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How to Use Quotation Marks
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A rundown of the general rules of when and where to use quotation marks.
Using Quotation Marks
The primary function of quotation marks is to set off and represent exact language (either spoken or written) that has come from somebody else. The quotation mark is also used to designate speech acts in fiction and sometimes poetry. Since you will most often use them when working with outside sources, successful use of quotation marks is a practical defense against accidental plagiarism and an excellent practice in academic honesty. The following rules of quotation mark use are the standard in the United States, although it may be of interest that usage rules for this punctuation do vary in other countries.
The following covers the basic use of quotation marks. For details and exceptions consult the separate sections of this guide.
Direct quotations involve incorporating another person's exact words into your own writing.
- Quotation marks always come in pairs. Do not open a quotation and fail to close it at the end of the quoted material.
Mr. Johnson, who was working in his field that morning, said, "The alien spaceship appeared right before my own two eyes."
Although Mr. Johnson has seen odd happenings on the farm, he stated that the spaceship "certainly takes the cake" when it comes to unexplainable activity.
"I didn't see an actual alien being," Mr. Johnson said, "but I sure wish I had."
When quoting text with a spelling or grammar error, you should transcribe the error exactly in your own text. However, also insert the term sic in italics directly after the mistake, and enclose it in brackets. Sic is from the Latin, and translates to "thus," "so," or "just as that." The word tells the reader that your quote is an exact reproduction of what you found, and the error is not your own.
Mr. Johnson says of the experience, "It's made me reconsider the existence of extraterestials [ sic ]."
- Quotations are most effective if you use them sparingly and keep them relatively short. Too many quotations in a research paper will get you accused of not producing original thought or material (they may also bore a reader who wants to know primarily what YOU have to say on the subject).
Indirect quotations are not exact wordings but rather rephrasings or summaries of another person's words. In this case, it is not necessary to use quotation marks. However, indirect quotations still require proper citations, and you will be committing plagiarism if you fail to do so.
Many writers struggle with when to use direct quotations versus indirect quotations. Use the following tips to guide you in your choice.
Use direct quotations when the source material uses language that is particularly striking or notable. Do not rob such language of its power by altering it.
The above should never stand in for:
Use an indirect quotation (or paraphrase) when you merely need to summarize key incidents or details of the text.
Use direct quotations when the author you are quoting has coined a term unique to her or his research and relevant within your own paper.
When to use direct quotes versus indirect quotes is ultimately a choice you'll learn a feeling for with experience. However, always try to have a sense for why you've chosen your quote. In other words, never put quotes in your paper simply because your teacher says, "You must use quotes."
Quoting and Paraphrasing
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College writing often involves integrating information from published sources into your own writing in order to add credibility and authority–this process is essential to research and the production of new knowledge.
However, when building on the work of others, you need to be careful not to plagiarize : “to steal and pass off (the ideas and words of another) as one’s own” or to “present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”1 The University of Wisconsin–Madison takes this act of “intellectual burglary” very seriously and considers it to be a breach of academic integrity . Penalties are severe.
These materials will help you avoid plagiarism by teaching you how to properly integrate information from published sources into your own writing.
1. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993), 888.
How to avoid plagiarism
When using sources in your papers, you can avoid plagiarism by knowing what must be documented.
Specific words and phrases
If you use an author’s specific word or words, you must place those words within quotation marks and you must credit the source.
Information and Ideas
Even if you use your own words, if you obtained the information or ideas you are presenting from a source, you must document the source.
Information : If a piece of information isn’t common knowledge (see below), you need to provide a source.
Ideas : An author’s ideas may include not only points made and conclusions drawn, but, for instance, a specific method or theory, the arrangement of material, or a list of steps in a process or characteristics of a medical condition. If a source provided any of these, you need to acknowledge the source.
You do not need to cite a source for material considered common knowledge:
General common knowledge is factual information considered to be in the public domain, such as birth and death dates of well-known figures, and generally accepted dates of military, political, literary, and other historical events. In general, factual information contained in multiple standard reference works can usually be considered to be in the public domain.
Field-specific common knowledge is “common” only within a particular field or specialty. It may include facts, theories, or methods that are familiar to readers within that discipline. For instance, you may not need to cite a reference to Piaget’s developmental stages in a paper for an education class or give a source for your description of a commonly used method in a biology report—but you must be sure that this information is so widely known within that field that it will be shared by your readers.
If in doubt, be cautious and cite the source. And in the case of both general and field-specific common knowledge, if you use the exact words of the reference source, you must use quotation marks and credit the source.
Paraphrasing vs. Quoting — Explanation
Should i paraphrase or quote.
In general, use direct quotations only if you have a good reason. Most of your paper should be in your own words. Also, it’s often conventional to quote more extensively from sources when you’re writing a humanities paper, and to summarize from sources when you’re writing in the social or natural sciences–but there are always exceptions.
In a literary analysis paper , for example, you”ll want to quote from the literary text rather than summarize, because part of your task in this kind of paper is to analyze the specific words and phrases an author uses.
In research papers , you should quote from a source
- to show that an authority supports your point
- to present a position or argument to critique or comment on
- to include especially moving or historically significant language
- to present a particularly well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarized
You should summarize or paraphrase when
- what you want from the source is the idea expressed, and not the specific language used to express it
- you can express in fewer words what the key point of a source is
How to paraphrase a source
- When reading a passage, try first to understand it as a whole, rather than pausing to write down specific ideas or phrases.
- Be selective. Unless your assignment is to do a formal or “literal” paraphrase, you usually don?t need to paraphrase an entire passage; instead, choose and summarize the material that helps you make a point in your paper.
- Think of what “your own words” would be if you were telling someone who’s unfamiliar with your subject (your mother, your brother, a friend) what the original source said.
- Remember that you can use direct quotations of phrases from the original within your paraphrase, and that you don’t need to change or put quotation marks around shared language.
Methods of Paraphrasing
- Look away from the source then write. Read the text you want to paraphrase several times until you feel that you understand it and can use your own words to restate it to someone else. Then, look away from the original and rewrite the text in your own words.
- Take notes. Take abbreviated notes; set the notes aside; then paraphrase from the notes a day or so later, or when you draft.
If you find that you can’t do A or B, this may mean that you don’t understand the passage completely or that you need to use a more structured process until you have more experience in paraphrasing.
The method below is not only a way to create a paraphrase but also a way to understand a difficult text.
Paraphrasing difficult texts
Consider the following passage from Love and Toil (a book on motherhood in London from 1870 to 1918), in which the author, Ellen Ross, puts forth one of her major arguments:
- Love and Toil maintains that family survival was the mother’s main charge among the large majority of London?s population who were poor or working class; the emotional and intellectual nurture of her child or children and even their actual comfort were forced into the background. To mother was to work for and organize household subsistence. (p. 9)
Children of the poor at the turn of the century received little if any emotional or intellectual nurturing from their mothers, whose main charge was family survival. Working for and organizing household subsistence were what defined mothering. Next to this, even the children’s basic comfort was forced into the background (Ross, 1995).
According to Ross (1993), poor children at the turn of the century received little mothering in our sense of the term. Mothering was defined by economic status, and among the poor, a mother’s foremost responsibility was not to stimulate her children’s minds or foster their emotional growth but to provide food and shelter to meet the basic requirements for physical survival. Given the magnitude of this task, children were deprived of even the “actual comfort” (p. 9) we expect mothers to provide today.
You may need to go through this process several times to create a satisfactory paraphrase.
Successful vs. unsuccessful paraphrases
Paraphrasing is often defined as putting a passage from an author into “your own words.” But what are your own words? How different must your paraphrase be from the original?
The paragraphs below provide an example by showing a passage as it appears in the source, two paraphrases that follow the source too closely, and a legitimate paraphrase.
The student’s intention was to incorporate the material in the original passage into a section of a paper on the concept of “experts” that compared the functions of experts and nonexperts in several professions.
The Passage as It Appears in the Source
Critical care nurses function in a hierarchy of roles. In this open heart surgery unit, the nurse manager hires and fires the nursing personnel. The nurse manager does not directly care for patients but follows the progress of unusual or long-term patients. On each shift a nurse assumes the role of resource nurse. This person oversees the hour-by-hour functioning of the unit as a whole, such as considering expected admissions and discharges of patients, ascertaining that beds are available for patients in the operating room, and covering sick calls. Resource nurses also take a patient assignment. They are the most experienced of all the staff nurses. The nurse clinician has a separate job description and provides for quality of care by orienting new staff, developing unit policies, and providing direct support where needed, such as assisting in emergency situations. The clinical nurse specialist in this unit is mostly involved with formal teaching in orienting new staff. The nurse manager, nurse clinician, and clinical nurse specialist are the designated experts. They do not take patient assignments. The resource nurse is seen as both a caregiver and a resource to other caregivers. . . . Staff nurses have a hierarchy of seniority. . . . Staff nurses are assigned to patients to provide all their nursing care. (Chase, 1995, p. 156)
Critical care nurses have a hierarchy of roles. The nurse manager hires and fires nurses. S/he does not directly care for patients but does follow unusual or long-term cases. On each shift a resource nurse attends to the functioning of the unit as a whole, such as making sure beds are available in the operating room , and also has a patient assignment . The nurse clinician orients new staff, develops policies, and provides support where needed . The clinical nurse specialist also orients new staff, mostly by formal teaching. The nurse manager, nurse clinician, and clinical nurse specialist , as the designated experts, do not take patient assignments . The resource nurse is not only a caregiver but a resource to the other caregivers . Within the staff nurses there is also a hierarchy of seniority . Their job is to give assigned patients all their nursing care .
Why this is plagiarism
Notice that the writer has not only “borrowed” Chase’s material (the results of her research) with no acknowledgment, but has also largely maintained the author’s method of expression and sentence structure. The phrases in red are directly copied from the source or changed only slightly in form.
Even if the student-writer had acknowledged Chase as the source of the content, the language of the passage would be considered plagiarized because no quotation marks indicate the phrases that come directly from Chase. And if quotation marks did appear around all these phrases, this paragraph would be so cluttered that it would be unreadable.
A Patchwork Paraphrase
Chase (1995) describes how nurses in a critical care unit function in a hierarchy that places designated experts at the top and the least senior staff nurses at the bottom. The experts — the nurse manager, nurse clinician, and clinical nurse specialist — are not involved directly in patient care. The staff nurses, in contrast, are assigned to patients and provide all their nursing care . Within the staff nurses is a hierarchy of seniority in which the most senior can become resource nurses: they are assigned a patient but also serve as a resource to other caregivers. The experts have administrative and teaching tasks such as selecting and orienting new staff, developing unit policies , and giving hands-on support where needed.
This paraphrase is a patchwork composed of pieces in the original author’s language (in red) and pieces in the student-writer’s words, all rearranged into a new pattern, but with none of the borrowed pieces in quotation marks. Thus, even though the writer acknowledges the source of the material, the underlined phrases are falsely presented as the student’s own.
A Legitimate Paraphrase
In her study of the roles of nurses in a critical care unit, Chase (1995) also found a hierarchy that distinguished the roles of experts and others. Just as the educational experts described above do not directly teach students, the experts in this unit do not directly attend to patients. That is the role of the staff nurses, who, like teachers, have their own “hierarchy of seniority” (p. 156). The roles of the experts include employing unit nurses and overseeing the care of special patients (nurse manager), teaching and otherwise integrating new personnel into the unit (clinical nurse specialist and nurse clinician), and policy-making (nurse clinician). In an intermediate position in the hierarchy is the resource nurse, a staff nurse with more experience than the others, who assumes direct care of patients as the other staff nurses do, but also takes on tasks to ensure the smooth operation of the entire facility.
Why this is a good paraphrase
The writer has documented Chase’s material and specific language (by direct reference to the author and by quotation marks around language taken directly from the source). Notice too that the writer has modified Chase’s language and structure and has added material to fit the new context and purpose — to present the distinctive functions of experts and nonexperts in several professions.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that a number of phrases from the original passage appear in the legitimate paraphrase: critical care, staff nurses, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, nurse clinician, resource nurse.
If all these phrases were in red, the paraphrase would look much like the “patchwork” example. The difference is that the phrases in the legitimate paraphrase are all precise, economical, and conventional designations that are part of the shared language within the nursing discipline (in the too-close paraphrases, they’re red only when used within a longer borrowed phrase).
In every discipline and in certain genres (such as the empirical research report), some phrases are so specialized or conventional that you can’t paraphrase them except by wordy and awkward circumlocutions that would be less familiar (and thus less readable) to the audience.
When you repeat such phrases, you’re not stealing the unique phrasing of an individual writer but using a common vocabulary shared by a community of scholars.
Some Examples of Shared Language You Don’t Need to Put in Quotation Marks
- Conventional designations: e.g., physician’s assistant, chronic low-back pain
- Preferred bias-free language: e.g., persons with disabilities
- Technical terms and phrases of a discipline or genre : e.g., reduplication, cognitive domain, material culture, sexual harassment
Chase, S. K. (1995). The social context of critical care clinical judgment. Heart and Lung, 24, 154-162.
How to Quote a Source
Introducing a quotation.
One of your jobs as a writer is to guide your reader through your text. Don’t simply drop quotations into your paper and leave it to the reader to make connections.
Integrating a quotation into your text usually involves two elements:
- A signal that a quotation is coming–generally the author’s name and/or a reference to the work
- An assertion that indicates the relationship of the quotation to your text
Often both the signal and the assertion appear in a single introductory statement, as in the example below. Notice how a transitional phrase also serves to connect the quotation smoothly to the introductory statement.
Ross (1993), in her study of poor and working-class mothers in London from 1870-1918 [signal], makes it clear that economic status to a large extent determined the meaning of motherhood [assertion]. Among this population [connection], “To mother was to work for and organize household subsistence” (p. 9).
The signal can also come after the assertion, again with a connecting word or phrase:
Illness was rarely a routine matter in the nineteenth century [assertion]. As [connection] Ross observes [signal], “Maternal thinking about children’s health revolved around the possibility of a child’s maiming or death” (p. 166).
Short direct prose.
