For years your teachers have told you that if you borrow someone else’s exact words, you need to put quotations marks around those words.They also told you that you need to use quotations (as well as paraphrases and summaries) to support your research essay. And it doesn’t seem too terribly hard to put quotation marks around a sentence or two and paste the quote into your paper, but it actually takes some skill to effectively use quotations. To learn how to put a quote in your essay like a pro.
If it is particular words or phrases that “prove” your point, you do not need to quote the full sentences they appear in; rather, incorporate the words and phrases into your own sentences that focus on your own ideas.
It is permissible to quote an entire sentence (between two sentences of your own), but in general you should avoid this method of bringing textual material into your discussion.
Similarly, after you have decided that you want to quote material, .
Think of the text in terms of units—words, phrases, sentences, and groups of sentences (paragraphs, stanzas)—and use only the units you need.
Use the guidelines below to learn how to use literary quotations. How do you seamlessly weave together your ideas with someone else’s words?
Download this Handout PDF When you’re asked to write a paper analyzing a work of literature, your instructor probably expects you to incorporate quotations from that literary text into your analysis. On this page we clarify the purpose of using literary quotations in literary analysis papers by exploring why quotations are important to use in your writing and then explaining how to do this.
Instead, use one of the following patterns: An introducing phrase or orienter plus the quotation: Introduce a quotation either by indicating what it is intended to show, by naming its source, or by doing both.
For non-narrative poetry, it’s customary to attribute quotations to “the speaker”; for a story with a narrator, to “the narrator.” For plays, novels, and other works with characters, identify characters as you quote them.
We provide general guidelines and specific suggestions about blending your prose and quoted material as well as information about formatting logistics and various rules for handling outside text.
Although this material is focused on integrating your ideas with quotations from novels, poems, and plays into literary analysis papers, in some genres this advice is equally applicable to incorporating quotations from scholarly essays, reports, or even original research into your work.