The Department of European Languages & Literature Writing 216 Direct Quotes & Direct Quoting Exercises [4th



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The Department of European Languages & Literature

Writing 216

Direct Quotes & Direct Quoting Exercises [4th Handout]
Direct quotations are used when you want to preserve the original wording of your source; therefore, there should be something noteworthy about all direct quo­tations. If you can convey the idea just as effectively in your own words in a summary or a paraphrase, you should do so. You should be the speaker in the major­ity of your paper, which means that you should ex­press your own ideas and support those ideas with source information that has been thoroughly assimi­lated and recast into your own style. No more than about fifteen percent of your paper should be directly quoted material. Readers usually pass over sections of writing that contain large amounts of quoted material. Read­ers want to know your ideas on a subject and are not impressed by long quotations taken from other writ­ers. Reserve your use of direct quotations for dramatic phrases and especially appropriate discussions. Direct quotations are best saved for the following situations:

  • To preserve especially vivid, well-phrased, or dra­matic statements

  • To preserve the wording of someone who is an authority

  • To preserve the accuracy of a statement that might be easily misinterpreted in a paraphrase or a summary

Documenting & Integrating Direct Quotations

One of the most important differences between direct quotations and paraphrases or summaries involves the use of narrative lead-ins. All direct quotations must have lead-ins; they usually also require a sentence or two following to explain their significance. As noted in earlier handouts, para­phrases and summaries may be documented by citing all source information in parentheses rather than in a narrative lead-in, as the following paraphrase in MLA format illustrates:



MLA: Indonesia is the tenth largest fish-producing nation in the world (Bailey 25).

Such an option is not acceptable with direct quotations. Because they use the exact words of another person, direct quotations must be integrated into your discus­sion with some kind of narrative lead-in. It is also a good practice to explain the importance of the quota­tion in your discussion rather than expecting the reader to see the connection. Sometimes beginning writers will simply "float" a direct quotation in a para­graph without introducing it with a narrative lead-in or explaining its significance, as in the following excerpt:



MLA "Floating" quotation: From Ayurvedic medicine to aromatherapy, Western medicine is beginning to take heed of nontraditional approaches to better health and well being. "Certain aromas increase alpha waves in the back of the head associated with a more relaxed state" (Hirsch 60). Massage therapy and acupuncture are also noted for their ability to induce relaxation and relieve tension associated with disorders such as migraine headaches.

Even though the direct quotation is correctly docu­mented and punctuated, the writer has not integrated it with a lead-in, an explanation, or a commentary on the quotation's purpose. Here is the writer's revision of that paragraph, with the narrative lead-in and com­mentary sentence underlined:



Integrated quotation: From Ayurvedic medicine to aromatherapy, Western medicine is beginning to take heed of nontraditional approaches to better health and well-being. Alan Hirsch, the director of neurology at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, reports, "Certain aromas increase alpha waves in the back of the head associated with a more relaxed state" (60). Just as music can affect our emotions, studies show that smells, too, apparently produce different psychological states and can improve health as a result. Massage therapy and acupuncture are also noted for their ability to induce relaxation and release tension associated with disorders such as migraine headaches.

Rules for Punctuation Quotations



  1. As with summaries and paraphrases, direct quotations can have lead-ins or tags placed at the beginning, mid­dle, or end of the sentence, and the amount of infor­mation that is put in parentheses will depend on what information is given in the lead-in. Notice that com­mas are used to set off the lead-ins from the quoted material, and the first word of a quoted sentence is al­ways capitalized.

Lead-In at the Beginning with Explanatory Sentence

MLA: A recent Chicago Tribune article asserts, "America has no trade policy, only an anti-trade policy of rules and regulations limiting U.S. sales abroad" (Eason 14). Although slightly overstated, such a position does suggest the direction policymakers have been taking.

APA: ... U.S. sales abroad" (Eason, 2004, p. 14). Although slightly ....

Lead-In in the Middle with Explanatory Sentence

MLA: "There is a widespread belief among the American public," notes Isador Gorn, "that one can acquire an education, like a suntan, by mere exposure" (43). His views are shared by many people who think that too much responsibility is placed on the teacher's performance rather than the student's.

APA: ... the American public," notes Isador Gorn (2004), "that one can acquire an education, like a suntan, by mere exposure" (p. 43). His views are shared …

Lead-in at the End with Explanatory Sentence

MLA: "America is going solar, but not in the way many people have dreamed about," claims Roger Pollak (32). He explains that it is not as simple and inexpensive as many people had supposed.

