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Writing with Quotations

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Cara Horner

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Writing with Quotations

Writing with Quotations
Using Double Quotation Marks
a) Use double quotation marks (“) when you are quoting another source (a person, an article, a work of literature, etc.) directly, without changes or modifications.

Integrating & Punctuating Quotations
There are rules when it comes to formatting and punctuating quotations in your writing. It’s not hard to do, but you need to pay close attention to detail.
Using Single Quotation Marks
In the United States, single quotation marks ( ' ... ' ) are used for a) quotes within quotes, and b) quotes within headlines.
Examples :
"This is the best young adult
novel of the year," says
middle school librarian
Mr. Jennings.

Romeo begins his worship of Juliet from afar: “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.”

In the United States, double quotation marks ( " ... " ) are used for a) direct quoting, b) off-setting words or phrases in a sentence,
c) writing dialogue, and d) punctuating certain titles.
Usage Notes :
If a quote is lengthy and you only really need certain parts of it, you can leave out words or phrases and replace what you cut with ellipses in brackets: [...]
"This is the best young adult novel of the year […] a real page-turner for even the most reluctant reader,” said middle school librarian Mr. Jennings.
b) Double quotation marks are sometimes used to offset a particular word or phrase when you are referring to the word itself instead of to its meaning.
Example :
Mrs. Purcell was impressed that I could spell the word “chrysanthemum.”
c) Authors use double quotation marks when
they are writing dialogue between characters.
Example :
d) Double quotation marks are used for titles of short stories, poems, songs, articles, TV episodes, etc.
"The Tell-Tale Heart" (short story by Edgar Allan Poe)
"Yellow Submarine" (song by The Beatles)
"This Is Just to Say" (poem by William Carlos Williams)
a) The most common reason to use single quotation marks is to quote someone who is quoting someone else. For example, if you are quoting your grandma quoting Dr. Seuss, you’d do it like this:

“As Dr. Seuss said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.’ What a wise man, that Dr. Seuss,” said Grandma.

The Associated Press uses single quotation marks when a quotation is part of a headline. This makes sense, since if you were quoting the whole headline, you’d have to use double quotation marks around it (see #4 under Double Quotation Marks).
If the quotation comes after a lead-in phrase, you should include a comma before it. You should capitalize the first word of the quotation (even if it is not the first word of the sentence) if it is the first word of the QUOTED sentence.

Walter Mitty murmers, “Things close in.”
For most English classes, you will use MLA style. This means that after you quote in an academic paper, you must cite the page number parenthetically (as opposed to using a footnote). Here’s how to punctuate a cited quotation.
* Note that there is no punctuation between the last word of the quotation and the quotation mark, and the period goes outside the parentheses.

•* The only exception to the above is if the quotation itself ends with a question mark or an exclamation point.

If you are only quoting part of a sentence, leave the first word uncapitalized and skip the comma.
My mom said that my room was "an uninhabitable pig sty."
Walter Mitty murmers, “Things close in” (52).
EXAMPLE: Atticus asks Scout, “How was school today?” (34).
"I can always count on [Mr. Jennings's] recommendations."
You can also use brackets to change parts of the quotation in order to make things clearer for your reader. This is often done to avoid vague pronoun reference; you can change "he" or "she" to a proper noun, as long as you show that you've made a change by using brackets.
Seamlessly integrating quotations in your writing will strengthen your argument by making the connection more apparent and easier for your reader to follow.

It’s important not to just “drop” the quotation into your analysis as if from nowhere. You can use lead-in context (followed by a comma, as shown in the "Walter Mitty" example), or you can use a colon. Colons are especially useful when you are using a quotation as evidence right after a clearly expressed argument.
In the opening paragraphs of “The Chrysanthemums,” John Steinbeck uses vivid imagery to conjure a picture of the Salinas Valley in the reader’s mind: “The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world. On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot” (1).
Other resources:

The blog Grammar Girl has some videos on quotation marks. Here’s one:


Purdue Online Writing Lab


* If you are reading a book that was written or published in Britain, you might find single quotation marks used for dialogue, but in the U.S., double is standard.
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