Incorporate short direct prose quotations into the text of your paper and enclose them in double quotation marks:
According to Jonathan Clarke, “Professional diplomats often say that trying to think diplomatically about foreign policy is a waste of time.”
Longer prose quotations
Begin longer quotations (for instance, in the APA system, 40 words or more) on a new line and indent the entire quotation (i.e., put in block form), with no quotation marks at beginning or end, as in the quoted passage from our Successful vs. Unsucessful Paraphrases page.
Rules about the minimum length of block quotations, how many spaces to indent, and whether to single- or double-space extended quotations vary with different documentation systems; check the guidelines for the system you’re using.
Quotation of Up to 3 Lines of Poetry
Quotations of up to 3 lines of poetry should be integrated into your sentence. For example:
In Julius Caesar, Antony begins his famous speech with “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears; / I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” (III.ii.75-76).
Notice that a slash (/) with a space on either side is used to separate lines.
Quotation of More than 3 Lines of Poetry
More than 3 lines of poetry should be indented. As with any extended (indented) quotation, do not use quotation marks unless you need to indicate a quotation within your quotation.
Punctuating with Quotation Marks
With short quotations, place citations outside of closing quotation marks, followed by sentence punctuation (period, question mark, comma, semi-colon, colon):
Menand (2002) characterizes language as “a social weapon” (p. 115).
With block quotations, check the guidelines for the documentation system you are using.
Commas and periods
Place inside closing quotation marks when no parenthetical citation follows:
Hertzberg (2002) notes that “treating the Constitution as imperfect is not new,” but because of Dahl’s credentials, his “apostasy merits attention” (p. 85).
Semicolons and colons
Place outside of closing quotation marks (or after a parenthetical citation).
Question marks and exclamation points
Place inside closing quotation marks if the quotation is a question/exclamation:
Menand (2001) acknowledges that H. W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage is “a classic of the language,” but he asks, “Is it a dead classic?” (p. 114).
[Note that a period still follows the closing parenthesis.]
Place outside of closing quotation marks if the entire sentence containing the quotation is a question or exclamation:
How many students actually read the guide to find out what is meant by “academic misconduct”?
Quotation within a quotation
Use single quotation marks for the embedded quotation:
According to Hertzberg (2002), Dahl gives the U. S. Constitution “bad marks in ‘democratic fairness’ and ‘encouraging consensus'” (p. 90).
[The phrases “democratic fairness” and “encouraging consensus” are already in quotation marks in Dahl’s sentence.]
Indicating Changes in Quotations
Quoting only a portion of the whole.
Use ellipsis points (. . .) to indicate an omission within a quotation–but not at the beginning or end unless it’s not obvious that you’re quoting only a portion of the whole.
Adding Clarification, Comment, or Correction
Within quotations, use square brackets [ ] (not parentheses) to add your own clarification, comment, or correction.
Use [sic] (meaning “so” or “thus”) to indicate that a mistake is in the source you’re quoting and is not your own.
Information on summarizing and paraphrasing sources.
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). (2000). Retrieved January 7, 2002, from http://www.bartleby.com/61/ Bazerman, C. (1995). The informed writer: Using sources in the disciplines (5th ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Leki, I. (1995). Academic writing: Exploring processes and strategies (2nd ed.) New York: St. Martin?s Press, pp. 185-211.
Leki describes the basic method presented in C, pp. 4-5.
Spatt, B. (1999). Writing from sources (5th ed.) New York: St. Martin?s Press, pp. 98-119; 364-371.
Information about specific documentation systems
The Writing Center has handouts explaining how to use many of the standard documentation systems. You may look at our general Web page on Documentation Systems, or you may check out any of the following specific Web pages.
If you’re not sure which documentation system to use, ask the course instructor who assigned your paper.
- American Psychological Assoicaion (APA)
- Modern Language Association (MLA)
- Chicago/Turabian (A Footnote or Endnote System)
- American Political Science Association (APSA)
- Council of Science Editors (CBE)
- Numbered References
You may also consult the following guides:
- American Medical Association, Manual for Authors and Editors
- Council of Science Editors, CBE style Manual
- The Chicago Manual of Style
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
Academic and Professional Writing
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Using Literary Quotations
Writing a Rhetorical Précis to Analyze Nonfiction Texts
Incorporating Interview Data
Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics
Additional Resources for Grants and Proposal Writing
Job Materials and Application Essays
Writing Personal Statements for Ph.D. Programs
- Before you begin: useful tips for writing your essay
- Guided brainstorming exercises
- Get more help with your essay
- Frequently Asked Questions
Resume Writing Tips
CV Writing Tips
Proposals and Dissertations
Resources for Proposal Writers
Resources for Dissertators
Planning and Writing Research Papers
Writing Annotated Bibliographies
Creating Poster Presentations
Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper
Advice for Students Writing Thank-You Notes to Donors
Reading for a Review
Writing a Review of Literature
Scientific Report Format
Sample Lab Assignment
Writing for the Web
Writing an Effective Blog Post
Writing for Social Media: A Guide for Academics
- Library Catalogue
Quoting: When and how to use quotations
On this page, when should you quote, quoting basics, framing your quotations.
Quoting is an important technique used to include information from outside sources in academic writing. When using quotations, it is important that you also cite the original reference that you have taken the quotation from, as your citations provide your reader with a map of the research that you have done. Making effective use of quotations in your writing requires you to carefully assess the value of including someone else’s own words in the advancement of your own argument.
According to Jerry Plotnick (2002, Director of the University College Writing Workshop) using a quotation is appropriate in the following situations:
1. The language of the passage is particularly elegant, powerful, or memorable.
2. You wish to confirm the credibility of your argument by enlisting the support of an authority on your topic.
3. The passage is worthy of further analysis.
4. You wish to argue with someone else’s position in considerable detail. 
Research that involves participants (for example, interviews and participant-observation research) also often makes extensive use of quotations in order to foreground the unique voices and perspectives of the participants.
When you quote, you include the words and ideas of others in your text exactly as they have expressed them. You signal this inclusion by placing quotation marks (“ ”) around the source author’s words and providing an in-text citation after the quotation. Direct quotations differ from other in-text citations because they require that you include the page number on which the words can be found in the source text. For example:
According to scholars of rhetoric Graff and Birkenstein (2014), when you are inserting a quotation in your writing “you need to insert it into what we like to call a ‘quotation sandwich,’ with the statement introducing it serving as the top slice of bread and the explanation following it serving as the bottom slice” (p. 46).  This "sandwich" method ensures that your reader can clearly see the source you are referencing and also understands how this quotation supports your overall argument.
When you are quoting from a source that does not have page numbers (such as a website), you will consult your style guide to determine how best to reference your source. For example, both MLA and APA suggest listing the paragraph number or relevant heading.
You quote materials from a source text to support the arguments and ideas you are presenting in your own essay. Therefore, you must introduce the quotation and explain to your reader why you have included it and how it relates to, and helps to build, your argument. This is known as framing. It directs your reader’s attention to the specific elements of the quotation that are most directly relevant to your own arguments and ideas.
Here is an example of a quotation that is successfully “framed” within a text:
Citing the islands of Fiji as a case in point, Bordo notes that “until television was introduced in 1995, the islands had no reported cases of eating disorders. In 1998, three years after programs from the United States and Britain began broadcasting there, 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting” (149-50). Bordo’s point is that the Western cult of dieting is spreading even to remote places across the globe. 
Remember that quoting is only one way of bringing someone else’s work into your own discussion. See the SLC handouts “Techniques for paraphrasing” and “Summarizing” for ideas on other ways to incorporate sources into your writing.
 APA formatting
 Example taken from Graff, G. & Birkenstein, C. (2014). They say/I say: The moves that matter in academic writing. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.
What this handout is about
Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument. This handout will help you decide when and how to quote like a pro.
When should I quote?
Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). And quotations are only one type of evidence: well-balanced papers may also make use of paraphrases, data, and statistics. The types of evidence you use will depend in part on the conventions of the discipline or audience for which you are writing. For example, papers analyzing literature may rely heavily on direct quotations of the text, while papers in the social sciences may have more paraphrasing, data, and statistics than quotations.
Discussing specific arguments or ideas
Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:
“At the beginning of World War Two, almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly.”
If it is especially important that you formulate a counterargument to this claim, then you might wish to quote the part of the statement that you find questionable and establish a dialogue between yourself and John Doe:
Historian John Doe has argued that in 1941 “almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly” (Doe 223). Yet during the first six months of U.S. involvement, the wives and mothers of soldiers often noted in their diaries their fear that the war would drag on for years.
Giving added emphasis to a particularly authoritative source on your topic.
There will be times when you want to highlight the words of a particularly important and authoritative source on your topic. For example, suppose you were writing an essay about the differences between the lives of male and female slaves in the U.S. South. One of your most provocative sources is a narrative written by a former slave, Harriet Jacobs. It would then be appropriate to quote some of Jacobs’s words:
Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from North Carolina, published an autobiographical slave narrative in 1861. She exposed the hardships of both male and female slaves but ultimately concluded that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”
In this particular example, Jacobs is providing a crucial first-hand perspective on slavery. Thus, her words deserve more exposure than a paraphrase could provide.
Jacobs is quoted in Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).
Analyzing how others use language.
This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language.
Examples of topics that might require the frequent use of quotations include:
Southern colloquial expressions in William Faulkner’s Light in August
Ms. and the creation of a language of female empowerment
A comparison of three British poets and their use of rhyme
Spicing up your prose.
In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language. All quotations, however, must closely relate to your topic and arguments. Do not insert a quotation solely for its literary merits.
One example of a quotation that adds flair:
President Calvin Coolidge’s tendency to fall asleep became legendary. As H. L. Mencken commented in the American Mercury in 1933, “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”
How do I set up and follow up a quotation?
Once you’ve carefully selected the quotations that you want to use, your next job is to weave those quotations into your text. The words that precede and follow a quotation are just as important as the quotation itself. You can think of each quote as the filling in a sandwich: it may be tasty on its own, but it’s messy to eat without some bread on either side of it. Your words can serve as the “bread” that helps readers digest each quote easily. Below are four guidelines for setting up and following up quotations.
In illustrating these four steps, we’ll use as our example, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quotation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
1. Provide context for each quotation.
Do not rely on quotations to tell your story for you. It is your responsibility to provide your reader with context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where, and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. So, in providing context for our above example, you might write:
When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression.
2. Attribute each quotation to its source.
Tell your reader who is speaking. Here is a good test: try reading your text aloud. Could your reader determine without looking at your paper where your quotations begin? If not, you need to attribute the quote more noticeably.
Avoid getting into the “he/she said” attribution rut! There are many other ways to attribute quotes besides this construction. Here are a few alternative verbs, usually followed by “that”:
Different reporting verbs are preferred by different disciplines, so pay special attention to these in your disciplinary reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of any of these words or others you find in your reading, consult a dictionary before using them.
3. Explain the significance of the quotation.
Once you’ve inserted your quotation, along with its context and attribution, don’t stop! Your reader still needs your assessment of why the quotation holds significance for your paper. Using our Roosevelt example, if you were writing a paper on the first one-hundred days of FDR’s administration, you might follow the quotation by linking it to that topic:
With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.
4. Provide a citation for the quotation.
All quotations, just like all paraphrases, require a formal citation. For more details about particular citation formats, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . In general, you should remember one rule of thumb: Place the parenthetical reference or footnote/endnote number after—not within—the closed quotation mark.
Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Roosevelt, Public Papers, 11).
Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1
How do I embed a quotation into a sentence?
In general, avoid leaving quotes as sentences unto themselves. Even if you have provided some context for the quote, a quote standing alone can disrupt your flow. Take a look at this example:
Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).
Standing by itself, the quote’s connection to the preceding sentence is unclear. There are several ways to incorporate a quote more smoothly:
Lead into the quote with a colon.
Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).
The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.
Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb.
Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).
When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (Rowling, p. 176).
The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).
Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker. Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.
“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2).
“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).
Dividing the quote may highlight a particular nuance of the quote’s meaning. In the first example, the division calls attention to the two parts of Hamlet’s claim. The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular. As you decide whether or not you want to break up a quote, you should consider the shift in emphasis that the division might create.
Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence.
When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression.
Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).
Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma.
The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).
How much should I quote?
As few words as possible. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, so quote only the most pithy and memorable parts of sources. Here are guidelines for selecting quoted material judiciously:
Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented:
“I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”
You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:
Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”
Excerpt those fragments carefully!
Quoting the words of others carries a big responsibility. Misquoting misrepresents the ideas of others. Here’s a classic example of a misquote:
John Adams has often been quoted as having said: “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”
John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here’s the rest of the quotation:
Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.
As you can see from this example, context matters!
This example is from Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press, 1989).
Use block quotations sparingly.
There may be times when you need to quote long passages. However, you should use block quotations only when you fear that omitting any words will destroy the integrity of the passage. If that passage exceeds four lines (some sources say five), then set it off as a block quotation.
Be sure you are handling block quotes correctly in papers for different academic disciplines–check the index of the citation style guide you are using. Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations:
- Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon.
- Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.
- Single space or double space within the block quotation, depending on the style guidelines of your discipline (MLA, CSE, APA, Chicago, etc.).
- Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
- Place parenthetical citation according to your style guide (usually after the period following the last sentence of the quote).
- Follow up a block quotation with your own words.
So, using the above example from John Adams, here’s how you might include a block quotation:
After reading several doctrinally rigid tracts, John Adams recalled the zealous ranting of his former teacher, Joseph Cleverly, and minister, Lemuel Bryant. He expressed his ambivalence toward religion in an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson:
Adams clearly appreciated religion, even if he often questioned its promotion.
How do I combine quotation marks with other punctuation marks?
It can be confusing when you start combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. You should consult a style manual for complicated situations, but the following two rules apply to most cases:
Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.
So, for example:
According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.”
In the above example, both the comma and period were enclosed in the quotation marks. The main exception to this rule involves the use of internal citations, which always precede the last period of the sentence. For example:
According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries” (Poe 167).
Note, however, that the period remains inside the quotation marks when your citation style involves superscript footnotes or endnotes. For example:
According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.” 2
Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.
