Guidelines for Integrating Quotations


Quote –

Quote only when necessary – when…

Otherwise, use:

Paraphrase –

Summary –


1. Quote must always be part of your sentence, i.e., it cannot stand alone.

DQ: Jim and Maria pondered the instructor’s question. “You’re crazy!” But eventually they answered.

Correct: Jim and Maria looked thoughtful. “You’re crazy,” they finally told the instructor.

Correct: Jim and Maria told the instructor, “You’re crazy!”

2. Quote only what’s necessary: Don’t quote a full sentence if it’s just two or three words in it you want to direct your reader’s attention to. Everything you quote you are obligated to discuss with your reader. Don’t rely on the quote to do your work for you! Your quote is evidence, not a substitute for argument.

3. Quotes may be integrated into your sentence in one of three ways.

If quoted material constitutes a complete sentence, the quoted material will (as a sentence) begin with a capital letter, and the integration will proceed as follows:

a. Sent: “Full sentence quote.”

Ex: Jean’s praise was hyperbolic: “You’re more brilliant than Einstein! “

b. Intro phrase lead in (according to X, as X says, in X’s words, etc.) or 2-3 word short “sentence” (X argues, believes, insists, etc.), with the form: Intro, “Full sentence quote.”

Ex: According to Gandhi, “All men are brothers.”

Ex: Gandhi insists, “All men are brothers.”

c. (Short) sentence that “Full sentence quote.” Ex: Gandhi believes that “All men are brothers.”

If the quoted material comprises less than a full sentence (and that should be your goal, b/c you don’t want to include even one word more than you need when you write), use this form:

Sentence fragment “sentence fragment quote.” [together these will equal a full sentence]

Ex: Gandhi believes that people should act as “brothers.”

4. Use present tense verbs when referring to your sources, unless you specifically want to call attention to the historicity of your source (i.e., by dating it). Ex: Shakespeare argues that in no case should the “marriage of true minds/Admit impediments.” Ex: Gandhi believes that “All men are brothers.” Ex: Yesterday, Al Gore said, “Elian should be granted permanent residency.” In 1930 Gandhi wrote…

5. Periods and commas should go inside quotes. Colons and semicolons go outside. Exclamation and question marks should be put inside if they are part of the quote and outside otherwise.

Ex: Did Gandhi say, “All men are brothers”?

6. The citation (37) should be placed as soon as possible after the quote and should be part of the sentence (before the period) but not part of the quote (should be outside the quotation marks). Include the author(s) last name(s) in the parenthetical citation if you have not mentioned the author’s name in the sentence that leads into the quote or in the previous parenthetical citation. You should cite only the text to which you’re referring – but if this text is in turn citing someone else, in your sentence lead-in mention this someone else. If possible identify your source by profession or credentials, so your reader will have some idea how much credibility to grant the quote.

Ex: Journalist Ben Bagdikian asked, “Which…events will be assigned?” (Lee and Solomon 16).

Ex: Media critics Lee and Solomon observe that Ben Bagdikian asks, “Which…events will be assigned?” (16).

Ex: Gandhi insisted, “All men are brothers” (37).

7. If you omit material, use an ellipsis (…)

8. If you change a word or add explanatory material within the quote, use brackets []

Ex: Bush said he was prepared to “use any means necessary” to dislodge Sadaam Hussein.

9. If you quote more than three lines, use an indented block quote (single- or double-spaced). In a block quote, the rules are different: you need no quotation marks, and the parenthetical citation is NOT part of the sentence.

Final word to the wise: You CAN quote too much. You can’t CITE too much. When in doubt, CITE.