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- Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations
Suggested ways to introduce quotations
When you quote another writer's words, it's best to introduce or contextualize the quote.
How to quote in an essay?
To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format.
1. Use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation.
- The setting emphasizes deception: "Nothing is as it appears" (Smith 1).
- Piercy ends the poem on an ironic note: "To every woman a happy ending" (25).
2. Begin a sentence with your own words, then complete it with quoted words.
Note that in the second example below, a slash with a space on either side ( / ) marks a line break in the original poem.
- Hamlet's task is to avenge a "foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare 925).
- The speaker is mystified by her sleeping baby, whose "moth-breath / flickers among the flat pink roses" (Plath 17).
3. Use an introductory phrase naming the source, followed by a comma to quote a critic or researcher
Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets. APA format doesn't require brackets.
- According to Smith, "[W]riting is fun" (215).
- In Smith's words, " . . .
- In Smith's view, " . . .
4. Use a descriptive verb, followed by a comma to introduce a critic's words
Avoid using says unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.
- Smith states, "This book is terrific" (102).
- Smith remarks, " . . .
- Smith writes, " . . .
- Smith notes, " . . .
- Smith comments, " . . .
- Smith observes, " . . .
- Smith concludes, " . . .
- Smith reports, " . . .
- Smith maintains, " . . .
- Smith adds, " . . .
5. Don't follow it with a comma if your lead-in to the quotation ends in that or as
The first letter of the quotation should be lower case.
- Smith points out that "millions of students would like to burn this book" (53).
- Smith emphasizes that " . . .
- Smith interprets the hand washing in MacBeth as "an attempt at absolution" (106).
- Smith describes the novel as "a celebration of human experience" (233).
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21 Killer GRE Essay Quotes You Should Be Using Right Now
By Jitta Raghavender Rao • GRE Writing
“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” – A.A. Milne
Chances are you too know a few famous quotes, but you probably don’t use them. I know so, because I’m guilty of neglecting quotes on the GRE.
So, why should you use essay quotes on the GRE? To start with, the right use of quotes in essays augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays appear more convincing. Plus, essays with quotes tend to score better than essays without them, because of the initial impact the use of quotes create on the reader, and help strengthen your point.
But we need to exercise prudence. Only use quotes as is, if you are convinced that paraphrasing would lower the impact or change the meaning of the original author’s words or when the argument could not be better expressed or said more succinctly.
Here is how you make sure you are doing it right.
How do I incorporate quotes into my essay?
At times, an essay can appear painfully discorded if the quotations are out of place or if the essay is too stuffed with quotes.
So, what should you do to avoid this?
A great quote plays one or more roles from the following:
- creates the initial impact on the essay grader
- makes your essay look more promising and interesting
- establishes credibility
- concludes the essay with a point to contemplate
If the quote doesn’t serve any of the above then you are forcing it into the essay and this could do more harm than good.
You should start writing your essay with a quote that lays foundation to the main idea behind the essay. This can have a major impact on the evaluator. You can also comment on the quotation in this introductory paragraph if you wish. Either way, to get a perfect score on the GRE essay, use a relevant quote strategically but don’t force it into the essay.
Can I alter the structure of the quotation?
Using the exact words from the original source is called quoting. You should quote when you believe that the way the original author expresses an idea is the most effective way to communicate the point you wish to make. If you want to borrow an idea from the author but don’t put the idea in their exact words, then it’s called paraphrasing. (but remember that you still have to cite the original author even when you are paraphrasing)
For example, Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” You can alter the quotation on your own according to the passage, by saying: ‘To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “It is easier to trust when you can verify.”‘ By doing this, you are not only citing the original author, but also gaining extra points for using your own version of the quote.
How many quotes should I use?
If you deploy a lot of quotations in your essay, it appears as though several people are talking about the topic apart from yourself. This would downplay your own voice and leaves little room for your own ideas. It is your essay and it should be your voice that needs to be heard, not some notable/famous person’s. Quote as infrequently as possible. So, don’t cram every quote you know into the essay. As a rule of thumb, refrain from using more than 2 quotes in any essay. (One in the introductory paragraph and the other if necessary in the conclusion)
How do I introduce the quote in my own words?
The last thing you would want is get your score cancelled on account of plagiarism. It’s highly recommended that you cite the author of the quotation. If you don’t cite, you may give the impression that you claim to be the original author and that could result in plagiarism. You should place the quote in double quotation marks. Here is an example usage citing the author:
Thomas Jefferson once said “The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”
Categorization of GRE Essay Topics
The fascinating thing about the GRE essay topics is that they’re already published on the official ETS website. This may sound crazy because giving out the questions in advance is not normal. Now, use this to your advantage. You can find all the GRE essay topics on the official ETS website .
But there’s a catch! You were expecting a few, right?
Well, there are close to 200 topics in all – far too many to practice responses in advance. Also, practicing each of these topics is not advisable as it is going to take a lot of time and effort and there is no point in mugging them up. You could as well spend this time on learning some math. However, there’s a good news. Just scanning through these two lists will give you an excellent idea of the types of issues and arguments that show up on test day.
I just made things a bit easy for you, though. Most of the topics that show up on the GRE essay section can be broadly grouped into five categories.
- Sciences and Technology
So, next time when you practice writing an essay response, make sure you write at least one essay from each of these categories. And memorize a few quotes related to each one of these topics, as they will be handy.
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List of most useful essay quotes
I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-digest quotes that should help you write the perfect essay. Bookmark this page NOW for future reference.
The following quotes from great thinkers have been selected based on their relevance to common GRE essay topics and for their ease of usage.
- The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance – Socrates
- A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is – Yogi Berra
- A little inaccuracy can sometimes save a ton of explanation – H.H Munro
- Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction – E. F. Schumacher
- A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually – Abba Eban
- Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good – Mohandas Gandhi
- Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what it may – Daniel Webster
- Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws – Plato
- Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing – Theodore Roosevelt
- It is dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong – Voltaire
- The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object – Thomas Jefferson
- No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation – Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S President)
- The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work – Emile Zola
- The world is full of educated derelicts – Calvin Coolidge
- A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a change to get its pants on – Winston Churchill
- It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog – Mark Twain
- Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it – Socrates
- If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning – Aristotle Onasis
- Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things – Epictetus
- As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can – Julius Caesar
Now, these are a handful of quotes. The goal is to memorize 5 or 6 of your favorite quotes so you’ll be able to contextually fit one into the essay on the test day. While practicing, you may look at the list of quotes found above however, if you can remember a specific quote apposite to your essay topic, try to use it – one quote for every essay.
