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Put a Quote in an Essay

Home / Blog / How To Put A Quote In An Essay (with Examples)

How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Examples)

Introduction

When writing an essay , it is essential to incorporate quotes from reputable sources to support your arguments and ideas. However, knowing how to use quotes effectively is crucial in maintaining the flow and clarity of your essay. This blog will discuss the proper ways to put a quote in an essay with examples.

Why Use Quotes in an Essay?

Quotes are used in an essay to support or reinforce the writer's arguments and ideas. They provide evidence for your claims and demonstrate that your argument is backed up by research and authority. Incorporating quotes also helps to provide context and depth to your writing and can add a unique perspective to your essay.

Types of Quotes

There are two types of quotes you can use in your essay: direct quotes and indirect quotes.

Direct Quotes: Direct quotes are the exact words used by the source that you are quoting. When using direct quotes, you need to use quotation marks and indicate the source.

Example: According to John Smith, "The Earth is round."

Indirect Quotes: Indirect quotes are a paraphrase of the original source. When using indirect quotes, you do not need to use quotation marks.

Example: John Smith claims that the Earth is round.

How to Put a Quote in an Essay

When using quotes in an essay, there are several rules that you need to follow to ensure that your writing is clear, accurate, and appropriate. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Choose a Relevant Quote

Before you start writing your essay, identify the quotes that you want to use to support your arguments. Ensure that the quotes you select are relevant, reliable, and add value to your essay.

Step 2: Introduce the Quote

Introduce the quote by providing context and indicating who the source is. This will help the reader understand the significance of the quote and its relevance to your argument.

Example: According to Jane Doe, a renowned climate scientist, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity."

Step 3: Use Quotation Marks

When using a direct quote, use quotation marks to indicate that you are using the exact words of the source.

Example: According to Jane Doe, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity."

Step 4: Provide the Source

Provide the source of the quote, including the author's name, the title of the book or article, and the page number. This will help the reader find the source if they want to read it.

Example: According to Jane Doe, a renowned climate scientist, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity." (Doe, The State of the Climate, p. 25)

Step 5: Punctuate Correctly

Punctuate the quote correctly by placing the comma or period inside the quotation marks, depending on whether it is a part of the quote or your sentence.

Step 6: Explain the Quote

Explain the significance of the quote in your own words. This will help the reader understand how the quote supports your argument.

Example: Jane Doe's quote highlights the urgency of addressing climate change as it poses a significant threat to human survival.

Step 7: Cite Your Sources

Ensure that you cite your sources correctly using the citation style specified by your instructor or the style guide for your discipline.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Quotes in an Essay

Using quotes in an essay can be tricky, and many students make mistakes that can impact the quality of their writing. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using quotes in an essay:

Failing to provide context: It is essentialto provide context when using a quote in an essay. Failure to do so can confuse the reader and make the quote appear out of place. Always introduce the quote and provide some background information about the source and why you are using the quote.

Overusing quotes: While quotes can add value to your essay, it is essential not to overuse them. Use quotes sparingly and only when necessary. Overusing quotes can make your writing appear lazy, and it may give the impression that you are not confident in your own ideas.

Incorrectly citing sources: Always cite your sources correctly using the citation style specified by your instructor or the style guide for your discipline. Failure to do so can lead to accusations of plagiarism , which can have serious consequences.

Misquoting or altering a quote: When using a direct quote, it is essential to use the exact words of the source. Do not alter the quote or misquote the source as this can distort the meaning and accuracy of the quote.

Failing to explain the quote: When using a quote, it is important to explain its significance and how it supports your argument. Failure to do so can make the quote appear irrelevant and disconnected from your essay.

Examples of Quotes in an Essay

Here are some examples of how to use quotes in an essay:

Example 1: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Should students be required to wear school uniforms?

Quote: "School uniforms promote a sense of unity and equality among students, and they help to reduce instances of bullying based on clothing." (Johnson, School Uniforms, p. 10)

Explanation: The quote supports the argument that school uniforms can have a positive impact on student behavior and reduce instances of bullying. It is introduced with the source and provides context for the argument.

Example 2: Persuasive Essay

Topic: The importance of recycling

Quote: "Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 463 gallons of oil." (Environmental Protection Agency)

Explanation: The quote provides a powerful statistic that supports the importance of recycling. It is introduced with the source, and its significance is explained in the following sentences.

Example 3: Expository Essay

Topic: The history of the American Civil War

Quote: "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." (Lincoln, Gettysburg Address)

Explanation: The quote is an iconic line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which is a significant event in American history. It is introduced with the source, and its significance is explained in the following sentences.

Incorporating quotes in an essay can add depth, context, and authority to your writing. However, it is important to use quotes effectively and appropriately. Always choose relevant and reliable quotes, introduce them with context, use the correct punctuation, explain their significance, and cite your sources correctly. By following these guidelines, you can effectively use quotes in your essay and improve the quality of your writing.

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MLA Formatting Quotations

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced .

Short quotations

To indicate short quotations (four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation.

Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:

When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ).

Long quotations

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2   inch  from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come  after the closing punctuation mark . When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples :

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration: They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

When citing long sections of poetry (four lines of verse or more), keep formatting as close to the original as possible.

In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (qtd. in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)

When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. If you cite more than one paragraph, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented an extra 1/4 inch to denote a new paragraph:

In "American Origins of the Writing-across-the-Curriculum Movement," David Russell argues,

Writing has been an issue in American secondary and higher education since papers and examinations came into wide use in the 1870s, eventually driving out formal recitation and oral examination. . . .

From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widening number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)

Adding or omitting words in quotations

If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text:

If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipses, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:

Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless they would add clarity.

When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:

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How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps

How to use Quotes in an Essay

A quote can be an effective and powerful literary tool in an essay, but it needs to be done well. To use quotes in an essay, you need to make sure your quotes are short, backed up with explanations, and used rarely. The best essays use a maximum of 2 quotes for every 1500 words.

Rules for using quotes in essays:

  • Avoid Long Quotes.
  • Quotes should be less than 1 sentence long.
  • Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples.
  • Use Max. 2 Quotes for 1500 words.
  • Use page numbers when Citing Quotes.
  • Don’t Italicize Quotes.
  • Avoid quotes inside quotes.

Once you have mastered these quotation writing rules you’ll be on your way to growing your marks in your next paper.

How to use Quotes in an Essay

1. avoid long quotes.

There’s a simple rule to follow here: don’t use a quote that is longer than one line. In fact,  four word quotes  are usually best.

Long quotes in essays are red flags for teachers. It doesn’t matter if it is an amazing quote. Many, many teachers don’t like long quotes, so it’s best to avoid them.

Too many students provide quotes that take up half of a paragraph. This will lose you marks – big time.

If you follow my  perfect paragraph formula , you know that most paragraphs should be about six sentences long, which comes out to about six or seven typed lines on paper. That means that your quote will be a maximum of one-sixth (1/6) of your paragraph. This leaves plenty of space for discussion in your own words.

One reason teachers don’t like long quotes is that they suck up your word count. It can start to look like you didn’t have enough to say, so you inserted quotes to pad out your essay. Even if this is only your teacher’s perception, it’s something that you need to be aware of.

Here’s an example of over-use of quotes in paragraphs:

Avoid Quotes that are Too Long

Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors on economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

This student made the fatal mistake of having the quote overtake the paragraph.

Simply put, don’t use a quote that is longer than one line long. Ever. It’s just too risky.

Personally, I like to use a 4-word quote in my essays. Four-word quotes are long enough to constitute an actual quote but short enough that I have to think about how I will fit that quote around my own writing. This forces me to write quotations that both show:

  • I have read the original source, but also:
  • I know how to paraphrase

2. Do not use a Quote to that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph

These are three common but fatal mistakes.

Essay quotes that start sentences or end paragraphs make you appear passive.

If you use a quotation in an essay to start a sentence or end a paragraph, your teacher automatically thinks that your quote is replacing analysis, rather than supporting it.

You should instead start the sentence that contains the quote with your own writing. This makes it appear that you have an  active voice .

Similarly, you should end a paragraph with your own analysis, not a quote.

Let’s look at some examples of quotes that start sentences and end paragraphs. These examples are poor examples of using quotes:

Avoid Quotes that Start Sentences The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. “Children have the ability to learn through play and exploration. Play helps children to learn about their surroundings” (Malaguzzi, 1949, p. 10). Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.

Avoid Quotes that End Paragraphs Before Judith Butler gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex, men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time. “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).

Both these quotes are from essays that were shared with me by colleagues. My colleagues marked these students down for these quotes because of the quotes:

  • took up full sentences;
  • started sentences; and
  • were used to end paragraphs.

It didn’t appear as if the students were analyzing the quotes. Instead, the quotes were doing the talking for the students.

There are some easy strategies to use in order to make it appear that you are actively discussing and analyzing quotes.

One is that you should make sure the essay sentences with quotes in them  don’t start with the quote . Here are some examples of how we can change the quotes:

Example 1: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “children have the ability to learn through play and exploration.” Here, Malaguzzi is highlighting how to play is linked to finding things out about the world. Play is important for children to develop. Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.

Here, the sentence with the quote was amended so that the student has an active voice. They start the sentence with According to Malaguzzi, ….

