Using Quotations in an Essay ENG 3UI Ms. Frayne
Do prosecutors need evidence? • Do athletes need training? Is the Pope Catholic? • YES • YES • YES Do I really need quotations? • . . . so YES, you need quotations • in your essay.
What is a Quotation? A quotation is any words you are directly copying into your essay from either a primary or secondary source. When using a quotation from a novel, short story or play (all primary sources in a literature essay) it can be either: - direct speech from a character, or - part of the narration. You MUST remember to use quotation marks and cite the quotation afterwards (Miller 25)
Purpose of Quotations (a.k.a. Textual Evidence) • Quotations are meant to help you prove the main • point (thesis) of your essay by giving you credibility. • They are NOT used for filler ! • Therefore, you must carefully select ONLY • quotations that will help demonstrate your • argument.
Formatting Depending on the length of quotation you use, there are certain formatting points that you need to follow: #1. If the quotation is fairly short (1 to 3 lines long typed out), then you can simply integrate it into the body of your paragraph. Example: The boys’ savagery and increasingly tribal nature is seen best in their chant, “Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Spill her blood!” (Golding 73). OR It is clear that the boys are becoming savages and increasingly tribal as they repeat the following line: “Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Spill her blood!” (Golding 73). Note: If the original quotation ends with an exclamation mark or question mark, then you leave it your quotation. However, if what you are quoting ends with any other punctuation mark, OMIT it. Place your period after your citation.
Formatting #2 If the quotation is 4 lines or more typed out, you need to separate it from the body of the paragraph. - Keep the quotation double-spaced, but start a new line. - Indent the entire quote twice. - Do not use quotation marks . Example: Right from the beginning of the novel, the setting is described in a threatening manner: All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry . . . (Golding 1).
How to Incorporate Quotes When you use a quote in an essay, you cannot simply “stick it in” to the middle of your paragraph; I call this error a FLOATING QUOTE! Remember, you are using the quote to help prove your thesis, and you must show your reader how the quote does this. A 3-step process must be followed for every quote used in an essay.
Step 1: Introduce the Quote DO NOT use phrases like “Here’s a quote that shows how Piggy is weak.” Instead, write something like: Piggy recognizes his own weakness compared to Jack when he says to Ralph, “if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me” (Golding 101). Your quotation should be trying to help prove an argument, so be sure to identify that argument before presenting the quotation.
Step 2: Use the Quotation Be sure that you format the quotation properly and cite it afterwards. You may use only part of a quote, but make sure it makes sense grammatically within your sentence. If you need to change a word (i.e.: said to says), indicate that you changed the word by putting the changed word into square brackets [says]. You can also leave sections of a long quotation out if they do not help to prove your point by using ellipses marks (. . .) where the missing words would appear. DO NOT CHANGE THE ORIGINAL MEANING OF A QUOTATION BY LEAVING PARTS OF IT OUT.
Step 3: Comment on the Quote Explain exactly how the quotation proves your point; be sure to refer back to your thesis. Example: • . . . Right from the beginning of the novel, Golding describes the setting in a threatening manner: “All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry . . .” (Golding 1). It is evident that many aspects of the island are not pleasant. There is a scar in the jungle, which calls to mind an injury. The metaphor “bath of heat” suggests that the heat is oppressive, not bearable. The vines are called “creepers,” which has a scary tone. The colours of the bird represent the commands “stop” and “caution.” Its cry is compared to that of a witch, and witches are rarely good characters. Through this vivid setting description, Golding is trying to indicate to the reader that the island is not all good, and that bad things are likely to happen on it. General rule: Your commentary after the quote should be longer than the quote itself, for this is where you will explain how/why the quote proves your point. It demonstrates both YOUR Understanding & Thinking!
Citing Quotes Citing quotes includes twoparts: Parenthetical Citation--Identify the author’s last name and page # in parenthesis ( ) immediately after the quote or at the end of the sentence in which the quote appears. 2. Works Cited Page--List the source from which the quote was taken on a Works Cited page that will appear at the end of your essay.
Let’s Test your KNOWLEDGE: What’s wrong with this student’s work: Abigail is a small-minded girl overflowed with resentment. She is an unmarried woman and also an orphan. As an orphan, the young Abigail seems to have been deprived of nurturing love and becomes deeply attached to John Proctor, the only man who has given her passion. “Who put knowledge in my heart“.
Let’s Test your KNOWLEDGE: What’s wrong with this student’s work: During the play, Willy loses touch with himself, as shown with his numerous contradictions. “That Chevrolet is the greatest car ever built . . .they ought to prohibit the manufacture of that car.” (Miller 22). Willy is an elderly man, his mind is slowing, and he has trouble remembering what he truly believes.
Time to Practice Using one of the quotations you’ve picked to use in your essay, Follow the 3 step process and draft how you would incorporate the quotation into your argument. Introduce the quotation Use the quotation Comment on the quotation