For those avid writers, who believe the number of quotes above are too low, we have the right tool for you. Ellipsoid created a random quote generator tool that draws 5 famous quotes from Goodreads every time you reload the page. The good news is these 5 quotes are always theme based so you know where to use them.
Writing essays isn’t all about the substance. It’s the basics that many of us forget. If you are going to put in the time to practice writing essays, might as well maximize the score you could get by deploying a quote in your essays.
So, what’s your favorite quote?
Other posts you'll love:
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20 Comments to “21 Killer GRE Essay Quotes You Should Be Using Right Now”
i think it is difficult to remember even these 21 quotes in the exam. any tips to remember them will be helpful. thanks
Yes, it is rather difficult to remember all the 21 quotes, which is why we asked you to pick a few of your favorite ones from the list. Plus, the only way you can remember these quotes is by using them while you practice AWA essays.
Happy Studying! 🙂
I personally memorize the ones that can be useful in more than one topic, and as said learn the ones you like most.
Quote number 5… oh, Albert. You make my bricks fall off. As to you, Mr. Kaundinya, I might win a brand spankin’ new tablet thanks to your quotes. I’m sure my D.A.R.E essay will be awesome.
I found that they are advantageous,but i don’t think that i can get used of them in a short time.
thnx for these awesome quotes guys.i’m damn sure that the’ll help a looooooooot in improving my skills.
Super glad to know they helped you, Bhavya! Hope you’ll kill some essays with these quotes now. 🙂
It is really helpful
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Wow! This is the fantastic technique to use quotes in essay, because this think bring something new in essay writing. I’m big fan of your after reading this article.
I liked those quotes
Those quotes are amazing….. I’m sure that it it will help in writting essays
Glad it helped, Merin! Feel free to message us if you have any questions! 🙂
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- How to Start an Essay
- A Guide to Starting an Essay with a Quote: The Best Ways!
How to Start an Essay: Easy Tips to Help You Get Started
Key things you should know when picking the right quote for your essay, need professional help to understand how to begin an essay, how to begin an essay with a quote examples.
How to start an essay with a quote ? Have no idea how to start narrative essays for high school? Are you looking for good essay samples to follow when composing your paper? Don’t know how to start an analytical essay? Writing an effective opening paragraph that will inform, motivate your reader can be challenging for schoolchildren/college students. It is an important step in the writing process everyone should take.
What strategy can help avoid mistakes? Remember that the most important purpose of your academic piece of writing is to persuade readers of your point of view based on evidence from in-depth research. Consider including the following key points in order to succeed:
- At the essay’s beginning, tell the public about the main idea your paper covers. Introduce your essay’s subject in a clear manner
- Focus on your paper explaining your audience the central issue of your discussion. You can do it in various ways. Pose a question, immediately suggesting answers that will be argued; state a thesis; it is possible to combine these two approaches. It’s up to you to choose the most effective way
Can you start an essay with a quote? Definitely, yes! This is one of the killer ways to hook the reader. Bear in mind that when you are thinking how to begin an essay, you should take steps to make your readers fully understand why they might want to continue reading. This is the key
- You have to catch your reader’s attention with a hook - encourage him/her to read the entire paper. Your goal is to persuade the audience that your text is worth reading
- You should orient your readers. You need to provide necessary information and explanations to help your audience follow your arguments. You can do it by answering basic questions of who, where, what, how, when, and why or by providing a short overview of the sources you’ll be analyzing
Do you wonder how these strategies work? Order a model paper on your topic that will be written according to your specific requirements. It will serve you as an example to help you learn how to start essay with quote and other effective ways capable of attracting the reader. You can get the helping list of the best argumentative essay topics online easily.
College essays are long projects. Sometimes, many people find them overwhelming but if you break the writing process into small parts and try to complete your draft step by step, you can expect you will feel more confident and work more productively. Let’s discuss how to start a paper with a quote, taking manageable steps.
First, choose a topic that you find intriguing. Define the purpose of your project and evaluate your options. The most successful strategy is to write about a subject that you are passionate about. Conduct research and study the available sources of information. Before you get started with your piece of writing, make a detailed outline to organize your thoughts, sort your ideas into certain categories, and determine natural links between your thoughts. Now, you are ready to write an introduction.
Follow the tips below to create an impressive introduction. There are 4 simple tips that will help you to cope with this task quickly and easily. Let’s get started!
1. How to start an essay introduction? To attract your readers’ attention, begin with the killer language means. Brainstorm ideas on an attention grabber and add a couple of sentences that lead to your thesis. Use one of the strategies that we’ve already discussed.
Beginning an essay with a quote is a good idea. Finally, use the outline or a mind map of your ideas and create a thesis statement – a sentence or a couple of sentences, the aim of which is to tell your audience about the point you will be arguing about in your paper. A thesis is the last sentence of your introduction.
You may need to return to your introduction after you’ve finished the final draft to clarify the focus, change, and rewrite the beginning of your paper several times to ensure that you are able to engage your readers and establish your authority.
2. How to start essay with quote? Do you wonder “ Can I start an essay with a quote?” Definitely, yes! It’s a rather popular way to begin an essay. You should find the right quote that fits your purpose and use it within the framework of your own words. How to begin an essay with a quote? Check the list with the most effective tips on how to put a quote in the beginning of an essay.
- Avoid the frequently used quotations and clichés that are familiar to everyone because they will bore your target audience making them think that you have been lazy to search for the original quotes
- Explain how the quote connects to your point
- Select a quotation that your audience can understand and relate to
- Make sure the quote exactly fits the tone of your academic paper
- When introducing a quote , always acknowledge the source. Follow the requirements of a specific citation sty le
These tips on how to start an essay with a quote will help you pick the right quote that will impress your reader. No matter what sort of opening you choose, make sure it is related to the focus of your paper and serves a good tool for establishing the context, or plays a significant part in your thinking and analysis. Your opening should be clear, direct, and specific. Try to avoid too broad and general openings because they can make your paper look boring
3. How to start a paragraph in an essay? The next step is writing the body paragraphs. Talking about how to start a paragraph in an essay, we should say that all body paragraphs will have the similar basic structure. Write one of your main ideas in the outline as a topic sentence in a paragraph. Then, add supporting ideas. Back each supporting idea with relevant examples, statistics, and other details and make sure you provide enough information to link these smaller ideas together. You will have to write as many body paragraphs as you have main ideas in your outline.
