Cite your source at the end of each quote. Within parentheses, provide the author's last name and the page number from which you took the quote; do not include the name as part of the parenthetical citation if you have already used his name in your introduction of the quotation. If the quote is taken from consecutive pages, include both page numbers within the citation: Berger If you are quoting from a source other than a book, such as a website, documentary, or interview, you may want to look further into MLA citation convention has a strict protocol for how to cite each type of source.
Introduce the quote according to what purpose it serves in the original text and in your essay. This process can involve letting the quote flow naturally with the rest of your text, as in this example:.
Though a reproduction may be meticulously accurate, "the meaning of the original work no longer lies in what it uniquely says but in what it uniquely is" Berger If you allow the quote's originator to state the quote for you, use the present tense when introducing quotes and omit the author's name from the parenthetical citation:.
Even if a reproduction is well-executed, as Berger asserts, "the meaning of the original work no longer lies in what it uniquely says but in what it uniquely is" How you choose to introduce a quote is entirely up to you, but be sure that your introduction doesn't contribute to the quote being taken out of context. If the quote doesn't fit your argument, either find another source or change your argument. Punctuate the quote correctly. Use double quotation marks for the quote itself and, where applicable, single quotation marks for quotes within the quote.
You may include a question mark or exclamation mark within the quotation marks if they are part of the original text. All other punctuation should be located after the citation.
Suggested ways to introduce quotations
Poking fun at his fellow writers, Vonnegut observes that "they love to stay up all night, arguing the question, 'What is science fiction? Though Vonnegut is fond of his colleagues, when he observes that, "they love to stay up all night, arguing the question 'What is science fiction? If you're quoting poetry, indicate line breaks with a slash, for example, "Type of the antique Rome!
Indent passages of prose four lines or longer and passages of poetry three lines or longer. Make your margins one inch narrower on the left and right sides of the passage. Note that the punctuation rules change somewhat for longer passages, as they do not require quotation marks and their citation is placed after the end punctuation.
For example, if I were to quote from Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Bells," I'd indent it one inch on each side and type the text as follows:. What dire offense from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things. If you choose to integrate verse into your own sentence, then use a slash surrounded by spaces to indicate line breaks:.
If you need to alter your quotations in any way, be sure to indicate just how you have done so. In The Mirror and the Lamp , Abrams comments that the "diversity of aesthetic theories. In all, there will be four periods. See Orwell on Dickens, above. Many people overuse ellipses at the beginning and end of quotations. Use an ellipsis in either place only when your reader might otherwise mistake an incomplete sentence for a complete one:.
Abraham Lincoln begins "The Gettysburg Address" with a reminder of the act upon which the United States was founded: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation. In "The Gettysburg Address" Abraham Lincoln reminds his listeners of the principles that had inspired the creation of "a new nation" 1. If you need to alter or replace text from the original, enclose the added text within square brackets.
You may, for example, need to alter text to ensure that pronouns agree with their antecedents. Do not write,. Alternatively, you can include Gertrude's original phrasing in its entirety as long as the introduction to the quotation is not fully integrated with the quotation. The introduction can be an independent clause:. Gertrude implores her son Hamlet to stop mourning the death of his father: "cast your nighted colour off" I.
You must preserve the punctuation of a quoted passage, or else you must enclose in square brackets any punctuation marks that are your own.
How to Use the MLA Quotation Style
There is, however, one important exception to this rule. You are free to alter the punctuation just before a closing quotation mark. You may need to do so to ensure that your sentences are fully grammatical. Do not worry about how the original sentence needs to be punctuated before that quotation mark; think about how your sentence needs to be punctuated.
Note, for example, that if you are using the MLA system of referencing, a sentence always ends after the parenthetical reference. Do not also include a period before closing the quotation mark, even if there is a period there in the original. However, if you are using footnotes, the period remains inside the quotation mark, while the footnote number goes outside:. In Canada and the United States, commas and periods never go outside a quotation mark.
