Using Quotations North High School English/Literacy Labs Rationale Some of the primary reasons we use quotes… A) Credibility—using quotations as evidence that others have opinions similar to our own. B) Examples—when we use a quote to display something in particular. C) Evidence/Data/Facts—when we want to show that our opinion is backed by researched, quantitative data, or qualitative documented observations. D) Platforms of Disagreement—when we use a quote by someone that we disagree with, so that we can show that either their reasoning, examples, or evidence are flawed. E) Philosophy—when we use a quote that is wise, universally true, ridiculous, odd, or simply interesting. A) Credibility As in war, often the side with more soldiers wins. When you are making an argument, the more people you can cite that agree with you, the stronger your case is that your thesis is indeed legitimate. Credibility—For Example… Suppose I want to prove to Ms. Barnes that she should try oranges, because they are sweet, wholesome, and delicious, but Ms. Barnes doesn’t initially believe me, because I tricked her into eating Brussel Sprouts before. But if I could prove that Ms. Leroy, Mr. Blus, Mr. Gilman, and Ms. McKiernen all agreed with me, then Ms. Barnes might be willing to try an orange. B) Examples One of the best reasons to use a quote is simply to explain something more thoroughly by using an example. Examples help to clarify the reader’s understanding of your argument. Can you think of an example? C) Evidence/Data/Facts Another reason to use a quote is when we want to use information or data collected by someone else. So, if I was trying to prove that oranges are wholesome, I could quote a finding by a scientist saying that, “one orange has 45 mg of vitamin C.” Platforms of Disagreement Sometimes it can be useful to use a quote from someone that we disagree with, to prove that critics of our thesis are incorrect. For instance, I might want to acknowledge that “Mr. Davis, who is normally a peaceful man, hates oranges and says that they are disgusting.” (cont) Davis and the Tree The key then, is to discredit the quote. In this case I might note that, “However, in Mr. Davis’ younger years, he was attacked by an orange tree while vacationing in Florida; therefore, his opposition to oranges is emotional, and has nothing to do with their sweet, wholesome, and delicious nature.” E) Philosophy Finally, we might consider quoting a person that has something witty, wise, odd, ridiculous, or interesting—so long as the quote has something to do with our essay.
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