4. How to start a conclusion for an essay? We’ve come to your paper’s final part. Let’s discuss how to start a conclusion for an essay. The length of a conclusion depends on the length of your paper and its complexity. There is no set formula for how to do this the right way.
Your task is to review the key points and provide a final perspective on your subject. Write 3 to 5 strong sentences. Make sure they reinforce your thesis statement and briefly remind your readers about the significance of your topic, and the research you have conducted. After writing your conclusion, check your paper’s organization and logical flow of ideas, paying attention to the smallest details. Fix grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.
As you see, writing high-scoring essays can be complicated and time-consuming but we hope that our simple tips on how to start a good essay will help you succeed in creating impressive beginnings for your admissions, argumentative, persuasive and other types of essays.
Some students think that it is as easy as ABC to start with a quote. However, it is a misconception as you need to learn how to do this the right way. There are certain things you should take into account when looking for the best quote. You should be patient as the search may take you more than one day. You should look through a number of sources to find a saying of a person that will be exactly what you need. Most students give preference to the sayings of famous people. It may sound surprising but this is not the best way to impress the reader.
It is better to find a quote of a person who isn’t well-known. You can use a part of a long quote not to bore your reader in the very beginning of your paper. If you have found an interesting saying, don’t rush to use it for your piece of writing. You need to conduct research on the history of the quote and create a successful methodology . Learn more about its origin to know what context it was first used in. Choose those sayings that were unexpected and creative.
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Do you wonder how they can be helpful? Simply using them, you will get a perfect understanding of how to start an essay on your topic, write a good introduction , organize your argument in the three body paragraphs, create an impressive conclusion, back your points with appropriate evidence and quotes from the relevant sources. We will provide you with the perfectly written model papers that can help you in creating your own pieces of writing.
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If you do use a quote, you must introduce it correctly so that the reader understands why it is there and who said it. Don’t just shove it in and hope the reader knows why you have included it. So say something like:
Regarding survival rates for gladiators, Johnstone states: “Gladiator shows were hardly the bloodbaths we see in modern films and TV programs. If there were five fights in a day, on average only one would end in death.” This shows that the risk of death may have been low enough to entice free men to become gladiators.
You must also explain how the quote helps to answer the essay question (here the question would be: ‘Why would free men become gladiators in ancient Rome?’). Be explicit: don’t leave it up to your reader to work it out.
Karl Marx, writer of the pamphlet The Communist Manifesto, proclaims, “Communism abolishes all eternal truths…instead of constituting them on a new basis” (Marx 81). In other words, communism throws out all beliefs, not only ones that counter the ideas of communism. Marx’s insistence on “abolishment” reflects the greater implication that communism not only represents a change in a political system or a belief, but also negates all previously accepted aspects of life. This would require a radical change of heart for all people. Marx’s call for the abolishment of truths requires too much change in people’s lives; his ideas are not ideal to change society.
How to write an Essay about a Quote
Teachers often ask you to write an essay about a quote. It’s a way of getting you to think deeply about the concepts that quotes encompass.
You’ll need to dig deeply into what the quote means and what it reveals about the world.
In this post, I’m going to give you some guidance to get you started on writing that essay about a quote , no matter what quote it is!
Here’s a quick fly-by of what’s in this post. Feel free to navigate to each point, or just scroll through the whole post:
- Select the quote Wisely. Here’s how.
- Do this in the Introduction.
- Place the Quote in Context. Here’s how.
- Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings. Here’s how.
- Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You or Society. Here’s how.
- A Summarized Checklist of What you Need to Say
Essays about quotes really do vary. Here’s some examples of different types of essays about quotes:
- The teacher provides the quote as a prompt for the analysis of a concept;
- The teacher provides a range of quotes and you have to choose one and discuss its meaning;
- The teacher asks you to find your own quote and discuss its relevance to you .
So, here’s some initial questions I have for you. If you don’t know these questions, you need to ask your teacher:
- Can you use first person?
- Are you supposed to say how the quote impacts you (personal essay) or just critique it (expository essay)?
Keep these questions in mind, because I’ll come back to them in this article and it will influence what you should write.
Here’s my 5 essential tips on how to write an essay about a quote:
1. Select your Quote Wisely (If you get to choose the Quote!)
Okay, so sometimes you’re asked to choose a quote and write an essay about it. Other times your teacher gives you the quote and you have to write about the quote they choose.
Step 1 is for everyone who gets to select their own quote.
Here’s how you should go about selecting your quote:
- Try to find a quote that is said by someone who you have some knowledge about. If it’s a quote from a book, make sure you’ve actually read the book. So, if you get the choice between a quote from Harry Potter (which you’ve read) and The Grapes of Wrath (which you haven’t read), go with the Harry Potter quote. If it’s a quote from a speaker like a US president, try to get a quote from a US president who you admire and who you have the most knowledge about.
- Ensure the quote is well known. You don’t want to get stuck in the situation where you selected a quote but can’t find any information about it! So, the best option is to select a quote that you’ll be able to find a lot of information about. That’s why it’s useful to select a famous quote by someone like Martin Luther King Jr., Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Atticus Fitch or another figure whose you know you’ll be able to gather a lot of background information on.
- Only select a quote if you know where it’s from. Most people who have to select a quote are going to go straight to google and type in ‘Famous Quote’. No! No, no, no, no, no. This is going to find you one of those random generic quote websites and you probably won’t even be able to find out what speech, book or page number the quote is from! You’re better off looking for a quote from within a specific book or speech so you’ll be able to read it ‘in context’ (i.e. you’ll be able to read the surrounding sentences!)
So, to recap, make sure the quote is from a source you have at least a little knowledge about; is one that you’ve either heard of before or know you can find information about on google; and make sure you can get access to the quote’s original source (the book, play or speech it’s from).
