Why Quote | St. Lawrence University WORD Studio

Why Quote

A paper is NOT a massive collection of quotations and paraphrased ideas glued together with a few transition phrases. It is, instead, an essay in which you offer your thesis and ideas based on and supported by your research. You need to incorporate and blend in your reference material in a variety of smooth, persuasive ways.

  • As one movie critic wrote, “This film is really terrible, and people should ignore it” (Dennison 14).
  • Bob Dennison, movie reviewer for Rocky Mountain News, aimed this insult at the people who might enjoy the film: “This film’s plot is so inane that the director must have intended it for people who move their lips not only when they read, but also when they watch TV” (14).
  • Local movie reviewer Bob Dennison slammed this recent work of his director-on-thehot-seat weekly spotlight by letting his readers know that a choice to watch this film suggested they may need remedial help with kindergarten-level thinking (14).

Use direct quotations only when an authority expresses the point you want to make in a more impressive, emphatic, or concise way than you could say it yourself. If the quotation is simply material that provides evidence you need, better to paraphrase that material yourself.

When you decide to use direct quotations, don’t merely drop them in next to your prose. Instead, lead into them smoothly so that they obviously support or clarify what you are saying.

Remember to do the following:

  • Use the correct punctuation—commas after introductory phrases; colons after introductory complete sentences.
  • Keep all the tenses the same; tenses in the quoted sentence should be altered to fit your tense choice. Indicate the shift within brackets. While the legislators cringe at the sudden darkness, “all eyes [turn] to Judge Ito” (Smith 46).
  • Once you add the quotation, make sure the quote plus your remarks together constitute a complete sentence
  • Check to see that your subject and verb agree or pronoun and antecedent agree

In sum, your remarks plus the quotation should grammatically cohere in all ways.