Similarly, in the second example, we can also insert an active voice by ensuring that our quote sentence does not start with a quote:

Example 2: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice In 1990, Judith Butler revolutionized Feminist understandings of gender by arguing that “gender is a fluid concept” (p. 136). Before Butler’s 1990 book  Gender Trouble , gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex. Men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time.

In this example, the quote is not at the start of a sentence or end of a paragraph – tick!

How to Start Sentences containing Quotes using an Active Voice

  • According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “…”
  • Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) argues that “…”
  • In 1949, Malaguzzi (p. 10) highlighted that “…”
  • The argument of Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) that “…” provides compelling insight into the issue.

3. Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples

Earlier on, I stated that one key reason to use quotes in essays is so that you can analyze them.

Quotes shouldn’t stand alone as explanations. Quotes should be there to be analyzed, not to do the analysis.

Let’s look again at the quote used in Point 1:

Example: A Quote that is Too Long Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults.  “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors in economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.”  (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

This student has included the facts, figures, citations and key details in the quote. Essentially, this student has been lazy. They failed to paraphrase.

Instead, this student could have selected the most striking phrase from the quote and kept it. Then, the rest should be paraphrased. The most striking phrase in this quote was “[poverty] is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761).

So, take that one key phrase, then paraphrase the rest:

Example: Paraphrasing Long Quotes Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. In their analysis, Mistry et al. (2016) highlight that there is a misconception in American society that hard work is enough to escape poverty. Instead, they argue, there is evidence that over 40% of people born in poverty remain in poverty. For Mistry et al. (2016, p. 761), this data shows that poverty is not a matter of being lazy alone, but more importantly  “a consequence of structural and social barriers.”  This implies that poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

To recap,  quotes shouldn’t do the talking for you . Provide a brief quote in your essay, and then show you understand it with surrounding explanation and analysis.

4. Know how many Quotes to use in an Essay

There’s a simple rule for how many quotes should be in an essay.

Here’s a good rule to follow: one quote for every five paragraphs. A paragraph is usually 150 words long, so you’re looking at  one quote in every 750 words, maximum .

To extrapolate that out, you’ll want a maximum of about:

  • 2 quotes for a 1500-word paper;
  • 3 quotes for a 2000-word paper;
  • 4 quotes for a 3000-word paper.

That’s the maximum , not a target. There’s no harm in writing a paper that has absolutely zero quotes in it, so long as it’s still clear that you’ve closely read and paraphrased your readings.

The reason you don’t want to use more quotes than this in your essay is that teachers want to see you saying things in your own words. When you over-use quotes, it is a sign to your teacher that you don’t know how to paraphrase well.

5. Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays

One biggest problem with quotes are that many students don’t know how to cite quotes in essays.

Nearly every referencing format requires you to include a page number in your citation. This includes the three most common referencing formats: Harvard, APA, and MLA. All of them require you to provide page numbers with quotes.

Citing a Quote in Chicago Style – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990, 136).

Citing a Quote in APA and Harvard Styles – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).

Citing a Quote in MLA Style – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 136).

Including a page number in your quotation makes a huge difference when a marker is trying to determine how high your grade should be.

This is especially true when you’re already up in the higher marks range. These little editing points can mean the difference between placing first in the class and third. Don’t underestimate the importance of attention to detail.

6. Don’t Italicize Quotes

For some reason, students love to use italics for quotes. This is wrong in absolutely every major referencing format, yet it happens all the time.

I don’t know where this started, but please don’t do it. It looks sloppy, and teachers notice. A nice, clean, well-formatted essay should not contain these minor but not insignificant errors. If you want to be a top student, you need to pay attention to minor details.

7. Avoid quotes inside quotes

Have you ever found a great quote and thought, “I want to quote that quote!” Quoting a quote is a tempting thing to do, but not worth your while.

I’ll often see students write something like this:

Poor Quotation Example: Quotes Inside Quotes Rousseau “favored a civil religion because it would be more tolerant of diversity than Christianity. Indeed ‘no state has ever been founded without religion as its base’ (Rousseau, 1913: 180).” (Durkheim, 1947, p. 19).

Here, there are quotes on top of quotes. The student has quoted Durkheim quoting Rousseau. This quote has become a complete mess and hard to read. The minute something’s hard to read, it loses marks.

Here are two solutions:

  • Cite the original source. If you really want the Rousseau quote, just cite Rousseau. Stop messing around with quotes on top of quotes.
  • Learn the ‘as cited in’ method. Frankly, that method’s too complicated to discuss here. But if you google it, you’ll be able to teach yourself.

When Should I use Quotes in Essays?

1. to highlight an important statement.

One main reason to use quotes in essays is to emphasize a famous statement by a top thinker in your field.

The statement must be  important. It can’t be just any random comment.

Here are some examples of when to use quotes in essays to emphasize the words of top thinkers:

  • The words of Stephen Hawking go a long way in Physics ;
  • The words of JK Rowling go a long way in Creative Writing ;
  • The words of Michel Foucault go a long way in Cultural Studies ;
  • The words of Jean Piaget go a long way in Education Studies .

2. To analyze an Important Statement.

Another reason to use quotes in essays is when you want to analyze a statement by a specific author. This author might not be famous, but they might have said something that requires unpacking and analyzing. You can provide a quote, then unpack it by explaining your interpretation of it in the following sentences.

Quotes usually need an explanation and example. You can unpack the quote by asking:

  • What did they mean,
  • Why is it relevant, and
  • Why did they say this?

You want to always follow up quotes by top thinkers or specific authors with discussion and analysis.

Quotes should be accompanied by:

  • Explanations of the quote;
  • Analysis of the ideas presented in the quote; or
  • Real-world examples that show you understand what the quote means.
Remember: A quote should be a stimulus for a discussion, not a replacement for discussion.

What Bad Quotes Look Like

Many teachers I have worked with don’t like when students use quotes in essays. In fact, some teachers absolutely hate essay quotes. The teachers I have met tend to hate these sorts of quotes:

  • When you use too many quotes.
  • When you use the wrong citation format.
  • When you don’t provide follow-up explanations of quotes.
  • When you used quotes because you don’t know how to paraphrase .

how to use quotes in an essay

Be a minimalist when it comes to using quotes. Here are the seven approaches I recommend for using quotes in essays:

  • Avoid Long Quotes in Essays
  • Do not use a Quote that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph
  • Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples
  • Use a Maximum of 2 Quotes for every 1500 words
  • Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays
  • Don’t Italicize Quotes
  • Avoid quotes inside quotes

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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How to Start an Essay With a Quote

Last Updated: September 7, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 446,334 times.

Writing an effective introduction can be one of the most intimidating aspects of writing an essay. While there are many different approaches to writing introductory paragraphs, you may want to consider beginning your essay with a quotation. Finding the right quotation and using it well within the framework of your own words can ensure that your essay is off to a great start.

Finding the Perfect Quotation

Step 1 Avoid clichés and overused quotations.

  • Quote a person saying something that someone would not expect them to say.
  • Quote someone who is not universally famous.
  • Use a well-known quote but contradict it.

Step 3 Research the quote’s context.

  • Determine whether the audience will be familiar with the person who you are quoting. If it is someone obscure or you think they will not be familiar, consider providing additional (brief) details.
  • Do not use a quote that could be offensive to the audience unless you plan to contradict the quotation.
  • Strike a balance between assuming your audience knows everything and assuming they know nothing. You should be clear and informative but not insulting to the intelligence of your reader.

Step 5 Hook your reader.

Quoting Correctly

Step 1 Introduce the quotation appropriately.

  • Use the quote as a sentence predicate. The subject of the sentence will be the person who said the quote, and the verb will most likely be a synonym of “said.” For example, "Jane Smith said, 'blah blah blah.'"
  • Preview the content of the quote. Use your own (grammatically correct) sentence to preview or paraphrase what the quote will say, then insert a colon or comma, then the (grammatically correct) sentence-length quotation. For example: "Once Jane Smith said something completely awesome: 'the awesome thing she said.'"
  • Begin with the quote. If you begin with the quote, be sure to place a comma after the quote and then provide a verb and attribute the quotation to the source. For example: "'Blah blah blah,' said Jane Smith."

Step 2 Punctuate the quote appropriately.

  • The quote only needs to be capitalized if it begins the sentence or if the first word of the quote is a proper noun, like the name of a person or a place.
  • In American usage, end punctuation should be placed inside the quotation marks. For example, “this is the quote.”
  • Paraphrased material (someone else’s idea put into your own words) need not have quotation marks around it, but should be attributed to the original speaker.
  • If you introduce the quote with the speaker’s name and a verb, provide a comma before the beginning of the quotation. For example: "Jane Smith said, 'blah blah blah.'"

Step 3 Attribute the quote correctly.

  • Be particularly aware of quotations found on social media such as Pinterest, or on quote aggregators such as Brainyquote. These sources are notorious for mis-attributing and even making up famous quotes.

Step 4 Be true to the meaning and context of the quote.

  • You may also need to substitute a word (like a name rather than a pronoun) for clarity. If you need to substitute a word, place square brackets around the word to indicate that you made a change. For example: "Jane Smith said, 'blah [blady] blah.'"
  • Be sure to keep the original intent of the quotation when making changes. Changes should be made only to preserve clarity or to change length, not to manipulate the content of the quotation.

Incorporating the Quotation into Your Introduction

Step 1 Introduce the quotation.