Take a look at the following examples:
I couldn’t believe it when my friend passed me a note in the cafe saying the management “started charging $15 per hour for parking”!
The coach yelled, “Run!”
In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the outrageous nature of the parking price change. The original note had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation.
How do I indicate quotations within quotations?
If you are quoting a passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.
Here’s an example of a quotation within a quotation:
In “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “‘But the Emperor has nothing on at all!’ cried a little child.”
Remember to consult your style guide to determine how to properly cite a quote within a quote.
When do I use those three dots ( . . . )?
Whenever you want to leave out material from within a quotation, you need to use an ellipsis, which is a series of three periods, each of which should be preceded and followed by a space. So, an ellipsis in this sentence would look like . . . this. There are a few rules to follow when using ellipses:
Be sure that you don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the quotation by omitting material.
Take a look at the following example:
“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus and serves the entire UNC community.”
“The Writing Center . . . serves the entire UNC community.”
The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location.
Do not use ellipses at the beginning or ending of quotations, unless it’s important for the reader to know that the quotation was truncated.
For example, using the above example, you would NOT need an ellipsis in either of these situations:
“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus . . .”
The Writing Center ” . . . serves the entire UNC community.”
Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses.
For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual.
“The boys ran to school, forgetting their lunches and books. Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”
“The boys ran to school. . . . Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”
Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma.
“The red car came to a screeching halt that was heard by nearby pedestrians, but no one was hurt.”
“The red car came to a screeching halt . . . , but no one was hurt.”
Is it ever okay to insert my own words or change words in a quotation?
Sometimes it is necessary for clarity and flow to alter a word or words within a quotation. You should make such changes rarely. In order to alert your reader to the changes you’ve made, you should always bracket the altered words. Here are a few examples of situations when you might need brackets:
Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence.
Suppose you were quoting a woman who, when asked about her experiences immigrating to the United States, commented “nobody understood me.” You might write:
Esther Hansen felt that when she came to the United States “nobody understood [her].”
In the above example, you’ve changed “me” to “her” in order to keep the entire passage in third person. However, you could avoid the need for this change by simply rephrasing:
“Nobody understood me,” recalled Danish immigrant Esther Hansen.
Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation.
For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets.
“The principal of the school told Billy [William Smith] that his contract would be terminated.”
Similarly, if a quotation referenced an event with which the reader might be unfamiliar, you could identify that event in brackets.
“We completely revised our political strategies after the strike [of 1934].”
Indicating the use of nonstandard grammar or spelling.
In rare situations, you may quote from a text that has nonstandard grammar, spelling, or word choice. In such cases, you may want to insert [sic], which means “thus” or “so” in Latin. Using [sic] alerts your reader to the fact that this nonstandard language is not the result of a typo on your part. Always italicize “sic” and enclose it in brackets. There is no need to put a period at the end. Here’s an example of when you might use [sic]:
Twelve-year-old Betsy Smith wrote in her diary, “Father is afraid that he will be guilty of beach [sic] of contract.”
Here [sic] indicates that the original author wrote “beach of contract,” not breach of contract, which is the accepted terminology.
Do not overuse brackets!
For example, it is not necessary to bracket capitalization changes that you make at the beginning of sentences. For example, suppose you were going to use part of this quotation:
“The colors scintillated curiously over a hard carapace, and the beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello.”
If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes.
“The beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.
Not: “[T]he beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. 2012. The Modern Researcher , 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Direct quotes in APA Style
Published on November 12, 2020 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 16, 2022.
A direct quote is a piece of text copied word-for-word from a source. You may quote a word, phrase, sentence, or entire passage.
There are three main rules for quoting in APA Style:
- If the quote is under 40 words, place it in double quotation marks .
- If the quote is 40 words or more, format it as a block quote .
- Cite the author, year, and page number with an APA in-text citation .
Table of contents
Citing a direct quote, quoting a source with no page numbers, quoting 40 words or more (apa block quotes), making changes to direct quotes in apa, frequently asked questions about apa style.
To cite a quote in APA, you always include the the author’s last name, the year the source was published, and the page on which the quote can be found. The page number is preceded by “p.” (for a single page) or “pp.” (for a page range).
There are two types of APA in-text citation : parenthetical and narrative.
In a parenthetical citation, you place the entire citation in parentheses directly after the quote and before the period (or other punctuation mark).
In a narrative citation, the author(s) appear as part of your sentence. Place the year in parentheses directly after the author’s name, and place the page number in parentheses directly after the quote.
Remember that every in-text citation must correspond to a full APA reference at the end of the text. You can easily create your reference list with our free APA Citation Generator.
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Some source types, such as web pages , do not have page numbers. In this case, to cite a direct quote, you should generally include an alternative locator, unless the source is very short.
The locator may be a chapter or section heading (abbreviated if necessary), a paragraph number, or a combination of the two. Use whichever locator will help your reader find the quote most easily.
For sources such as movies , YouTube videos , or audiobooks, use a timestamp to locate the beginning of the quote.
- Section heading
- Paragraph number
- Section and paragraph
If the quote contains 40 words or more, it must be formatted as a block quote. To format a block quote in APA Style:
- Do not use quotation marks.
- Start the quote on a new line.
- Indent the entire quote 0.5 inches.
- Double-space the entire quote.
Like regular quotes, block quotes can be cited with a parenthetical or narrative citation. However, if the block quote ends with a period, place the citation after the period.
Block quoting is particularly useful when you want to comment on an author’s language or present an argument that you will then critique. By setting the quote on a new line and indenting it, the passage is clearly marked apart from your own words. Therefore, no quotation marks are necessary. (O’Connor, 2019, p. 38)
Block quoting is particularly useful when you want to comment on an author’s language or present an argument that you will then critique. By setting the quote on a new line and indenting it, the passage is clearly marked apart from your own words. Therefore, no quotation marks are necessary. (p. 38)
Block quotes with multiple paragraphs
If the block quote contains multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph after the first.
Block quoting is particularly useful when you want to comment on an author’s language or present an argument that you will then critique. By setting the quote on a new line and indenting it, the passage is clearly marked apart from your own words. Therefore, no quotation marks are necessary.
However, it is important not to rely on long quotes to make your point for you. Each quote must be introduced and explained or discussed in your own words. (O’Connor, 2019, p. 38)
In general, a direct quote should be an exact reproduction of the original. However, there are some situations where you may need to make small changes.
You may change the capitalization of the first word or the final punctuation mark in order to integrate the quote grammatically into your sentence, as long as the meaning is not altered.
Any other changes must be marked following these APA guidelines.
Shortening a quote
If you want to omit some words, phrases, or sentences from the quote to save space, use an ellipsis (. . .) with a space before and after it to indicate that some material has been left out.
If the part you removed includes a sentence break, add a period before the ellipsis to indicate this.
- No sentence break
- Sentence break
Clarifying a quote
Sometimes you might want to add a word or phrase for context. For example, if a pronoun is used in the quote, you may add a name to clarify who or what is being referred to.
Any added text should be enclosed in square brackets to show that it is not part of the original.
Adding emphasis to quotes
If you want to emphasize a word or phrase in a quote, italicize it and include the words “emphasis added” in square brackets.
Errors in quotes
If the quote contains a spelling or grammatical error, indicate it with the Latin word “sic”, italicized and in square brackets, directly after the error.
To include a direct quote in APA , follow these rules:
- Quotes under 40 words are placed in double quotation marks .
- Quotes of 40 words or more are formatted as block quote .
- The author, year, and page number are included in an APA in-text citation .
You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .
Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .
When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:
(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.
If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).
Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…
On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).
In academic writing , there are three main situations where quoting is the best choice:
- To analyze the author’s language (e.g., in a literary analysis essay )
- To give evidence from primary sources
- To accurately present a precise definition or argument
Don’t overuse quotes; your own voice should be dominant. If you just want to provide information from a source, it’s usually better to paraphrase or summarize .
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Writing a Report
28 Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Sources
When writing a report, you want your own analytical voice to shine through the work so that the reader hears your consistent voice throughout the document.
However, you also want to draw in evidence from sources and give credit to the reasoning developed by others, too. When you find a great quote, you want to use it. How do you balance this?
When quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing sources, a cademic integrity plays a huge role. You obviously don’t want to copy a source’s research word for word and claim it as your own. That would be plagiarism . However, you also can’t simply copy huge chunks of text, put quotation marks around it, add a citation, and call it a job well done. That’s not writing a report; that’s copying and pasting and putting quotation marks and a citation around somebody else’s writing. There’s no post-secondary credential to be earned through copying and pasting. Instead, you want to include a combination of original writing, paraphrasing, and quotes. This chapter will walk you through how to do this.
Integrating materials into your report
Simply presenting information from your sources in your reports is not the end of the process. You must also build clear, persuasive arguments and draw your own conclusions . Otherwise you are simply restating someone else’s work and you are not furthering your argument. Many students forget this crucial step in writing reports. Thankfully, it’s a relatively easy fix once you know what to do. We will first walk you through the structure you need to follow, and then show you how to use it to incorporate direct quotes , paraphrasing , and summaries in your report.
The source integration structure
Read the example paragraph below. What is wrong with it?
A couple of issues should stand out. The most obvious is that the paragraph is almost exclusively direct quotes . We have a little bit of the student’s input at the start and end of the paragraph, but there isn’t really anything substantial between the quotes.
Ultimately, the student didn’t incorporate all three elements for integrating sources that are recommended.
Let’s look at the same paragraph again, but highlight the three elements we have discussed. This will show you visually how the paragraph is arranged. We will use the following colors:
Idea from a Source
We do have some lead-in for the quotes, but almost no analysis is given. Yes, the quoted information may be relevant, but it is not immediately clear how it’s relevant to the writer’s main point because there is not enough analysis.
Students often mistakenly assume that their readers will figure out the relevance on their own, but that is not the case. The reader shouldn’t need to interpret your writing for you. Your writing should be as explicit as possible by connecting your sources to your argument.
Let’s look at a revised version of the above paragraph that does a better job incorporating a lead-in , a source , and analysis . We have colour coded the three elements again so you can better see where they are in the paragraph:
Direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summary
When writing in academic and professional contexts, you are required to engage with the words and ideas of other authors. Therefore, being able to correctly and fluently incorporate other writers’ words and ideas in your own writing is a critical writing skill. As you now know, there are three main ways to integrate evidence from sources into your writing:
One important note that we haven’t mentioned is that you are required to include a citation anytime you are using another person’s words and/or ideas. This means that, even if you do not quote directly, but paraphrase or summarize source content and express it in your own words, you still must give credit to the original authors for their ideas. Your instructors will be checking that you do this when they read your work.
You have already seen the use of citations in action throughout this textbook. Anytime we have integrated content from another source, you will have seen a citation that looks something like this:
These citations are done using the American Psychology Association (APA) style . You will be expected to use this citation style in your many college and university assignments (some disciplines use other citation styles). However, if you are not sure how to do APA citations correctly, don’t worry. We will go into the specific mechanics of how to cite sources in the next chapter .
We will now walk you through each source integration method, giving you opportunities to practice each one. If at any point you’re confused, or unclear, don’t hesitate to ask your instructor for help. Your college or university learning center is also a great resource.
A direct quote is the word-for-word copy of someone else’s writing or spoken words. This is noted by quotation marks (” “) around those words. Using quotations to support your argument has several benefits over paraphrasing and summarizing :
- Integrating quotations provides direct evidence from reliable sources to support your argument.
- Using the words of credible sources conveys your credibility by showing you have done research into the area you are writing about and consulted relevant and authoritative sources.
- Selecting effective quotations illustrates that you can extract the important aspects of the information and use them effectively in your own argument.
However, be careful not to over-quote. As we saw in the above example, if you over-quote, you risk relying too much on the words of others and your own analytical voice will be subsumed.
Quotations should be used sparingly because too many quotations can interfere with the flow of ideas and make it seem like you don’t have ideas of your own.
When should you use quotations?
- If the language of the original source uses the best possible phrasing or imagery and no paraphrase or summary could be as effective; or
- If the use of language in the quotation is itself the focus of your analysis (e.g. , if you are analyzing the author’s use of a particular phrasing, metaphor, or other rhetorical strategy).
Of course, if you need to quote, then do so. But again, if you quote too much, you risk having your own voice subsumed by the voices of those you’re quoting. Especially in professional writing, you want your own analytical voice to shine through the writing, so paraphrase and cite, rather than relying too much on the words of others.
How to integrate quotations correctly
Integrating quotations into your writing happens on two levels: the argumentative level and the grammatical level.
The argumentative level
At the argumentative level, the quotation is being used to illustrate or support a point that you have made and you will follow it with some analysis, explanation, comment, or interpretation that ties that quote to your argument.
As mentioned earlier, this is where many students run into trouble. This is known as a “quote and run.” Never quote and run. This leaves your reader to determine the relevance of the quotation and they might interpret it differently than you intended. A quotation, statistic or bit of data cannot speak for itself; you must provide context and an explanation for the quotations you use. As long as you use the three steps we listed above for integrating sources, you will be on the right track.
The grammatical level
The second level of integration is grammatical. This involves integrating the quotation into your own sentences so that it flows smoothly and fits logically and syntactically. There are three main methods to integrate quotations grammatically:
- Seamless Integration Method: embed the quoted words as if they were an organic part of your sentence. This means that if you read the sentence aloud, your listeners would not know there was a quotation.
- Signal Phrase Method: use a signal phrase (Author + Verb) to introduce the quotation, clearly indicating that the quotation comes from a specific source.
- Colon Method: introduce the quotation with a complete sentence ending in a colon.
Let’s see this in action. Consider the following opening sentence (and famous comma splice ) from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, as an example:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Dickens, C. (2017). A tale of two cities . Alma Books Ltd. p. 5
Below are examples of the quote being integrated using the three methods.
1. Seamless Integration: embed the quotation, or excerpts from the quotation, as a seamless part of your sentence
Charles Dickens (2017) begins his novel with the paradoxical observation that the eighteenth century was both “the best of times” and “the worst of times” (p. 5).