They are always absorbed as part of the quotation, whether they belong to you or to the author you are quoting:. However, stronger forms of punctuation such as question marks and exclamation marks go inside the quotation if they belong to the author, and outside if they do not:. When Elizabeth reveals that her younger sister has eloped, Darcy drops his customary reserve: " 'I am grieved, indeed,' cried Darcy, 'grieved—shocked' " Austen Unsupported Browser.
Open menu. Side navigation. How much should I quote? Consider quoting a passage from one of your sources if any of the following conditions holds: The language of the passage is particularly elegant or powerful or memorable. You wish to confirm the credibility of your argument by enlisting the support of an authority on your topic. The passage is worthy of further analysis. You wish to argue with someone else's position in considerable detail.
Condition 3 is especially useful in essays for literature courses. If an argument or a factual account from one of your sources is particularly relevant to your paper but does not deserve to be quoted verbatim, consider: Paraphrasing the passage if you wish to convey the points in the passage at roughly the same level of detail as in the original; or Summarizing the relevant passage if you wish to sketch only the most essential points in the passage. Visit our handout on paraphrase and summary. Why is it important to identify my sources?
In the following passage, the parenthetical reference to the author does not adequately identify the source: The ancient Greeks never saw a need to justify wars that were waged outside the walls of the city state. How do I introduce a short quotation? The following offers just one way of introducing the above quotation: The ancient Greeks never saw a need to justify wars that were waged outside the walls of the city state. Since the quotation is relatively short, the brief introduction works. Introducing your quotation with a full sentence would help you assert greater control over the material: The ancient Greeks never saw a need to justify wars that were waged outside the walls of the city state.
However, it has become grammatically acceptable to use a colon rather than a comma: Arendt writes: "we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war. The following condenses twelve lines from Arendt's essay to fewer than two: What Arendt refers to as the "well-known realities of power politics" began to lose their moral legitimacy when the First World War unleashed "the horribly destructive" forces of warfare "under conditions of modern technology" What verbs and phrases can I use to introduce my quotations?
Here is a partial list: argues writes points out concludes comments notes maintains suggests insists observes counters asserts states claims demonstrates says explains reveals Each verb has its own nuance. There are other ways to begin quotations. Here are three common phrasings: In the words of X ,.
According to X ,. In X 's view,.
How to Put a Quote in an Essay - Explanation: Writing Guide - A Research Guide
How do I introduce a long quotation? Instead, set it off as a block quotation : Although Dickens never shied away from the political controversies of his time, he never, in Orwell's view, identified himself with any political program: The truth is that Dickens' criticism of society is almost exclusively moral. For example, when you are quoting two or more lines of poetry , you will probably want to display the verse as it appears on the page: In the opening heroic couplet of The Rape of the Lock , Pope establishes the unheroic nature of the poem's subject matter: What dire offense from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things.
How do I let my reader know I've altered my sources? Use an ellipsis in either place only when your reader might otherwise mistake an incomplete sentence for a complete one: Abraham Lincoln begins "The Gettysburg Address" with a reminder of the act upon which the United States was founded: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation.
Do not use an ellipsis if you are merely borrowing a phrase from the original: In "The Gettysburg Address" Abraham Lincoln reminds his listeners of the principles that had inspired the creation of "a new nation" 1. Do not write, Gertrude asks her son Hamlet to "cast your nighted colour off" 1. Square brackets allow you to absorb Gertrude's words into your own statement: Gertrude asks her son Hamlet to "cast [his] nighted colour off" 1.
The introduction can be an independent clause: Gertrude implores her son Hamlet to stop mourning the death of his father: "cast your nighted colour off" I. Or it can be an incomplete sentence: Gertrude implores her son Hamlet, "cast your nighted colour off" 1. How is punctuation affected by quotation? For example, do not write, According to Schama, Louis XVI remained calm during his trial: "The Terror had no power to frighten an old man of seventy-two. The period before the closing quotation mark must go: According to Schama, Louis XVI remained calm during his trial: "The Terror had no power to frighten an old man of seventy-two" However, if you are using footnotes, the period remains inside the quotation mark, while the footnote number goes outside: According to Schama, Louis XVI remained calm during his trial: "The Terror had no power to frighten an old man of seventy-two.
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