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Using Quotes

Quotations are used within the body paragraphs of an essay to support your topic ideas, to provide evidence of the validity of your information, to “prove” the point you’re making in the paragraph is credible. Although formats for citing sources vary, there are specific conventions for quoting in academic writing.

Follow these formats for quoting within an essay and you can’t go wrong:

In + “Title,” + author + writes, “ .”

For example:
In “There Is No Safe Sex,” Robert C. Noble writes, “Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we are facing.”


OR: According to + author + in “Title,” “ .”

For example:
According to Robert C. Noble in “There Is No Safe Sex,” “Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we are facing.”


OR: Author + writes + in + “Title” that “ .” [NOTICE: NO COMMA]

For example:
Robert C. Noble writes in “There Is No Safe Sex” that “Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we are facing.”

Note: You can substitute the word “writes” for another active verb, such as says, asserts, states, notes, reports, mentions, claims, finds or has found, suggests, implies, argues, explains that, tells the reader that, etc.

For example:
In “There Is No Safe Sex,” Robert C. Noble argues that “Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we are facing.”

OR: Robert C. Noble explains in “There Is No Safe Sex” that “Condoms aren’t going to make a dent….”

IMPORTANT: The first time you mention a particular source (whether it’s in the paper’s introduction or in a body paragraph), use the author’s first and last names and the essay’s title. For all subsequent references to the same source throughout the paper, simply use the author’s last name only.

For example:
Robert C. Noble states in “There Is no Safe Sex” that “Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we are facing.” He also believes no one cares. Noble claims, “Nobody these days lobbies for abstinence….”

More important rules to remember:

· If you already named the author and title in the paper’s introduction, only use his/her last name for quotations.

· Periods and commas always go inside the end quote in American English.

· If you quote a passage that already has quotes in it, make the second set of quotes single quotes. For example, Noble explains, “I can’t say I’m comforted reading a government pamphlet called ‘Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Especially AIDS’.”


MOST important rule to remember:

Each quotation is like a sandwich: the meat goes between two pieces of bread. You must lead into it, then give the quote, then explain what that quote means, or how it supports the author’s work, or how it is evidence of your own point.

-- Adapted from handout by Instructor Segedy, Chabot College

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