2. Signal Phrase: introduce the author and then the quote using a signal verb (scroll down to see a list of common verbs that signal you are about to quote someone)
Describing the eighteenth century, Charles Dickens (2017) observes, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (p. 5).
3. Colon: if your own introductory words form a complete sentence, you can use a colon to introduce and set off the quotation. This can give the quotation added emphasis.
Dickens (2017) defines the eighteenth century as a time of paradox: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (p. 5). The eighteenth century was a time of paradox: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (Dickens, 2017, p. 5).
Don’t rely too much on any one grammatical method in your own writing. Instead, try to use a balance of methods to make your writing seem more dynamic and varied. Sentence variety is the spice of writing.
In the event that you want to add a very long quote, you’ll need to use a format known as a “block quotation.” This is for quotes that are 35 words or longer (some say 40 words or longer). In a block quotation, the quote is pulled into its own, fully indented paragraph, such as shown below this line:
According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. (Jerry Seinfeld)
When you use quotation marks around material, this indicates that you have used the exact words of the original author. However, sometimes the text you want to quote will not fit grammatically or clearly into your sentence without making some changes. Perhaps you need to replace a pronoun in the quote with the actual noun to make the context clear, or perhaps the verb tense does not fit. There are two main ways to edit a quotation to make it fit grammatically with your own sentence:
- Use square brackets : to reflect changes or additions to a quote, place square brackets around any words that have been changed or added.
- Use ellipses : ellipses show that some text has been removed. They can have either three dots (…) or four dots (….). Three dots indicate that some words have been removed from the sentence; four dots indicate that a substantial amount of text has been deleted, including the period at the end of a sentence.
Let’s look at this in action using the quote below.
“ Engineers are always striving for success, but failure is seldom far from their minds. In the case of Canadian engineers, this focus on potentially catastrophic flaws in a design is rooted in a failure that occurred over a century ago. In 1907 a bridge of enormous proportions collapsed while still under construction in Quebec. Planners expected that when completed, the 1,800-foot main span of the cantilever bridge would set a world record for long-span bridges of all types, many of which had come to be realized at a great price. According to one superstition, a bridge would claim one life for every million dollars spent on it. In fact, by the time the Quebec Bridge would finally be completed, in 1917, almost ninety construction workers would have been killed in the course of building the $25 million structure”
Petroski, H. (2012). The obligation of an engineer. In To forgive design: Understanding failure (pp. 175-198). Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674065437
You are allowed to change the original words, to shorten the quoted material or integrate material grammatically, but only if you signal those changes appropriately with square brackets or ellipses:
Example 1: Petroski (2012) observed that “[e]ngineers are always striving for success, but failure is seldom far from their minds” (p. 175).
Example 2: Petroski (2012) recounts the story of a large bridge that was constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century in Quebec, saying that “by the time [it was done], in 1917, almost ninety construction workers [were] killed in the course of building the $25 million structure” (p. 175).
Example 3: “Planners expected that when completed the … bridge would set a world record for long-span bridges of all types” (Petroski, 2012, p. 175).
In summary, there are a lot of ways you can approach integrating quotes. You can even change certain elements of your quote as long you indicate this with proper punctuation.
Paraphrase and summary
Unlike direct quotes , which use a source’s exact wording, paraphrase and summary allow you to use your own words to present information. While the approach to using both methods is similar, the reason you will choose one over the other is different.
A paraphrase is typically more detailed and specific than a summary . It also retains the length of the original source.
A summary, on the other hand, is used when describing an entire source. For example, if you want to emphasize the main ideas of a source, but not go into great detail, then a summary is usually best.
Paraphrasing is when you put source text in your own words and alter the sentence structure to avoid using direct quotes. Paraphrasing is the preferred way of using a source when the original wording isn’t important. This way, you can incorporate the source’s ideas so they’re stylistically consistent with the rest of your document and better tailored to the needs of your audience. Also, paraphrasing a source into your own words proves your advanced understanding of the source text. Here are five steps for paraphrasing a source:
- Read the source material until you fully understand the author’s meaning. This may take 3-4 readings to accomplish.
- Take notes and list key terms that you can use in your paraphrase.
- Write your own paraphrase without looking at the source material. You should include the key terms that you wrote down.
- Check that your version captures the intent of the original and all important information.
- Provide an in-text (parenthetical) citation.
We will go through this in a bit more detail below. However, if you feel like you understand, feel free to skip down to the next part.
An in-depth look at paraphrasing
A paraphrase must faithfully represent the source text by containing the same ideas as the original, usually in fewer words. Let’s walk through the five steps mentioned above to create a paraphrase for the following text:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation [when] taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.
Lester, J. D. (1976). Writing research papers: A complete guide . Pearson Scott Foresman.
Step 1: Read the source material until you fully understand it
What are these three sentences about? What information do they give us?
They discuss how students rely too much on direct quotations in their writing. It also explains just how much of a final paper should include direct quotes. That seems clear enough, so lets move on to the next step.
Step 2: Take notes and list key terms for your paraphrase
The key terms you come up with for your paraphrase will depend on what information you want to convey to the reader. For our purposes, let’s say you want to use Lester (1976) to highlight how much students over-quote in their papers. You may focus on the following key terms:
Notice that these are only three words from the original text, which has over 50 words. This may not seem like much, but it’s definitely enough for our paraphrase.
Step 3: Using key terms, write your own paraphrase without looking at the original
Let’s try to put together a paraphrase. As a matter of good writing, you should try to streamline your paraphrase so that it tallies fewer words than the source passage, while still preserving the original meaning. An accurate paraphrase of the original passage above, for instance, can reduce the three-line passage to two lines without losing or distorting any of the original points. Here’s our attempt with the key terms highlighted in yellow :
Lester (1976) advises against exceeding 10% quotations in your written work. Since students writing research reports often quote excessively because of copy-cut-and-paste note-taking, they should try to minimize using sources word for word (Lester, 1976).
This isn’t necessarily a perfect example of a paraphrase, but it is certainly a good start. Time to move on to the next step.
Step 4: Compare your paraphrase to the original
Here is the original text with our paraphrase:
Original : Students frequently overuse direct quotation [when] taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.
Paraphrase : Lester (1976) advises against exceeding 10% quotation in your written work. Since students writing research reports often quote excessively because of copy-cut-and-paste note-taking, they should try to minimize using sources word for word (Lester, 1976).
Notice that, even though we only have three key terms, we didn’t have to repeat any two-word sequences from the original. This is because we have changed the sentence structure in addition to most of the words. This can definitely take a couple of tries, so if you don’t get it right away, that’s okay.
Step 5: Provide an in-text citation
We’ve already done this step twice in our paper: once at the start of our paper with “Lester (1976) advises…” and once at the end with “(Lester, 1976).” We’ll talk about how to do this more in-depth in the next chapter.
See this excellent video from Humber College about how to insert in-text citations in APA format:
Common plagiarism issues with paraphrasing
As we mentioned in the previous section, when paraphrasing, you change both the words and sentence structure of the original text. However, many students struggle with the first part. They will typically only substitute major words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives) here and there, while leaving the source passage’s basic sentence structure intact. This inevitably leaves strings of words from the original untouched in the “paraphrased” version, which can be dangerous because including such direct quotation without quotation marks will be spotted as plagiarism .
Consider, for instance, the following poor attempt at a paraphrase of the Lester (1976) passage that substitutes words selectively. Like last time, we have included the original text with the incorrect paraphrase. We have also highlighted the unchanged words in yellow .
Original Quote : Students frequently overuse direct quotation [when] taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes (Lester, 1976).
Poor Paraphrase: Students often overuse quotations when taking notes , and thus overuse them in research reports (Lester, 1976). About 10% of your final paper should be direct quotation. You should thus attempt to reduce the exact copying of source materials while note taking (Lester, 1976).
As you can see, several strings of words from the original are left untouched because the writer didn’t change the sentence structure of the original. Plagiarism-catching software, such as Turnitin , specifically look for this kind of writing and produce Originality Reports to indicate how much of a paper is plagiarized. In this case, the Originality Report would indicate that the passage is 64% plagiarized because it retains 25 of the original words (out of 39 in this “paraphrase”), but without quotation marks around them.
Correcting this by simply adding quotation marks around passages such as “when taking notes, and” would be unacceptable because those words aren’t important enough on their own to warrant direct quotation. The fix would just be to paraphrase more thoroughly by altering the words and the sentence structure, as shown in the paraphrase a few paragraphs above. (And, of course, cite the source.)
Summarizing is one of the most important skills in professional communication. Professionals of every field must explain to non-expert customers, managers, and even co-workers the complex concepts on which they are experts, but in a way that those non-experts can understand. Adapting the message to such audiences requires brevity, but also translating jargon-heavy technical details into plain, accessible language.
Fortunately, the process for summarizing is very similar to paraphrasing. Like paraphrasing, a summary is putting the original source in your own words. The main difference is that a summary is a fraction of the source length—anywhere from less than 1% to a quarter, depending on the source length and length of the summary.
A summary can reduce a whole novel or film to a single-sentence blurb, for instance, or it could reduce a 50-word paragraph to a 15-word sentence. It can be as casual as a spoken overview of a meeting your colleague was absent from or an elevator pitch selling a project idea to a manager. It can also be as formal as a memo report to your colleagues on a conference you attended on behalf of your organization.
When summarizing, you will follow the same process as a paraphrase, but with a few additional steps:
- Determine how big your summary should be (according to your audience’s needs) so that you have a sense of how much material you should collect from the source.
- Disregard detail such as supporting evidence and examples. These elements belong in a paraphrase, not a summary.
- How many points you collect depends on how big your summary should be (according to audience needs).
- Don’t forget to cite your source(s).
Dickens, C. (2017). A tale of two cities . Alma Books Ltd.
Humber Libraries. (n.d.). APA 7th in minutes: In-text citations [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXn2UITEqlo
This chapter was adapted from Effective Professional Communication: A Rhetorical Approach by Rebekah Bennetch, Corey Owen, and Zachary Keesey, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
Bennetch, Owen, and Keesey adapted their chapter from Technical Writing Essentials (on BCcampus ) by Suzan Last and Candice Neveu. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Bennetch, Owen, and Keesey also adapted their work from Business Communications for Fashion (on openpress.usask.ca ) by Anna Cappuccitti. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License .
when a person represents the ideas of another as their own original work
a word-for-word copy of someone else's words and/or ideas.
a way to use your own words to present information. This method is more detailed and specific than a summary and retains the length of the original source.
a way to use your own words to present your own information. This method is used for describing an entire source. This means that you will focus only on main ideas and not go into details.
a quality that allows others to trust and believe you
Professional Writing Today by Sam Schechter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Quotation basics: grammar, punctuation, and style, some general quotation guidelines.
In an effort to make our handouts more accessible, we have begun converting our PDF handouts to web pages. Download this page as a PDF: Quotation Grammar, Punctuation, and Style Return to Writing Studio Handouts
When writing a formal essay, you will often need to use quotes from a text or texts as evidence to prove your point or to make an argument. Below are grammar and punctuation guidelines to help you integrate those quotes into your essay successfully.
We recommend consulting a style manual or your instructor for specific queries.
Periods and Commas
- You do not need to use any punctuation before a quotation if it forms part of your own sentence.
Example: Dennis cries that he is “being repressed!”
- Use a comma when introducing a quote with a phrase such as ‘he said.’
Example: The old man protests, “I don’t want to go on the cart.”
- Place parenthetical citations outside the end quotation mark, but before the punctuation.
Example: King Arthur declares, “Let’s not go to Camelot. It is a silly place” (13).
Colons and Ellipses
- Use a colon when introducing a quotation with a full independent clause (one that can stand on its own).
Example: Emily feels frustrated by his response: “Is there someone else that we can talk to?”
- Use an ellipsis (three periods, sometimes with spaces between: ‘…’ ) to indicate an omission in a quotation (Exception: it is not necessary to use an ellipsis when omitting words at the beginning of a quote unless you are using a block quote format).
Example: “The kind of intelligence a genius has … leaps with ellipses.”
- When you want to omit one or more full sentences, use a period and a space before the three ellipsis dots.
Example: “Hatred paralyzes life. … Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
Slashes and Brackets
- When you are quoting poetry, use a slash ( / ) to mark a line break.
Example: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments” (1-2).
- Use square brackets to add a word, change a pronoun, or change a verb tense in the quote.
Original quote: “It’s my duty as a knight to sample all the peril I can.”
In your essay: Sir Galahad thinks “it’s [his] duty as a knight to sample all the peril [he] can.”
Question Marks and Exclamation Points
- With a question mark or exclamation point, there is no need to use a comma or a period.
Example: The interested observer wonders, “Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?”
- If the mark is part of your sentence and not part of the quote, it goes outside the last quotation mark.
Example: I don’t think we can ever understand the “ineluctable modality of the visual”!
- MLA style calls for use of a block quote (indent 10 spaces, or 2 tabs) when citing five or more lines of typed prose or four or more lines of verse. APA style calls for block quotes when citing forty words or more.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate. / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. (1-4)
Quote Within a Quote
- When using a quote within a quote, single quotation marks are used for the inner quote.
Example: Josh laments, “Every time I try to talk to someone it’s ‘sorry this’ and ‘forgive me that.’”
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- How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA
How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA
Published on 15 April 2022 by Shona McCombes and Jack Caulfield. Revised on 3 September 2022.
Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:
- The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you’re consistent) or formatted as a block quote
- The original author is correctly cited
- The text is identical to the original
The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism , which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker .
Table of contents
How to cite a quote in harvard and apa style, introducing quotes, quotes within quotes, shortening or altering a quote, block quotes, when should i use quotes, frequently asked questions about quoting sources.
Every time you quote, you must cite the source correctly . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style you’re using.
Citing a quote in Harvard style
When you include a quote in Harvard style, you must add a Harvard in-text citation giving the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. Any full stop or comma appears after the citation, not within the quotation marks.
Citations can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in brackets after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.
- Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) . Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .
Complete guide to Harvard style
Citing a quote in APA Style
To cite a direct quote in APA , you must include the author’s last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use ‘p.’; if it spans a page range, use ‘pp.’
