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CL/EV/WA Readings pt. 5 (quotations)

QUOTATIONS

Generally, your quotations should be ten or fewer words. Following this rule often means breaking a quotation into smaller fragments and combining it with your own indirect quotation or paraphrase of the original material.

Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented (pay particular attention to red text below):

“I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:

Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

Writers frequently intertwine summaries, paraphrases, and quotations. As part of a summary of an article, a chapter, or a book, a writer might include paraphrases of various key points blended with direct of the most relevant or striking phrases.

(you can either watch the below or read the text below)

 

Integrating Quotations into Sentences

There are at least four methods to integrate quotations; you will want most to use methods 3 and 4 below most of the time when you write.

Method 1

Introduce the quotation with a complete sentence and a colon.

(Use this method sparingly, perhaps only once or twice in an essay)

Example: In “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Thoreau states directly his purpose for going into the woods: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

 

Example: Thoreau’s philosophy might be summed up best by his repeated request for people to ignore the insignificant details of life: “Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”

 

Example: Thoreau ends his essay with a metaphor: “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.”

 

This is an easy rule to remember: if you use a complete sentence to introduce a quotation, you need a colon after the sentence. Be careful not to confuse a colon (:) with a semicolon (;). Using a comma in this situation will most likely create a comma splice, a punctuation mistake than can cause confusion.

METHOD 2

Use an introductory or explanatory phrase, but not a complete sentence, separated from the quotation with a comma.

Example: In “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Thoreau states directly his purpose for going into the woods when he says, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

 

Example: Thoreau suggests the consequences of making ourselves slaves to progress when he says, “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.”

 

Example: Thoreau asks, “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?”

 

Example: According to Thoreau, “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.””

You should use a comma to separate your own words from the quotation when your introductory or explanatory phrase ends with a verb such as “says,” “said,” “thinks,” “believes,” “pondered,” “recalls,” “questions,” and “asks” (and many more). You should also use a comma when you introduce a quotation with a phrase such as “According to Thoreau.”

METHOD 3

Make the quotation a part of your own sentence without any punctuation between your own words and the words you are quoting.

Example: In “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Thoreau states directly his purpose for going into the woods when he says that “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

 

Example: Thoreau suggests the consequences of making ourselves slaves to progress when he says that “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.”

 

Example: Thoreau argues that “shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous.”

 

Example: According to Thoreau, people are too often “thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails.”

Notice that the word “that” is used in three of the examples above, and when it is used as it is in the examples, “that” replaces the comma which would be necessary without “that” in the sentence. You usually have a choice, then, when you begin a sentence with a phrase such as “Thoreau says.” You either can add a comma after “says” (Thoreau says, “quotation”)  or you can add the word “that” with no comma (Thoreau says that “<<quotation>>.”)

METHOD 4

Use short quotations (only a few words) as part of your own sentence.

Example: In “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Thoreau states that his retreat to the woods around Walden Pond was motivated by his desire “to live deliberately” and to face only “the essential facts of life.”