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					III: As He Himself Puts It: The Art of Quoting

While summary and paraphrase will be your primary mode of communicating others’
ideas, quoting someone else’s words can give credibility to your summary and help ensure
the summary is fair and accurate. Save quotations for the most important ideas. Quotations
function as a type of evidence to let your reader know you are not just making allof this up.

When using a quotation, you do not want to assume it speaks for itself. You need to
integrate a quotation into your text by 1) choosing quotations wisely, with an eye to how
well they support a particular part of your text, and 2) surrounding every major quotation
with a frame explaining whose words they are, what the quotation means, and how the
quotation relates to your text. The following guidelines help ensure quotations are
effective.

A. Quote Relevant Passages

Have a sense of what you want to do with a quotation before selecting it. Finding a
quotation relevant to your argument is not always easy, and you may need to change
quotations are you write and revise your argument.

B. Frame Every Quotation

Present your quotation in a way that its relevance and meaning makes sense to your
reader. Quotations with no frame are called “dangling” or “hit-and-run” quotations. Here is
an example of a hit-and-run quotation:

        Susan Bardo writes about women and dieting. “Fiji is just one example. Until
        television was introduced in 1995, the islands had no reported cases of eating
        disorders. In 1998, three years after programs from the United States and Britain
        began broadcasting there, 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting.” I think
        Bordo is right. Another point Bordo makes is….

To adequately frame a quotation, you need to lead in to the quotation by explaining who is
speaking and setting up what is said. Follow the quotation by explaining why the quotation
is important. Consider a revision of the previous example:

        The feminist philosopher Susan Bordo deplores the hold that Western obsession
        with dieting has on women. Her basic argument is that increasing numbers of
        women across the globe are being led to see themselves as fat and in need of a diet.
        Citing the island of Fiji as a case in point, Bordo notes that “until television was
        introduced in 1995, the islands had no reported cases of eating disorders. In 1998,
        three years after programs from the United States and Britain began broadcasting
        there, 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting” (149-50). Bordo’s point is
        that the West’s obsession with dieting is spreading even to remote places across the
        globe. Ultimately, Bordo complains, the culture of dieting will find you, regardless of
        where you live. These observations ring true when consider with Todd Jamison’s
        reports of dieting among young women in remote parts of China.
Adapted from They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff and Cathy 1
Birkenstein
Template for Introducing Quotations

X states, “_______.”

As the prominent philosopher X puts it, “_______.”

According to X, the director of X, “______.”

In her book, ______, X maintains, “________.”

Writing in the journal ________, X complains, “______.”

X agrees when she writes “________.”

X complicates matters further when he writes, “__________”

Templates for Explaining Quotations

In other words, X believes _________.

In making this comment, X argues ______.

X is insisting ________.

The essence of X’s argument is ________.


C. Blend the Author’s Words with Your Own

Occasionally you just want to use a phrase or two from the writer in your analysis. This
might happen if you want to give your reader a flavor for the author’s tone or style or if you
want to keep your summary and analysis on track. Sometimes this approach needs
explanation, sometimes it does not. When in doubt, explain.

D. Pitfall to Avoid

Avoid introducing quotations with phrases such as “X asserts an idea that” or “A quote by X
says…”. Introductory phrases like these are redundant and misleading. In the first example
write “X asserts” or “X’s idea is.” The second example is misleading because the author isn’t
quoting, you are.




Adapted from They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff and Cathy   2
Birkenstein
Exercises Part III

    1. Find a text that quotes someone’s exact words as evidence of something that “they
       say.” How has the writer integrated the quotation into his or her own text? How has
       he or she introduced it, and what, if anything, has the writer said to explain it and tie
       it to his or her own text? Based on what you’ve read in this chapter, are there any
       changes you would suggest?

    2. Look at an essay or report you have written for one of your classes. Have you quoted
       any sources? If so, how have you integrated the quotation into your own text?
       Indicated how it relates to your text? If you haven’t done these things, revise your
       text to do so, perhaps using the Templates for Introducing Quotations and
       Explaining Quotations. If you’ve not written anything with quotations, try revising
       some academic text you’ve written to do so.




Adapted from They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff and Cathy   3
Birkenstein

				
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