How to Add Quotations to Your Paper

How to Signal That You Are Quoting<

You can indicate that you have used the exact words of a source in two ways:
  1. For four or fewer lines, put quotation marks around the quoted words and include them on the same lines as your own sentences.
    Jared Diamond says, “These diseases must have been the evolutionary survivors of far more pathogens that tried to make the jump to us from animals—and mostly failed” (209).


    Source: Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999).<
  2. For five or more lines, set off the quoted words in a block quote: as a separate, indented unit.
    Jared Diamond discusses the evolution of diseases from animal to human hosts:

    A third stage in the evolution of our major diseases is represented by former animal pathogens that did establish themselves in humans, that have not (not yet?) died out, and that may or may not still become major killers of humanity . . . The final stage of this evolution is represented by the major, long-established epidemic diseases confined to humans. These diseases must have been the evolutionary survivors of far more pathogens that tried to make the jump to us from animals—and mostly failed. (208-9)

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NOTE: You must always indicate when you have used the exact words of a source and you must always cite the source of every quotation, both in your text and in your bibliography or works cited. If you fail to do so, even by accident, you open yourself to a charge of plagiarism.

How to Connect a Quotation to Your Sentences<

You can connect a quotation to your own words in two ways:
  1. Quote a complete clause, sentence, or passage taken from the source, usually with an introductory phrase or clause of your own.
    Jared Diamond reminds us that “diseases represent evolution in progress, and microbes adapt by natural selection to new hosts and new vectors” (209).

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    Jared Diamond says, “the epidemic dies out for any of several reasons, such as being cured by modern medicine, or being stopped when everybody around has already been infected and either becomes immune or dies” (208).

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    Jared Diamond notes that the spread of disease can have geopolitical consequences. According to Diamond,

    The importance of lethal microbes in human history is well illustrated by Europeans' conquest and depopulation of the New World. Far more Native Americans died in bed from Eurasian germs than on the battlefield from European guns and swords. Those germs undermined Indian resistance by killing most Indians and their leaders and by sapping the survivors' morale. (210)

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  2. Weave words, phrases, or clauses from the source into the grammar of your own sentence.
    As Diamond points out, the “top rank among the killers” could have gone to “smallpox, measles, influenza, [or] typhus” (212).

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    As he was “confronted with the tumultuous realities of war's opening” in 1914, Wyndham Lewis experienced feelings of a divided loyalty, including “the competing claims of self and nation, dissent and patriotism, nonconformity and collectivism" (Peppis 113).


    Source: Paul Peppis, Literature, Politics and the English Avant-Garde: Nation and Empire, 1901-1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).<
You can modify a quotation to fit into your sentence, so long as you don’t change its meaning. If you alter your quotation, you must clearly indicate what you modified:
  • Use three dots (called an ellipsis) to indicate words you deleted from the middle of a sentence or passage. Do not start or end a quotation with ellipses.
  • Use square brackets to indicate words or letters you added.
    Original:

    Diamond examines the question of how food production arose in different parts of the world: “In addition to these five areas where food production definitely arose de novo, four others—Africa's Sahel zone, tropical West Africa, Ethiopia, and New Guinea—are candidates for that distinction” (98).

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    Deleted words marked with ellipsis:

    Diamond examines the question of how food production arose in different parts of the world: “In addition to these five areas where food production definitely arose de novo, four others . . . are candidates for that distinction” (98).

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    Added and modified words marked with brackets:

    “In addition to [the] five areas where food production definitely arose de novo, [there are] four other . . . candidates for that distinction” (98).

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How to Introduce a Quotation<

You can introduce a quotation with a phrase, clause, or sentence (underlined):
In Diamond’s view, “Among these nine candidate areas for the independent evolution of food production . . .” (99).

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Diamond says, “Among these nine candidate areas for the independent evolution of food production . . . ” (99).

OR

Diamond says that “Among these nine candidate areas for the independent evolution of food production . . . ” (99).

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According to Peppis, “The Vorticists did not see these political aims as incompatible” (12).

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That introduction usually names the author of the source, but it does not have to:
As a recent work has shown, “differences in other plants go back to the very beginnings of agriculture . . .” (Diamond 117).

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One effect of agriculture was an increase in crop yields: “preferential harvesting and planting . . .” (Diamond 117).

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“The Vorticists did not see these political aims as incompatible” (Peppis 12).

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You can also identify the author of a quotation at its middle or end, although that may feel backwards to readers:
“When you wade into a thorny thicket amid the mosquitoes on a hot, humid day, you don't do it just for any strawberry bush,” notes Jared Diamond; instead “you decide which bush looks most promising” (117).

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“It turns out that it . . . possessed at least five advantages over other Mediterranean zones,” according to Diamond (138).

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The “Fertile Crescent . . . possessed at least five advantages over other Mediterranean zones,” argues Diamond (138).

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When you introduce a quotation, you can help readers know how to judge the quality of its information in three ways:
  1. Mention the credentials or reputation of the author.
    The noted scientist Jared Diamond has suggested that . . .

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    According to General James Mattis, commander of the United States Central command, . . .

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    In the words of a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, . . .

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  2. Mention the publication information of the source.
    In a pamphlet intended for anti-government Militia groups, Norman E. Olson writes . . .

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    According to a report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), . . .

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    An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that . . .<

  3. Use a verb that reflects your judgment of the source. You can use no verb or a neutral one that express no value judgment:
    • According to Posner, . . .
    • Posner says . . .
    • Posner writes . . .
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    Or you can use a verb that indicates whether you think the information is reliable or not:
    Posner proves that . . .

    vs.