  • In your introduction, you need to be clear about what you're going to talk about and how you're going to talk about it.

Step 3 Connect the quotation to your thesis.

  • Be sure that the quotation you use supports your thesis.
  • Be sure that using the quotation enhances, rather than distracting from, your argument. [12] X Research source

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Find a quote that is meaningful to you, not just one you found in a list on the internet. If the context and wording of the quote speak to you, you’re more likely to connect it to your essay effectively. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0

how to insert a quote into an essay

  • Some college professors never want to see a quotation begin an essay. Because the method is often overused, there is some bias against it. You can overcome this by doing it very well. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 1

You Might Also Like

Write an Essay

  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/cliches/
  • ↑ https://www.esu.edu/writing-studio/guides/hook.cfm
  • ↑ https://www.ccis.edu/student-life/advising-tutoring/writing-math-tutoring/introduce-quotations
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/punctuation/quotation_marks/index.html
  • ↑ https://www.ursinus.edu/live/files/1160-integrating-quotespdf
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/quotations/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/
  • ↑ http://www.otago.ac.nz/classics/otago055219.pdf

About This Article

Jake Adams

To start an essay with a quote, introduce the quote by including the name of the author, such as, “John Keats once said…” When you include the quote, put quotation marks around it and make sure to put any punctuation inside the quotation marks. If the quote is long, you can use only part of it or remove sections as long as you insert an ellipses. Once you’ve introduced the quote and the author, provide some context for the quotation and how it ties into the thesis of your essay. For tips from our English reviewer on how to find the perfect quotation to start your essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument. This handout will help you decide when and how to quote like a pro.

When should I quote?

Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). And quotations are only one type of evidence: well-balanced papers may also make use of paraphrases, data, and statistics. The types of evidence you use will depend in part on the conventions of the discipline or audience for which you are writing. For example, papers analyzing literature may rely heavily on direct quotations of the text, while papers in the social sciences may have more paraphrasing, data, and statistics than quotations.

Discussing specific arguments or ideas

Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:

“At the beginning of World War Two, almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly.”

If it is especially important that you formulate a counterargument to this claim, then you might wish to quote the part of the statement that you find questionable and establish a dialogue between yourself and John Doe:

Historian John Doe has argued that in 1941 “almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly” (Doe 223). Yet during the first six months of U.S. involvement, the wives and mothers of soldiers often noted in their diaries their fear that the war would drag on for years.

Giving added emphasis to a particularly authoritative source on your topic.

There will be times when you want to highlight the words of a particularly important and authoritative source on your topic. For example, suppose you were writing an essay about the differences between the lives of male and female slaves in the U.S. South. One of your most provocative sources is a narrative written by a former slave, Harriet Jacobs. It would then be appropriate to quote some of Jacobs’s words:

Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from North Carolina, published an autobiographical slave narrative in 1861. She exposed the hardships of both male and female slaves but ultimately concluded that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”

In this particular example, Jacobs is providing a crucial first-hand perspective on slavery. Thus, her words deserve more exposure than a paraphrase could provide.

Jacobs is quoted in Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

Analyzing how others use language.

This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language.

Examples of topics that might require the frequent use of quotations include:

Southern colloquial expressions in William Faulkner’s Light in August

Ms. and the creation of a language of female empowerment

A comparison of three British poets and their use of rhyme

Spicing up your prose.

In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language. All quotations, however, must closely relate to your topic and arguments. Do not insert a quotation solely for its literary merits.

One example of a quotation that adds flair:

President Calvin Coolidge’s tendency to fall asleep became legendary. As H. L. Mencken commented in the American Mercury in 1933, “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”

How do I set up and follow up a quotation?

Once you’ve carefully selected the quotations that you want to use, your next job is to weave those quotations into your text. The words that precede and follow a quotation are just as important as the quotation itself. You can think of each quote as the filling in a sandwich: it may be tasty on its own, but it’s messy to eat without some bread on either side of it. Your words can serve as the “bread” that helps readers digest each quote easily. Below are four guidelines for setting up and following up quotations.

In illustrating these four steps, we’ll use as our example, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quotation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1. Provide context for each quotation.

Do not rely on quotations to tell your story for you. It is your responsibility to provide your reader with context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where, and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. So, in providing context for our above example, you might write:

When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression.

2. Attribute each quotation to its source.

Tell your reader who is speaking. Here is a good test: try reading your text aloud. Could your reader determine without looking at your paper where your quotations begin? If not, you need to attribute the quote more noticeably.

Avoid getting into the “they said” attribution rut! There are many other ways to attribute quotes besides this construction. Here are a few alternative verbs, usually followed by “that”:

Different reporting verbs are preferred by different disciplines, so pay special attention to these in your disciplinary reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of any of these words or others you find in your reading, consult a dictionary before using them.

3. Explain the significance of the quotation.

Once you’ve inserted your quotation, along with its context and attribution, don’t stop! Your reader still needs your assessment of why the quotation holds significance for your paper. Using our Roosevelt example, if you were writing a paper on the first one-hundred days of FDR’s administration, you might follow the quotation by linking it to that topic:

With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.

4. Provide a citation for the quotation.

All quotations, just like all paraphrases, require a formal citation. For more details about particular citation formats, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . In general, you should remember one rule of thumb: Place the parenthetical reference or footnote/endnote number after—not within—the closed quotation mark.

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Roosevelt, Public Papers, 11).

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1

How do I embed a quotation into a sentence?

In general, avoid leaving quotes as sentences unto themselves. Even if you have provided some context for the quote, a quote standing alone can disrupt your flow.  Take a look at this example:

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

Standing by itself, the quote’s connection to the preceding sentence is unclear. There are several ways to incorporate a quote more smoothly:

Lead into the quote with a colon.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.

Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (Rowling, p. 176).

The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker. Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.

“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2).

“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Dividing the quote may highlight a particular nuance of the quote’s meaning. In the first example, the division calls attention to the two parts of Hamlet’s claim. The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular. As you decide whether or not you want to break up a quote, you should consider the shift in emphasis that the division might create.

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence.

When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression.

Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma.

The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

How much should I quote?

As few words as possible. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, so quote only the most pithy and memorable parts of sources. Here are guidelines for selecting quoted material judiciously:

Excerpt fragments.

Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented:

“I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:

Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

Excerpt those fragments carefully!

Quoting the words of others carries a big responsibility. Misquoting misrepresents the ideas of others. Here’s a classic example of a misquote:

John Adams has often been quoted as having said: “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here’s the rest of the quotation:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

As you can see from this example, context matters!

This example is from Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press, 1989).

Use block quotations sparingly.

There may be times when you need to quote long passages. However, you should use block quotations only when you fear that omitting any words will destroy the integrity of the passage. If that passage exceeds four lines (some sources say five), then set it off as a block quotation.

Be sure you are handling block quotes correctly in papers for different academic disciplines–check the index of the citation style guide you are using. Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations:

  • Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon.
  • Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.
  • Single space or double space within the block quotation, depending on the style guidelines of your discipline (MLA, CSE, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
  • Place parenthetical citation according to your style guide (usually after the period following the last sentence of the quote).
  • Follow up a block quotation with your own words.

So, using the above example from John Adams, here’s how you might include a block quotation:

After reading several doctrinally rigid tracts, John Adams recalled the zealous ranting of his former teacher, Joseph Cleverly, and minister, Lemuel Bryant. He expressed his ambivalence toward religion in an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson:

Adams clearly appreciated religion, even if he often questioned its promotion.

How do I combine quotation marks with other punctuation marks?

It can be confusing when you start combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. You should consult a style manual for complicated situations, but the following two rules apply to most cases:

Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.

So, for example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.”

In the above example, both the comma and period were enclosed in the quotation marks. The main exception to this rule involves the use of internal citations, which always precede the last period of the sentence. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries” (Poe 167).

Note, however, that the period remains inside the quotation marks when your citation style involves superscript footnotes or endnotes. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.” 2

Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.

Take a look at the following examples:

I couldn’t believe it when my friend passed me a note in the cafe saying the management “started charging $15 per hour for parking”!

The coach yelled, “Run!”

In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the outrageous nature of the parking price change. The original note had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation.

How do I indicate quotations within quotations?

If you are quoting a passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.

Here’s an example of a quotation within a quotation:

In “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “‘But the Emperor has nothing on at all!’ cried a little child.”

Remember to consult your style guide to determine how to properly cite a quote within a quote.

When do I use those three dots ( . . . )?

Whenever you want to leave out material from within a quotation, you need to use an ellipsis, which is a series of three periods, each of which should be preceded and followed by a space. So, an ellipsis in this sentence would look like . . . this. There are a few rules to follow when using ellipses:

Be sure that you don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the quotation by omitting material.

Take a look at the following example:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus and serves the entire UNC community.”

“The Writing Center . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location.

Do not use ellipses at the beginning or ending of quotations, unless it’s important for the reader to know that the quotation was truncated.

For example, using the above example, you would NOT need an ellipsis in either of these situations:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus . . .”

The Writing Center ” . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses.

For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual.

“The boys ran to school, forgetting their lunches and books. Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

“The boys ran to school. . . . Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma.

“The red car came to a screeching halt that was heard by nearby pedestrians, but no one was hurt.”

“The red car came to a screeching halt . . . , but no one was hurt.”

Is it ever okay to insert my own words or change words in a quotation?