2. Cite the quote, the quote’s author and its origins in the Introduction
The introduction paragraph for any essay on a quote requires you to show a clear understanding of the quote you’re discussing and some of its details. While this isn’t the place to go into depth on how to write an introduction, let me quickly recap for you my I.N.T.R.O method for perfect introductions :
- Interest : provide a hook sentence that grabs the reader’s interest
- Notify : notify the reader of background information
- Translate : paraphrase the essay question
- Report : report on your thesis
- Outline : Outline what will be said in the essay, in order.
Now, let’s apply that formula to an essay about a quote. Here, we could write each sentence like this:
- Interest : say something interesting about the quote
- Notify : explain exactly where the quote comes from
- Translate : while usually you’d paraphrase the essay question in an introduction, you can provide the quote word-for-word in the introduction for an essay about a quote
- Report : say what your interpretation of the quote is, in one or two sentences
- Outline : Outline what you’re planning on saying about the quote in the essay
3. Place the Quote in Context
This is one of the most important parts of your essay. When we say ‘context’ we mean that you need to be able to show a deep understanding of the background information about quote that you have selected. To do this you can select from the following strategies:
a) Explain the theme of the speech, article or book that the quote comes from
How a quote is received and understood has a lot to do with the book or speech that the quote comes from. Have a think of what the key theme is that the quote touches on.
Here’s a quote, for example, that you might not understand until you look at the book the quote comes from:
“Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”
This quote is from Huckleberry Finn. Therefore, it probably has something to do with his desire to avoid being civilized and tamed by society. Why? Because the central theme of the overall text in which the quote emerges is escaping the civilizing effect of society .
My point here is that you need to focus on the main theme of the text in which the quote emerges: is it about racism, evading the trappings of civilized society, or maybe a theme about love, war, passion, or something else entirely?
Here’s another example:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view….Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
This quote is from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird . You might not know it from just this sentence, but if we place it in context, we know the quote’s about racism. Why? Well, because it’s a quote that builds upon an underlying theme in the book that shows Atticus trying to teach his daughter to fight racial injustice in the deep South of the United States. So, when discussing a quote from this book, you can explain that the quote is in the context of a broader social discussion about race and racism in a nation whose history has been deeply troubled by racial injustice since its origins. By doing this, you will be able to understand the quote far more effectively,
One last example: this quote from Romeo and Juliet:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet.”
if you’re grabbing this quote from Romeo and Juliet, you’re probably going to want to say that the quote comes from a story that explores themes of forbidden love and family loyalty . By reading the surrounding text, you’ll understand that this quote is about Juliet (symbolized by the rose) having the surname of a family that Romeo despises. Nonetheless, he loves her not for her surname, but indeed despite it: he still sees the sweetness in her.
To find out the themes of key literary texts, try these sources:
b) Explain the story of the person who made the quote
How a quote is received and understood has a lot to do with the person who made the quote in the first place. So, examine the story of the person who made the quote.
Let’s take the example of Dumbledore, say … this quote:
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Dumbledore quotes will automatically be understood as wise, contemplative statements because Dumbledore is a wise and contemplative man ! They have more force and power because of Dumbledore’s age, stature and position as head of Hogwarts!
Similarly, often quotes from jesters in Shakespearian plays are interpreted as gems of truth and wisdom because jesters were some of the few people in middle England who were aloud to speak their minds among kings.
Here’s one last example: a quote from the Pope (any quote from the Pope – pick one!). What makes this quote so powerful? Well, it would be a powerful quote because the Pope is seen by Catholics as someone who is very close to god and therefore what he says should be listened to very closely.
By explaining the story of the person who made the quote, we can understand the quote more deeply.
c) Use who, where, when and why questions
Do you think the previous two points were too hard? No worries. Here’s an easier framework for you to use: the 4 W’s.
This is a very powerful way to dig deep into your contextualization of the quote. Explain the who, where, when and why about the quote.
Let’s take an example of this quote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
This quote comes from the US Declaration of Independence . What context can we take from this famous quote? Here’s a few ideas to give context to the quote:
- Who: Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin
- Where: United States of America
- Why: This quote was made in the context of a young nation shaking off the oppressive shackles of the British Empire. The US leaders wanted a new society where social class and royalty of the old ‘motherland’ should be discarded and a more equal land created
- Other Points: Today this quote could be seen as sexist. It was written in a time when women lacked many rights. Furthermore, the gendered term ‘men’ is not just semantics : they truly meant all men were equal to one another, and this excluded women’s rights for many centuries. Similarly, you could critique its racist undertones. Lastly, you could also mention that this quote is one of the most famous statements on the principle of classical liberalism which highlights the freedom of the individual.
Once you’ve jotted down some draft of these background / ‘contextual’ details, you can turn them into full paragraphs in your essay.
4. Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings
Quotes often have multiple contested interpretations. If your quote could be interpreted in different ways, you will need to examine the different ways in which it is interpreted.
Let’s take the example of the quote:
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby!”
This quote comes from Ilhan Omar, a democratic congresswoman. She made this quote to highlight the influence of the Jewish lobby on Republican politicians.
This quote had very contested meanings : for the political left, it highlighted the fact that money is a dark influence on policymaking in Washington. For the political right, it was seen as an anti-Semitic attach on an old stereotype of Jewish people controlling the world’s finances.
If you were to select this quote, you would of course have to present both perspectives on the quote.
My suggestion is that you look up what other people think of the quote and discuss what they’ve had to say about it. Maybe out of 5 people you find online, 4 see it one way and 1 sees it another. Present both ways that a quote can be interpreted to show you’ve thought deeply about it.
Of course, this might not be relevant to everyone: some quotes have a very clear central meaning!
5. Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You and / or Today’s Society
Remember when I said that you should check with your teacher about whether you can use first person in your essay?
Well, if you can use first person in your essay, I recommend in this step to talk about what the quote means to you. Questions you can discuss include:
- Which interpretation of the quote is most convincing, in your mind?
- Has the quote influenced you to think more deeply about something?
- Has the quote changed your mind about something or prompted you to act differently in the future?
If you are writing an expository essay that does not involve first person language, I recommend instead discussing the broader relevance of the quote to broader society today.
For example, let’s say the quote is Winston Churchill’s famous statement:
“Things are not always right because they are hard, but if they are right one must not mind if they are also hard.”
