Quoting – A Guide to Quoting in Academic Writing

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Quoting-Definition

When you read or listen to ideas from others, it is essential to acknowledge their thoughts by citing them when we use them. This article will cover all you need to know about quotations.

Quoting – In a Nutshell

A quotation is a way of bringing someone else’s work into your discussion. The technique helps you in the following way:

  • It enables you to avoid plagiarism
  • It brings clarity to your work
  • It redirects readers to more information about your topic
  • It reinforces your arguments and provides authenticity
  • It supports your claims

Definition of quoting

Quoting is described as using the exact words said or written by another author in your academic paper. This external information is usually used in order to support your own arguments.1

When quoting, you use quotation marks around the words and sentences that are not initially yours:

The President ordered, “All learning institutions to be closed due to COVID” in his speech.

What is the purpose of quoting?

Quoting is used to emphasize language, present evidence, and express, define and explain your ideas.

Emphasis on language

Quoting is used very commonly to emphasize language. 2

In this case, quoting is relevant, as users of a certain language may give the strongest representation of that language:

Peter explains that “Schadenfreude” is a word that can’t be translated into English.

Presenting evidence

Quoting is often used when presenting evidence in order to support a claim. This may be relevant when you intend to convince your readers.3

Firstly, account for your claim:

Julia Winter’s (2004) writings express that she believes there is no objective reality; instead, a person creates his or her own reality.

Secondly, introduce the quote:

In Societal psychology, Winter asserts,…

Finally, present the evidence:

…“if you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, it will be believed” (p. 23).

Expressions, explanations, or definitions

In order to support your argument, you may quote expressions, explanations, or definitions by other authors:

We should focus on our creativity because, as Maya Angelou expressed, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.4

Quoting in different citation styles

Citation styles are a set of protocols for citing sources when writing an academic paper, and also function as tools to avoid plagiarism. There are a number of citation styles, which are useful in academic writing:

  • Parenthetical or narrative citations like APA style and MLA style
  • Footnotes in Chicago style

Let’s take a more in-depth look at these citation styles in relation to quoting below.

Quoting in APA style

When quoting in APA in-text citation style, the author’s last name, the year of publication, and page numbers must be included. If the quote is located on only one page, the abbreviation “p.” is used. If the quote reaches more than one page, the abbreviation “pp.” is used.

In APA in-text citation style, one may distinguish between a parenthetical citation and a narrative citation:

Parenthetical citation At the end of the quote, all the information of the source must be placed in brackets.
Example “APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing” (Cenzo, 2022, p. 234).

Narrative citation If the name of the author is mentioned in the sentence, the year of publication is placed after the name in brackets. At the end of the sentence, the page number is set in brackets.
Example Cenzo (2022) stated that “APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing” (pp. 234-300).

 

Regarding punctuation, it is essential to set commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks…etc. after the quotation marks.

Quoting in MLA style

When quoting in MLA in-text citation style, only the author’s last name and page numbers must be included. In the case of two authors, both names must be stated. If there are more than two authors, only name the first one and add “et al.” to refer to the rest. The information of the sources is not separated by commas, nor are page indicators used in MLA.

Quoting author/s examples:

  • One author: (Cenzo 23)
  • Two Authors: (Cenzo and Melly 40-42)
  • Three plus authors: (Cenzo et al. 43)

In MLA in-text citation style, one may distinguish between a parenthetical citation and a narrative citation:

Parenthetical citation At the end of the quote, all the information of the source must be placed in brackets.
Example “APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing” (Cenzo 234).

Narrative citation If the name of the author is mentioned in the sentence, the page number is set in brackets at the end of the sentence.
Example Cenzo stated that “APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing” (234-300).

Like in APA, it is essential to set commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks…etc. after the quotation marks.

Quoting in Chicago style

Footnotes are notes written at the bottom of the page in a paper. They are indicated by letters or symbols written in the form of a superscript and placed right after a quote. Citing a quote in Chicago must include the author, title, and page numbers.

Cenzo stated that “APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing.” (Cenzo, Citation Styles, 234.)

How to introduce quotes correctly

When quoting in your paper, consider the following Dos and Don’ts:

Do's Don'ts
Make sure to present your quotes in your own words Avoid redundancy and do not include unnecessary quotes to make your essay look sophisticated
Convey the purpose of your quotes to the readers Don't look for a quote and then find the technique; instead, start with the technique and incorporate a suiting quote
Use quotes that support your arguments and provide an additional understanding of the context Do not write quotes as a sentence by itself

Find a detailed account of the 3 ways of introducing quotes correctly below:

1. Introductory sentences

Introductory sentences present the following content like quotes. They serve to open paragraphs and precede the idea sentence. The common tense used is present simple. They require a comma mostly after an introductory clause, prepositional phrase, verbal phrase, or distinct pause. If the introductory sentence is a full sentence, a colon must be placed at the end of it.

Unlike APA and MLA parenthetical citations, punctuations like period, comma, question mark, and exclamation point are placed inside the quotation marks in Chicago.

