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How to Use a Quote in an Essay

April 7th, 2017 | Posted by GradeMiners


Quotations are an instrument to prove your point of view is correct. An essay aiming for 85+ score points contains 2-4 quotes. Each citation supports the thesis statement and strengthens your argument. Quotations are mostly used in Humanities. Social Sciences rely more on paraphrasing, data analysis and statistics. In Natural Sciences quotes are uncommon. Each quote has to be referenced in-text following MLA (Modern Language Association) citation style guidelines. Otherwise, an instructor will consider it plagiarizing. This guide will help you manage quotations in your essay up to the mark.

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:

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.

Writing college essays, the recommendation is to use short quotes.

Parenthetical citation

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 authors 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 the conclusion, a quote can be placed, too.

Looking to introduce a quote in an essay? Mind your p’s and q’s. Having a quote at the beginning or the end of your essay will limit the number of quotes left for the main body. In an essay, the number of quotes is limited that much. Otherwise, it would be a collection of quotes rather than an original essay. An instructor won’t approve of such assignment and most likely forward it for revisions. We are NOT recommending to use quotes in the Introduction. Leave all your quotes for the main body and maybe one to use in the conclusion.

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 a 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.

Wrong

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.”

Correct

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.”

Perfect

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. Quotations taken from the words of subject authorities and thought leaders will do great, too.

A quote ending an essay helps meet 5 objectives:

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

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.

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”
Ray Bradbury
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
Ernest Hemingway
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Mark Twain
“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.”
Stephen King
“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive.”
William Zinsser

Instructor returned your essay for revisions? Do THIS

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, 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!

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