Sometimes it is necessary for clarity and flow to alter a word or words within a quotation. You should make such changes rarely. In order to alert your reader to the changes you’ve made, you should always bracket the altered words. Here are a few examples of situations when you might need brackets:

Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence.

Suppose you were quoting a woman who, when asked about her experiences immigrating to the United States, commented “nobody understood me.” You might write:

Esther Hansen felt that when she came to the United States “nobody understood [her].”

In the above example, you’ve changed “me” to “her” in order to keep the entire passage in third person. However, you could avoid the need for this change by simply rephrasing:

“Nobody understood me,” recalled Danish immigrant Esther Hansen.

Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation.

For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets.

“The principal of the school told Billy [William Smith] that his contract would be terminated.”

Similarly, if a quotation referenced an event with which the reader might be unfamiliar, you could identify that event in brackets.

“We completely revised our political strategies after the strike [of 1934].”

Indicating the use of nonstandard grammar or spelling.

In rare situations, you may quote from a text that has nonstandard grammar, spelling, or word choice. In such cases, you may want to insert [sic], which means “thus” or “so” in Latin. Using [sic] alerts your reader to the fact that this nonstandard language is not the result of a typo on your part. Always italicize “sic” and enclose it in brackets. There is no need to put a period at the end. Here’s an example of when you might use [sic]:

Twelve-year-old Betsy Smith wrote in her diary, “Father is afraid that he will be guilty of beach [sic] of contract.”

Here [sic] indicates that the original author wrote “beach of contract,” not breach of contract, which is the accepted terminology.

Do not overuse brackets!

For example, it is not necessary to bracket capitalization changes that you make at the beginning of sentences. For example, suppose you were going to use part of this quotation:

“The colors scintillated curiously over a hard carapace, and the beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello.”

If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes.

“The beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Not: “[T]he beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. 2012. The Modern Researcher , 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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  • How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

Published on 15 April 2022 by Shona McCombes and Jack Caulfield. Revised on 3 September 2022.

Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:

  • The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you’re consistent) or formatted as a block quote
  • The original author is correctly cited
  • The text is identical to the original

The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism , which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker .

How to Quote

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Table of contents

How to cite a quote in harvard and apa style, introducing quotes, quotes within quotes, shortening or altering a quote, block quotes, when should i use quotes, frequently asked questions about quoting sources.

Every time you quote, you must cite the source correctly . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style you’re using.

Citing a quote in Harvard style

When you include a quote in Harvard style, you must add a Harvard in-text citation giving the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. Any full stop or comma appears after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

Citations can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in brackets after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) . Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to Harvard style

Citing a quote in APA Style

To cite a direct quote in APA , you must include the author’s last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use ‘p.’; if it spans a page range, use ‘pp.’

An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in parentheses after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

Punctuation marks such as full stops and commas are placed after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) .
  • Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to APA

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how to insert a quote into an essay

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Make sure you integrate quotes properly into your text by introducing them in your own words, showing the reader why you’re including the quote and providing any context necessary to understand it.  Don’t  present quotations as stand-alone sentences.

There are three main strategies you can use to introduce quotes in a grammatically correct way:

  • Add an introductory sentence
  • Use an introductory signal phrase
  • Integrate the quote into your own sentence

The following examples use APA Style citations, but these strategies can be used in all styles.

Introductory sentence

Introduce the quote with a full sentence ending in a colon . Don’t use a colon if the text before the quote isn’t a full sentence.

If you name the author in your sentence, you may use present-tense verbs, such as “states’, ‘argues’, ‘explains’, ‘writes’, or ‘reports’, to describe the content of the quote.

  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Introductory signal phrase

You can also use a signal phrase that mentions the author or source but doesn’t form a full sentence. In this case, you follow the phrase with a comma instead of a colon.

  • According to a recent poll, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • As Levring (2018) explains, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Integrated into your own sentence

To quote a phrase that doesn’t form a full sentence, you can also integrate it as part of your sentence, without any extra punctuation.

  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (p. 3).

When you quote text that itself contains another quote, this is called a nested quotation or a quote within a quote. It may occur, for example, when quoting dialogue from a novel.

To distinguish this quote from the surrounding quote, you enclose it in double (instead of single) quotation marks (even if this involves changing the punctuation from the original text). Make sure to close both sets of quotation marks at the appropriate moments.

Note that if you only quote the nested quotation itself, and not the surrounding text, you can just use single quotation marks.

  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘ ‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ‘ he told me, ‘ just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had ‘ ‘ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘”Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had “  (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”’ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway begins by quoting his father’s invocation to ‘remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’ (Fitzgerald 1).

Note:  When the quoted text in the source comes from another source, it’s best to just find that original source in order to quote it directly. If you can’t find the original source, you can instead cite it indirectly .

Often, incorporating a quote smoothly into your text requires you to make some changes to the original text. It’s fine to do this, as long as you clearly mark the changes you’ve made to the quote.

Shortening a quote

If some parts of a passage are redundant or irrelevant, you can shorten the quote by removing words, phrases, or sentences and replacing them with an ellipsis (…). Put a space before and after the ellipsis.

Be careful that removing the words doesn’t change the meaning. The ellipsis indicates that some text has been removed, but the shortened quote should still accurately represent the author’s point.

Altering a quote

You can add or replace words in a quote when necessary. This might be because the original text doesn’t fit grammatically with your sentence (e.g., it’s in a different tense), or because extra information is needed to clarify the quote’s meaning.

Use brackets to distinguish words that you have added from words that were present in the original text.

The Latin term ‘ sic ‘ is used to indicate a (factual or grammatical) mistake in a quotation. It shows the reader that the mistake is from the quoted material, not a typo of your own.

In some cases, it can be useful to italicise part of a quotation to add emphasis, showing the reader that this is the key part to pay attention to. Use the phrase ’emphasis added’ to show that the italics were not part of the original text.

You usually don’t need to use brackets to indicate minor changes to punctuation or capitalisation made to ensure the quote fits the style of your text.

If you quote more than a few lines from a source, you must format it as a block quote . Instead of using quotation marks, you set the quote on a new line and indent it so that it forms a separate block of text.

Block quotes are cited just like regular quotes, except that if the quote ends with a full stop, the citation appears after the full stop.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more. (16)

Avoid relying too heavily on quotes in academic writing . To integrate a source , it’s often best to paraphrase , which means putting the passage into your own words. This helps you integrate information smoothly and keeps your own voice dominant.

However, there are some situations in which quotes are more appropriate.

When focusing on language

If you want to comment on how the author uses language (for example, in literary analysis ), it’s necessary to quote so that the reader can see the exact passage you are referring to.

When giving evidence

To convince the reader of your argument, interpretation or position on a topic, it’s often helpful to include quotes that support your point. Quotes from primary sources (for example, interview transcripts or historical documents) are especially credible as evidence.

When presenting an author’s position or definition

When you’re referring to secondary sources such as scholarly books and journal articles, try to put others’ ideas in your own words when possible.

But if a passage does a great job at expressing, explaining, or defining something, and it would be very difficult to paraphrase without changing the meaning or losing the weakening the idea’s impact, it’s worth quoting directly.

A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .

For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: ‘This is a quote’ (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).

Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.

In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.

In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .

As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.

If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarises other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA  recommends retaining the citations as part of the quote:

  • Smith states that ‘the literature on this topic (Jones, 2015; Sill, 2019; Paulson, 2020) shows no clear consensus’ (Smith, 2019, p. 4).

Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted.

If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase ‘as cited in’ in your citation.

A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate ‘block’ of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.

APA uses block quotes for quotes that are 40 words or longer.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. & Caulfield, J. (2022, September 03). How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA. Scribbr. Retrieved 20 March 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/quoting/

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A Guide to Using Quotations in Essays

Quotations Add Credibility to a Persuasive Essay

  • Love Quotes
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  • Quotations For Holidays
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  • M.B.A, Human Resource Development and Management, Narsee Monjee Institution of Management Studies
  • B.S., University of Mumbai, Commerce, Accounting, and Finance

If you want to make an impact on your reader, you can draw on the potency of quotations. The  effective use of quotations  augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays more interesting.

But there is a need for caution! Are you convinced that the quotation you have chosen is helping your essay and not hurting it? Here are some factors to consider to ensure that you are doing the right thing.

What Is This Quotation Doing in This Essay?

Let us begin at the beginning. You have a chosen a quotation for your essay. But, why that specific quotation?

A good quotation should do one or more of the following:

  • Make an opening impact on the reader
  • Build credibility for your essay
  • Make the essay more interesting
  • Close the essay with a point to ponder upon

If the quotation does not meet a few of these objectives, then it is of little value. Merely stuffing a quotation into your essay can do more harm than good.

Your Essay Is Your Mouthpiece

Should the quotation speak for the essay or should the essay speak for the quotation? Quotations should add impact to the essay and not steal the show. If your quotation has more punch than your essay, then something is seriously wrong. Your essay should be able to stand on its own legs; the quotation should merely make this stand stronger.

How Many Quotations Should You Use in Your Essay?

Using too many quotations is like having several people shouting on your behalf. This will drown out your voice. Refrain from overcrowding your essay with words of wisdom from famous people. You own the essay, so make sure that you are heard.

