How to Use Quotations in an Essay

A Guide on the Use of Quotations in Your Essay

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius, Roman Philosopher As a student, you need to remember this quotation. You often need to justify your opinion with facts while drafting an essay. And while there are several ways to support your claims and arguments, using quotations in essays is considered one of the effective ones. The use of quotations in essays allows you to demonstrate your vast knowledge and offers evidence for your arguments. A quotation is the repetition of a set of words taken from a text by someone other the writer who is borrowing it. To indicate the repetition of another author’s work, you should use either single inverted commas (‘ ’) or double inverted commas (“ ”). You can consult with your professor regarding which punctuation to use for indicating the quotations in your essays. Read More

Why Should You Use Quotes in the Essays? 

There are several reasons to use quotes in your essays. As mentioned before, you can use a quote from a book or other authentic sources in your essay to add credibility of your argument. Apart from this, you can use quotations in your essays for the following reasons –

  • To demonstrate your knowledge of the text: 

When you are writing a literary analysis essay, you may need to quote several sections of the piece of literature while discussing various aspects of the text. This practice makes it evident to the readers (mostly to your professor) that you have studied the text thoroughly.

  • To make your essay more interesting: 

You don’t just use quotes from the specific text to provide context to your claims and arguments. You can also introduce quotations from popular books, movies, plays, or other works of art to make the content sound more interesting.

  • To display the strength of your writing skills: 

While you can use quotations for the aforementioned reasons, you can also incorporate quotations to your content to demonstrate how efficiently you can add someone else’s work without disrupting the flow of your content. It is important to acknowledge that quotations need to be used correctly in the essay. Otherwise, it can lead to plagiarism, broken sentences, irrelevant quotations and overloading of quotations.

How to Use Quotations in Essays? 

There are a number of ways to fit a quotation into your essays writing. While some of them are quite basic, some methods require a certain level of writing skills.

  1. Putting the quotation within the quotation marks: 

If you need to use a direct quotation from someone else's work in your essay, insert the borrowed text within quotation marks. The quotation marks (be it single inverted commas or double inverted commas) indicates that the highlighted text is taken from another author's work. This is the simplest way of using quotations in your essay. Not to forget, you have to cite the source as per the instructed citation style within the text. Otherwise, it will be considered plagiarism.

Here is an example –

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” (G. Orwell, 1949) You may still need to cite the sources of the text if you paraphrase or summarize another author’s work and use it in your essay.

  1. Blending the quotations into your sentences: 

It is a good practice to interweave quotations into your sentences. This allows you to maintain good flow and right readability of your essay. There are three ways to blend quotations in the essay.

  1. Addition of words:

If you write a sentence that consists only the quotation, it often appears as a broken or incomplete sentence. In such cases, the quotation does not add any value to your arguments. In order to seamlessly incorporate quotations into your sentences, try to add in words which will help blend the quotation and your own words together.

  1. Placing the punctuations correctly: 

It is important that you maintain proper grammar while incorporating quotations into your content. When you are using quotation marks, you need to know whether a full stop (or comma) goes inside or outside the quotation marks. In case the quoted words end with a full stop (or comma), the punctuation goes inside the quotation marks, and if the quoted words do not end with punctuation, then the full stop goes outside the quotation marks.

  • Using square brackets:

To seamlessly blend the quotes in your content, you may choose to put the necessary words that are missing in the quote within the square brackets. At times, you may need to modify the tense used in the quote, change the narrative perspective, or insert missing words inside the square brackets in the quotation.

 Using a title of text: 

When you include the title of a piece of literature or other forms of art in the essay, use single quotation marks. As an alternative, you can underline the title of the literature piece of art, instead of using single quotation marks.

  1. Quotation within a quotation: 

When you quote the author who is quoting another author, then you need to switch between single and double quotation marks. You first need to enclose the words of the author in single quotation marks and then enclose the words he/she has quoted using double quotation marks.

  1. Expressing irony using quotations: 

The time you wish to express irony, you need to use quotation marks to describe that the implied meaning of the actual word or phrase is different from the usual meaning. Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of how to use quotations in essays. However, if you still have difficulty in doing so, you can seek assistance from professional essay writers.

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