Why to use quotations?
Some of the most common reasons to use quotations within your essay are to give additional evidence that supports your thesis statement, to add a bit of wit to an otherwise dry informational essay or to discuss the argument or idea of someone else.
Quotations can also be used in the beginning of your essay to make a good first impression with the reader or used within your conclusion to leave the reader with something memorable.
Sometimes quotations can be used to provide a fresh voice or perspective to your essay or make the essay more noteworthy. Be selective in both the amount of quotations that you use and in which parts of the quotations you choose to use in your essay and try to balance your use of quotations relative to your discipline. For example, an essay that is analyzing a book or other literary piece will use more direct quotations from the book whereas an essay analyzing a more research based piece might use more data and statistics.
Another reason to use quotes is the greatest fears of all students to be accused of plagiarism. To avoid this, you need to make sure you include the thought of you own into the essay. If you include some kind of data taken from the outside source, you need to pay respects to the person who compiled this information by including his name between the parentheses at the end of the sentence or paragraph.
How to use quotations?
Quotation marks are used to indicate the words, phrases or at times even several sentences of someone else. Quotations more than three lines in length will be block indented from the left and thus quotation marks are not necessary. The name of the author should appear at the end of the block indented quote. You will use parenthesis ( ) whenever you need to add information about a quote. For example the author’s name at the end of the quote or information on where you found the quote would be enclosed in parenthesis.
Keep the following tips in mind regarding punctuation of quotations:
- To punctuate a direct quote, periods and commas are placed within the quotation marks.
- Colons and semicolons are not included within quotation marks.
- Keep all punctuation from the quotation intact.
- If you quote stanzas of poetry, indicate line breaks with forward slash marks.
- Use quotation marks for titles of articles, essays, poems, songs or short stories but use an underline for titles of magazines, newspapers or books.
- Any time part of the direct quotation is left out, use ellipses (…) to reference the missing text. Ellipses are not needed to show text removed from the beginning or end of a quote unless there is a reason the reader needs to know the quote was cut off.
Tips on using quotations
- One way to make your writing flow more easily is by paraphrasing portions of the quotation and only using the most powerful section. Short quotes can be used as part of your sentence when it fits.
- Minor changes to a direct quotation can help quotations fit with your writing style and can be used to correct punctuation, grammar, or verb tense but each change should be surrounded in brackets [ ] to indicate the change.
- Introduce each quotation by providing the reader with some context and indicating who is speaking.
- Provide a formal citation for all quotations by using brackets followed by a period like this “direct quote” (Johnson, 5).
- After the formal citation, explain the importance of the quotation in your own words, which will basically involve describing why you chose that particular quotation.
Follow all of these standards to ensure that your essay properly reflects your use of the ideas and words of other people.