An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in parentheses after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.
Punctuation marks such as full stops and commas are placed after the citation, not within the quotation marks.
- Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) .
- Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .
Complete guide to APA
Make sure you integrate quotes properly into your text by introducing them in your own words, showing the reader why you’re including the quote and providing any context necessary to understand it. Don’t present quotations as stand-alone sentences.
There are three main strategies you can use to introduce quotes in a grammatically correct way:
- Add an introductory sentence
- Use an introductory signal phrase
- Integrate the quote into your own sentence
The following examples use APA Style citations, but these strategies can be used in all styles.
Introduce the quote with a full sentence ending in a colon . Don’t use a colon if the text before the quote isn’t a full sentence.
If you name the author in your sentence, you may use present-tense verbs, such as “states’, ‘argues’, ‘explains’, ‘writes’, or ‘reports’, to describe the content of the quote.
- In Denmark, a recent poll shows that: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
- In Denmark, a recent poll shows that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
- Levring (2018) reports that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).
Introductory signal phrase
You can also use a signal phrase that mentions the author or source but doesn’t form a full sentence. In this case, you follow the phrase with a comma instead of a colon.
- According to a recent poll, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
- As Levring (2018) explains, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).
Integrated into your own sentence
To quote a phrase that doesn’t form a full sentence, you can also integrate it as part of your sentence, without any extra punctuation.
- A recent poll suggests that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
- Levring (2018) reports that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (p. 3).
When you quote text that itself contains another quote, this is called a nested quotation or a quote within a quote. It may occur, for example, when quoting dialogue from a novel.
To distinguish this quote from the surrounding quote, you enclose it in double (instead of single) quotation marks (even if this involves changing the punctuation from the original text). Make sure to close both sets of quotation marks at the appropriate moments.
Note that if you only quote the nested quotation itself, and not the surrounding text, you can just use single quotation marks.
- Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘ ‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ‘ he told me, ‘ just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had ‘ ‘ (Fitzgerald 1).
- Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘”Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had “ (Fitzgerald 1).
- Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”’ (Fitzgerald 1).
- Carraway begins by quoting his father’s invocation to ‘remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’ (Fitzgerald 1).
Note: When the quoted text in the source comes from another source, it’s best to just find that original source in order to quote it directly. If you can’t find the original source, you can instead cite it indirectly .
Often, incorporating a quote smoothly into your text requires you to make some changes to the original text. It’s fine to do this, as long as you clearly mark the changes you’ve made to the quote.
Shortening a quote
If some parts of a passage are redundant or irrelevant, you can shorten the quote by removing words, phrases, or sentences and replacing them with an ellipsis (…). Put a space before and after the ellipsis.
Be careful that removing the words doesn’t change the meaning. The ellipsis indicates that some text has been removed, but the shortened quote should still accurately represent the author’s point.
Altering a quote
You can add or replace words in a quote when necessary. This might be because the original text doesn’t fit grammatically with your sentence (e.g., it’s in a different tense), or because extra information is needed to clarify the quote’s meaning.
Use brackets to distinguish words that you have added from words that were present in the original text.
The Latin term ‘ sic ‘ is used to indicate a (factual or grammatical) mistake in a quotation. It shows the reader that the mistake is from the quoted material, not a typo of your own.
In some cases, it can be useful to italicise part of a quotation to add emphasis, showing the reader that this is the key part to pay attention to. Use the phrase ’emphasis added’ to show that the italics were not part of the original text.
You usually don’t need to use brackets to indicate minor changes to punctuation or capitalisation made to ensure the quote fits the style of your text.
If you quote more than a few lines from a source, you must format it as a block quote . Instead of using quotation marks, you set the quote on a new line and indent it so that it forms a separate block of text.
Block quotes are cited just like regular quotes, except that if the quote ends with a full stop, the citation appears after the full stop.
To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more. (16)
Avoid relying too heavily on quotes in academic writing . To integrate a source , it’s often best to paraphrase , which means putting the passage into your own words. This helps you integrate information smoothly and keeps your own voice dominant.
However, there are some situations in which quotes are more appropriate.
When focusing on language
If you want to comment on how the author uses language (for example, in literary analysis ), it’s necessary to quote so that the reader can see the exact passage you are referring to.
When giving evidence
To convince the reader of your argument, interpretation or position on a topic, it’s often helpful to include quotes that support your point. Quotes from primary sources (for example, interview transcripts or historical documents) are especially credible as evidence.
When presenting an author’s position or definition
When you’re referring to secondary sources such as scholarly books and journal articles, try to put others’ ideas in your own words when possible.
But if a passage does a great job at expressing, explaining, or defining something, and it would be very difficult to paraphrase without changing the meaning or losing the weakening the idea’s impact, it’s worth quoting directly.
A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.
To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.
It’s appropriate to quote when:
- Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
- You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
- You’re presenting a precise definition
- You’re looking in depth at a specific claim
Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .
For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: ‘This is a quote’ (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).
Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.
In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.
In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .
As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.
If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarises other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA recommends retaining the citations as part of the quote:
- Smith states that ‘the literature on this topic (Jones, 2015; Sill, 2019; Paulson, 2020) shows no clear consensus’ (Smith, 2019, p. 4).
Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted.
If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase ‘as cited in’ in your citation.
A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate ‘block’ of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.
APA uses block quotes for quotes that are 40 words or longer.
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McCombes, S. & Caulfield, J. (2022, September 03). How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA. Scribbr. Retrieved 13 November 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/quoting/
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A detailed guide to quoting
Quotations have the power to elevate your written work when used correctly. But in order to use a quote properly, you must give full credit to the original source.
Before you can learn how to properly include quoted material, you need to have a firm understanding of what a quotation is, the purpose for using one, and the difference between quoting and paraphrasing.
What is a quotation in writing?
Quotations serve multiple purposes in writing. Students and professionals alike can benefit from using quotations in their work. Whether you’re writing a research paper or a blog article, you’ll likely find yourself needing to use them at some point. Quoting can add perspective, validation, and evidence to your piece.
What do you mean by quoting?
Quoting is a technique that allows you to include an original passage from a source in your work as a direct quote. You do this by framing or surrounding the quote in quotation marks like this, “This is an example of a sentence framed by quotation marks.”
However, you can’t just add quotation marks and call it a day. You also need proper attribution for your source.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between direct quoting and indirect quoting. With direct quoting, you include the source’s exact words framed within quotation marks.
With indirect quoting, you can paraphrase what the person or text said in your own words instead of copying it verbatim. Indirect quoting, also known as indirect speech or discourse, is mostly used to summarize what someone said in a talk or interview. Indirect quotations are never placed within quotation marks.
How do you properly quote?
To properly quote someone, you’ll need to follow some general quoting rules along with properly citing your source using your preferred MLA, APA, or Chicago style guide.
For example, many people incorrectly use punctuation with quotation marks. Do you know whether or not to include punctuation inside the quotation marks?
Here’s how to handle punctuation marks with quotes, as well as a few more rules to consider when including quotations in your work:
As a good rule of thumb, periods and commas should go inside quotation marks. On the other hand, colons, semicolons, and dashes go outside of the quotation marks.
However, exclamation points and question marks aren’t set in stone. While these tend to go on the inside of quotation marks, in some instances, you might place them outside of the marks.
Here are a few examples to illustrate how this would work in practice:
“ You should keep commas inside the quotation marks, ” he explained.
She wanted to help, so she said, “ I’m happy to explain it ” ; they needed a thorough explanation, and she loved to teach her students.
It gets a little trickier with exclamation marks and question marks when quoting. These can be either inside the quotation marks or outside of them, depending on the situation. Keep question and exclamation marks inside the quotations if they apply to the quoted passage. If they apply to your sentence instead of the quote, you’ll want to keep them outside. Here’s an example:
He asked the students, “ Do you know how to use quotation marks? ”
Did the students hear the teacher when he said, “ I will show you how to use quotation marks ”?
Once you start using a quotation mark, you have to close it. This means that you can’t leave a quote open like the example below because the reader wouldn’t know when the quote is over.
The rule of capitalization changes depending on the context.
For example, if you quote a complete sentence, then you should capitalize the first word in the sentence. However, if you are quoting a piece of a sentence or phrase, then you wouldn’t need to start with capitalization, like this:
She said, “ Here’s an example of a sentence that should start with a capital letter. ”
He said it was “ a good example of a sentence where capitalization isn’t necessary. ”
Sometimes, you’ll want to split a quote. You don’t need to capitalize the second half of the quote that’s divided by a parenthetical. Here’s an example to show you what that would look like:
“ Here is an example of a quote, ” she told her students, “ that doesn’t need capitalization in the second part . ”
What is the purpose of quoting?
As stated above, quotations can serve multiple purposes in a written piece. Quotes can signify direct passages or titles of works. Here are a few of the reasons to include a quote within your written work:
These intentions can apply whether you’ve interviewed your source or are taking a quote from an existing, published piece.
However, before you use a quote, you’ll want to understand how it can strengthen your work and when you should use one. We’ll discuss when you should use quotes and how to properly cite them using different style guides in the next section.
When you should use quotes
Quotations should be used strategically, no matter what type of writing you’re doing. For instance, if you’re a professional copywriter crafting a white paper or a student writing a research paper, you’ll likely want to include as much proof as possible in your work. However, stuffing your paper with a ton of quotations can do more harm than good because the piece needs to represent your ideas and interpretations of the source, not just good quotes.
That being said, quoting reputable sources in your work is an excellent way to prove your points and add credibility to the piece. Use quotations in your work when you want to share accurate ideas and passages from source materials.
You should also use quotes when you want to add emphasis to a source on the topic you’re covering.
For example, if you’re writing a research paper, then it would be beneficial to add quotes from a professor involved in the study you’re referring to in your piece.
How to cite a quote in MLA, APA, and Chicago
MLA, APA, and Chicago are three of the most common citation styles. It’s a standardized way of crediting the sources that you quote. Depending on your assignment, you may need to use a specific one when citing your sources.
This section shares how to cite your quotes in these three popular citation styles, along with several examples of each.
Modern Language Association (MLA) is most often associated with academics in English or philosophic fields. With this style of citation, you’ll need to include quotes word-for-word. It’s fine to use only phrases or pieces from a specific quote, but you’ll need to keep the spelling and punctuation the same.
Here are some other criteria to keep in mind when citing using MLA style:
• If the quote goes longer than four lines, you must use a blockquote. Do not indent at the start of the quote block.
• Start quotes on the next line, ½ inch from the left margin of the paper.
• Quotes must be double spaced like the rest of the paper.
• Only use quotations when quotation marks are a part of the source.
• Include in-text citations next to the blockquote.
• If a blockquote is longer than a paragraph, you must start the next paragraph with the same indent.
• Don’t include a number in the parenthetical quotation if the source doesn’t use page numbers.
Here’s an example of a short, direct quote with MLA using a website resource without page numbers:
She always wanted to be a writer. “ I knew from a young age that I wanted to write a novel . ” (Smith)
And an example of a blockquote from page 2 of the source:
John Doe shares his experience getting his book published in the prologue:
I never expected so many people to be willing to help me publish this book. I had a lot of support along the way. My friends and colleagues always encouraged me to keep going. Some helped me edit, and others reminded me why I started in the first place. One of my good friends even brought me dinner when she knew I was going to be working late. (2)
With MLA, the reader can reference the full sources at the end in the Work Cited section. For this example, it could look like this:
Smith, J. (2021). Example Blog Post. Retrieved 2021, from www.example.com
Doe, J. (2021). Book Title One (1st ed., Vol. 1). Example, TX: Example Publishing.
See this article for more information on MLA style citations.
American Psychological Association (APA) is used often in psychology, education, and criminal justice fields. It often requires a cover page and abstract.
Here are a few points to consider when using APA style to cite your sources:
• Citation pages should be double spaced.
• All citations in a paper must have a full reference in the reference list.
• All references must have a hanging indent.
• Sources must be listed in alphabetical order, typically by the last name.
Using the same source examples as we did with MLA above, here is how they would be cited in APA:
Doe, Jane. Example Blog Post . 2021, www.example.com.
Doe, John. Book Title One . 1st ed., vol. 1, Example Publishing, 2021.
See this article for more information on APA style citations.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is commonly used in history and humanities fields. It was created to help researchers. Here are a few points to keep in mind for Chicago Style:
• There are 2 types of referencing styles:
→ Notes and Bibliography
• The list of bibliography must be single-spaced.
• The text should be double spaced, except for block quotations, tables, notes, and bibliographies.
• The second line should be indented for sources.
•Author last names must be arranged alphabetically.
Here’s how the same example sources used above would be cited using Chicago style:
Doe, Jane. “Example Blog Post,” 2021. www.example.com.
Doe, John. Book Title One . 1. 1st ed. Vol. 1. Example, TX: Example Publishing, 2021.
See this article for more information on Chicago style citations.
Types of quotes and examples
There are two main types of quotes: direct and indirect.
Whenever you want to use someone’s statement word-for-word in your text, you’ll need to include properly cited, direct quotations. However, if you want to paraphrase someone’s words then indirect quotes could be more appropriate.
For example, say that you’re writing a press release for a company. You could interview different people within the company’s staff and paraphrase their quotes. This is particularly useful if the direct quote wouldn’t work well within your piece. For instance, you could change this direct quote example into an indirect quote that would more succinctly represent the speech:
Keep in mind when using quotations that you should aim for using as few words as necessary. You don’t want to quote an entire paragraph when only one sentence contains the key information you want to share. If you need to add context, do so in your words. It’ll make for a much more interesting piece if you’re using quotes to support your stance alongside your interpretation instead of just repeating what’s already been said.
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Quoting – A Guide to Quoting in Academic Writing
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When you read or listen to ideas from others, it is essential to acknowledge their thoughts by citing them when we use them to avoid plagiarism . When working with sources , citing and referencing them correctly is vital. In some cases, you may want to quote something directly, which can be done in various ways and formats depending on the context, length, and how you opt to integrate it into your writing. This article will cover all you need to know about quoting.
