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Writing Projects » Key Words » Quote » Do Your Own

Get your assignment in front of you, then follow the instructions below. Type your response to each step in the box below it. When you have filled in all the boxes, click on the button at the bottom of the page and you will be well on your way with this project.

Before you begin, you will want to decide what you should quote. It is best to use quotations sparingly. Generally, if more than a quarter of your paper consists of quotations, your paper will seem weighed down by other people's words. Most of the time when you want to report another person's words, you should paraphrase.

Generally, you should only use a quotation when:

  • The quotation says something in a distinctive or especially powerful way.


  • The idea to be quoted is particularly hard to paraphrase accurately.


  • The authority of the person being quoted is especially important to support your thesis or main point.

Step 1: Find a few sentences from the reading you have done for this project that you think really stand out or are central to your thesis. Decide which sentences or phrases should be quoted in your paper. Write a few of them in the box below.

Step 2: Select one of the important quotations, and think about how it will flow into your own writing. You will need to make it clear why you are using this quotation. Put your quotation in the box below, then add some words of your own to introduce, clarify, and/or emphasize it. Try to combine your words with the quotation so that they work together smoothly to make a point. This may take two or three sentences. (Note: When you quote, you might need to leave some words out or change some slightly in order for your sentences to make sense and flow smoothly.)

Step 3: If you are writing a paper for school and are quoting something you read or heard to support a point, you will need to carefully document your sources, so that your readers will know where the quotation came from. (Note: Letting your readers know where you got your information, or citing your sources, can sometimes be tricky. If you have been asked to use full documentation, we have some hints on how to do it and links to more information).

Here are a few questions your readers might ask about your quotations, and some answers that you should provide:
  1. Who came up with this idea? (Name of author or speaker.)
  2. Where was the idea written or spoken? (Title of book, article, television program, lecture.)
  3. If you found this in a book or some other printed source, which page was it on? (Page number.)
Fill in where you got your quotations—author, title, page number—in the box below:

Quotations can be used to enhance many different kinds of writing. Quotation is often used hand in hand with description, paraphrasing, and narration.

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