Incorporating Quotations into Sentences
Adapted from a University of Wisconsin Writing Lab handout
Academic writers rely on source material to help illustrate their assertions and support their observation
and arguments. In longer essays and research papers, using block quotations is permissible, but for
shorter papers incorporating shorter quotations within your own analysis is better. Keep in mind the
following for shorter papers:
1. Quotations are best when kept to a sentence or two at most in length (four lines or longer of quoted
text requires a block quotation, which you’ll want to avoid.)
2. When quoting poetry, use slashes (/) to indicate line breaks, and keep your quotes to fewer than four
lines; otherwise, you’ll need to use a block quotation.
3. Page #s go in parentheses after each quote. For poetry, use line numbers instead. See examples
Here are some patterns you can follow:
Use an introducing
phrase or orienter plus In Blake’s poem it is creation, not a hypothetical creator, that is
the quotation supremely awesome. [argument sentence] The speaker asks, "What
______________ immortal hand or eye / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" (23-24).
[data sentence; orienter before quote
refers to the point you Gatsby is not to be regarded as a personal failure. [argument
are trying to make. sentence] "Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (176), according to
Nick. [data sentence; orienter after quote]
”data sentence” refers
to the quoted material
"I know you blame me," Mrs. Thompson tells Jason (47). [data
”orienter” refers to the sentence; orienter after quote] Even though she has yet to
direction you give your completely admit she’s responsible, her personal sense of guilt is
reader regarding who is starting to come through. [argument sentence]
talking or being quoted.
Pattern #2: Vivian hates the knights for scorning her, and she dreams of achieving
Use your own glory by destroying Merlin's: "I have made his glory mine" (390).
assertion and a colon
plus the quotation Fitzgerald gives Nick a less than enthusiastic tribute to the hero:
"Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (176).
According to Robert Bly, rock music in the 1960s liberated the youth of
America like nothing before: “Young men and women felt freed from a
parental or institutional tyrant, the one with a thin nose, a black coat,
and steal rimmed glasses” (3).
Pattern #3: For Nick, who remarks that Gatsby "turned out all right" (176), the hero
Use your own deserves respect but perhaps does not inspire great admiration.
assertion with quoted
material integrated Satan's motion is many things; he "rides" through the air (63), "rattles"
(65), and later explodes, "wanders and hovers" like a fire (293).
Even according to Cleopatra, Mark Antony's "duty" is to the Roman
Working with a partner, write a sentence or a short paragraph incorporate a quotation from the
paragraph below. Write one using each of the three styles covered in this handout.
Source: page 2 of an autobiographical essay, “Repeat After Me” by David Sedaris,
My sister's the type that religiously watches the fear segments of her local Eyewitness News
broadcasts, retaining nothing but the headlines. She remembers that applesauce can kill you
but forgets that in order to die, you have to inject it directly into your bloodstream.
Announcements that cell-phone conversations may be picked up by strangers mix with the
reported rise of both home burglaries and brain tumors, meaning that as far as she's concerned,
all telecommunication is potentially life threatening. If she didn't watch it on the news, she read it
in Consumer Reports or heard it third-hand from a friend of a friend of a friend whose ear caught
fire while dialing her answering machine. Everything is dangerous all of the time, and if it's not
yet been pulled off the shelves, then it's certainly under investigation-so there