Using Quotations Information Compiled From: They Say, I Say: Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings : Stephen Wilhoit
When to Use Quotations • When the author has written something in a distinctive or insightful way • When the material lends support to a position you are taking in your paper • When the authority disagrees with your position or offers contradictory data
When NOT to Use Quotations • Merely to fill space • As a substitute for your own thinking • Because you don’t understand the author’s ideas well enough to paraphrase them
Three Ways to Quote • Block Quotes • Full sentence quotes • Quote phrases integrated into your own sentences
Block Quotes (more than 4 lines) • Should be used sparingly • All of the information in the quote should be relevant and necessary • Must be introduced • Must be explained • Must be correctly indented (2 tabs or 10 spaces) • No quotation marks. Period follows last word of quote. Parenthetical citation follows. • See textbook for example
Full (or nearly full) Sentence • Must be introduced by integrating into a sentence of your own. • Must make sense in context of your paragraph. • Significance of the quote must be explained in your own words. • Must be surrounded by quotation marks. • Sentence must end with a citation. • Punctuation follows the parenthesis • If the author’s name was not used in sentence: (author 99). • If author’s name was used in sentence: (99).
Examples • Example 1: introduce with a verb followed by a comma (use a capital letter to start quote): • Davis asserts, “Blah blah blah” (109). • As she also notes, “Blah blah blah” (Davis 110). • Example 2: integrate a full sentence quotation into your sentence with a that clause (no comma and no capital letter): • In class, Davis explains that “blah blah” (77). • According to Davis, students argue that “blah blah blah” (201).
Integrate phrases into your own sentences • Sentences must be grammatically correct. • Words can be changed if necessary to make sentences grammatically correct. Use [ ] to change tenses or numbers when necessary. • Citation of quoted material will occur at closest convenient stopping place (comma or period).
Examples • While some students may have a “tendency to abuse privileges,” most students are “responsible adults” (Davis 6). • Although some professors can be “very flexible and communicative” (Davis 7), the testimony of college students reflects the fact that many other professors are not.
Random Rules • Commas and periods go INSIDE QUOTATIONS unless parenthetical citation follows, in which case the comma or period goes on the other side of the citation (see previous slide). • BLOCK QUOTES HAVE NO QUOTATION MARKS and have different punctuation rules. Learn the rules if you must use a block quote.
Beyond “X says,….” • As the prominent philosopher X puts it, “Blah” (99). • According to X, “Blah” (99). • Although Y disagrees, X himself explains that “blah” (99). • In her book Buy Me, X maintains that “blah” (99). • Writing in the journal Commentary, X complains that “blah” (99). • In X’s view, “blah” (99). • X complicates the matter further when she writes, “Blah” (99).
Don’t be a hit-and-run quoter: ways to discuss your quotations • Basically, X is saying … • In other words, X believes… • In making this comment, X argues that… • X is insisting that … • X’s point is that … • The essence of X’s argument is that …
Responding to Quotations: Disagree • I think X is mistaken because she overlooks… • X’s claim that … rests upon the questionable assumption that … • I disagree with X’s view that … because, as recent research has shown, … • X contradicts herself. On the one hand, she argues that …, but on the other hand, she also claims that … • By focusing on …, X overlooks the deeper problem of … • X claims that …, but this is obvious. Anyone familiar with … has long known that …
Responding to Quotations: Agree • I agree that … because my experience with … confirms it. • X is correct about … because recent studies have shown that … • X’s theory of … is extremely useful because it sheds insight on the difficult problem of … • Although many people believe …, I agree with X that … because … • Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may not realize that, as X has explained, the primary issue is …
Responding to quotations: Agree and disagree simultaneously • Although I agree with X’s assertion that …, I cannot accept his overall conclusion because… • Although I disagree with much of what X says, I fully endorse his final conclusion that … • Though I concede that …, I still insist that … • X is right that …, but she seems to be on more dubious ground when she claims … • While X is probably wrong when she claims …, she is right about … • While X provides ample evidence that …, Y and Z’s research on … convinces me that … instead. • My feelings on the issue are mixed. I do support X’s claim that …, but I find Y’s research on … to be equally persuasive.
Activity Choose one of the quotes you have brought today. Write a few sentences, in which you introduce the quote, present the quote properly, and then respond to the quote. Share with your group. Group chooses one quote to place on the board as an example. Group will explain why they chose this quote and will demonstrate its use of good quotation techniques.