Using Direct Quotations

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					ACADEMIC SKILLS CENTRE, DAWSON COLLEGE                                                                     D4.4

Quotations should be used sparingly, and only for good reason—usually because the author’s phrasing is
particularly effective in making a key point. Your quotations must be useful in supporting your thesis, in
clarifying an author’s views, or in lending impact to a significant example or detail. In literature papers,
quotations are used more frequently to refer to significant lines from the work under discussion.

Your own comments or explanations must be included, either before or after the quote: don’t simply stick in
a quotation without discussion to explain its meaning and to relate it to your thesis.

Brief Quotations

Brief quotations (a single word up to ~4 lines) should be integrated smoothly, with lead-in wording of your
own so that the quotation runs ‘seamlessly’ into your essay. Ensure that grammar, punctuation, and verb
tenses are correct in the context of your entire sentence. (Sometimes the quotation has to be adjusted, with
the use of ellipsis points and/or square brackets.) A footnote marker number or a parenthetic citation follows.

         Kaplan compares the restless young men in these areas to “loose molecules in a very unstable

         social fluid.” 5 In this way, he implies that…

         Because of the prevalence of street crime in West African cities, restaurant patrons must be

         escorted by “gun-wielding guards” (Kaplan 52-53). This shows that…

Longer Quotations

Quotations of four lines or more are set off from the body of the essay, usually introduced with a full colon.
All lines of the quoted material are indented. (This special treatment of the passage makes quotation marks
unnecessary.) Explanation or discussion of the quoted point usually follows.

         A great many serious social and political problems have contributed to the disturbing rise of

         crime in West African cities:

                  Disease, overpopulation, unprovoked crime, scarcity of resources, refugee migrations, the

                  increasing erosion of nation-states and international borders, and the empowerment of

                  private armies, security firms, and international drug cartels are now most tellingly

                  demonstrated through a West African prism. 8

         These are clearly serious problems that can bring about the weakening of social order. Since they

         occur in many regions of the world, it is Kaplan’s view that the chaotic problems of Nigeria and…

                                                                                                       WM 2003

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