A quote is an accurate, verbatim excerpt from some text by a famous person and should be used appropriately. In other words, the quote should organically fit into your story, proving, confirming, clarifying the correctness of YOUR conclusions, reasoning and thoughts. Quoting is important when it comes to academic writing, as academic writing is fully based on a mixture of your own thoughts supported by a researched background. In this article we have collected several principles on how to use quotes in writing. You may think that it is rather simple — just take someone’s saying and use it. However, there is much more to that.
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Three Major Principles of Successful Quoting
Here are just three principles that you should remember from the very beginning. Even if later you close this article and don’t use our practical tips, this part will still be useful.
- The quote should not be voluminous. If the idea of an outstanding author is already very close to you, but it is very expanded, consisting of large, long sentences, it is better to try to retell it, including only a fragment of the statement in the retelling (this will be a quote).
- It is unacceptable to change words in a quote. The accuracy and logical completeness of the passage is an obligatory rule, which must not be violated! You cannot distort a quote, “pull out” words and phrases from it, adjusting it to fit your needs.
- Franken quoting is not a right way to do it. Don’t make your quotes look like monsters gathered from many different pieces. Some students read what some author had to say on the matter, later sum it up, take a piece or two from different sources and think it will do. It reads bad, it looks lame, and it is definitely not the way a quality quoting should be done.
How to Use Quotes in Academic Writing
Quotes from trusted sources are good supportive statements. There are two types of quotes: direct and indirect. In the case of direct quotation, you copy someone else’s original text (spoken or written) and enclose it in quotation marks.
Direct quotations can contain either a complete piece of text or a short phrase. When quoting indirectly, you quote other people’s words without quotation marks, but using expressions like:
according to X … or X believes that … To enter quoted information — direct or indirect quotes, statistics — use the according to expression or the following verbs:
As one writer says…
One writer says…
- Verbs. Verbs can be placed before the quoted information, in the middle or after it. According to is usually placed before or after a quote, but not in the middle. Verbs can be used with or without as. However, remember that a verb that introduces a quotation and stands in the past tense will entail changes in the rules for matching tenses in verbs and tense expressions in indirect quotations. Including source information with a specific phrase or verb gives your text an advantage, as the reader can immediately know that the information is from a reliable source.
- Punctuation. Follow these guidelines when using punctuation marks in direct quotes. Put the quoted information in quotation marks.Periods and commas are usually placed before the first quote and before the second.
- Exceptions. if you only insert a few quoted words in your own sentence, do not isolate the quote; when you add an internal source link after a quote, put a period after the closing parenthesis . The first word of a quote is capitalized, just like the first letter of a sentence. If you are breaking a quoted sentence in two, enclose both parts in quotation marks and separate them with commas. Only the first word of the quote is capitalized. If you are missing part of the words, use ellipsis. When adding words, enclose them in square brackets. Use single quotes to insert a quote inside a quote. If your quote is four or more lines long, don’t use quotes. Instead, enter a quote by inserting a colon and indenting from the left.
In an indirect quotation, other people’s words are transmitted indirectly, without quotation marks. Therefore, indirect quotes are also called reported speech. Indirect quotes are introduced using the same verbs as direct quotes, and the word that is often added for clarity. The tense of verbs in an indirect quotation depends on the tense of the introducing verb.
Turning direct quotes into indirect quotes
To convert direct quotes to indirect quotes, follow these steps. Remove the quotes. Add the word that (although you can omit this word if the meaning is clear without it). Change the tense of the verbs if necessary. Use the timing rules. Change pronouns and tense expressions to maintain the meaning of the original text.
- Timing rules. If the verb with which you enter a quote is in the past tense, then the verbs in an indirect quote can be changed according to the following rules. Pronouns (and sometimes tense expressions) can also change. If you feel like all these rules are too much to handle — share your assignment with one of the professional writing services similar to SmartWritingService and spare some time for other tasks in your to-do list. You can even write your paper yourself and order formatting, or better order the whole paper to writing experts, delegate one of the tasks to give your uninterrupted attention to another.
- Exceptions. If the verb with which you enter a quote is in Present Simple, Present Perfect or Future, then the tenses of the verbs in the quote do not change. When you enter a quote using according to, the tenses of the verbs do not change. If the cited information is common knowledge, the tenses of the verbs in the quotation do not change. For example: He said that water boils at a lower temperature in the mountains.
One you understand how to use quotes, it will take less and less of your time. This task is not difficult, but requires attention. Make sure you consult with the formatting guide before you submit your paper, as MLA and APA guides have different approaches to quotations, citations and work cited pages in general.