Don't Make It Look Like You Plagiarized

There are some rules and standards when using quotations in an essay. The most important one is that you should not give the impression of being the author of the quotation. That would amount to plagiarism . Here are a set of rules to clearly distinguish your writing from the quotation:

  • You may describe the quotation in your own words before using it. In this case, you should use a colon (:) to indicate the beginning of the quotation. Then begin the quotation with a quotation mark ("). After you have completed the quotation, close it with a quotation mark ("). Here is an example: Sir Winston Churchill made a witty remark on the attitude of a pessimist: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
  • The sentence in which the quotation is embedded might not explicitly describe the quotation, but merely introduce it. In such a case, do away with the colon. Simply use the quotation marks . Here is an example: Sir Winston Churchill once said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
  • As far as possible, you should mention the author and the source of the quotation. For instance: In Shakespeare ’s play "As You Like It," Touchstone says to Audrey in the Forest of Arden, "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." (Act V, Scene I).
  • Ensure that the source of your quotation is authentic. Also, verify the author of your quotation. You can do so by looking up the quotation on authoritative websites. For formal writing, do not rely on just one website.

Blend Quotations In

An essay can seem quite jarring if the quotation does not blend in. The quotation should naturally fit into your essay. No one is interested in reading quotation-stuffed essays.

Here are some good tips on blending in your quotations:

  • You can begin your essay with a quotation that sets off the basic idea of the essay. This can have a lasting impact on your reader. In the introductory paragraph of your essay, you can comment on the quotation if you like. In any case, do ensure that the relevance of the quotation is communicated well.
  • Your choice of phrases and adjectives can significantly boost the impact of the quotation in your essay. Do not use monotonous phrases like: "George Washington once said...." If your essay is written for the appropriate context, consider using emphatic expressions like: "George Washington rocked the nation by saying...."

Using Long Quotations

It is usually better to have short and crisp quotations in your essay. Generally, long quotations must be used sparingly as they tend to weigh down the reader. However, there are times when your essay has more impact with a longer quotation.

If you have decided to use a long quotation, consider paraphrasing , as it usually works better. But, there is a downside to paraphrasing too. Instead of paraphrasing, if you use a direct quotation , you will avoid misrepresentation. The decision to use a long quotation is not trivial. It is your judgment call.

If you are convinced that a particular long quotation is more effective, be sure to format and punctuate it correctly.   Long quotations should be set off as block quotations . The format of block quotations should follow the guidelines that you might have been provided. If there are no specific guidelines, you can follow the usual standard—if a quotation is more than three lines long, you set it off as a block quote. Blocking implies indenting it about half an inch on the left.

Usually, a brief introduction to a long quotation is warranted. In other cases, you might need to provide a complete analysis of the quotation. In this case, it is best to begin with the quotation and follow it with the analysis, rather than the other way around.

Using Cute Quotes or Poetry

Some students choose a cute quotation first and then try to plug it into their essay. As a consequence, such quotations usually drag the reader away from the essay.

Quoting a verse from a poem, however, can add a lot of charm to your essay. I have come across writing that acquires a romantic edge merely by including a poetic quotation. If you are quoting from poetry, keep in mind that a small extract of a poem, say about two lines long, requires the use of slash marks (/) to indicate line breaks. Here is an example:

Charles Lamb has aptly described a child as "A child's a plaything for an hour;/ Its pretty tricks we try / For that or for a longer space; / Then tire, and lay it by." (1-4)

If you use a single line extract of a poem, punctuate it like any other short quotation without the slashes. Quotation marks are required at the beginning and at the end of the extract. However, if your quotation is more than three lines of poetry, I would suggest that you treat it like you would have treated a long quotation from prose. In this case, you should use the block quote format.

Does Your Reader Understand the Quotation?

Perhaps the most important question you must ask yourself when using a quotation is: "Do readers understand the quotation and its relevance to my essay ?"

If the reader is re-reading a quotation, just to understand it, then you are in trouble. So when you choose a quotation for your essay, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this too convoluted for my reader?
  • Does this match the tastes of my audience ?
  • Is the grammar and vocabulary in this quotation understandable?
  • How to Use Block Quotations in Writing
  • Definition and Examples of Direct Quotations
  • Definition and Examples of Quotation in English Grammar
  • How to Use Shakespeare Quotes
  • Guidelines for Using Quotation Marks Correctly
  • What Is an Indentation?
  • Practice in Using Quotation Marks Correctly
  • How To Write an Essay
  • Difference Between "Quote" and "Quotation": What Is the Right Word?
  • The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
  • How and When to Paraphrase Quotations
  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
  • Development in Composition: Building an Essay
  • Compose a Narrative Essay or Personal Statement
  • What an Essay Is and How to Write One

Quote in an Essay: Do It Properly Following the Standards

  • Essay Writing Guides

writing quotes in an essay

When proving your viewpoint, disputing, or just presenting information, it is advisable to back your words with solid arguments or citations. When you have a live discussion or speech, you may turn to other people’s words without considering proper punctuation or formatting style. However, when quoting in an essay, you need to be aware of the principal academic writing rules. This post is devoted to the pivotal peculiarities of quoting.

Quote in an Essay: What Is It?

Before we start discovering how to quote in an essay, we need to find out what a quotation is. A quote in an essay refers to a short excerpt or passage taken directly from a text, speech, or another source that is included within the body of the essay to support or illustrate a point being made by the author.

Quotes in an essay are commonly used to lend credibility, provide evidence, or add depth to an argument or analysis presented in a paper. By incorporating someone else’s words, properly cited and attributed, an author can reinforce their ideas and strengthen the overall impact of their writing. It is important to use quotes sparingly, ensuring they are relevant and effectively incorporated into the essay’s narrative to maintain a coherent flow of ideas.

How to Put a Quote into an Essay

When dealing with essay writing and finding a suitable phrase or words to refer to, it is obligatory to know how to put a quote into an essay. Improper or incorrect citations may play a nasty trick on you and spoil your GPA. Perhaps, in general, you know how to quote, but it must be mentioned that punctuation always depends on the required formatting style.

However, there are some commonly accepted standards.

Choose a relevant quote

Use quotes in an essay that support or enhance your argument, emphasize a point, or provide evidence from a credible source. Ensure that the quote aligns with the topic and purpose of your essay.

Introducing the quote

Begin by introducing the quote with context, attribution, and the source. It can be done by briefly explaining who said or wrote the quote and why it is significant in relation to your essay’s topic.

Punctuate correctly

Use quotation marks to enclose the quote in an essay and indicate that it is someone else’s words. Place any punctuation marks (like commas or periods) that belong to the quote inside the quotation marks, while those that pertain to the overall sentence are placed outside.

Provide citation

After the quote, you need to include an in-text citation to indicate the source. It typically includes the author’s name (or the name of the organization if it’s a corporate source) and the page number (if applicable). Additionally, make sure to follow the appropriate citation format required by your academic institution or professor (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago style).

Analyze and explain

After using a quote in an essay and providing the necessary citation, it’s crucial to analyze and explain its relevance to your argument. It helps connect the quote to your overall essay and demonstrates your understanding of its implications.

Remember, quotes can add credibility, depth, and support to your essay, but they should be used sparingly and always be integrated smoothly into your writing. Avoid excessively long quotes that may overshadow your original ideas, and make sure to balance them with your analysis and interpretation.

Why You Need to Identify the Quotation Source

It is crucial to identify your sources in quotes in an essay because they strengthen the credibility and reliability of your statements. By providing clear attribution to the original authors or creators of the information you are quoting, you give proper acknowledgement and respect to their intellectual property. What is more:

  • Identifying sources also allows readers or listeners to verify the accuracy and validity of the information presented.
  • It demonstrates your commitment to ethical writing, honest research, and responsible information sharing.
  • Properly identifying sources in quotations also helps in avoiding plagiarism.

An essay with quotes is often highly valued and graded since it is a sign of profound and well-thought investigation that requires an indication of the primary source.

Short Quotations in an Essay

If you need to quote in a paragraph and choose a short quotation, you should seamlessly integrate it into your writing following the next steps:

  • Provide some context to your readers regarding the topic or the source of the quotation. It helps set the stage and insert a quote in an essay. For instance, you could mention the name of the author, the work they have written, or the primary subject being discussed.
  • Next, use a signal phrase or an introductory phrase to introduce a quote in an essay. It can involve using phrases like “According to,” “As mentioned by,” or “In the words of.” Make sure to attribute the quote to its rightful owner, providing their name or relevant credentials.
  • After the introductory phrase, insert the short quotation itself. Enclose it within quotation marks (“”) to clearly indicate that you use someone else’s words.

Ensure that quotations in an essay are accurate and word-for-word from a credible source. If you need to omit or modify any part of the quotation for better clarity or conciseness, use ellipses (…) or brackets ([ ]) respectively to convey those changes.

Quote In an Essay: MLA, APA, Chicago

When citing a quote in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, there are specific guidelines to follow. Here’s how you can quote in an essay in each of these formats:

When you quote in an essay MLA, you need to include the author’s last name and page number in parentheses. For example:

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name Page Number).

In APA style, you should indicate the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number. For example:

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name, Year, p. Page Number).

  • Chicago Style

In Chicago style, there are two quotation essay methods: notes and bibliography or author-date.

  • Notes and Bibliography: In this method, you should use footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography. The first citation includes the author’s full name, the title of the source, and the publication information. For subsequent citations, use the author’s last name and a shortened title.

