How to Quote a Phrase From a Book In An Essay Text

Jonathan Friesen - Writing Coach

1923 to engage in the agreeable task of culling the beauties of english literature, is like entering into a garden richly stocked with fruits and flowers. There is such an endless variety of blossoms on every side mdash so much to charm the eye, and woo the touch, that he who merely aims at arranging a suitable wreath, is apt to fail, from the very profusion of materials that are scattered around him. classic cullings and fugitive gatherings by an experienced editor, 1831 i have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. Wording verified by respectfully quoted: a dictionary of quotations i fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made. Samuel johnson, quoted in the journal of a tour to the hebrides, with samuel johnson, ll.d. by james boswell, 1785 my readers, who may at first be apt to consider quotation as downright pedantry, will be surprised when i assure them, that next to the simple imitation of sounds and gestures, quotation is the most natural and most frequent habitude of human nature. He who cites the opinion, or remark, or saying of another, whether it has been written or spoken, is certainly one who quotes and this we shall find to be universally practiced. James boswell, the hypochondriack, no.xxi, the london magazine: or, gentlemans monthly intelligencer.

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160 xxii, 1779 james boswell, the hypochondriack, no.xxi, the london magazine: or, gentlemans monthly intelligencer. June 1779 it’s that time of year again – like spring, tax day, and the end of the school year, exam season is upon us. Nothing can be more infuriating than writing a good timed essay, but with a little practice essay writing can become much less painful. However, one of the most frustrating aspects of writing a timed essay comes from that racing against the clock feeling that overrides almost all rational thought.

With that in mind, we at wordsmiths have decided to start a series aimed at helping you tackle the daunting task of writing a timed essay. One of the most confusing aspects of writing essays is embedding quotes properly. Many people have no idea what embedding really means – and others have an idea but struggle to embed quotes properly. Essays with poorly embedded quotes are often difficult to read through a poorly embedded quote can interrupt the flow of thought in an essay and confuse both graders and readers.

However, embedding quotes is not difficult when you keep the following in mind: 1.       don’t pull out a whole quote – use small segments of it. the rule of thumb that i heard in school is to never quote more than four words at a time. Obviously, this can be difficult, but the key to embedding quotes is to include the quote while still making your writing sound natural. When you use gigantic chunks of quotes, it can make your essay sound much more choppy and unnatural than it would if you embedded the quote properly. Let’s say that i wanted to quote theodore roosevelt when he said, he has no more backbone than a chocolate éclair in reference to william mckinley. If i wanted to embed that quote into a sentence, i wouldn’t use the whole quote – i would use the most relevant segment of it.

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Instead of writing this: theodore roosevelt thought he wasn’t assertive enough and said he has no more backbone than a chocolate éclair. I might say instead: theodore roosevelt felt that he lacked assertiveness, and once compared mckinley’s backbone to that of a chocolate éclair. The easiest key to using small segments of a quote is seeing how much of a quote you need to use for it to still make sense. This is really a skill that gets better with practice, but keep in mind that you don’t need to quote what i call ‘empty words’ – words like the and a. These common words don’t necessarily need to be quoted – and i’ll expand on what i mean by that a little later in the article. 2.      quotes are meant to be evidence. which means that, while they provide support for your argument, they do not form it. This is important to keep in mind – quotes are kind of like the structural support for a house.

Without them, your essay is baseless, but you don’t have a house just because you have the support built. This means that quotes must also be used somewhat sparingly – if you use a quote especially in a literature essay , you must expand upon it to some degree in your essay. Don’t throw out quotes and then move on – since they are meant to provide support, that means that you must explain to some extent why the quote you just used supports your argument. 3. don’t make it sound forced. read a sentence back to yourself a few times before you actually write it down.

Does it sound natural? does the quote flow well with the rest of the statement? if not, you need to re work your embedding of the quote. Keep in mind that you don’t need to quote a phrase all at once you can use parts of it throughout a sentence as well. Take this example: roosevelt often disagreed with him, saying that mckinley had the backbone of a chocolate éclair.

