Back to Writing Tips

 

Integration of Quotes:

It is important to make a smooth transition from your own words to those of another source. Never simply drop a quotation into a paragraph. A quotation can never stand in a sentence by itself without an introduction. For example:

WRONG: T.S. Eliot, in his "Talent and the Individual," uses gender-specific language. "No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists" (Eliot 29).

In this example, the reader is not prepared for the quote and will become confused as a result.

 

To avoid dropping quotes in, use signal phrases. These are phrases which precede the quotation. They may include the authorís name and a verb (argues, compares, suggests, demonstrates, points out, etc.). An example is the following:

RIGHT: T.S. Eliot, in his "Talent and the Individual," uses gender-specific language. He argues, for instance, that "no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists" (Eliot 29).

 

One could also incorporate a colon into the sentence to integrate the quote properly.

ALSO RIGHT: T.S. Eliot, in his "Talent and the Individual," uses gender-specific language: "No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists" (Eliot 29).

The above examples will be easier for the reader to understand as you are making it clear that the quotation is coming from that specific source.

 

It may not always be necessary to use an entire passage to prove your point. To use only a phrase you must weave the quote into your own sentence.

RIGHT: I find it striking that though "women novelists have probably dominated American literature since the middle of the nineteenth century," our literary tradition is still incredibly gender specific (Schweickart 201).

 

Paraphrasing:

In some cases one can avoid direct quotation by paraphrasing the quote--that is, by restating what the author says in oneís own words (not looking at the quote when you are paraphrasing may help with this). To avoid plagiarism, you must be sure to (a) use your own words whenever you don't use quotation marks or block a quote and (b) cite your sources, especially if the ideas or information you are paraphrasing are not common knowledge, are specific to that author, or include specific numbers or other very specific information. When in doubt, cite the source.

Always cite the source of the paraphrased material. Just because it is in your own words does not make it your intellectual property. To not cite would be plagiarism.

An example:

RIGHT: Shweickart points out that women have had a strong voice in literature since the middle of the nineteenth century. As a result, it is striking that our literary tradition is still so gender specific (Schweickart 209).

 

Back to Writing Tips