Footnote example:

1st citation: Author’s Full Name, Title of Source (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number.

Subsequent citation: Author’s Last Name, Shortened Title of Source, Page Number.

  • Author-Date: In this method, you should indicate the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses within the text.

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name Year, Page Number).

Remember, when citing quotes, it is crucial to properly attribute a reliable source to avoid plagiarism and provide a clear reference for readers to locate the cited material in your essay with quotes.

Quoting Articles: Introduction in Different Formatting Styles

Quoting an article in an essay in different formatting styles can add variety and visual appeal to your writing. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • In accordance with MLA formatting guidelines, you can introduce a quote by providing the author’s name and cited page number in parentheses after the quote. For example:

According to John Doe, “citation text” (25).

  • In APA formatting, you can introduce a quote by mentioning the author’s name, publication year, and page number in parentheses. Here’s an example:

Smith (2019) stated, “citation text” (p. 42).

  • In Chicago style, you have the option to use footnotes or endnotes to introduce a quote. For footnotes, you can indicate the author’s name, article title, publication date, and page number. Here’s how it can be done:

As stated by Jane Smith in her article “Wild Life,” published on April 1, 2020, “citation text”

  • In Harvard referencing, you can introduce a quote by including the author’s name, publication year, and page number, all within parentheses. Such an introduction would look like this:

According to Williams (2018, p. 10), “citation text”

Remember, it’s important to follow the specific formatting guidelines required by your academic institution or publication. These examples serve as a starting point, but always consult the appropriate style guide for accurate referencing.

Example Quotes in an Essay

The best way to cite correctly is to follow the example quotes in an essay. Here are some samples of the main formatting styles.

MLA formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith 23).
  • As Smith states, “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (23)

APA formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith, 2023, p. 23).
  • According to Smith (2023), “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (p. 23)

Chicago formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith, 2023, 23).

Now, everything is clear on how to quote in an essay and why it is important to cite properly for the sake of credibility and academic integrity.

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How to Work Quotes into an Essay

3-minute read

  • 22nd June 2017

Quoting sources is essential in academic writing . But you can’t simply copy a passage you’ve found in a book and dump it just anywhere in your essay if you want it to make sense.

As well as citing your source and using quotation marks , you need to integrate quotes into the rest of the text. This gives it context and ensures that your writing flows smoothly.

In this blog post, we take a look at how to do this effectively.

Quoting After a Colon

One option for working quotes into an essay is adding them after a colon. This should always come at the end of a full sentence, such as in the following:

Ackerman (2016, p. 232) acknowledges that pigeons are widely considered unintelligent : ‘They’re considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo (a close relative, in fact).’

If introducing a quotation like this, be careful not to mix up colons and semicolons .

Quoting After a Comma

Quotes can also be given after a partial sentence, particularly following terms like ‘says’ or ‘according to’. In these cases, you should separate the quote from the text with a comma:

On pigeon intelligence , Ackerman (2016, p. 232) says , ‘They’re considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo’.

However, you don’t need a comma if the quote follows the word ‘that’:

On pigeon intelligence, Ackerman (2016, p. 232) says that ‘They’re considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo’.

Integrating a Quote into a Sentence

As with the ‘that’ example above, you can add quotes that follow directly from the preceding sentence without additional punctuation:

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Pigeons are ‘ considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo’ (Ackerman, 2016, p. 232).

This also applies when using short quotes in the middle of a sentence:

Although many consider pigeons ‘to be as dumb as a dodo’ (Ackerman, 2016, p. 232), laboratory tests show them to be quite intelligent in some respects.

The only extra punctuation marks required in these cases are quotation marks.

Block Quotes

Finally, for longer passages of text, you can set quotes on a new line after a colon:

Ackerman (2016, p. 232) accepts that there are reasons for this reputation :

It’s true that the forebrain of a pigeon has only half the neural density of a crow’s forebrain. It’s also true that pigeons may fail to realize that an egg or squab is theirs unless it is immediately beneath them … Pigeons are also notoriously inefficient nest builders, carrying only a single twig or coffee stirrer at a time, whereas sparrows will ferry two or three.

However, she also discusses several areas where pigeons defy their dumb reputation.

Notice that no quotation marks are used for block quotes . Instead, you should indent the quotation to show that it’s separate from the surrounding text. Make sure to check your style guide on how to use block quotes, though, as the rules can vary.

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Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

In any study of a subject, people engage in a “conversation” of sorts, where they read or listen to others’ ideas, consider them with their own viewpoints, and then develop their own stance. It is important in this “conversation” to acknowledge when we use someone else’s words or ideas. If we didn’t come up with it ourselves, we need to tell our readers who did come up with it.

It is important to draw on the work of experts to formulate your own ideas. Quoting and paraphrasing the work of authors engaged in writing about your topic adds expert support to your argument and thesis statement. You are contributing to a scholarly conversation with scholars who are experts on your topic with your writing. This is the difference between a scholarly research paper and any other paper: you must include your own voice in your analysis and ideas alongside scholars or experts.

All your sources must relate to your thesis, or central argument, whether they are in agreement or not. It is a good idea to address all sides of the argument or thesis to make your stance stronger. There are two main ways to incorporate sources into your research paper.

Quoting is when you use the exact words from a source. You will need to put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from. For example:

“It wasn’t really a tune, but from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop . . . Slowly the dog’s growls ceased – it tottered on its paws and fell to its knees, then it slumped to the ground, fast asleep” (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to cite a passage:

  • Choose to quote passages that seem especially well phrased or are unique to the author or subject matter.
  • Be selective in your quotations. Avoid over-quoting. You also don’t have to quote an entire passage. Use ellipses (. . .) to indicate omitted words. Check with your professor for their ideal length of quotations – some professors place word limits on how much of a sentence or paragraph you should quote.
  • Before or after quoting a passage, include an explanation in which you interpret the significance of the quote for the reader. Avoid “hanging quotes” that have no context or introduction. It is better to err on the side of your reader not understanding your point until you spell it out for them, rather than assume readers will follow your thought process exactly.
  • If you are having trouble paraphrasing (putting something into your own words), that may be a sign that you should quote it.
  • Shorter quotes are generally incorporated into the flow of a sentence while longer quotes may be set off in “blocks.” Check your citation handbook for quoting guidelines.

Paraphrasing is when you state the ideas from another source in your own words . Even when you use your own words, if the ideas or facts came from another source, you need to cite where they came from. Quotation marks are not used. For example:

With the simple music of the flute, Harry lulled the dog to sleep (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to paraphrase a passage:

  • Don’t take a passage and change a word here or there. You must write out the idea in your own words. Simply changing a few words from the original source or restating the information exactly using different words is considered plagiarism .
  • Read the passage, reflect upon it, and restate it in a way that is meaningful to you within the context of your paper . You are using this to back up a point you are making, so your paraphrased content should be tailored to that point specifically.
  • After reading the passage that you want to paraphrase, look away from it, and imagine explaining the main point to another person.
  • After paraphrasing the passage, go back and compare it to the original. Are there any phrases that have come directly from the original source? If so, you should rephrase it or put the original in quotation marks. If you cannot state an idea in your own words, you should use the direct quotation.

A summary is similar to paraphrasing, but used in cases where you are trying to give an overview of many ideas. As in paraphrasing, quotation marks are not used, but a citation is still necessary. For example:

Through a combination of skill and their invisibility cloak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione slipped through Hogwarts to the dog’s room and down through the trapdoor within (Rowling 271-77).

Important guidelines

When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components:

  • Introductory phrase to the source material : mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase.
  • Source material : a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.
  • Analysis of source material : your response, interpretations, or arguments regarding the source material should introduce or follow it. When incorporating source material into your paper, relate your source and analysis back to your original thesis.

Ideally, papers will contain a good balance of direct quotations, paraphrasing and your own thoughts. Too much reliance on quotations and paraphrasing can make it seem like you are only using the work of others and have no original thoughts on the topic.

Always properly cite an author’s original idea, whether you have directly quoted or paraphrased it. If you have questions about how to cite properly in your chosen citation style, browse these citation guides . You can also review our guide to understanding plagiarism .

University Writing Center

The University of Nevada, Reno Writing Center provides helpful guidance on quoting and paraphrasing and explains how to make sure your paraphrasing does not veer into plagiarism. If you have any questions about quoting or paraphrasing, or need help at any point in the writing process, schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.

Works Cited

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  A.A. Levine Books, 1998.

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Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations

To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format.

Use A Full Sentence Followed by A Colon To Introduce A Quotation

  • The setting emphasizes deception: "Nothing is as it appears" (Smith 1).
  • Piercy ends the poem on an ironic note: "To every woman a happy ending" (25).

Begin A Sentence with Your Own Words, Then Complete It with Quoted Words

Note that in the second example below, a slash with a space on either side ( / ) marks a line break in the original poem.

  • Hamlet's task is to avenge a "foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare 925).
  • The speaker is mystified by her sleeping baby, whose "moth-breath / flickers among the flat pink roses" (Plath 17).

Use An Introductory Phrase Naming The Source, Followed By A Comma to Quote A Critic or Researcher

Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets. APA format doesn't require brackets.

  • According to Smith, "[W]riting is fun" (215).
  • In Smith's words, " . . .
  • In Smith's view, " . . .