Though both phrases quoted in that sentence came from the same quote, they were broken up in my essay for clarity – and it is perfectly fine to do so in your own as well. Also notice that i decided to not quote the empty words from roosevelt’s statement – this is often a personal decision, but can occasionally make a paper read more smoothly even though you are essentially saying the same thing as the quote. It’s okay to change tenses in a quote. if the reason your quote doesn’t flow with the rest of your paper is because it is written in a different tense than the rest of your paper, by all means change the tense! sometimes, the content of quotes can also be unclear or sound wrong in a sentence. You can fix this in the quote itself as long as you: a      don’t change the overall meaning of the quote b      indicate that you made a change. Have you ever been reading an interview in a newspaper or magazine article and noticed that some words had brackets around them? when there are brackets around a word, it means that an author has changed the word in the quote for clarity.

Let’s say, for example, i am writing a paper about leroy, who is very fond of unicorns. I also have a statement that someone said directly to leroy that i want to use in my paper: you really like unicorns. However, this wouldn’t flow well in a sentence in my paper! i could write this: leroy adores unicorns and draws them on all of his papers one friend even says that he really like unicorns.

I could change the sentence in my paper to one where the quote i’m using makes sense, but in many cases this is very difficult and oftentimes makes the sentence harder to read. However, there is a simple way to get around this – change the tense in the quote, so that the sentence now reads likes so: leroy adores unicorns and draws them on all of his papers one friend even says that he really likes unicorns. Notice that this does not change the meaning of the quote in any way – but it makes it readable within my paper. This can also be done to make quotes more clear – for example, if a quote refers to a he or it that may not be obvious to a reader in your essay. Using the same quote about leroy from above, i could write a sentence like this: leroy even occasionally wears a unicorn horn when at home. This quote makes no sense, because it makes it seem like the person that i am quoting is asserting that i like unicorns. Learn quotes that apply to many topics. this works especially well for timed english papers, where you will either not have access to a book from which to pull quotes or you will not have the time to flip through a book looking for the perfect quote.

Keep in mind that the quotes you learn should apply to many topics so that you can use them in many places – for english papers, this usually means quotes that apply to theme statements or characterization or both. The more specific the quotes you learn, the less useful they will be to you – and the less you will be able to apply them to an essay. Use block quotes sparingly. and i advise you not to use block quotes at all when writing a timed essay, as this means that you are spending more time writing down your support and less time writing your actual argument in your essay. However, in non timed essays such as extended essays, for any ib students out there , block quotes can be used – but not often. Block quotes quotes that are four lines or longer can be valuable to an essay, but remember that they also take up valuable ‘real estate’ – so they need to be worth it in order to be included. I know it can be tempting to put in many block quotes in essays where you need to reach a certain word count, but this can detract from the flow of your essay and result in harsher grading.

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7.       citations need to flow as well as your embedded quotations do. there are many different ways to cite a source in a paper, but keep in mind that however you choose to cite should still flow well with the rest of the essay. You can introduce a source before your quote, like so: according to theodore roosevelt, mckinley has the backbone of a chocolate éclair. Or not introduce the source at all this is more common when your sources are textbooks or statistics rather than people. Use your own discretion as to which you use go with whatever flows better in your essay.  8.       there are many ways to cite sources in an essay. i am personally fond of using footnotes in my essays, but in timed or handwritten essays this can often be more cumbersome than it is worth. Remember that even if you introduce a source for a quote, you should still include a formal parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence.

Remember that parenthetical citations go after the last word but before the period in your sentence, like so: roosevelt only enacted legislation regarding food quality after the publishing of upton sinclair’s book the jungle. Generally they include the author’s last name and the page number from which the quote was taken, though page numbers or names may be omitted in cases of articles or sources with no authors listed. In these cases, the article title or the author’s name alone may be acceptable, though i encourage you to look up specific rules of citations on your own. I think if you are quoting king in your paper and write the whole sentence from the source which includes the quote then you switch to single quotes within your double quoted extracted portion of text. For example: source reads: text king handed the child to the woman and declared, an unjust law is no law at all.