This quote was said in the context of World War II, when Britain and its allies fought gallantly for 4 years against Hitler’s Germany. So, what relevance does that quote have to today’s world?
Well, it might mean that you should follow in Churchill’s footsteps and learn a lesson from him and the brave Brits: to stand up and fight against injustice wherever it may be, even when the enemy seems to be bearing down on you! While once injustice was in Nazi Germany, today that injustice might be in the arena of terrorism or Islamophobia. The quote remains relevant to today’s world, though, because it’s a rallying call to standing up for what you believe is right.
Read Also: 39 Better Ways to Write ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay
Woah! That’s a lot to take in. Essays about quotes are hard. Hopefully, these strategies have given you something to think about when discussing you quote. Keep in mind these five key points when trying to think of things to write about:
- Select the quote Wisely. Make sure you know a fair bit about the quote you’re using, and if it’s from a book, take a quote from a book you’ve actually read!
- Cite the quote, the quote’s author and its origins in the Introduction. This will show your marker from the very beginning that you understand the quote.
- Place the Quote in Context. Consider the overall theme of the text the quote comes from, the personality of the person who said the quote, and use the 4 W’s to dig deeper into what the quote is all about!
- Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings. If the quote can be interpreted in many ways, then make sure you present all those possible interpretations in your essay.
- Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You and / or Today’s Society. By discussing the quote’s relevance to you or society, you’ll be showing your maker you understand why on earth it’s worthwhile reflecting on the quote in the first place!
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 10 Critical Theory Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 13 Social Institutions Examples (According to Sociology)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 71 Best Education Dissertation Topic Ideas
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 11 Primary Data Examples
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How to Start an Essay with a Quote
Many students are interested in the question: Can I start an essay with a quote? Our answer: of course, you can! The main thing that you should pay attention to is the expediency of this quote. It should be intriguing, catchy, and involving. Below you will find many useful tips that will help you attract the attention of your audience from the very first phrase of your essay.
When Would You Want to Start with Quote?
Relevance is a very important quality. Sometimes the same method can be successful and unsuccessful at the same time. For example, you certainly cannot imagine a research essay that begins with a quote about love. Such stories are boring and old-fashioned. Students think that quotes will help make their essays interesting and compelling. But not the phrase itself is important, but its meaning, context, your interpretation. You can’t just start the paper with a quote and forget about it. Each sentence of your essay should respond to the first of them.
This means that you can use a quote if your essay is devoted to reflective, artistic, literary topics. It can be a paper of comparison and opposition, a literature review. An appropriate quote can be selected for an analytical or critical essay. Many students use quotes for their admission essays, so this is often perceived as a cliché.
Use the quote to start the essay when you realize that you do not have another hook. The reader will see a familiar or intriguing phrase and will want to know what your paper is about. In addition, this will automatically add you a score. After all, if you quote Nietzsche or Dostoevsky, you are probably very smart and have done solid work on your essay.
The Pros and Cons of Starting with a Quote
It cannot be denied that the decision to begin essay with a quote has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no universal rule that will be the same for all papers. Check out the list below to understand your situation and make the right choice.
- They help you set a proper tone. They briefly convey a large layer of information that can resonate with the readership. Any other means will require more time and effort for these purposes.
- A powerful or controversial quote always captivates readers. A strong quote is something that immediately attracts attention. Note that not every phrase can be involving. Choose a shocking, humorous, controversial, or thoughtful quote for your essay. Think about how you can use it as a hook to interest readers.
- Quotes point out the main idea of your essay. This is a great opportunity to check if you have a good essay. If you can explain it in one phrase, you’re on the right track. The quote with which you start the paper will become that phrase.
- The authority of the source is working for you. Using a quote from a great man who has achieved significant success in his goal, you give great authority to your words. Just imagine: you are supported by Lincoln or Einstein. Which of the readers dare to argue with their statements?
- It is a cliché. In fact, this cannot be called a big problem if you picked up a good quote that matches the essence of your paper. But sometimes it can limit you. Starting an essay with a quote, you can’t try with some other tricks, e.g. storytelling.
- Searching for the right quote is time-consuming. Sometimes you need to spend a lot of time before you find the right quote. In the end, you can even use the far from the best option simply because you took the time to do it.
- Quotes might “outshine” your thesis. A really good quote can take all the attention away. Meanwhile, you still need to write an interesting thesis statement. It will seem weak against the background of a quote, not from your authorship.
- The authority of the source can work against you. Many great personalities are controversial. They say the right thing but in a certain context. When choosing a phrase, think in what context it was expressed and how much this corresponds to the meaning of your paper.
The Key Points of Selecting the Right Quote
In order to start an essay with a quote, you need to choose a good phrase. Some students consider this task to be pretty challenging. Here are some tips to help you with this:
- Understand the purpose of the quotation use. You can’t just take any phrase and count on the attention of your readers. There are many more original ways to start an essay. Therefore, if you decide that a quote is a good idea, use our tips. Here are a few questions that you must answer before choosing the right phrase.
- Does the quotation have an original or unusual meaning that is difficult to explain in other words?
- Do you interpret this phrase correctly?
- What did the author write about? What is the historical and cultural context?
- Is the author of a quote an authoritative expert? Would he or she agree with your points? Does this person have an opinion for your target audience?
- Are you in favor of or against the idea that is indicated in the quote?
- Is your quote pretty popular or completely unknown?
Do not think that your first sentence should be written as soon as you decide on the topic of the essay. We recommend that you come up with a quote after your paper is ready. Then you will have a full understanding of this text: what idea it conveys, what arguments you use, how exactly you transmit your ideas to readers. Use the brainstorming method and write out all the quotes that seem suitable for you. And then answer the questions above. This will help you get rid of bad options and find the best solution.
5 Steps to Begin an Essay with a Quote:
Actually, starting a paper with a quote it’s not at all difficult. Here are five steps to help you do this:
- Decide on your goal. What do you expect from an essay? Do you want to convince readers of a certain point of view? Inspire them? Maybe make them laugh? Each of these situations requires its own approach. You cannot use the same quote in all of these cases. Setting a goal will help you narrow your choices.
