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What it is and how to avoid it

What is a quotation?

A quote is a statement that is identical to the original, using exact wording of a narrow segment of the source material (either written or spoken). Quotes match the original source word for word and must be attributed to the original author. 

Adapted from Purdue OWL: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing (opens in a new window).

When should I quote?

Using quotations is the easiest way to include source material. However, quotations should be used sparingly. Use quotations to support your ideas, rather than writing a paper that is merely just a string of quotes with only occasional input from you.  Use direct quotations only when an idea is better expressed when using the original author's own words. 

A few good reasons to quote...

  • To let a great passage speak for itself 
  • To be sure to correctly incorporate highly technical information
  • To lend expert authority to your assertion
  • When unable to paraphrase or summarize an original source without changing the author's intent
  • When your attempts to paraphrase or summarize are awkward or longer than the source material

Adapted from San Francisco State University: Using Someone Else's Words  (page no longer available as of 6/15/16) and University of Houston Victoria: Decide When to Quote, Paraphrase, and Summarize (opens in a new window).



Videos are courtesy of Suffolk County Community College, Selden NY