Using Direct Quotations for Evidence Name_______________ Date: English #_____ Handout What are direct quotations? Direct quotations are lines of writing taken from an outside source. In other words, an author has written something and you wish to put it into your own writing. It is NOT always dialogue between characters, but may simply be sentences the author has written that describe a setting or character, or give other important information. Why do I need to use direct quotes in my essays or answers on tests? You must use direct quotes to support your answer in questions. Direct quotes supply the “evidence’ and “proof” you need to prove your answer is correct. If you are asked for your opinion, direct quotes are a great way to back up your opinion with actual evidence from the reading. When writing an essay, your main goal is to support your main idea, or thesis. If you use direct quotes from the writing piece you are asked to write an essay about, your main idea will be supported, and you will have a wonderful essay! How do I know what information I should pull out to use as a direct quote? First, read the question or look at your main idea. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to prove?” Then find parts of the essay, poem, novel, short story or informational text that prove your answer is correct! How do I place the direct quotations in my answer or essay correctly? When adding a direct quote, use the following five-step guide: Step One: Choose the sentence(s) or line(s) you wish to put into your writing as a direct quote. Remember they must PROVE your answer or support you essay’s main idea. Step Two: Decide who the SPEAKER is. Is a character in the story speaking or is it the author/ narrator writing directly? Step Three: Introduce your direct quote with the chosen speaker in mind (YELLOW). YOU CANNOT JUST PLOP IT IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR PARAGRAPH! Examples: Speaker as a character: This change is shown when Scrooge exclaims, “ There was a boy singing a Christmas carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something, that’s all (page 635).” Speaker as the author/narrator: This change is shown when Dickens writes, “ During the whole time of this, Scrooge acted like a man out of his wits. His heart and soul were on the scene (page 637).” Step Four: Give the page number for your direct quote right after you write your quote and before your period and end quotation marks (see above). Step Five: Explain your quote (RED)!!!! You must never leave a quote dangling. When you finish writing in your quote and marking down the page number you must write a sentence or two that explain what the quote means and how it proves your answer or main idea. Example: Throughout the novel, Scrooge changes from being completely cold or unemotional, to warmhearted. This change is shown when Dickens writes, “During the whole time of this, Scrooge acted like a man out of his wits. His heart and soul were on the scene (page 637).” When Dickens writes about Scrooge feeling emotions, he shows the change that is happening within him. He is no longer cold and unfeeling. By remembering his past with the spirit, Scrooge is beginning to remember what life was like with caring friends and a Christmas spirit. And that’s that! Now you are prepared to add direct quotes to your writing. Follow these steps and you will have fabulous writing!