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How to quote poetry

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  • 1. How to quote poetry?
  • 2. Why quote?
    To provide evidences to support your answers.
    To enable you to be accurate and specific.
  • 3. Do this…
    Give short quotes
    Always explain your quote:
    - What it shows
    - What it means
    - Why it matters
  • 4. 3 ways of quoting poetry:
    If your quote is 2 lines or shorter, you can put it at the end of your sentence and before it write a formal ‘intro’
    e.g. In stanza 2 Thrilling evokes the powerful bond between the girl and her home when she uses the personification: ‘Shadows clung / to her clothes at the door’.
  • 5. 2) If the quote is not at the end of the sentence, punctuate it with a comma before the quote, and a comma after the quote, instead of a colon.
    e.g. When Thrilling says, ‘Shadows clung / to her clothes at the door’, she evokes the way that the girl’s home is like a loving person who does not want her to go. This is because the act of clinging has connotations of intense love and unwillingness to let go of something.
  • 6. 3) Sometimes it is better to ‘weave’ the quote smoothly into your sentence, without needing to add any punctuation.
    e.g. The description of how ‘Shadows clung / to her clothes at the door’ vividly evokes the way that the girl’s home is like a loving person who does not want her to go.
    Note: Make sure your sentence is grammatical and it makes sense!
  • 7. Example from My Country and My People
    In stanza 3, the poet subtly expresses irony by choosing to use quotation marks when describing herself as a ‘daughter of a better age’. Contrary to actually being "better" than Singapore's pre-independence period, the poet was living in a fairly unstable and unsafe time then. The authorities were busy ‘quelling riots’ caused by communists and clashing racial groups. It was thus no consolation that Singapore was actually ‘better’ because independence was since achieved, or that the patriarchal society was more open to the education of girls. After all, its people could hardly enjoy independence or education when the streets were considered unsafe.
  • 8. Punctuating Quotes
    Always open and close the quote with inverted commas (quotation marks). These should be single inverted commas, so that if anyone speaks in the poem you can show this speech with double inverted commas, or when the word means something else.
    Use a slash (/) to indicate whenever a new line starts in the poem.
  • 9. DO NOT…
    Define poetic terms
    Ask the examiner a question
    Quote huge chunks
    Misquote