- 1 Quoting – In a Nutshell
- 2 Definition: Quoting
- 3 What is the purpose of quoting?
- 4 Quoting in different citation styles
- 5 How to introduce quotes correctly
- 6 Quoting within a quote
- 7 Quoting – Shortening and changing
- 8 Block quoting
Quoting – In a Nutshell
A quotation is a way of bringing someone else’s work into your discussion. Quoting helps you in the following way:
- It enables you to avoid plagiarism
- It brings clarity to your work
- It redirects readers to more information about your topic
- It reinforces your arguments and provides authenticity
- It supports your claims
Quoting is described as using the exact words said or written by another author in your academic paper. This external information is usually used in order to support your own arguments. When quoting, you enclose the words and sentences that are not initially yours with quotation marks . There are several ways to integrate quotes in your academic work depending on how they are introduced, if it is a quote within a quote, or if it should be a block quote .
The President ordered, “All learning institutions to be closed due to COVID” in his speech.
In this example, “All learning institutions to be closed due to COVID” represents the quote that is included in the sentence. It illustrates the exact words that the President has used in his speech.
What is the purpose of quoting?
Quoting is used to emphasize language, present evidence , and express, define and explain your ideas .
Emphasis on language with quoting
Quoting is used very commonly to emphasize language.
In this case, quoting is relevant, as users of a certain language may give the strongest representation of that language:
Peter explains that “Schadenfreude” is a word that can’t be translated into English.
Presenting evidence with quoting
Quoting is often used when presenting evidence in order to support a claim . This may be relevant when you intend to convince your readers.
Firstly, account for your claim :
Julia Winter’s (2004) writings express that she believes there is no objective reality; instead, a person creates his or her own reality.
Secondly, i ntroduce the quote:
In Societal psychology , Winter asserts,…
Finally, present the evidence :
…“if you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, it will be believed” (p. 23).
Quoting expressions, explanations, or definitions
In order to support your argument , you may quote expressions, explanations, or definitions by other authors:
We should focus on our creativity because, as Maya Angelou expressed, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.
Quoting in different citation styles
Citation styles are a s et of protocols for citing sources when writing an academic paper, and also function as tools to avoid plagiarism. There are a number of citation styles, which are useful in academic writing :
- Parenthetical citations or narrative citations like APA style and MLA style
- Footnotes in Chicago style
Let’s take a more in-depth look at these citation styles in relation to quoting below.
Quoting in APA style
When quoting in APA in-text citation style, the author’s last name, the year of publication, and page numbers must be included. If the quote is located on only one page, the abbreviation “p.” is used. If the quote reaches more than one page, the abbreviation “pp.” is used.
In APA in-text citation style, one may distinguish between a parenthetical citation and a narrative citation:
Regarding punctuation, it is essential to set commas , periods, exclamation points, question marks …etc. after the quotation marks.
Quoting in MLA style
When quoting in MLA in-text citation style, only the author’s last name and page numbers must be included. In the case of two authors, both names must be stated. If there are more than two authors, only name the first one and add “et al.” to refer to the rest. The information of the sources is not separated by commas, nor are page indicators used in MLA.
- One author: (Cenzo 23)
- Two Authors: (Cenzo and Melly 40-42)
- Three plus authors: (Cenzo et al. 43)
In MLA in-text citation style, one may distinguish between a parenthetical citation and a narrative citation:
Like in APA, it is essential to set commas, periods, exclamation points , question marks …etc. after the quotation marks .
Quoting in Chicago style
Footnotes are notes written at the bottom of the page in a paper. They are indicated by letters or symbols written in the form of a superscript and placed right after a quote. Citing a quote in Chicago style must include the author, title, and page numbers.
Cenzo stated that “APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing.” (Cenzo, Citation Styles, 234.)
How to introduce quotes correctly
When quoting in your paper, consider the following Dos and Don’ts :
- Make sure to present your quotes in your own words
- Convey the purpose of your quotes to the readers
- Use quotes that support your arguments and provide an additional understanding of the context
- Avoid redundancy and do not include unnecessary quotes
- Don’t look for a quote and then find the technique, start with the technique and incorporate a suiting quote
- Don’t write quotes as a sentence by itself
Find a detailed account of the 3 ways of introducing quotes correctly below:
1. Introductory sentences
Introductory sentences present the quote. They serve to open paragraphs and precede the idea sentence. The common tense used is present simple. They require a comma mostly after an introductory clause, prepositional phrase, verbal phrase, or distinct pause. If the introductory sentence is a full sentence, a colon must be placed at the end of it.
Unlike APA and MLA parenthetical citations, punctuations like period, comma, question mark, and exclamation point are placed inside the quotation marks in Chicago.
Introductory signal phrases
Using signal phrases when quoting can be done in various ways. If the signal phrase does not shape a full sentence, it should be ended with a comma. In the case of a full sentence, the signal phrase should be ended with a colon.
- According to a recent study, “Children from higher-income families, perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).
- As Brown (2019) reports, “Children from higher-income families, perform better in school” (p. 21).
Quoting in own sentences
Quoting in your own sentences is relevant when the quote is not a full sentence. In most cases, additional punctuation is not needed.
- A recent study shows that children from higher-income families “perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).
- Brown (2019) suggests that children from higher-income families “perform better in school” (p. 21).
Quoting within a quote
A nested quotation is understood as a quoted text within another quote. To avoid confusion, the internal quote can be distinguished by single quotation marks (‘…’) . Keep in mind that this is only necessary when both quotes are present in your paper.
Quoting – Shortening and changing
To smoothly incorporate quotes into your text, you may need to make changes to the original text. For this, it is vital to underline the alterations, so they are clear to the readers.
There are two ways of changing quotes:
How to shorten quotes
When shortening a quote to remove redundant information, you may omit words or parts of a sentence and insert ellipses (…) instead. These provide a clear indication that the quote has been shortened. However, before removing anything, make sure that shortening the quote won’t affect the meaning.
Meyer (2012) argues, “he has to run errands…to get home before midnight” (p. 12).
How to change quotes
In some cases, it is relevant to add or replace words in a quote. Integrating a quote in your own sentence may be challenging, as the grammatical structure or tense may not align with each other. In other cases, some quotes need more explanations in order to express the right context. When altering quotes, it is vital to highlight the changes made. This may be done in various ways:
When adding a word , use brackets around the word to indicate that you have added this word:
Jones (1993) states that “those [plants] with the highest stems are usually darker in color” (p. 201).
If you detect mistakes in an original quote, you may underline this in your paper . For this, the Latin term “sic” is used to indicate that this mistake has not been made by you:
Smith (2003) suggests, “some informations [sic] has been withheld from the government” (p. 60).
If you want to emphasize a certain word or phrase in italics , you must mark this with “emphasis added” so the reader knows to pay attention to this:
“Children from higher-income [emphasis added] families, perform better in school” (Brown, 2019, p. 21).
If you make small changes regarding punctuation or capitalization, it is generally not necessary to clarify this in a bracket.
If the quote is longer than a few lines, the quote must be formatted as a block. For this, you do not use quotation marks, but the quote must be placed in a new line and be indented, so it takes the shape of a separate block of text in your paper. In this style, the in-text citation must be placed after the period if the quote ends with a period.
Debeena Harris (2012) has a specific take on this topic:
Most people claim that they feel like they’re trapped in a rat race, without an exit. While we can all feel this way from time to time, it’s important to know that there is a way out. (p. 112)
What is quoting in academic writing?
Quoting is a technique that allows you to include ideas from outside sources in your arguments.
What format is used when quoting?
By adding quotation marks to words and sentences that were said or written by an individual other than you.
“ We should stand together to fight corruption, “ the politician said.
How do you write a question when quoting?
When quoting a question, you should put the question mark inside the quotation marks.
- The students were asked, “How many days are there in a month?”
- If are not quoting a question but the whole sentence is a question, you place the question mark outside the quotation mark. As shown below:
- Did the students really respond, “Averagely, there are 30 days”?
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / How to Cite a Report in APA
How to Cite a Report in APA
This guide will teach you how to cite a report in APA and create accurate references and text in-citations for various types of reports. That includes citations for government reports, annual reports, and reports made by both individuals, task forces, and organizations. The content of this guide is based on the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (pp. 329-331).
Are you looking for information on how to cite a different kind of resource? Check out this EasyBib guide on creating an APA citation for a web page , or this one on formatting an APA book citation .
What is gray literature, when the title doesn’t describe the literature type, when the author and publisher name are the same, how to cite a report from an organization or government agency, how to cite a report with listed author(s), how to cite a report that is part of a series, how to cite a report by a group, task force, or working group, how to cite an annual report, how to cite a press release, what you need.
To begin, let’s take a few moments to define what gray literature is.
Basically, gray literature includes any research or work that was produced by an individual or organization through non-traditional publishing routes.
A report is one example of gray literature. Reports are original research documents that are published by companies, organizations, or working groups that are intended to present the key findings of a specific research project. Since they are not distributed in a traditional way, reports are considered gray literature.
Though gray literature isn’t a traditional source type (like books, journals, newspapers, etc.), there can be a lot of value in gray literature.
- Annual reports
- Codes of ethics
- Conference proceedings
- Financial health reports
- Government accountability reports
- GrantsPeriodic reports
- Issue briefs
- Policy briefs
- Pharmacological studies
- Press releases
- Technical reports
- Unpublished clinical trials
In some cases, the type of gray literature that you are referencing may not be clear by the title alone, as is sometimes the case with policy briefs and press releases . In these instances, you should include a bracketed description of the gray literature immediately after the title.
Author last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number) . Publisher name. DOI or URL
To see an example of brackets in use, go down to the section on how to cite a press release .
According to the Publication Manual , when the author and publisher are the same, do not add the publisher element (329). To avoid redundancy in these references, you only need to use the name as the author.
Author last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number) . DOI or URL
In this example, the report has been both authored and published by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In cases such as these, provide the name of the organization or agency only once as the author element at the beginning of the reference.
U.S. Department of the Interior. (2016). Agency financial report FY 2016. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/doi_fy_2016_afr.pdf
In-text citation example:
- Parenthetical citation: (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016)
- Narrative citation: U.S. Department of the Interior (2016)
If you’re still a little unsure about how to cite a report, try our EasyBib citation form for reports .
If you are interested in learning more about how to cite gray literature, check out Section 10.4 of the Publication Manual .
Organization or Agency. (Year Published). Title of report or gray literature in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2017). NIH Turning discovery into health. (NIH Publication No. 11-7634). https://www.nih.gov/sites/default/files/about-nih/discovery-into-health/nih-turning-discovery-into-health.pdf
Some government publications will have many departments listed as the author. According to the Publication Manual , you should choose the most detailed department and use that as the in-text citation author (Section 9.11).
- Parenthetical citation: (National Institutes of Health, 2017)
- Narrative citation: National Institutes of Health (2017)
If the report has a specific person or persons listed on the title page, then their names belong in the author position, and the organization belongs in the publisher position.
1st author last name, First initial. Middle initial., & 2nd Author last name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL
Gerling, M., & Wilson, T. (2019). Evaluating the June area survey’s field enumerator training (RDD-19-01) . U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Research and Development Division. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Education_and_Outreach/Reports,_Presentations_and_Conferences/reports/Evaluating_the_June_Area_Surveys_Field_Enumerator_Training.pdf
For this example, we have chosen a research report which utilizes the U.S. Research and Development Division’s own indexing system (RDD-19-01). If the report is presented with a report number like this, it is included in the reference within parentheses right after the title.
In addition, there are multiple government agencies responsible for the report in addition to the individual authors. In this case, the agencies are all included in the publisher position and separated by a comma.
- Parenthetical citation : (Gerling & Wilson, 2019)
- Narrative citation : Gerling & Wilson (2019)
Here’s one more example reference:
Gorbunova, Y. (2013). Laws of attrition: Crackdown on Russia’s civil society after Putin’s return to the presidency . Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/04/24/laws-attrition/crackdown-russias-civil-society-after-putins-return-presidency#page
Note: Since no report number was identified, it was not included in the citation.
Author last name, First initial. Middle initial., & Author 2 last name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year published). Title of report in sentence case (Series Name, Series Number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL
Robson, S.G., Heiny, J.S., Arnold, L.R. (2000). Geohydrology of the shallow aquifers in the Boulder-Longmont area, Colorado (Hydrologic Atlas, 746). https://doi.org/10.3133/ha746D
- Parenthetical citation : (Robson et al., 2000)
- Narrative citation : Robson et al. (2000)
Name of Group. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Associated number) . Publisher Name. DOI or URL
International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force. (2007). Final report. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/170368main_IIST_%20Final%20Report.pdf
- Parenthetical citation: (International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force, 2007)
- Narrative citation: International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force (2007)
Name of Organization or Company. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case. URL
Yum! Brands. (2019). 2018 Annual Report. https://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_YUM_2018.pdf
Since annual reports are almost always published by the companies or organizations that commissioned them, the author and publisher name would be the same in a reference. To avoid this duplication, the organization name only needs to be listed once as the author; the publisher element can be left out.
- Parenthetical citation : (Yum! Brands, 2019)
- Narrative citation : Yum! Brands (2019)
Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number) . Publisher Name. DOI or URL
Chegg. (2019, June 6). Chegg reveals first of its kind equity plan to help its US employees pay off their student debt. https://investor.chegg.com/Press-Releases/press-release-details/2019/Chegg-reveals-first-of-its-kind-equity-plan-to-help-its-US-employees-pay-off-their-student-debt/default.aspx
- Parenthetical citation : (Chegg, 2019)
- Narrative citation : Chegg (2019)
A reference entry for a report, and other gray literature, will contain the the following source details:
- Author name
- Date published. Either year (2020) or year, month day (2020, February 14)
- Title of the work (in sentence case)
- Associated number (if applicable). Examples: Report No. 22, Project No. 567, Issue 101, etc.