Example of introductory sentences:

Wrong:

A recent study shows that:

“Children from higher income-level families, perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).

Correct:

A recent study shows that there is a correlation between the grades of children in school and their parents’ income level:

“Children from higher-income families, perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).

Correct:

Brown (2019) reports that there is a correlation between the grades of children in school and their parents’ income level:

“Children from higher-income families, perform better in school” (p. 21).

Example of signal phrases:

Correct:

According to a recent study, “Children from higher-income families, perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).

Correct:

As Brown (2019) reports, “Children from higher-income families, perform better in school” (p. 21).

Introductory signal phrases

Using signal phrases when quoting can be done in various ways. If the signal phrase does not shape a full sentence, it should be ended with a comma. In the case of a full sentence, the signal phrase should be ended with a colon.

Quoting in own sentences

Quoting in your own sentences is relevant when the quote is not a full sentence. In most cases, additional punctuation is not needed.

Examples:

Correct:

A recent study shows that children from higher-income families “perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).

Correct:

Brown (2019) suggests that children from higher-income families “perform better in school” (p. 21).

Quoting within a quote

A nested quotation is understood as a quoted text within another quote. To avoid confusion, the internal quote can be distinguished by single quotation marks. Keep in mind that this is only necessary when both quotes are present in your paper.

Examples of common incorrectly formatted nested quotations:

Anderson supports his argument by quoting Maya Angelou:

““Courage is the most important of all the virtues,’ she explained, ‘because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently”” (Angelou 4).

Anderson supports his argument by quoting Maya Angelou:

‘“Courage is the most important of all the virtues,” she explained, “because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently” (Angelou 4).

Examples of correctly formatted nested quotations:

Anderson supports his argument by quoting Maya Angelou:

‘“Courage is the most important of all the virtues,” she explained, “because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently’” (Angelou 4).

Anderson begins by quoting Maya Angelou’s wise words that

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently” (Angelou 4).

Quoting – shortening and changing

To smoothly incorporate quotes into your text, you may need to make changes to the original text. For this, it is vital to underline the alterations, so they are clear to the readers.

There are two ways of changing quotes:

When shortening a quote to remove redundant information, you may omit words or parts of a sentence and insert ellipses (…) instead. These provide a clear indication that the quote has been shortened. However, before removing anything, make sure that shortening the quote won’t affect the meaning.

Example of shortening a quote:

Meyer (2012) argues, “he has to run errands…to get home before midnight” (p. 12).

How to change quotations

In some cases, it is relevant to add or replace words in a quote. Integrating a quote in your own sentence may be challenging, as the grammatical structure or tense may not align with each other. In other cases, some quotes need more explanations in order to express the right context. When altering quotes, it is vital to highlight the changes made. This may be done in various ways:

When adding a word, use brackets around the word to indicate that you have added this word:

Jones (1993) states that “those [plants] with the highest stems are usually darker in color” (p. 201).

If you detect mistakes in an original quote, you may underline this in your paper. For this, the Latin term “sic” is used to indicate that this mistake has not been made by you:

Smith (2003) suggests, “some informations [sic] has been withheld from the government” (p. 60).

If you want to emphasize a certain word or phrase in italics, you must mark this with “emphasis added” so the reader knows to pay attention to this:

“Children from higher-income [emphasis added] families, perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).

If you make small changes regarding punctuation or capitalization, it is generally not necessary to clarify this in a bracket.

Block quoting

If the quote is longer than a few lines, the quote must be formatted as a block. For this, you do not use quotation marks, but the quote must be placed in a new line and be indented, so it takes the shape of a separate block of text in your paper. In this style, the in-text citation must be placed after the period if the quote ends with a period.

Example of block quoting:

Debeena Harris (2012) has a specific take on this topic:

Most people claim that they feel like they’re trapped in a rat race, without an exit. While we can all feel this way from time to time, it’s important to know that there is a way out. (p. 112)

FAQs

Quoting is a technique that allows you to include ideas from outside sources in your arguments.

By adding quotation marks to words and sentences that were said or written by an individual other than you.

For example:

“We should stand together to fight corruption,” the politician said.

If the quotation itself is a question, you should put the question mark inside the quotation marks.

For example:

The students were asked, “How many days are there in a month?”

If the whole sentence is a question and the quotation itself is not, you place the question mark outside the quotation mark. As shown below:

Did the students really respond, “Averagely, there are 30 days”?

Sources

1 Lane, Julia. “Quoting: When an how to use quotations.” Simon Fraser University. March 24, 2020. https://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/branches-depts/slc/writing/sources/quoting

2 The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Quotations.” Accessed November 09, 2022. https://writingcenter-unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/

3 Cerria, Lindsay. Argondezzi, Talia. “Using Evidence In An Academic Essay.” Ursinus College. Accessed November 09, 2022. https://www.ursinus.edu/live/files/1156-evidencepdf

4 The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Quotations.” Accessed November 09, 2022. https://writingcenter-unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/