Use A Descriptive Verb, Followed by A Comma To Introduce A Critic's Words

Avoid using says unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.

  • Smith states, "This book is terrific" (102).
  • Smith remarks, " . . .
  • Smith writes, " . . .
  • Smith notes, " . . .
  • Smith comments, " . . .
  • Smith observes, " . . .
  • Smith concludes, " . . .
  • Smith reports, " . . .
  • Smith maintains, " . . .
  • Smith adds, " . . .

Don't Follow It with A Comma If Your Lead into The Quotation Ends in That or As

The first letter of the quotation should be lower case.

  • Smith points out that "millions of students would like to burn this book" (53).
  • Smith emphasizes that " . . .
  • Smith interprets the hand washing in MacBeth as "an attempt at absolution" (106).
  • Smith describes the novel as "a celebration of human experience" (233).

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Integrating Quotations in MLA Style

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Integrating Quotations (MLA)

A reader may be able to make sense of a quotation dropped into a piece of writing, but introducing or integrating quotations into the flow of your sentence is the way to use them most effectively—to be sure that your reader knows what you mean. You have three options: 

  • Introduce the quotation with a statement that puts it in context. A colon follows a formal statement or independent clause.
  • Lynn Quitman Troyka warns us of the particular challenges of using quotations in research papers: “The greatest risk you take when you use quotations is that you will end up with choppy, incoherent sentences” (184). 
  • Use a signal phrase followed by a comma or a signal verb followed by that to announce a quotation.
  • According to Lynn Quitman Troyka, “. . ..”
  • The narrator suggests that “. . ..”
  • As Jake Barnes says, “. . . . . ..”
  • Frye rejects this notion when he argues, “. . ..”
  • Integrate the quotation fully into your sentence. The quotation and your words must add up to a complete sentence.
  • We know the boy has learned a painful lesson when he says that his eyes “burned with anguish and anger” (Joyce 481). 
  • Leaders are inspirational; they are concerned with “providing meaning or purpose in work for employees and creating meaning in the product for customers” (Ivancevich, Lorenzi, and Skinner 341).  
  • Researchers found that firms with a strong corporate culture “based on a foundation of shared values” outperformed the other firms by a large margin (Quigley 42).

Quotations within Quotations:

Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation within a quotation.

  • Miller states, “Religions are examples of ‘noble lies’ aimed at uplifting human stature” (18).

Adding Material within Quotations:

Use square brackets to enclose material that you add to or change within a quotation to allow it to fit grammatically into a sentence. 

  • Balko (2015) argues, “If they [policymakers] want to fight obesity, they’ll halt the creeping 

socialization of medicine” (p. 142).

  • “Today, the [saturated fat] warnings remain a cornerstone of the government’s dietary guidelines,” O’Connor (2016) states, “though in recent years the American Heart Association has also begun to warn that too much added sugar may increase cardiovascular disease risk” (p.92). 

Block Quotations:

Indent longer quotations (more than four lines) ten spaces from the margin. Notice that quotation marks are not used to enclose material that is set off from the text and that the parenthetical reference is placed after the punctuation following the quotation. 

A socially responsible vision can make an organization more attractive to customers, potential employees, and investors.  As consultant Robert Rosen puts it,  

The best companies are values-based and performance-driven.  Their community involvement supports the mission of the business.  Modern employees want to work for companies who make a difference, their customers want to do business with them because they have solid reputations as good corporate citizens, and shareholders enjoy the value such companies represent over the long term. (9)

Shortening Quotations:

Use an ellipsis of three dots to shorten longer quotations by removing non-essential words and ideas from the middle of the quote.  The quotation must fit grammatically into the sentence even with the ellipsis.   It must also retain enough of the quotation so that it still makes sense in your essay and you do not distort its meaning.   You do not need to provide ellipses at the beginning or the end of the quoted material. 

Foer states, “My grandmother survived World War II barefoot, scavenging Eastern Europe for other people’s inedibles . . . So she never cared if I colored outside the lines, as long as I cut coupons along the dashes” (159). 

Complete quote: “My grandmother survived World War II barefoot, scavenging Eastern Europe for other people’s inedibles: rotting potatoes, discarded scraps of meat, skins and the bits that clung to bones and pits. So she never cared if I colored outside the lines, as long as I cut coupons along the dashes.” 

Quick tip about citing sources in MLA style

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Collaboration, information literacy, writing process, inserting or altering words in a direct quotation.

  • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 by Nancy Lewis

What punctuation should be used when words are inserted or altered in a direct quotation?

When writers insert or alter words in a direct quotation, square brackets—[ ]—are placed around the change. The brackets, always used in pairs, enclose words intended to clarify meaning, provide a brief explanation, or to help integrate the quote into the writer’s sentence.  A common error writers make is to use parentheses in place of brackets.

How are square brackets used around clarifying or explanatory words?

Let’s look at an example:

Quotation with brackets used correctly around a clarifying word:

“It [driving] imposes a heavy procedural workload on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107). [1]

Note : Brackets are placed around the inserted word in this example to let the reader know that ‘driving’ clarifies the meaning of the pronoun ‘it.’

Quotation with parentheses incorrectly used in place of brackets:

“It (driving) imposes a heavy procedural workload on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107).

Note : Parentheses are used incorrectly in place of brackets in this example, making the inserted word look like it could be part of the original text.

Let’s look at another example:

Quotation with brackets used correctly around an explanatory insert:

“[D]riving is not as automatic as one might think; in fact, it imposes a heavy procedural workload [visual and motor demands] on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107).

Note : Brackets are placed around the inserted words in this example to provide further explanation of the “procedural workload” discussed in the original text.

“[D]riving is not as automatic as one might think; in fact, it imposes a heavy procedural workload (visual and motor demands) on cognition that . . . leaves little processing capacity available for other tasks” (Salvucci and Taatgen 107).

Note : Parentheses are used incorrectly in place of brackets in this example, making the inserted words look like they are part of the original text.

How are square brackets used to help integrate a quote properly?

Original direct quotation beginning with an upper case letter:

“The heavy cognitive workload of driving suggests that any secondary task has the potential to affect driver behavior” (Salvucci and Taatgen 108).

Integrated quotation with brackets used correctly to indicate a change in letter case:

Salvucci and Taatgen propose that “[t]he heavy cognitive workload of driving suggests that any secondary task has the potential to affect driver behavior” (108).

Note : Brackets are placed around the lower-case letter ‘t’ to indicate that the letter case has been changed. The quotation is introduced by a signal phrase, which makes the quote an integral part of the writer’s sentence; as a result of this syntactical change, the upper case ‘T’ in the original is changed to a lower case letter.

Original direct quotation written in the past tense:

“Not coincidentally, drivers have been increasingly engaging in secondary tasks while driving” (Salvucci and Taatgen 68).

Note : The authors’ words appear in the past tense in the original text.

Quotation with brackets used correctly to indicate a change in verb tense:

“Not coincidentally, drivers [are] increasingly engaging in secondary tasks while driving” (Salvucci and Taatgen 68).

Note : Brackets are placed around the word ‘are’ to indicate that the verb has been changed to the present tense, which is the preferred tense for most writing in MLA style. The past tense is preferred for APA style writing. 

A word of caution : Bracketed insertions may not be used to alter or add to the quotation in a way that inaccurately or unfairly represents the original text. Quite simply, do not use bracketed material in a way that twists the author’s meaning.

Bracket Use: Quick Summary

[1] Salvucci, Dario D., and Niels A. Taatgen. Multitasking Minds . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . Web. 20 Feb. 2012.

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  • The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples

The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples

Published on March 14, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on February 28, 2024.

An in-text citation is a short acknowledgement you include whenever you quote or take information from a source in academic writing. It points the reader to the source so they can see where you got your information.

In-text citations most commonly take the form of short parenthetical statements indicating the author and publication year of the source, as well as the page number if relevant.

We also offer a free citation generator and in-depth guides to the main citation styles.

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What are in-text citations for, when do you need an in-text citation, types of in-text citation, frequently asked questions about in-text citations.

The point of an in-text citation is to show your reader where your information comes from. Including citations:

  • Avoids plagiarism by acknowledging the original author’s contribution
  • Allows readers to verify your claims and do follow-up research
  • Shows you are engaging with the literature of your field

Academic writing is seen as an ongoing conversation among scholars, both within and between fields of study. Showing exactly how your own research draws on and interacts with existing sources is essential to keeping this conversation going.

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how to insert a quote into an essay

An in-text citation should be included whenever you quote or paraphrase a source in your text.

Quoting means including the original author’s words directly in your text, usually introduced by a signal phrase . Quotes should always be cited (and indicated with quotation marks), and you should include a page number indicating where in the source the quote can be found.

Paraphrasing means putting information from a source into your own words. In-text citations are just as important here as with quotes, to avoid the impression you’re taking credit for someone else’s ideas. Include page numbers where possible, to show where the information can be found.

However, to avoid over-citation, bear in mind that some information is considered common knowledge and doesn’t need to be cited. For example, you don’t need a citation to prove that Paris is the capital city of France, and including one would be distracting.

Different types of in-text citation are used in different citation styles . They always direct the reader to a reference list giving more complete information on each source.

Author-date citations (used in APA , Harvard , and Chicago author-date ) include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number when available. Author-page citations (used in MLA ) are the same except that the year is not included.