- Work description (if needed). Examples: [Grant], [Policy brief], [Press release]
- Publisher name
- DOI or URL (if applicable). DOi would be formatted as https://doi.org/xxxx
Here’s a basic structure for citing gray literature:
Author last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of the work (Associated number) . Publisher Name. DOI or URL
American Psychological Association. (2020a). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
American Psychological Association. (2020b). Style-Grammar-Guidelines. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles/parenthetical-versus-narrative
Published August 10, 2012. Updated March 24, 2020.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.
APA Formatting Guide
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- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Parenthetical Citations
- Reference Page
- Sample Paper
- APA 7 Updates
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- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all APA Examples
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To cite a report in APA style, you need to have basic information including the name of the author/organization, publication year, title of the report, publisher, and/or URL. The templates for in-text citations and reference list entries for a report, along with examples, are given below.
In-text citation template and example:
Author Surname/Organization name (Publication Year)
Logan and Stults (2011)
(Author Surname/Organization name, Publication Year)
(Logan & Stults, 2011)
Reference list entry template and example:
Author or organization. (Year of publication). Title of the report (Report No. if applicable). Publisher. URL
Logan, J. R., & Stults, B. J. (2011). The persistence of segregation in the metropolis: New findings from the 2010 Census (Census Brief for Project US2010). American Communities Project, Brown University. www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/Data/Report/report2.pdf
The report title should be in sentence case and italics.
To cite a source with no title in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the name of the author, date if possible, and other information depending upon the type of publication, such as journal article, book chapter, or map. The templates and examples for in-text citations and reference list entries for a source with no title are given below.
Author Surname (Publication Year)
(Author Surname, Publication Year)
Author Surname, F. (Publication Year). [Description of the work]. Source. URL (if applicable)
Google. (n.d.). [Map of Google to travel by road from Chennai to New Delhi, India]. Retrieved August 21, 2021, from https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Chennai,+Tamil+Nadu/New+Delhi,+Delhiemail@example.com,69.8777929,5z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x3a5265ea4f7d3361:0x6e61a70b6863d433!2m2!1d80.2707184!2d13.0826802!1m5!1m1!1s0x390cfd5b347eb62d:0x52c2b7494e204dce!2m2!1d77.2090212!2d28.6139391
Note that the “retrieved” date should only be included if the source is likely to change or become unavailable. Since the Google map cited in the example entry may be slightly different depending on the day (due to traffic conditions, road closures, etc.), the “retrieved” date is included.
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How to Write a Report: A Guide
A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report.
Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing.
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What is a report?
In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report .
Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description.
What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content:
- Details of an event or situation
- The consequences or ongoing effect of an event or situation
- Evaluation of statistical data or analytics
- Interpretations from the information in the report
- Predictions or recommendations based on the information in the report
- How the information relates to other events or reports
Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion.
Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights.
Types of reports
There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:
- Academic report: Tests a student’s comprehension of the subject matter, such as book reports, reports on historical events, and biographies
- Business reports: Identifies information useful in business strategy, such as marketing reports, internal memos, SWOT analysis, and feasibility reports
- Scientific reports: Shares research findings, such as research papers and case studies, typically in science journals
Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments.
There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational.
>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?
What is the structure of a report?
The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:
- Executive summary: Just like an abstract in an academic paper, an executive summary is a standalone section that summarizes the findings in your report so readers know what to expect. These are mostly for official reports and less so for school reports.
- Introduction: Setting up the body of the report, your introduction explains the overall topic that you’re about to discuss, with your thesis statement and any need-to-know background information before you get into your own findings.
- Body: The body of the report explains all your major discoveries, broken up into headings and subheadings. The body makes up the majority of the entire report; whereas the introduction and conclusion are just a few paragraphs each, the body can go on for pages.
- Conclusion: The conclusion is where you bring together all the information in your report and come to a definitive interpretation or judgment. This is usually where the author inputs their own personal opinions or inferences.
If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section.
What should be included in a report?
There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot:
- Title page: Official reports often use a title page to keep things organized; if a person has to read multiple reports, title pages make them easier to keep track of.
- Table of contents: Just like in books, the table of contents helps readers go directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing for faster browsing.
- Page numbering: A common courtesy if you’re writing a longer report, page numbering makes sure the pages are in order in the case of mix-ups or misprints.
- Headings and subheadings: Reports are typically broken up into sections, divided by headings and subheadings, to facilitate browsing and scanning.
- Citations: If you’re citing information from another source, the citations guidelines tell you the recommended format.
- Works cited page: A bibliography at the end of the report lists credits and the legal information for the other sources you got information from.
As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require.
How to write a report in 7 steps
Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper.
1 Choose a topic based on the assignment
Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on.
If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria:
- There’s adequate information: Choose a topic that’s not too general but not too specific, with enough information to fill your report without padding, but not too much that you can’t cover everything.
- It’s something you’re interested in: Although this isn’t a strict requirement, it does help the quality of a report if you’re engaged by the subject matter.
Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding.
2 Conduct research
With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both.
For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research.
The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch.
3 Write a thesis statement
Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report.
Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement.
For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments.
It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next.
4 Prepare an outline
Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything.
Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively.
5 Write a rough draft
Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway.
6 Revise and edit your report
Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.)
We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed.
If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips .
7 Proofread and check for mistakes
Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems.
A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level.
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- Updated on
- Nov 4, 2023
The term “report” refers to a nonfiction work that presents and/or paraphrases the facts on a specific occasion, subject, or problem. The notion is that a good report will contain all the information that someone who is not familiar with the subject needs to know. Reports make it simple to bring someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is far from simple. This blog will walk you through the fundamentals of report writing, including the structure and practice themes.
This Blog Includes:
What is a report, reporting formats, newspaper or magazine reports, business reports, technical reports, what is report writing, report writing: things to keep in mind, structure of report writing, magazine vs newspaper report writing format, report writing format for class 10th to 12th, report writing example, report writing for school students: practice questions, report writing slideshare.
- Report Writing in 7 steps
Also Read: Message Writing
A report is a short document written for a particular purpose or audience. It usually sets out and analyses a problem often recommended for future purposes. Requirements for the precise form of the report depend on the department and organization. Technically, a report is defined as “any account, verbal or written, of the matters pertaining to a given topic.” This could be used to describe anything, from a witness’s evidence in court to a student’s book report.
Actually, when people use the word “report,” they usually mean official documents that lay out the details of a subject. These documents are typically written by an authority on the subject or someone who has been tasked with conducting research on it. Although there are other forms of reports, which are discussed in the following section, they primarily fulfil this definition.
What information does reporting contain? All facts are appreciated, but reports, in particular, frequently contain the following kinds of information:
- Information about a circumstance or event
- The aftereffects or ongoing impact of an incident or occurrence
- Analytical or statistical data evaluation
- Interpretations based on the report’s data
- Based on the report’s information, make predictions or suggestions
- Relationships between the information and other reports or events
Although there are some fundamental differences, producing reports and essays share many similarities. Both rely on facts, but essays also include the author’s personal viewpoints and justifications. Reports normally stick to the facts only, however, they could include some of the author’s interpretation in the conclusion.
Reports are also quite well ordered, frequently with tables of contents of headers and subheadings. This makes it simpler for readers to quickly scan reports for the data they need. Essays, on the other hand, should be read from beginning to end rather than being perused for particular information.
Depending on the objective and audience for your report, there are a few distinct types of reports. The most typical report types are listed briefly below:
- Academic report: Examines a student’s knowledge of the subject; examples include book reports, historical event reports, and biographies.
- Identifies data from company reports, such as marketing reports, internal memoranda, SWOT analyses, and feasibility reports, that is useful in corporate planning.
- Shares research findings in the form of case studies and research articles, usually in scientific publications.
Depending on how they are written, reports can be further categorised. A report, for instance, could be professional or casual, brief or lengthy, and internal or external. A lateral report is for persons on the author’s level but in separate departments, whereas a vertical report is for those on the author’s level but with different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you).
Report formats can be as varied as writing styles, but in this manual, we’ll concentrate on academic reports, which are often formal and informational.
Also Read: How to Write a Leave Application?
Major Types of Reports
While the most common type of reports corresponds to the ones we read in newspapers and magazines, there are other kinds of reports that are curated for business or research purposes. Here are the major forms of report writing that you must know about:
The main purpose of newspaper or magazine reports is to cover a particular event or happening. They generally elaborate upon the 4Ws and 1H, i.e. What, Where, When, Why, and How. The key elements of newspaper or magazine report writing are as follows:
- Headline (Title)
- Report’s Name, Place, and Date
- Conclusion (Citation of sources)
Here is an example of a news report:
Business reports aim to analyze a situation or case study by implementing business theories and suggest improvements accordingly. In business report writing, you must adhere to a formal style of writing and these reports are usually lengthier than news reports since they aim to assess a particular issue in detail and provide solutions. The basic structure of business reports includes:
- Table of Contents
- Executive summary
The main purpose of the technical report is to provide an empirical explanation of research-based material. Technical report writing is generally carried out by a researcher for scientific journals or product development and presentation, etc. A technical report mainly contains
- Experimental details
- Results and discussions
- Body (elaborating upon the findings)
Must Read: IELTS Writing Tips
A report is a written record of what you’ve seen, heard, done, or looked into. It is a well-organized and methodical presentation of facts and results from an event that has already occurred. Reports are a sort of written assessment that is used to determine what you have learned through your reading, study, or experience, as well as to provide you with hands-on experience with a crucial skill that is often used in the business.
Before writing a report, there are certain things you must know to ensure that you draft a precise and structured report, and these points to remember are listed below:
- Write a concise and clear title of the report.
- Always use the past tense.
- Don’t explain the issue in the first person, i.e. ‘I’ or ‘Me’. Always write in the third person.
- Put the date, name of the place as well as the reporter’s name after the heading.
- Structure the report by dividing it into paragraphs.
- Stick to the facts and keep it descriptive.
Must Read: IELTS Sample Letters
The format of a report is determined by the kind of report it is and the assignment’s requirements. While reports can have their own particular format, the majority use the following general framework:
- Executive summary: A stand-alone section that highlights the findings in your report so that readers will know what to expect, much like an abstract in an academic paper. These are more frequently used for official reports than for academic ones.
- Introduction: Your introduction introduces the main subject you’re going to explore in the report, along with your thesis statement and any previous knowledge that is necessary before you get into your own results.
- Body: Using headings and subheadings, the report’s body discusses all of your significant findings. The majority of the report is made up of the body; in contrast to the introduction and conclusion, which are each only a few paragraphs long, the body can span many pages.
- In the conclusion, you should summarize all the data in your report and offer a clear interpretation or conclusion. Usually, the author inserts their own personal judgments or inferences here.
Report Writing Formats
It is quintessential to follow a proper format in report writing to provide it with a compact structure. Business reports and technical reports don’t have a uniform structure and are generally based on the topic or content they are elaborating on. Let’s have a look at the proper format of report writing generally for news and magazines and the key elements you must add to a news report:
To Read: How to Learn Spoken English?
The report writing structure for students in grades 10 and 12 is as follows.
- Heading : A title that expresses the contents of the report in a descriptive manner.
- Byline : The name of the person who is responsible for drafting the report. It’s usually included in the query. Remember that you are not allowed to include any personal information in your response.
- (introduction) : The ‘5 Ws,’ or WHAT, WHY, WHEN, and WHERE, as well as WHO was invited as the main guest, might be included.
- The account of the event in detail : The order in which events occurred, as well as their descriptions. It is the primary paragraph, and if necessary, it can be divided into two smaller paragraphs.
- Conclusion : This will give a summary of the event’s conclusion. It might include quotes from the Chief Guest’s address or a summary of the event’s outcome.
Now that you are familiar with all the formats of report writing, here are some questions that you can practice to understand the structure and style of writing a report.
- You are a student of Delhi Public School Srinagar handling a campus magazine in an editorial role. On the increasing level of global warming, write a report on the event for your school magazine.
- On the Jammu-Srinagar highway, a mishap took place, where a driver lost his control and skidded off into a deep gorge. Write a report on it and include all the necessary details and eyewitness accounts.
- As a reporter for the Delhi Times, you are assigned to report on the influx of migrants coming from other states of the country. Take an official statement to justify your report.
- There is a cultural program in Central Park Rajiv Chowk New Delhi. The home minister of India is supposed to attend the event apart from other delegates. Report the event within the 150-200 word limit.
- Write today’s trend of COVID-19 cases in India. As per the official statement. include all the necessary details and factual information. Mention the state with a higher number of cases so far.
- In Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, a table tennis tournament was held between Delhi Public School New Delhi and DPS Punjab. Report the event in 250-300 words.
Also Read: Formal Letter Format, Types & Samples
Report Writ ing in 7 steps
- Choose a topic based on the assignment
- Conduct research
- Write a thesis statement
- Prepare an outline
- Write a rough draft
- Revise and edit your report
- Proofread and check for mistakes
Make sure that every piece of information you have supplied is pertinent. Remember to double-check your grammar, spelling, tenses, and the person you are writing in. A final inspection against any structural criteria is also important. You have appropriately and completely referenced academic work. Check to make sure you haven’t unintentionally, purposefully, or both duplicated something without giving credit.
Any business professional’s toolkit must include business reports. Therefore, how can you create a thorough business report? You must first confirm that you are familiar with the responses to the following three questions.
Every company report starts with an issue that needs to be fixed. This could be something straightforward, like figuring out a better way to organise procuring office supplies, or it could be a more challenging issue, like putting in place a brand-new, multimillion-dollar computer system.
You must therefore compile the data you intend to include in your report. How do you do this? If you’ve never conducted in-depth research before, it can be quite a daunting task, so discovering the most efficient techniques is a real plus.
Hopefully, this blog has helped you with a comprehensive understanding of report writing and its essential components. Aiming to pursue a degree in Writing? Sign up for an e-meeting with our experts at Leverage Edu and we will help you in selecting the best course and university as well as sorting the admission process to ensure that you get successfully shortlisted.
A writer with more than 10 years of experience, including 5 years in a newsroom, Ankita takes great pleasure in helping students via study abroad news updates about universities and visa policies. When not busy working you can find her creating memes and discussing social issues with her colleagues.
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Report Writing Quotes & Sayings
Quotes & Sayings About Report Writing
Enjoy reading and share 36 famous quotes about Report Writing with everyone.
