thought-provoking statement made by a credible person. It also challenges the widespread belief that failure is bad, which engages with the reader's opinions.
Jordan, B. (n.d.). Writing an essay is like building a house the writer lays the foundation, builds the walls, and finishes with a roof. (Harvard format)
This quotation is perfect to use when writing essays or text structure. It emphasizes the step-by-step writing process while hinting that you need a solid form to create something good.
Know how to structure your paper
- 12-point Times New Roman
- 0" between paragraphs
- 1" margin all around
- double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
- 0.5" first line of a paragraph
PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.
After reading this article, you know that starting an essay with the right quote will set a specific tone for your writing. With it, your first sentence will grab your audience's attention. If you correctly use a proper quotation, it helps readers understand your thesis from the quote and its following context. So make sure you use what we've discussed next time you write essays. Do so, and you'll get a properly connected essay with a good flow that can start with a bang and earn you high marks.
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Dr. Caroline Phd
I have always been a bit of a polymath – I loved going through encyclopedias, learning interesting facts about the world around us. Even when it was time to choose my major, I struggled a lot, as I wanted to learn everything about everything.
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