Citation Guide Cliches Commas
Introductions Non-sexist Writing Guide Passive Voice
Peer Editing Avoid Plagiarism Proofreading
Prospectus Punctuation Quotations

 

Framing a Quotation

(adapted from Professor David Mills EN 115 Handout)

        A quotation must fit into a paragraph smoothly. You must lead the reader into a quotation and then lead the reader away from it. One good way to introduce a quotation is to summarize or paraphrase its meaning. The summary or paraphrase provides a context in which the reader can understand the quoted passage. And mentioning the author's name in your text is a good habit too.

        Above all, a paper must not be a string of quotations patched together.

NOT: Many noted critics say TV is detrimental to children. "TV has a serious adverse effect on kids" (Jones 164). "Kids lose the ability to learn from reality" (Smith 22).

BUT: Many eminent doctors point to what Spock calls the "adverse effect" that TV has on children (164). Defining this effect more closely, Dr. Seuss says, "Kids lose the ability to learn from reality" (22) as a result of watching television. Generally critics agree that intellectual pabulum breeds intellectual midgets.

        If a quotation worked into your own text does not make sense on its own, or does not fit the grammatical construction of your sentence, you must alter it to do so. And you must indicate any alterations, using ellipses (...) to indicate omissions and brackets [] to add words that aren't there. Don't add ellipses in front of quotations, even if words are omitted.

QUOTATION: "Contemporary press accounts confirm that Parisians were lining up to see the film just to guess how the tricks were done." Donald Crafton referring to the 1907 film "The Haunted Hotel" in Before Mickey: The Animated Cartoon 1898-1928, pp. 16-17.

YOU WRITE: American films using trick photography rapidly became popular in Europe. Crafton notes that in 1907, "Parisians were lining up to see the film ["The Haunted Hotel"] just to guess how the tricks were done" (16-17).

QUOTATION: "After his father died, Jennings managed the bank with the same easy-going affability that had won the old man so many friends and led him to make so many shaky loans." Philip Land, The Great Bank Failure, p. 490.

YOU WRITE: As Land points out, Jennings's appointment as bank president brought about few changes; he "managed the bank with the same easy-going affability that had won the old man so many friends and led him to make so many shaky loans" (490).

QUOTATION: "Wood technology, he continued, whatever its merits, was not a science that had been recognized by the courts." Waller, Kidnap, p. 371.

YOU WRITE:A further problem arose in matching the wood in the ladder rung to that found in Hauptmann's attic. The defense claimed that no expert could argue about it because "wood technology..., whatever its merits, was not a science that had been recognized by the courts" (Waller 371). Or: ...could argue about it because "wood technology...was not a science that had been recognized by the courts" (371).

QUOTATION: "In the minds of her people, the tombs of the great were never completely closed." Henri Troyat, Catherine The Great, p. 210.

YOU WRITE: The theory that Elvis is alive is held by many people. As Henri Troyat puts it, "the tombs of the great [are] never completely closed" (210).