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Master the mechanics of quote integration

by Haley Schabes

When writing a paper, it is important to integrate the quotes you are using correctly. You never want to just “drop” a quote into your paper. Dropped quotes interrupt the flow of your paper and risk leaving your paper without a sense of cohesion.

There are four ways to correctly integrate a quote into your writing:

  1. Introduce it with a complete sentence and a colon (:)
  2. Use an introductory phrase and a comma (,)
  3. Include the quote as part of your sentence without punctuation
  4. Use only small snippets from the quote in the flow of your own sentence

 

Now this might be a bit hard to understand, so let’s give some examples for each:

How to introduce a quote with a complete sentence and a colon:

In Experience and Education, John Dewey explains that failure is important to learning: “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (Salkind 393).

Notice: If you use a complete sentence to introduce a quote then use a colon (:) before you place the quote. Don’t be tempted by a semicolon or comma.

 

How to use an introductory phrase and a comma:

John Dewey explains the importance of failure in learning when he says, “failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (Salkind 393).

Notice: Place the comma between the introductory phrase and the quote. You can introduce the quote using verbs such as says, states, believes, asks, questions, and many others.

 

How to include a quote without punctuation in a sentence:

In Experience and Education, Dewey explains that “failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (Salkind 393).

Notice: The word “that” replaces the use of the word “says” from the previous example. If you use the word “that,” you do not use a comma in the sentence to introduce the quote.

 

Finally, here is an example of how to use snippets from a quote in your own sentence:

Dewey explains that failure is not an obstacle for “a person who really thinks” but is “instructive” (Salkind 393).

Notice: You do not need punctuation if the quote fits into the flow of your own sentence.

WARNING: In all of the above, you do need to CITE the quote. For more on citing and quote integration, click on the “citation” category at the top of this post and you’ll find more posts and lessons on the subject.

Happy quoting!

Haley Schabes is a senior majoring in business administration and minoring in education, economics, and Asian studies. Her current aspiration is to teach English abroad after college.

 

Works Cited: Salkind, Neil J. “F.” Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008. p. 393. Google Books. Web. 16 September 2016.

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