APA: ... people have dreamed about," claims Roger Pollak (2004, p. 32). He explains ....

2. Quotations of more than three or four lines of verse (MLA) or more than forty words (APA) are set off in "block format." Indent ten spaces for MLA and five spaces for APA and omit the quotation marks for both. A colon is generally used with a full sentence lead-in to introduce long quotations.



Sample from Student Essay (MLA)

Grout tells us that in 1580 a group of cultivated men in Florence met at the home of Count Giovanni Bardi to revive the fine arts of ancient Greece:



They became fired with the ambition to revive classical Greek drama, with the choruses and choral dances that accom­panied the old tragedies. Aristotle had defined tragedy as "An imitation of some action … with language rendered pleasurable by means of rhythm, melody, and meter." From an attempt to re-create tragedy, opera was born. (460)

(IMPORTANT: With long quotations set off in block format, retain double quotation marks for internal quotations.)



  1. If you quote, paraphrase, or summarize material already being quoted in another source, use the ab­breviation qtd. in (MLA) or cited in (APA) to clarify the actual source:

Original from Gammons's article: Baseball has mounted a campaign to stop pitchers from doctoring balls. It started when umpires sent several baseballs Joe Niekro had allegedly scuffed to American League president Bobby Brown. Brown's conclusion, "Those balls weren't roughed up; they were borderline mutilated," he said.

Gammons, Peter. "O.K., Drop That Emery Board." Sports Il­lustrated 17 Aug. 1998: 34-36. (Excerpt from page 36)



Student version (MLA): Pitchers have been cheating for as long as baseball has been played, and the controversy over Minnesota's Joe Niekro has done little to help pitchers' reputations. As American League president Bobby Brown notes, "Those balls weren't roughed up; they were borderline mutilated" (qtd. in Gammons 36).

Student version (APA): Pitchers have been cheating for as long as baseball has been played, and the controversy over Minnesota's Joe Niekro has done little to help pitchers' reputations. As American League president Bobby Brown notes, "Those balls weren't roughed up; they were borderline mutilated" (cited in Gammons, 1998, p. 36).

  1. Placement of end punctuation with direct quota­tions often confuses writers. It is particularly trou­blesome because the conventions are slightly different for short quotations and long quotations (block format).

Short quotations. With short quotations (and paraphrases and summaries), the period always follows the parenthetical documentation:

MLA: the number of casualties" (81).

APA: the number of casualties" (p. 81).

If the quoted sentence ends in something other than a period (exclamation or question mark), re­tain the punctuation before the quotation marks, and include an additional period after the paren­thetical documentation:



MLA: ... numbers were astronomical!" (82).

... could anyone tell?" (102).



APA: ... numbers were astronomical!" (p. 82).

... could anyone tell?" (p. 102).

Long quotations (block format). Because quotation marks are not used with block format, retain the end punctuation of the quoted material and simply add the parenthetical documentation without any additional period:

MLA: ... the number of casualties. (81)

.. numbers were astronomical! (82)

... could anyone tell? (102)

APA: ... the number of casualties. (p. 81)

.. numbers were astronomical! (p. 82)

... could anyone tell? (p. 102)


  1. No lead-ins or commas are necessary when you are quoting only a word or a short phrase that can be integrated into your sentence:

MLA: In many folk songs of Norway, the people sing of their "fond devotion" for the land that "looms storm-scarred o'er the ocean" (Bjorn 31).

APA: ... for the land that "looms storm-scarred o'er the ocean" (Bjorn, 2004, p. 31).

  1. If you place a lead-in between two quoted sen­tences, you can follow it with a period:

MLA: "The play begins with almost Wagnerian intensity," observes director Betty Evans. "It suits the characters' temperament perfectly" (27).

APA: "The play begins with almost Wagnerian intensity," observes director Betty Evans (2004). "It suits the characters' temperament perfectly" (p. 27).

or


... director Betty Evans. "It suits the characters' temperament perfectly" (2004, p. 27).

  1. If you place the lead-in at the end of a quotation that is a question or an exclamation, keep the original end punctuation and do not use a comma to set off the lead-in:

MLA: "Is there any solution to the annihilation which cold war encourages?" Davidson asks (31).

