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“Quotes and attribution,” I said

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1 “Quotes and attribution,” I said
AP rules - quotes and attribution “Quotes and attribution,” I said Rules for newswriting and copyediting By Jeff South VCU School of Mass Communications

2 3 sources of news info What people say What reporters observe
What is contained in documents

3 3 type of quotes Direct quotes - speaker’s exact words
“I am not a crook,” President Nixon said. Indirect quotes - paraphrase President Nixon said he is not a crook. Partial quotes President Nixon said he is “not a crook.”

4 It’s OK to say ‘said’ a lot.
It’s simple and neutral. Substitutes like ‘claimed,’ ‘noted,’ ‘pointed out,’ and ‘maintained’ imply value judgments. Substitutes like ‘stated,’ ‘asserted,’ and ‘elucidated’ sound stilted.

5 It’s OK to say ‘said’ a lot.
‘Added’ is OK if true. Sometimes you can use ‘explained’ or ‘noted’: The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, she noted. He explained that he was late because of a dentist appointment. Use ‘according to’ for documents only. ‘Said’ is fine for documents, too.

6 Why synonyms don’t work
O.J. Simpson claimed he was happy. Gov. Jesse Ventura pointed out that religion is a crutch. Mayor Tim Kaine noted that most Richmonders support the Million Mom March. Hillary Clinton denied she had broken any laws.

7 When to use direct quotes
Speaker’s words must be special. Words that reflect personality or other characteristic Memorable sentences or phrases Phrased better than you could

8 When to use direct quotes
Beware of slang and dialect. Don’t needlessly embarrass people you quote. Be picky. Don’t overuse direct quotes. You’re not a court reporter! Direct quotes should not repeat info from a previous quote. Don’t write: Clinton said he plans to go to Moscow next week. “I plan to go to Moscow next week,” he said.

9 How to write direct quotes
Don’t add words to direct quotes. Avoid parentheses. If you must explain a direct quote: Set it up with the background. Instead of: “As soon as I get home,” Wilson said, “I’m going to bury it [his dog Rover’s body] next to the doghouse.” Write: Wilson said he knows exactly where to bury his dog Rover’s body. “As soon as I get home, I’m going to bury it next to the doghouse.”

10 How to write direct quotes
A colon can be an elegant punctuation mark between a paraphrased setup and a direct quote: She said she won’t give up: “I’ll go to my grave fighting this battle.”

11 How to write direct quotes
If you must explain a direct quote: Use a partial quote. Instead of: Jones said, “SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) is out of control on this issue (to outlaw happy hour).” Write: Jones said the group Students Against Drunk Driving is “out of control” on its push to outlaw happy hour.

12 How to write direct quotes
Generally, don’t use ellipses. Never use ‘ … ’ at the start of a quote. Rarely, you might use ellipses at the end of a quote for literary effect. “I wonder …” His voice trailed off as Sherman pondered how life would have been different in Mississippi.

13 How to write direct quotes
If necessary, use an ellipsis in the middle of a direct quote. Don’t use more than one ellipsis in a direct quote. When in doubt, paraphrase and use partial quotes.

14 How to write direct quotes
Original quote: “I demand, and I’ve said this before on many occasions, that Elian be returned to Cuba,” Castro said. OK: “I demand … that Elian be returned to Cuba,” Castro said. Or: Castro repeated his demand that Elian be returned to Cuba.

15 Partial quotes Use if speaker’s words are strongly emotional or highly opinionated. Partial quotes sometimes imply the writer doubts the quoted words are true. She said she was “annoyed” by the article. Try removing the quotation marks. She said she was annoyed by the article.

16 How to use quotes Mix direct and indirect quotes.
Use paraphrasing and partial quotes to set up direct quotes. She said the case is now in the jury’s hands. “We’ll have to wait and see what they do.”

17 Attribution Whenever in doubt, attribute.
Always attribute information that could be disputed (especially about crimes). Always attribute opinions. Attribute feelings and beliefs. He said he felt sorry. She said she believes in God.

18 Attribution If you attribute a paraphrase, you don’t have to put attribution in the direct quote that follows. Clinton said he believes human cloning is immoral. “So I call on Congress to ban the cloning of humans.” Generally, for short direct quotes, put the attribution at the end. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said.

19 Attribution Generally, for long direct quotes, put the attribution in the middle. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. “I, for one, am going to ignore the rule.” Usually, start the paragraph with the quote, not the attribution. This grabs the reader’s attention.

20 Attribution Don’t quote two people in the same paragraph.
Put them in separate paragraphs. Let the reader know you’re switching speakers.

21 Attribution Instead of: Write:
“This disaster could have been avoided,” Wilcox said. “It was entirely the governor’s fault,” Ruiz said. Write: Ruiz agreed. “It was entirely the governor’s fault.”

22 ‘South said’ or ‘said South’?
Most editors prefer ‘South said,’ as in: “This course will be difficult,” South said. Reverse that if you have a clause or phrase (like a long title) after the name: “The situation is hopeless,” said Ralph Goode, the field coordinator for the Red Cross.

23 Abbreviated titles in quotes
Spell out all formal titles when used in quotations, with one exception: Dr. “Governor Gilmore considers the bill a waste of money,” said his spokesman, Mark Miner. “I have asked General Colin Powell to be my running mate,” Texas Gov. George W. Bush said. Mayor Tim Kaine said, “Dr. Chargois has given us all an example to follow.”


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