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Use the menu below to learn how to use literary quotations.

Incorporating Quotations into Sentences

It is permissible to quote an entire sentence (between two sentences of your own), but in general you should avoid this method of bringing textual material into your discussion.

Instead, use one of the following patterns.

Use an introducing phrase or orienter plus the quotation

In this poem it is creation, not a hypothetical creator, that is supremely awesome. [argument sentence] The speaker asks, "What immortal hand or eye / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" [data sentence; orienter before quote]

Gatsby is not to be regarded as a personal failure. [argument sentence] "Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (176), according to Nick. [data sentence; orienter after quote]

"I know you blame me," Mrs. Compson tells Jason (47). [data sentence; orienter after quote] Is she expressing her own sense of guilt? [argument sentence]


Use your own assertion and a colon plus the quotation

Vivian hates the knights for scorning her, and she dreams of achieving glory by destroying Merlin's: "I have made his glory mine" (390).

Fitzgerald gives Nick a muted tribute to the hero: "Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (176).

Cassio represents not only a political but also a personal threat to Iago: "He hath a daily beauty in his life / That makes me ugly . . ." (5.1.19-20).


Use your own assertion with quoted material integrated

For Nick, who remarks that Gatsby "turned out all right" (176), the hero deserves respect but perhaps does not inspire great admiration.

Satan's motion is many things; he "rides" through the air (63), "rattles" (65), and later explodes, "wanders and hovers" like a fire (293).

Even according to Cleopatra, Mark Antony's "duty" is to the Roman state.


For more information see Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Acknowledging Sources - How to Quote a Source.


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