"The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter-it's the difference between the lightning bug and lightning!" insists Mark Twain in his essay about writing (1).

APA: ... war encourages?" Davidson (2003, p. 31) asks.

... and lightning!" insists Mark Twain (1870) in his essay about writing (p. 1).



  1. Use single quotation marks to set off quotations or titles of short works that are within material al­ready set off with quotation marks:

MLA: Critic John Guest states, "The genius of Oscar Wilde can be found in short stories such as 'The Sphinx Without a Secret' when one char­acter says, 'Women are meant to be loved, not understood'" (15).

APA: Critic John Guest (2004) states, "The ... understood'" (p. 15).

  1. An ellipsis, which is three spaced periods ( ... ), is used to indicate that you are omitting part of a di­rect quotation. Beginning writers often overuse this mark of punctuation, placing it at the begin­ning and end of every direct quotation. It is neces­sary to use an ellipsis only if the material is omit­ted from the middle of a passage or if, by omitting material at the beginning or the end, the quota­tion seems to be an unaltered sentence. Single words or phrases do not need ellipsis points. The following samples are in MLA format.

Ellipsis in the Middle

According to psychologist Donald Hurston, "Some dreams work almost like poems ... offering uncanny distillations of the dreamer's emotions" (92).



Ellipsis at the End

According to psychologist Donald Hurston, "Dreams sublimate the process of wish fulfillment ..." (92).



Ellipsis Points that Come at the End of a Question or an Exclamation are Placed Before the Question Mark or Exclamation Point:

Commodities expert Daniel Steele asks, "Will the Wall Street of the future be located in Japan ...?" (12).

10. When documenting well-known poems or verse plays, do not use page numbers. Since classic liter­ary works are available in many different publica­tions, it is more convenient for the reader merely to know the section (act & scene) and line(s).

Shakespeare's Hamlet insists he sees his father's ghost: "Why look you there! / My father in his habit as he lived" (3.4.135-36).

Anne Bradstreet's expressions of deep emotion are set against the stern background of Puritan New England: "My love is such that rivers cannot quench, / Nor aught but love from thee give recompense" (lines 7-8).
Direct Quote Activity:

Correctly punctuate and capitalize the following quotations using either the MLA or APA format that is with each statement.



  1. Quoted phrase: Can you hoodwink time and retard the aging process?

Write this quoted phrase using the APA format with a lead-in at the end of the sentence. Use the information below:

Publication date: 1990

Authors: Bechtel and Waggoner

Verb: ask

Page number: 127

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………….



  1. Insert the correct punctuation marks where they are needed according to the MLA format and indicate (on the line) the number of spaces to indent for this long quote.

In his book Thailand, Charles F. Keyes explains the results of Thailand's compulsory education system

the system of compulsory primary education has made Thailand's population one of the most literate in the world, even if a literacy rate of 93.2 percent in 1988 as reported in official statistics cannot be taken at face value. Compulsory education has also facilitated the participation of rural as well as urban people in the market economy and has given them access to written materials relevant to their economic lives 145

  1. Quoted phrase: inevitably wrote with honesty, delibera­tion, and true emotion

Because Copland straddled popular and serious music, he had critics, but he succeeded because he inevitably wrote with honesty, deliberation, and true emotion Ames 57

Publication date: 1997



Write the direct quote in APA format with the lead-in at the end and make sure the verb you use in the lead-in works with the sentence.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………



  1. Quoted phrase: Even at this stage, there may be some negative forces working to weaken the course of action such as task conflict, competing action tendencies, other distracting influences and the availability of action alternatives.

Delete the last section of the quote from "such as" until the end of the sentence and then accordingly insert the correct punctuation. Write this quoted phrase using the MLA format with the lead-in at the beginning of the sentence. Use the information below:

Publication date: 1990

Authors: Dörnyei and Otto

Page number: 67

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………



  1. Correctly punctuate and capitalize the following quo­tations using the APA format. Note that the author of the quotation is different from the author of the article.

Medical experimentation on animals is necessary argues cancer researcher Richard Green to train surgeons, test vaccines, and make further medical progress (the material was found in Levi's book on page 220)

Publication date: 1995



…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Most of the information on this handout was adapted from: Clines, R. H., & Cobb, E. R. (2006). Research writing simplified: A documentation guide. (5th ed.). New York: Longman.



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