- Consider your audience. If you write for professionals, you can use sources well known to people in this field. For a wider audience, you can use popular quotes. Consider the following features: gender of the audience, age, range of interests, area of work, knowledge of the history of the United States or other countries, etc.
- Select the right quote. It is the most important step of how to start an essay with a quote. You should consider all the information you have and make a choice. You may line one good quotation, but it doesn’t mean you should use it. Sometimes it is better to try the more appropriate one that conveys your ideas. Strong phrases are bright, but they require a lot of text to explain them. This is your next step.
- Think over an explanation. You must provide your readers with an explanation supporting the quote. They need to understand how this phrase relates to your thesis or argument. This is not always obvious. In this case, people simply do not pay attention to the quote at the beginning of the essay.
- Mention the source. Depending on the specific requirements of your professor, you must provide information about the sources used. American schools are very strict about plagiarism. Do not underestimate this aspect.
Mistakes You Should Avoid Starting an Essay With Quote
The first mistake you can make is banality. Quotes such as “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” or “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” very boring. They have been used hundreds of times and do not carry any new meaning.
The second mistake is the lack of context. Readers cannot always understand why you used this particular phrase. This will make them feel stupid. People do not like to feel stupid. Write essays in plain language and explain such things.
The third mistake is a too loose interpretation of the context. Make sure you understand the quote correctly and don’t use it for your own purposes. If you did it on purpose, explain it to readers.
Examples of Quote Introductions
Examples are what help students get the big picture. You can read the theory for a long time, but you still cannot understand what actions you should take in practice. Therefore, we have selected some good examples for you. Use them to come up with your own quote for your introduction:
- ‘It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.’ This quote of Buddha is pretty relevant these days. People think of how they can communicate with this world, but they forget to communicate with themselves. Each of us has one’s own fears, inner anxiety, and doubts. It is important to get rid of them in order to try something new and great.
- ‘If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home, and love your family.’ Maria Theresa was a smart woman with an amazing mindset. Her popular quote reminds us that there is nothing more important than family. There is no point in fighting for the happiness of other people if your loved ones need you at this moment.
- ‘To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.’ Big wins always start with big steps. Sometimes, when you want to succeed, you have to bet absolutely everything that you have at stake. You may lose, but you may win.
Now you know how to start an essay with a quote. We recommend that you do not procrastinate or put off writing a paper until the last day. Make sure you have enough time. But this does not mean at all that you are obliged to write an essay and look for a good quote-hook for it. We understand that students want to have fun in their free time. Perhaps you work, and your head is busy with more important things than selecting quotes. Fortunately, we know how to help you. Place your order on our website, and we will select a professional author for you. Your essay with an attractive quote will be ready on time and at a very competitive price!
Written by Stephany James
Stephany is an expert with a big number of hobbies. Apart from working at Cornell University (which she graduated five years ago), she loves cooking and jogging. When Stephany is not helping students with their English and French assignments, she is writing a book of her own on the nature of habits and motivation.
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Can You Start An Essay With A Quote? (What You Should Know)
by Antony W
February 28, 2023
The opening paragraph can make or break your essay. Start with a hook and you stand the chance to grab your reader’s attention.
Implement some guesswork and write the introduction haphazardly, and you could lose them completely. But can you start an essay with a quote?
You can start an essay with a quote, but you must do so with caution. Accompany the quote with a clear explanation to help a reader understand how and why it fits in your work. More importantly, ensure the quote you include in your essay is from a credible scholarly source.
Understand that relevant, helpful, and equally credible quotes can capture the attention of a reader, not to mention easily related the thesis statement of your essay.
- Quotes can help to spike readers’ interest, making it a powerful writing technique that gets them to read the rest of the essay.
- If you include any quote in your essay, you must show how it fits into your work so that your readers understand its relevance.
Our custom essay writing service can help you get an essay on any topic completed on time. Whether you struggle with introducing your work or you’re not good at choosing the best quote to start the essay with, you can hire one of our expert writers for assistance.
What Types of Quotes Can You Include in an Essay?
You can use direct, summary, or paraphrase quotes in the introduction of your essay.
- A direct quote contains all the words of a speaker. You should write it exactly as it is.
- Paraphrased quotes are reworded statements written in your own words without changing the intended meaning.
- A summary quote is one written in brief, and it retains the message of the original quote.
You can use any type of quote in your essay. Just make sure you don’t interfere with its original meaning as intended by its author.
How to Choose a Good Quote to Start an Essay
Here’s how you can find the best quote to start any type of essay :
1. Choose a Quote Relevant to the Topic
Read the essay prompt to understand the nature of the assignment.
The first few minutes of going through the assignment brief should make it easy to choose a quote that’s relevant to the central theme of the topic.
Also, ensure that the quote is memorable because it will retain readers’ attention and give them the interest to read the rest of the essay.
2. Get Your Quote from a Credible Source
It’s easy to brainstorm and make up your own quotes.
Such quotes can be interesting enough to draw attention, but they won’t fit in an academic essay because they’re your own thoughts.
The quote you choose to start an essay with should come from a credible scholarly source.
If your teacher asks you where you got the quote from and you tell them you made it up, they’ll more than likely not read the essay past the introduction.
3. Use Clear, Short Quotes
It doesn’t make sense to start an essay with a long quote that a reader will struggle to remember.
Even if a quote is interesting enough to fit the central theme of the essay prompt, you should avoid it in favor of a short, clear quote.
If a reader can memorize the quote within the first 30 seconds of reading, go for it.
Such a quote is good for your essay because it enhances clarity, making it easy for the reader to understand the meaning and support for your argument.
4. You Should Explain the Significance of the Quote
If you choose to start your essay with a quote, don’t explain to explain its significance in the paper.
There are two advantages to doing this.
First, explaining a quote further helps to strengthen your essay. Second, more explanation enables you to present the clarity so you don’t lose a reader, not to mention make your content easy to understand.
5. You Should Provide Relevant Reference to the Quote
Since a quote is someone else’s thoughts, you need to attribute it to the right author.
Besides, your readers will want to know where you got the quote from, and you must make it easy for them to find it.
When Not to Start an Essay with a Quote
Some students prefer to start their essays with quotes because they find the phrases engaging, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But purpose-written opening sentences tend to have a broader latitude than quotes, and therefore more powerful than the latter.
