WHY USE QUOTES? Quotes act as evidence for your ideas. When used effectively, quotes add strength and support to your topic. Quotes show that you understand how your ideas relate to the ideas of another. Quotes require that you engage in synthesis, a valuable skill.
Avoid quoting just to have quotes in your essay; make sure that the quoted material adds to, illuminates, explains, or illustrates the point you are making. Your quotes should enhance your essay.
Make sure you are using the most relevant quotes. Your selected quotes should directly pertain to your topic. Provide enough context so that the reader understands your quote.
Analyze, comment on, and/or explain each of your quotes. Quotes do not speak for themselves. Picking out quotes you will use in your essay is only a small portion of your job. You have to make the quotes work for your essay by explaining their relevance to your topic.
It’s difficult to end a paragraph with a quote, so try to avoid this.
Introduce all quotes. Avoid “naked” quotes (aka “floating” quotes, “dropped-in” quotes). You must have some of your own words around a quote and the easiest way to do this is to use the phrase "So-and-so says." You can vary that with "states" as in "As Patrick Murphy states." Other often used phrases are "According to So-and-so" or "So- and so believes" or "feels" or "thinks" or "claims.“ Use present tense when using quotes.
The first time you use a quoted source, use the author’s first and last name and the title of their work. After that, you can just use the last name.
If you’ve introduced the author in your introductory phrase (According to Kingston, ….) you do not need the last name in the parenthetical citation; the page number is sufficient (108).
Your quotes should look like this: Gandhi states, “The hardest metals yields to sufficient heat. Even so the hardest heart must melt before sufficiency of the heat of nonviolence” (190).
You do not have to quote entire sections. Use what you need. If you leave out words, phrases, or entire lines use an ellipse (…) to signal this to the reader.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THEFOLLOWING: Affluent Americans are buying super-sized homes in older, urban residential areas. These lots were once occupied by historic and humble homes. “Teardowns wreck neighborhoods. They destroy the character and livability that are a neighborhood’s lifeblood” (Moe).
BETTER: AffluentAmericans are buying new super- sized homes in older, urban residential areas. These lots were once occupied by historic and humble houses. Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, explains that the older houses are known as “teardowns,” and in their place towering “McMansions” dominate certain areas (24). Moe maintains that “teardowns wreck neighborhoods. They destroy the character and livability that are a neighborhood’s lifeblood” (27). The preservation of historic homes is important; these homes teach us about the past and have an aesthetic appeal that cannot be replaced.
WHY THE 2ND EXAMPLE IS BETTER: We are given context. We are introduced to the term “teardowns” and prepared for it when it’s used. The quote is introduced and effectively incorporated in the paragraph. We are told who Moe is and find that he’s credible to speak on the topic of historic preservation. The quote from Moe is clearly analyzed. We now understand the importance of the quote.