How to quote effectively

The most effective way to use quotations from literature (or other texts) is to work them into your own ideas.  To do this, you rely on summary, paraphrase, and transitions to lead you into the most important supporting phrases.
(1)   Never begin a sentence with a quotation.  You must use an introductory statement
to give context to the quotation and show its purpose in your essay.
Some examples of introductory statements are given below (they are underlined). 

 B. According to Leu, “Our society would be uncivilized without the death penalty” (42).

C. James believes there is no logical reason to use capital punishment:  “The death penalty is inefficient and inhumane” (41). 
D.  Although some critics say the death penalty is unconstitutional, Leu argues that “our society would be uncivilized without the death penalty” (42).
(2) Never quote an incomplete sentence.  When using ellipsis (…), to indicate you’ve removed words, make sure the parts of the quote you are connecting form a complete sentence.
(3) Never leave a quote floating in the middle of a paragraph without an explanation before and/or after the quotation.  Before the quote you want to provide enough background from the text so that the quote makes sense.  After the quote, you need to explain what it means, how it connects to the topic sentence, and why this is important to your topic overall.  In other words, always explain what the quotation is doing in your paper. 
(4) Use a colon (:) when you are using a complete sentence as your introductory statement (see example 1(C) above).  This is a good option when your sentence leads nicely into a full sentence quote from the text.   
Use a comma (,) when you are using an incomplete sentence (phrase) as your introductory statement (examples 1(A) and 1(B) above). 
If you weave the quote into a sentence (example 1(D)), then you do not have to use any punctuation.


·         Always use present tense when discussing an author’s ideas (notice that the quotes
·         Always cite all quotations with quotation marks; if you use a writer’s exact words.  Failure to do so, constitutes plagiarism.

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