Your essays must be your own words with your own thoughts and your own voice. However, quoting sources in your essays: adds authority to your essays by illustrating that you are presenting informed opinions shows your reader exactly how you arrived at a particular thought of your own.
In fact, essays can be comprised of three components: your own thoughts about something you have read or an issue you are studying quotes from your textbook, reading, or assignment (primary source) quotes from outside sources (secondary sources) “ ”
Most of your essay is in your own words, but you use quotes to: Back up your own thinking Illustrate your own thinking Prove that you are correct Reveal that an opposing point of view is incorrect
Rule 1: Quote Sparingly Keep quotes to one or two sentences. Quotes should rarely take up more than four typed lines. Remember that your words are more important. When writing about literature, remember that I’ve read the text so do not summarize what happen; focus on the how and the why.
Rule 2: Quote Just the Good Stuff Memorable statements Powerful quotes Ideas that further your support Clear explanations Controversial arguments
Quotes and Paragraphs: Your introduction generally will not have a quote in it; it will be entirely your own words. Your body paragraphs should use quotes to support your ideas. Your conclusion will usually not have a quote in it.
A couple of rules of thumb: Do not start a paragraph with a quote. Do not end a paragraph with a quote. Use only one or two fairly short quotes per paragraph (unless otherwise noted).
A well-integrated quote is a lot like a sandwich: On top you have a sentence that is your own thought and summary, setting the context for the quote that you intend to use to illustrate a point. Then you have the quote (with author tag/signal phrase) to back up your thought. Then on the bottom you have a sentence of your own that reflects back on the quote.
Introduce Set up the quote with your own thoughts. Integrate Integrate the quote using signal phrases and/or author tags. Interpret Explain the significance of the quote in regards to your paper; use your own thoughts. The Three “I’s”:
Avoid the following phrases: This quote shows… In this quote… Here’s a statement… As shown here… In the previous quote…
Some examples of signal phrases with author tags According to Jane Doe, "..." As Jane Doe goes on to explain, "..." Characterized by John Doe, the society is "..." As one critic points out, "..." John Doe believes that "..." Jane Doe claims that "..." In the words of John Doe, "..."
Telling Romeo to forget about Rosaline, Benvolio argues that “one fire burns out another’s burning; / One pain is less’ned by another’s anguish,” which suggests that Benvolio knows Romeo is playing a game (I.ii.46- 47). If falling in love is easy, Benvolio seems to be saying, then so is falling out of love.
Scout is constantly complaining about being left behind by Jem and Dill. Never is this more evident than when Jem and Dill are sneaking out to see Boo Radley and she says, “You never let me go anywhere. If you don’t let me go this time I’m gonna tell Atticus on the both of you” (Lee 80). She says this to Jem intending to get him to bring her along.
Introduce, Integrate, Interpret. Keep your quotes short. Just quote the good stuff. Use author tags and/or signal phrases with ALL quotes. Do not start/end paragraphs with quotes. Use MLA Format.