Adding quotes to your essay, whether it is for a professional or school assignment, can strenghten it. Properly chosen, quotes can add credibility, humour and flavour to your essay. Paraphrasing a writer's work can flesh out an essay, but exact quotations pop and are more likely to be remembered by the reader. You can use quotes to sharpen your sty and vivify your writing.
- Skill level:
Write a rough draft of your essay, making sure you do your research and fullfill the requirements of the assignment before adding quotes.
Select a few succinct quotations, not as a subsitute for your original thinking but to drive home a point. For example, if you are writing an essay about the power of positive thinking, you can help crystallise it by adding this quote by Henry David Thoreau: "We were born to succeed, not to fail."
Use an open quotation mark to begin your quotation, and place periods, exclamation marks and question marks within the closing quotation mark.
Give proper attribution to all original and primary sources from which you took the quotations, either through footnotes or in parenthesis citing the author after the quote, in formal or persuasive essays. For informal essays, you can forgo footnotes and other citations and write, for example: "As Mark Twain said..." or even "As my favourite author said..."
Reread the essay to make sure the quotes enhance the writing and are not superfluous to or redundant in the piece. They should not be used to bolster or pad a poorly written essay.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid plagarism by making sure you cite all your quotations inh a formal essay.
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