How to Integrate Quotes into Your Paper

 

How do I introduce a short quotation?

Two examples of proper quote integration:

·         As Hannah Arendt points out in On Revolution (2002), "we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war, together with the first notion that there are just and unjust wars" (p. 12).

 

·         In On Revolution (2002), Hannah Arendt points to the role the Romans played in laying the foundation for later thinking about the ethics of waging war: "we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war, together with the first notion that there are just and unjust wars" (p. 12).

 

 

Consider how you cite when the author and title are not mentioned in the sentence:

·         According to this source, the role the Romans played in laying the foundation for later thinking about the ethics of waging war: "we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war, together with the first notion that there are just and unjust wars" (Arendt, 2002, p. 12).

 

 

In these three examples, observe the forms of punctuation used to introduce the quotations. When you introduce a quotation with a full sentence, you should always place a colon at the end of the introductory sentence. When you introduce a quotation with an incomplete sentence, you usually place a comma after the introductory phrase. 

 

Note also that the period is placed after the in-text citation, or after the final parentheses.

 

If you are blending the quotation into your own sentence using the conjuction that, do not use any punctuation at all:

·          Arendt (2002) writes that "we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war  .  .  ." (p. 12).

 

Finally, note that you can deviate from the common pattern of introduction followed by quotation. Weaving the phrases of others into your own prose offers a stylistically compelling way of maintaining control over your source material. Moreover, the technique of weaving can help you to produce a tighter argument. The following condenses twelve lines from Arendt's essay to fewer than three:

·          What Arendt (2002) refers to as the "well-known realities of power politics" began to lose their moral legitimacy when the First World War unleashed "the horribly destructive" forces of warfare "under conditions of modern technology" (p. 13).


What verbs and phrases can I use to introduce my quotations?

Familiarize yourself with the various verbs commonly used to introduce quotations. Here is a partial list:

argues

writes

points out

concludes

comments

notes

maintains

suggests

insists

observes

counters

implies

states

claims

demonstrates

says

explains

reveals

 

There are other ways to begin quotations. Here are three common phrasings:

In the words of X,  .  .  .

According to X,  .   .  .

In X's view,  .  . .

Vary the way you introduce quotations to avoid sounding monotonous.


How do I introduce a long quotation?

If your quotation is lengthy [40 words or more], you should almost always introduce it with a full sentence that helps capture how it fits into your argument. If your quotation is more than 40 words or or longer than four lines, do not place it in quotation marks. Instead, set it off as a block quotation:

·          Although Dickens never shied away from the political controversies of his time, he never, in Orwell's (1950) view, identified himself with any political program:

                The truth is that Dickens' criticism of society is almost exclusively moral. Hence his lack of any   constructive suggestion anywhere in his work. He attacks the law, parliamentary government, the    educational system and so forth, without ever clearly suggesting what he would put in their places. Of course it is not necessarily the business of a novelist, or a satirist, to make constructive suggestions,              but the point is that Dickens' attitude is at bottom not even destructive. . . . For in reality his target is not           so much society as human nature. (p. 416)

 

Note that in a block quotation, the period goes before the parentheses.  Go figure.

 

The full-sentence introduction to a block quotation helps demonstrate your grasp of the source material, and it adds analytical depth to your essay. But the introduction alone is not enough. Long quotations almost invariably need to be followed by extended analysis. Never allow the quotation to do your work for you. (A sign of lazy writing!)


How do I let my reader know I've altered my sources?

If you need to alter your quotations in any way, be sure to indicate just how you have done so. If you remove text, then replace the missing text with an ellipsis—three periods surrounded by spaces:

·          In The Mirror and the Lamp, Abrams (2000) comments that the "diversity of aesthetic theories  .  .  .  makes the task of the historian a very difficult one" (p. 5).

If the omitted text occurs between sentences, then put a space after the period at the end of sentence, and follow that by an ellipsis. In all, there will be four periods. (See Orwell on Dickens, above.)

 

 

 

Do not use an ellipsis if you are merely borrowing a phrase from the original:

·          In "On The Gettysburg Address," Jack Thompson (1995) points to Lincoln’s reminder of the principles that had inspired the creation of "a new nation" (p. 17).

 

If you need to alter or replace text from the original, enclose the added text within square brackets. You may, for example, need to alter text to ensure that pronouns agree with their antecedents.

·          Gertrude asks her son Hamlet to "cast [his] nighted colour off" (1.2.68).


- Plotaick, J. (2007, September 27). University College Writing Workshop: Using Quotations. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from http://www.utoronto.ca/ucwriting/quotations.html.