    Posner wants us to think that . . .

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    Or you can indicate whether the information is generally accepted as factual or is contested:
    Posner reports that . . .

    vs.

    Posner argues that . . .

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Your words matter when you introduce a quotation. So think carefully about how you introduce a quotation, and you will help readers know how to judge the information you present.

How to Use Quotation Marks<

  • Always put double quotation marks before and after the words you take from a source, whether the quoted words are woven into your own sentences or are quoted as stand-alone sentences.
    As Diamond points out, “some of the advantages that the Fertile Crescent's flora afforded the first farmers” were . . . (138).

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    Jared Diamond informs us that “local failures or limitations of food production cannot be attributed to competition from bountiful hunting opportunities” (154).

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    Jared Diamond notes, “regions differed greatly in their available pool of domesticable species” (155).

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  • If a final quotation mark occurs along with any other punctuation mark, put the quotation mark after the punctuation mark if it was part of the original and before the punctuation mark if it was not part of the original.
    Punctuation in original:

    “How could those Austronesian-speaking farmers from South China via Taiwan replace the original hunter-gatherer population of the Philippines and western Indonesia so completely that little genetic and no linguistic evidence of that original population survived?” wonders Diamond (344).

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    Punctuation not in original:

    Can we assume that Lewis was “pulled . . . by the competing claims of self and nation, dissent and patriotism, nonconformity and collectivism” (Peppis 113)?

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  • If the words you quote include quotation marks, use double quotation marks at the beginning and end of your quotation and use single quotation marks for the quotation marks inside your quotation.
    Original with quotation marks in the quotation:

    The coexistence of these competing, at times contradictory, political commitments helps explain Raymond Williams's productive observation that “the politics of the avant-garde, from the beginning, could go either way.”


    Source: Peppis, Literature, Politics and the English Avant-Garde, 12.<
    Your quotation:

    Peppis claims that the “coexistence of these competing, at times contradictory, political commitments helps explain Raymond Williams's productive observation that ‘the politics of the avant-garde, from the beginning, could go either way’” (12).

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How to Punctuate a Quotation<

If you weave a quotation into your own sentence: Use the punctuation called for by your own syntax:
According to Peppis, the British response to German threats against the French in Morocco in 1911 “confirmed that Britain had moved from its Victorian position of independent international non-alliance to its post-Edwardian position as one member of the Triple Entente” (71).

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If you introduce an independent quotation: If the introduction is a complete sentence, end the sentence with a period or a colon:
Diamond explains why Eurasia was the main site of big mammal domestication. “[I]t was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals . . . and lost the fewest candidates to extinction” (163).

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Diamond explains why Eurasia was the main site of big mammal domestication: “it was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals . . . and lost the fewest candidates to extinction” (163).

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If the introduction is a phrase ending in that, put no punctuation after that:
Diamond says that “it was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals . . .” (163).

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Peppis believes that “despite Tarr's rhetoric of artistic independence and antagonism to bourgeois conventions, he fails to fulfill the ideal” (142).

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If the introduction is any other phrase, end the phrase with a comma:
In Diamond’s view, “it was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals . . .” (163).

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As Peppis says, “despite Tarr's rhetoric of artistic independence and antagonism to bourgeois conventions, he fails to fulfill the ideal” (142).

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If you identify a quotation at its end: End the quotation with a comma:
“[I]t was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals,” according to Diamond (163).

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“[D]espite Tarr's rhetoric of artistic independence and antagonism to bourgeois conventions, he fails to fulfill the ideal,” Peppis claims (142).

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If you identify a quotation in the middle: If you identify a quotation in the middle of a clause, put a comma before and after the interruption:
“[T]he explanation for Eurasia's having been the main site of big mammal domestication,” according to Diamond, “is that it was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals to start out with, and lost the fewest candidates to extinction” (163).

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If you identify a quotation between independent clauses, you have three options:
  1. Put a comma before and after the interruption. If necessary, add words to make the grammar work.
    “[T]he Americas may formerly have had almost as many candidates as Africa,” according to Jared Diamond, but “most of America's big wild mammals . . . became extinct about 13,000 years ago” (162).

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  2. Put a comma after the quotation and a period after the interruption.
    “[T]he Americas may formerly have had almost as many candidates as Africa,” according to Jared Diamond. However, “most of America's big wild mammals . . . became extinct about 13,000 years ago” (162).

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  3. Put a period after the first part of the quotation and a comma after the interrupting identification.
    “[T]he Americas may formerly have had almost as many candidates as Africa”. However, according to Jared Diamond “most of America's big wild mammals . . . became extinct about 13,000 years ago” (162).

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Where to Put a Parenthetical Citation<

  • Whenever possible, put a parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence or a clause, after any quotation marks and final identifying phrases.
    Jared Diamond says, “The Americas may formerly have had almost as many candidates as Africa, but most of America's big wild mammals . . . became extinct about 13,000 years ago” (162).

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    “[T]hese anarchical characters act out of a multitude of competing and confused motives and impulses” (Peppis 41).

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  • If you are using an author-date citation system, put the date after the author’s name if you mention it in your sentence, otherwise put the date at the end after any quotation marks.
    Jared Diamond (1999) says, “It turns out that it . . . possessed at least five advantages over other Mediterranean zones” (138).

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    “It turns out that it . . . possessed at least five advantages over other Mediterranean zones” (Diamond 1999, 138).

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