Again, quotes communicate someone else’s thoughts so much so that they tend to undermine your creativity. So it’s best to shy away from them if you have something more engaging and enlightening to share with your readers.
There’s also the problem of limited range of expression, as you don’t have the room to expand on another author’s quotations besides summarizing or paraphrasing it.
Because quotes require attribution, they can cause a reader to look aside, so you risk losing their attention during that first moment with your writing.
Final Thoughts on Starting an Essay with a Quote
If one thing is for sure, it’s that’s you can start a great essay with a quote relevant to the theme of the topic. As long as you can find and attribute great quotes, you’ll be set and ready to write an essay that your instructor will find interesting to read.
However, if you want more freedom to express your thoughts and share something more enlightening with your target readers, then there’s no point starting your essay with a quote.
Get Essay Writing Help
Writing an essay when you have tons of additional assignments to complete can be tough. That’s the case especially when you’re short on time but have a tight deadline to beat. You can simply reach out to us and we’ll help you get your essay assignment completed in good time.
At Help of Assessment, we have an established team of writers who dedicate their time and effort to writing high quality essays that will pique your instructor’s interest and earn you the marks you deserve. Plus, we’re far more affordable than many academic writing services online, and we put more effort in writing high quality essays for all our clients.
About the author
Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.
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How to Put a Quote in an Essay
Last Updated: November 28, 2022 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,605,902 times.
Using a direct quote in your essay is a great way to support your ideas with concrete evidence, which you need to support your thesis. To select a good quote , look for a passage that supports your argument and is open to analysis. Then, incorporate that quote into your essay, and make sure you properly cite it based on the style guide you’re using.
Incorporating a Short Quote
- For instance, let's say this is the quote you want to use: "The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold."
- If you just type that sentence into your essay and put quotes around it, your reader will be disoriented. Instead, you could incorporate it into a sentence like this: "The imagery in the story mirrors what's happening in Lia's love life, as 'The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold.'"
- "Critic Alex Li says, 'The frequent references to the color blue are used to suggest that the family is struggling to cope with the loss of their matriarch.'"
- "According to McKinney’s research, 'Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.'"
- "Based on several recent studies, people are more likely to sit on the park benches when they're shaded by trees."
- You still need to use quotation marks even if you're only quoting a few words.
- If you're in doubt, it's best to be cautious and use quotes.
- For example, let’s say you used the quote, “According to McKinney’s research, ‘Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.’” Your commentary might read, “This shows that yoga can have a positive impact on people’s health, so incorporating it into the workplace can help improve employee health outcomes. Since yoga makes employees healthier, they’ll likely have reduced insurance costs.”
- When you use a paraphrase, you still need to provide commentary that links the paraphrased material back to your thesis and ideas.
Using a Long Quote
- The reader will recognize that the material is a direct quote because it's set off from the rest of the text. That's why you don't need to use quotation marks. However, you will include your citation at the bottom.
- "In The Things They Carried , the items carried by soldiers in the Vietnam war are used to both characterize them and burden the readers with the weight they are carrying: The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water." (O'Brien 2)
Variation: When you're citing two or more paragraphs, you must use block quotes, even if the passage you want to quote is less than four lines long. You should indent the first line of each paragraph an extra quarter inch. Then, use ellipses (…) at the end of one paragraph to transition to the next.
- Your block quote will use the same spacing as the rest of your paper, which will likely be double-spacing.
- For example, “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s the only one who’s begun to move on after their mother’s death” might become “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s … begun to move on after their mother’s death.”
- Don’t eliminate words to change the meaning of the original text. For instance, it’s not appropriate to use an ellipsis to change “plants did not grow faster when exposed to poetry” to “plants did … grow faster when exposed to poetry.”
- For example, let’s say you want to use the quote, “All of them experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.” This doesn’t tell the reader who you’re talking about. You could use brackets to say, “All of [the teachers in the study] experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
- However, if you know the study is talking about teachers, you couldn’t use brackets to say, “All of [society experiences] a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
- If you don't explain your quote well, then it's not helping your ideas. You can't expect the reader to connect the quote back to your thesis for you.
- For instance, you may prefer to use a long block quote to present a passage from a literary work that demonstrates the author's style. However, let's say you were using a journal article to provide a critic's perspective on an author's work. You may not need to directly quote an entire paragraph word-for-word to get their point across. Instead, use a paraphrase.
Tip: If you’re unsure about a quote, ask yourself, “Can I paraphrase this in more concise language and not lose any support for my argument?” If the answer is yes, a quote is not necessary.
Citing Your Quote
- An MLA citation will look like this: (Lopez 24)
- For sources with multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Anderson and Smith 55-56) or (Taylor, Gomez, and Austin 89)
- If you use the author’s name in your lead-in to the quote, you just need to provide the year in parentheses: According to Luz Lopez, “the green grass symbolizes a fresh start for Lia (24).”
- An APA citation for a direct quote looks like this: (Ronan, 2019, p. 10)
- If you’re citing multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Cruz, Hanks, and Simmons, 2019, p. 85)
- If you incorporated the author’s name into your lead-in, you can just give the year and page number: Based on Ronan’s (2019, p. 10) analysis, “coffee breaks improve productivity.”
- For instance, a Chicago Style citation will look like this: (Alexander 2019, 125)
- If you’re quoting a source with multiple authors, separate them with the word “and:” (Pattinson, Stewart, and Green 2019, 175)
- If you already incorporated the author’s name into your quote, then you can just provide the year and page number: According to Alexander, “the smell of roses increases feelings of happiness” (2019, 125).
- For MLA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories , vol. 2, no. 5, 2019, p. 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- In APA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. (2019). A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in "Her Darkest Sunshine." Journal of Stories , 2(5), 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- For Chicago Style, your article citation would look like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories 2 no. 4 (2019): 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
Selecting a Quote
Tip: Quotes are most effective when the original language of the person or text you’re quoting is worth repeating word-for-word.
- If you’re struggling to explain the quote or link it back to your argument, then it’s likely not a good idea to include it in your essay.
- Paraphrases and summaries work just like a direct quote, except that you don’t need to put quotation marks around them because you’re using your own words to restate ideas. However, you still need to cite the sources you used.