Top Report Writing Quotes
Men are born to write. The gardener saves every slip, and seed, and peach-stone: his vocation is to be a planter of plants. Not less does the writer attend his affair. Whatever he beholds or experiences, comes to him as a model, and sits for its picture. He counts it all nonsense that they say, that some things are undescribable. He believes that all that can be thought can be written, first or last; and he would report the Holy Ghost, or attempt it. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
A script arrived, and on the front cover - scrawled really big, as if it were a book report - is 'Django Unchained, written by Quentin Tarantino.' And I thought, 'Well, no art department came up with this; this is Quentin's writing.' — Dennis Christopher
In the early 1970s, the northern hemisphere appeared to have been cooling at an alarming rate. There was frequent talk of a new ice age. Books and documentaries appeared, hypothesizing a snowblitz or sporting titles such as The Cooling. Even the CIA got into the act, sponsoring several meetings and writing a controversial report warning of threats to American security from the potential collapse of Third World Governments in the wake of climate change. — Stephen Schneider
If Satan gave you instructions for writing the book report from Hell, it would closely resemble those of a Ph.D. dissertation. — Tiffany Reisz
When we talk about reviews, what we are really talking about is just a market report - it's like reading about the new Lexus. You have to know what the guy writing the review cares about to understand his take. Does he like sports cars, or does he like Bentleys? — Mike Nichols
...carved marble figures in strata that "suggests the characters were made by intelligent humans from the distant past," a section of gold thread found in strata between 320 and 360 million years old, a report in a nineteenth-century edition of Scientific American recording the discovery of a metallic vase in strata 600 million years old, a chalk ball in France in strata 45-55 million years old, a machined coin with undecipherable writing at least 200,000 years old, discovered in Illinois, a clay figurine discovered in Idaho that is atleast two million years old. The list of suppressed and conveniently forgotten discoveries goes on and on, — Joseph P. Farrell
I'm amazed at how [police officers] don't want to come to court. They want to make the case and they want it to get prosecuted, but they don't want to come testify. Sorry, but the ultimate way of writing your report is telling it to a jury. When I was a defense lawyer, I used to think all police officers were liars, but now I find that there are only a few. Most of them are pretty straightforward and do a good job. But there are some, and if I know that they are liars or I know they tend to exaggerate, I try to take that into consideration when I'm dealing with their cases. — Mark Baker
Calvin: I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog! Want to see my book report? Hobbes: (Reading Calvin's paper) "The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick and Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender modes." Calvin: Academia, here I come! — Bill Watterson
I write because it's all I know how to do. Writing is my anchor and my purpose. My life is informed by writing, whether the work is going well or I'm stuck in the hell of writer's block, which I'm happy to report only occurs about once a day. — Sue Grafton
She said that her job as a writer of fiction was to report on the human condition, to tel us who we are and what we think and what we do. — Elizabeth Strout
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird. — Anne Lamott
I loved writing for the school newspaper. I liked to report and interview people, but I really liked to write columns, funny columns. — Bonnie Jo Campbell
He had been living in a down-town Y.M.C.A., but when he quit the task of making sow-ear purses out of sows' ears, he moved up-town and went to work immediately as a reporter for The Sun. He kept at this for a year, doing desultory writing on the side, with little success, and then one day an infelicitous incident peremptorily closed his newspaper career. On a February afternoon he was assigned to report a parade of Squadron A. Snow threatening, he went to sleep instead before a hot fire, and when he woke up did a smooth column about the muffled beats of the horses' hoofs in the snow ... This he handed in. Next morning a marked copy of the paper was sent down to the City Editor with a scrawled note: "Fire the man who wrote this." It seemed that Squadron A had also seen the snow threatening - had postponed the parade until another day. A week later he had begun "The Demon Lover." ... In — F Scott Fitzgerald
There are times when I myself no longer know whether I said and did the things I report or whether I dreamed them up. Anyway, I always dream true. If I lie a bit now and then it is mainly in the interest of truth. — Henry Miller
Gee, You're so Beautiful That It's Starting to Rain Oh, Marcia, I want your long blonde beauty to be taught in high school, so kids will learn that God lives like music in the skin and sounds like a sunshine harpsicord. I want high school report cards to look like this: Playing with Gentle Glass Things A Computer Magic A Writing Letters to Those You Love A Finding out about Fish A Marcia's Long Blonde Beauty A+! — Richard Brautigan
For me, my core genius lies in the area of teaching and motivating. I love to do it, I do it well, and people report that they get great value from it. Another core genius is compiling and writing books. Along with my co-author Mark Victor Hansen and others, I have written, co-authored, compiled and edited more than 200 books. — Jack Canfield
People talk differently. You can say some things some places you can't say in other places. But me as a film maker, no words are ever going to be off limits in something I write. As long as people use the words, I'm going to report that. — Dax Shepard
Holmes smiled, and clapped Lestrade upon the shoulder. "Instead of being ruined, my good sir, you will find that your reputation has been enormously enhanced. Just make a few alterations in that report which you were writing, and they will understand how hard it is to throw dust in the eyes of Inspector Lestrade." "And you don't want your name to appear?" "Not at all. The work is its own reward. Perhaps I shall get the credit also at some distant day, when I permit my zealous historian to lay out his foolscap once more eh, Watson? — Arthur Conan Doyle
Perhaps all one can really hope for, all I am entitled to, is no more than this: to write it down. To report what I know. So that it will not be possible for any man ever to say again: I knew nothing about it. — Andre Brink
One example was the assertion that a seven-year FBI study revealed no evidence of organized cult or ritual activity in the United States. In reality there is no such study. The day following the ABC program, my office contacted the FBI and requested a copy of the alleged study. The bureau responded in writing indicating that no such study existed. [referring to the Lanning report - Lanning, K. V. (1992) Investigator's guide to allegations of "ritual" child abuse. Quantico, VA: National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.] — Pamela Sue Perskin
2. The Book of Revelation. Does the book of Revelation give us a blueprint of coming world turmoil (the futurist position)? Or have some of the events in Revelation already taken place throughout church history, with some still to come (the historicist or historical approach)? Or does Revelation report events that were current at the time of writing but are now completed (the preterist view)? Or does Revelation speak in a timeless, symbolic way of the life of the church between the comings of Christ (the symbolic or idealist view)? Or is some combination — Robert L. Plummer
This report has been difficult to write because it involves something that doesn't officially exist. It is well known that ever since the first flying saucer was reported in June 1947 the Air Force has officially said that there is no proof that such a thing as an interplanetary spaceship exists. But what is not well known is that this conclusion is far from being unanimous among the military and their scientific advisors because of the one word, proof; so the UFO investigations continue. — Edward J. Ruppelt
Read this and thought of you: Through joy and through sorrow, I wrote. Through hunger and through thirst, I wrote. Through good report and through ill report, I wrote. Through sunshine and through moonshine, I wrote. What I wrote it is unnecessary to say. ~ Edgar Allen Poe — Edgar Allan Poe
In the hard life of politics it is well known that no platform nor any program advanced by either major American party has any purpose beyond expressing emotion. Platforms are a ritual with a history of their own and, after being written, they are useful chiefly to scholars who dissect them as archeological political remains. The writing of a platform does indeed flatter many people, gives many pressure groups a chance to blow off steam in public, permits the leaders of such pressure groups to report back to their memberships of their valiant efforts to persuade. But in actual fact, all platforms are meaningless: the program of either party is what lies in the vision and conscience of the candidate the party chooses to lead it. Nevertheless, — Theodore H. White
Reports are more a medium of self-discipline than a way to communicate information. Writing the report is important; reading it often is not. — Andrew S. Grove
Even in writing an annual report, the unconscious plays a role. — Mason Cooley
I report as a machine; I write as a person. That clear dichotomy softens the transition. — Dave Barry
Yeah, I'm gonna need to write this . . ." Januscheitis said, pulling Faith up from where she was passed out on the computer keyboard. " '. . . it was, like, awesome . . .' is not going to pass review." "Wazzat?" Faith said. "We're going to have to talk about report writing language, ma'am," Januscheitis said, getting the lieutenant to her feet. "Tomorrow. — John Ringo
The average novel invariably reads like a detective's report. It is drab and tedious because it is never objective. — Soseki Natsume
I spent the rest of the workday on routine paperwork, snarling at misplaced files and seething at the stupidity of everyone else's report writing when did Grammar die? — Jeff Lindsay
The key is to commit crimes so confusing that police feel too stupid to even write a crime report about them. — R. K. Milholland
In almost all other professions a man must be able to observe carefully and report accurately what he has seen. Those qualifications are unnecessary for journalists, however, since their job is to write sensational stories that sell newspapers. — Robert Anton Wilson
The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again. — Eudora Welty
I propose that every person out of work be required to submit a book report before he or she gets his or her welfare check. — Kurt Vonnegut
The effect your readers want is for what they read to trigger in them the sights and sounds and smells of what's happening in the story. They don't want approximations, they don't want a report, they want to experience the story's reality. — Ray Rhamey
The key to excellent report writing ' he said between chews, 'is to take every bit of passion out of it. Use an extra heaping portion of superflously extraneous tautological redundancies in order to make it mind-numbingly boring. So that when one's superior officers read it, they zone out and start skimming and maybe don't notice the fact that one has been spinning one's wheels since the body turned up and hasn't solved a goddamn thing. — Jonathan Kellerman
How can you save the world you have not seen if you can't save the community you have seen?" Author: Pete Seeger
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Duke Kunshan University Humanities Research Center
Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Arts, Humanities, and Interpretive Social Sciences at Duke Kunshan University
Event Report: The Professional Divide Between Writing & Language Studies in the US: History, Epistemology, and Implications for DKU
Dr. Carter provided an overview of the socio-historical development of English writing and foreign language instruction in the U.S with a focus on the development of the process approach to writing instruction, the audio-lingual approach to language instruction, and a series of key historical events in US higher education reform during the 1960’s. This talk was based on his newly published paper “Apples and Oranges: Toward a Comparative Rhetoric of Writing Instruction and Research in the United States” in C ollege English . As an addendum to the talk, Laura Davies from the Language and Culture Center offered her perspectives on the British system of writing and language and the implication for the DKU context.
Trump calls political enemies ‘vermin,’ echoing dictators Hitler, Mussolini
On veterans day, the former president vowed to “root out” his liberal opponents, drawing backlash from historians who say his rhetoric is reminiscent of authoritarians.
Former president Donald Trump denigrated his domestic opponents and critics during a Veterans Day speech Saturday, calling those on the other side of the aisle “vermin” and suggesting that they pose a greater threat to the United States than countries such as Russia, China or North Korea. That language is drawing rebuke from historians, who compared it to that of authoritarian leaders.
“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump said toward the end of his speech, repeating his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American Dream.”
Trump went on further to state: “the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within. Because if you have a capable, competent, smart, tough leader, Russia, China, North Korea, they’re not going to want to play with us.”
The former president’s speech in Claremont, N.H., echoed his message of vengeance and grievance , as he called himself a “very proud election denier” and decried his legal entanglements, once again attacking the judge in a New York civil trial and re-upping his attacks on special counsel Jack Smith. In the speech, Trump once again portrayed himself as a victim of a political system that is out to get him and his supporters.
Yet Trump’s use of the word “vermin” both in his speech and in a Truth Social post on Saturday drew particular backlash.
“The language is the language that dictators use to instill fear,” said Timothy Naftali, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “When you dehumanize an opponent, you strip them of their constitutional rights to participate securely in a democracy because you’re saying they’re not human. That’s what dictators do.”
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said in an email to The Washington Post that “calling people 'vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.”
“Trump is also using projection: note that he mentions all kinds of authoritarians ‘communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left’ to set himself up as the deliverer of freedom,” Ben-Ghiat said. “Mussolini promised freedom to his people too and then declared dictatorship.”
Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, told The Post “those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House.”
Cheung later clarified that he meant to say their “sad, miserable existence" instead of their “entire existence.”
Trump also received widespread criticism and condemnation recently from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League for saying in an interview that undocumented immigrants were “ poisoning the blood of our country .”
Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Hispanic civil rights group in the country, said at the time that Trump’s comments about blood indicate his language is “getting more extreme,” comparing it to Nazi propaganda about Jewish people.
Trump’s divisive rhetoric comes as he remains the clear polling leader in the dwindling GOP primary field and as he and his allies have already started to plot ways for the federal government to punish his critics and opponents should he win back the White House next November. The Post recently reported that Trump — who faces 91 charges across four criminal cases — is naming the people he wants to investigate and prosecute , and his associates are drafting plans to potentially invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office, which would allow him to deploy the military in response to civil demonstrations.
In addition to attacking the “radical left,” he also spent part of the New Hampshire speech lashing out at a New York judge overseeing his civil fraud case, calling New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) a “disaster” and reiterating his descriptions of Smith as “deranged.” Smith has brought two indictments against Trump: one in a case charging Trump with illegally hoarding classified documents and the other alleging he sought to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power by seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election, leading to the Jan. 6 , 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“The Trump-hating prosecutor in the case, his wife and family despise me much more than he does and I think he’s about a ten,” he said. “They’re about a 15, on a scale of ten. … He’s a disgrace to America.”
2024 presidential candidates
Catch up on the winners and losers and takeaways from the third Republican primary debate . Compare where the 2024 presidential candidates stand on key issues like abortion, climate and the economy.
Republicans: Top contenders for the GOP 2024 nomination include former president Donald Trump , Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Trump U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley . Here is The Post’s ranking of the top 10 Republican presidential candidates for 2024 .
Democrats: President Biden is running for reelection in 2024 . Here is The Post’s ranking of the top 10 Democratic presidential candidates for 2024 .
- Comparing where 2024 presidential candidates stand on key issues November 8, 2023 Comparing where 2024 presidential candidates stand on key issues November 8, 2023
- The winners and losers of the third Republican debate November 9, 2023 The winners and losers of the third Republican debate November 9, 2023
- The most memorable lines from the third Republican presidential debate November 9, 2023 The most memorable lines from the third Republican presidential debate November 9, 2023