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- Always cite your quotes properly. If you don't, it is considered plagiarism. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://www.ursinus.edu/live/files/1160-integrating-quotespdf
- ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-incorporate-quotes-.html
- ↑ https://helpfulprofessor.com/quotes/
- ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/using-sources/quotations/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/periodicals.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/
About This Article
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.
To put a quote in an essay, incorporate it directly into a sentence if it's shorter than 4 typed lines. For example, you could write "According to researchers," and then insert the quote. If a quote is longer than 4 typed lines, set it off from the rest of the paragraph, and don't put quotes around it. After the quote, include an in-text citation so readers know where it's from. The right way to cite the quote will depend on whether you're using MLA, APA, or Chicago Style formatting. For more tips from our English co-author, like how to omit words from a quote, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Use a Quote in an Essay
Table of Contents
MLA in-text citation how-to
You can take a quote from different sources of information, such as books, magazines, websites or printed journals. Using quotes in an essay serves three goals:
- Present additional evidence to support your point of view or oppose a claim or idea;
- Help a reader better understand a topic under analysis;
- Strengthen your argumentation on a topic using another writer’s eloquence.
Since quotes are mostly used in Humanities, you’ll have to follow MLA citation referencing guidelines. The Modern Language Association citation manual implies two types of quotes – short and long.
- Short quote – Is less than 4 lines of typed text and can be embedded directly into a sentence;
- Long quote – Is more than 4 lines of typed text and requires a separate content block in an essay without quotation marks.
Writing college essays, the recommendation is to use short quotes.
Referring to the works of other authors in-text is done using a parenthetical citation . Such a method implies the author-page style of quoting. For example:
When it comes to writing, King suggests: “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” (5)
Given the MLA in-text citation already contains King’s last name, you shouldn’t mention it in the parenthesis. If the author’s name isn’t mentioned in-text, it has to be specified in a parenthetical citation.
When it comes to writing, there’s a quote I like the most: “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” (King 5)
According to MLA guidelines, at the end of the essay, there has to be the Works Cited page . It contains the full reference featuring author’s full name, the full title of the source, the volume, the issue number, the date of publishing, and the URL (if the source was found online). Here’s an example of the full referencing in the Works Cited:
King, Larry L. “The Collection of Best Works.” Oxford University Press, vol. 2, no. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017, http://www.prowritersdigest.com/editor-blogs/inspirational-quotes/72-of-the-best-quotes-about-writing.
How to start an essay with a quote?
Starting an essay with a quote is a matter of controversy. Experts in the pro camp suggest that a quote at the beginning of an essay helps make a powerful statement right from the start. Moreover, an interesting, captivating quote grabs the reader’s attention right from the start.
Experts from the against camp suggest that when you begin an essay with a quote, you miss on the opportunity to present your own take on the subject matter. In their opinion, when writing the introduction, you have to rely only on your words. Whereas quotes are most useful in the main body, serving as an additional argumentation. In conclusion, a quote can be placed, too.
How to use quotes in the middle of an essay?
Main Body is the place you’re meant to state a quote or two, depending on the length of a paper. A standard 5-paragraph essay will imply you to use 2-3 quotes in the main body. More quotes aren’t necessary for such a short assignment. Two quotes in the main body will do just fine.
In the main body paragraph, a quote is placed in the middle of the passage . First, you introduce a focal sentence of a paragraph highlighting your point of view regarding a topic. After that, you provide the evidence data and argumentation, among which is a relevant quote. And finally, you smoothly transit to the next body paragraph or the conclusion. Here’re three examples of how to present a quote in one of the main body paragraphs.
Accurate integration of a citation in a text is key. Or the whole passage will sound off.
People who want to become a writer don’t really need any piece of advice. “Those (…) who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
College essay quotes have to be naturally embedded in a text .
People who want to become a writer don’t really need any piece of advice: “Those (…) who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
There’s also the way to write an essay with quotes in the smoothest way possible.
People who want to become a writer don’t really need any piece of advice. They simply “know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”
See how organically a quote is inserted in a sentence? That’s the best-case scenario of using a quote in a sentence.
How to end an essay with a quote?
Sometimes, ending an essay with a quote is better than merely restating your thesis statement. Citations can be taken from both primary and secondary sources. Good quotes to end an essay might be of your course professor’s. According to essay writing websites , quotations taken from the words of subject authorities and thought leaders will do great, too.
A quote ending an essay helps meet 5 objectives:
- Provide a solid closure to your essay;
- Fortify your point of view;
- Give one final argument in favor of your thesis statement;
- Establish your authority on a topic;
- Helps your essay stand out.
Having a quotation at the end of an essay gives a good chance to score an “A”.
15 tips for using quotations in an essay
- Look up quotes in academic sources in the first place;
- Rely on the printed matter rather than internet sources;
- Avoid citing information from Wikipedia;
- Give context to every quotation you use;
- Always use quotation marks to avoid plagiarism-related troubles;
- Explain why the quote you’re about to use in a text is important;
- Seek to integrate quotes smoothly in a sentence for the best effect;
- Each quotation has to be attributed to the original source using parenthesis;
- Gather 10-15 quotes relevant to your topic and then sift through 5 quotes that will serve you best;
- Use the exact wording, punctuation, capitalization and sentence structure as in the original;
- Watch your punctuation when using quotes in a sentence;
- Avoid misquotations, as it’s a sign of a careless attitude towards the assignment;
- Use an ellipsis (…) to withdraw a part of a quote you don’t actually need;
- Try to use short quotes rather than long;
- Avoid quoting quotes, as it’s where students make mistakes most often.
5 motivational quotes for essay writing
Inspiration is a staple in every great writer’s routine. As a student, you might find drawing inspiration a bit too difficult. Here’re a couple of inspiring essay motivation quotes to help you break through the writer’s block. Or you can buy argumentative essay if doing the task yourself isn’t an option.
“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work . … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”
“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive.”
Many times life catches us off balance. Lots of written homework. Tight schedule. Sudden illness. Personal matters. Writer’s block. An instructor returned the essay for revisions. At the moments like these, it’s always a good idea to have someone to cover your back. GradeMiners can always write you a new essay, rewrite an existing draft, perform an ending an essay with a quote, or proofread your text for mistakes, typos, as well as correct the use of quotations. Let us know if you need anything, and we’ll help you out!