Both types are divided into parenthetical and narrative citations. In a parenthetical citation , the author’s name appears in parentheses along with the rest of the information. In a narrative citation , the author’s name appears as part of your sentence, not in parentheses.

Note: Footnote citations like those used in Chicago notes and bibliography are sometimes also referred to as in-text citations, but the citation itself appears in a note separate from the text.

An in-text citation is an acknowledgement you include in your text whenever you quote or paraphrase a source. It usually gives the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number of the relevant text. In-text citations allow the reader to look up the full source information in your reference list and see your sources for themselves.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

  • APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
  • MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
  • Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
  • Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

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Caulfield, J. (2024, February 28). The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/in-text-citation-styles/

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Quote integration

Quote integration is arguably one of the most difficult parts of essay writing; however, it does not need to be. Here are some tips to make quote integration easier. 

First things first, the most basic way to integrate quotes into any piece of writing is with the following format

Signal phrase + Quote + Citations

  • Signal phrase: A short phrase or verb that indicates to the reader that you are going to introduce a quote.
  • Quote: Short quotes are less than four lines and can be integrated into the actual body of your essay. Quotes over four lines typically should be formatted as block quotes (based on the citation style you are using).
  • Citations in MLA 8th edition
  • Citations in APA 7 th
  • Citations in Chicago
  • Citations in AMA  

The following example follows the pattern of signal phrase , quote, and citation (in MLA style)

  • Exercise has many benefits for not only an individual’s present health but in the long term as well : “exercise is known to reduce a number of inflammatory markers…which are linked to a number of diseases” (Walton 1).

Another way to introduce a quote into a source is to use the author’s name as your signal phrase with a subsequent verb that is used to introduce the quote. For citation styles such as MLA or APA, when you start with the author’s name to introduce the source, the end of text citation only needs to have the page number/year.

  • Alice Walton writes that “exercise is one of the best-illustrated things we can do for our hearts, and this includes markers like blood pressure and cholesterol, in addition to the physical structure of the heart itself, and blood vessel function” (3).

Verbs to use to signal the beginning of a quotation

  • Demonstrates
  • Illustrates

Other methods to integrate a quote into a sentence

Introduce a quotation and have subsequent sentences that expand on the relevance.

  • This is the best way to integrate quotes into a paper. It is crucial that anytime you use from an outside source, you  explain the relevance of the quote to the rest of your paper .
  • Dr. Carrie Fisher details some of the most pressing ethical concerns that arise in the field of public health: “the primary ethical concern of public health officials is creating a balance between the common good and the right of the individual, when we undermine autonomy we create distrust among the general public, destabilizing the governing principles of public health” (2). Dr. Fisher’s concerns surrounding the field of public health echoes the main dilemma that has plagued the field since its conception. Her argument that undermining autonomy betrays public trust demonstrates that as public health officials it is crucial to understand that if individual autonomy is restricted, it can only be in the direst of circumstances.

Make the quotation part of a complete sentence

  • Current research indicates that exercise is beneficial for long-term health as it “can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes, and obesity” (Fletcher et al., 1996).

Utilize brackets and ellipses to help improve clarity of a sentence

Brackets are used to add words to improve understanding. Ellipses are used to remove words to shorten a phrase.

  • According to physical therapist Dr. Smith, developing a consistent and sustainable workout foundation is the key to long term success: “[Workout programs] must be enjoyable, you cannot expect an individual to adhere to a regimen where they dread each day they must go. I recommend that individuals find a workout routine that both challenges them but also excites them, where it does not feel like a chore to workout” (2).

Here is an example sentence that utilizes all of these tactics to integrate a quote into a sentence

  • In the field of medicine, exercise recommendations remain hotly contested, “although a consensus is growing on the importance of the relation between physical activity and health and wellness, the specific dose of physical activity necessary for good health remains unclear… some of the inconsistency among physical activity recommendations is due simply to the inherent uncertainties of biomedical science” (Blair 2). It is crucial that the differing ideologies be addressed as they have the potential to impact the dissemination of information to the general public. The average American already struggles to meet the weekly exercise recommendations and conflicting information regarding these recommendations will only further exacerbate the issue.

Paraphrasing

  • You may be thinking “isn’t this supposed to be about integrating quotes into an essay?” You are correct; however, there are many times (and citation styles) where it is best to paraphrase a source instead of integrating a whole quote into the paper. Quote integration is crucial when the exact wording of the primary source is critical to the point being made, whereas paraphrasing is sufficient when restating the general idea is all that is required. 
  • Despite continual recommendations put forth by the CDC regarding exercise and physical activity “80% of the population is not meeting the guidelines. Each year in the US, an estimated 10% of premature deaths and $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity” (Smith, 2017).

Paraphrased 

  • The CDC estimates that 80% of the United States population is not adhering to the guidelines regarding weekly physical activity recommendations (Smith 3). Inactive adults cost the U.S health care system an estimated $117 billion per year; estimates suggest 10% of premature deaths are due to inactivity (Smith, 2017).

*Remember that when paraphrasing a quote from a source an in-text citation is still included.

Common mistakes to avoid

Drop quotes.

This is when you “drop” a quote into your essay without any form of introduction; the most common mistake is making the quote its own sentence.

This is what you don’t want to do

  • There are numerous health benefits to working out. “Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits” (CDC).

A better way to approach this is

  • There are numerous health benefits to working. According to the CDC, “adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits” (2019).

Not using brackets

Using brackets when integrating a quote actually helps improve clarity while writing. Otherwise, if you integrate a quote directly without adjusting it through the use of brackets, the sentence can be confusing to readers.

  • Dr. Smith, talks to patients candidly about the importance of physical activity while they are young, “it is important that you start working out when you are younger as it helps you build up bone density, which can decrease the risk of developing arthritis as you get older” (Horton 3).
  • Dr. Smith talks to patients candidly about the importance of physical activity while they are young: “it is important that [individuals] start working out when [they] are younger as it helps [them] build up bone density, which can decrease the risk of developing arthritis as they get older” (Horton 3).

how to insert a quote into an essay

  • Integrating Direct Quotations into Your Writing

by acburton | Mar 21, 2024 | Resources for Students , Writing Resources

If you’ve ever had a professor ask you to “use quotes” or quote other texts in your writing before, you know that it’s no easy task. It can feel awkward sometimes to determine what parts of the text are worth quoting, as well as how to directly quote in your writing without sounding too formulaic or repetitive. Keep reading for some strategies on effectively using direct quotations in your next writing project!

Why do I need to know how to directly quote?

If you’ve seen our blog post on “Quoting Directly,” you know that using direct quotations (or “quotes”) in our writing can be useful for a variety of reasons. By quoting other credible, relevant sources in our own writing projects, we can provide more convincing evidence and reasoning for our own ideas. Direct quotations are a type of support we can provide for our own arguments and claims, as it demonstrates to our readers that other writers agree with what we have to say.

What are different ways to directly quote in my writing so that I don’t sound repetitive?

A common way to integrate “quotes” in our writing is with the use of a signal phrase , which is a short phrase that indicates to readers that the writer is about to introduce another source. For example, we often use the phrase “According to” as a common signal phrase for introducing quotations. However, if we were to use “According to” for every single quotation in our essays, our writing would start to sound awfully repetitive and potentially boring or uninteresting.

So, here are some different approaches you can take for integrating direct quotations to have more variety and style in your writing!

1. Use a signal phrase to introduce the quotation

The two most commonly used signal phrases only require a couple of words, primarily a verb and the author’s name:

  • The introductory phrase: “According to (author’s name and/or title of source),”. e.g., “According to Ahmed,” or “According to Ulmer in Internet Invention ,”.

After a signal phrase, you can quote from the text directly. Here are some important reminders to keep in mind whenever you directly quote another source in your own writing:

  •  Use quotation marks “ “ and copy the passage exactly as it appears in the original text. If there is a grammatical or spelling error in the original source, you can use [sic] to cue to your reader that you did not make the mistake and are intentionally quoting the source material (for more on using [sic] in direct quotations, see our post on Quoting Directly ).
  • Long Quotations in MLA format
  • Long Quotations in APA format

Note: You can also use a signal phrase after the direct quotation for more variety in your sentence structure and style. You’d follow the same rules, except the quotation would come first, followed by your ‘says’ verb and the author.

It is usually better to lead with the author’s name and a ‘says’ verb because this introduces where the quotation is coming from (ensuring your reader is not confused) and is written in active voice, which is more direct and concise.

Example According to Melissa Dahl, “[Cringe is] the intense visceral reaction produced by an awkward moment, an unpleasant kind of self-recognition where you suddenly see yourself through someone else’s eyes. It’s a forced moment of self-awareness, and it usually makes you cognizant of the disappointing fact that you aren’t measuring up to your own self-concept” (Wynn).

While this is a direct quotation attributed to author Melissa Dahl, the in-text citation is credited to (Wynn) because the writer found this quotation in an original source published by Natalie Wynn. If you directly quote an author or writer whose work is quoted by another source, you cite the source that “houses” the passage. In other words, you cite the author who introduced you to the work. You can still credit the original author by introducing them in your signal phrase, as shown in the example above, but make sure your in-text citation credits the source you found the passage in.

2. Summarize the main ideas of the quotation to create a framework for the quotation, then use a colon to present the quotation.

For this method, you would provide a concise overview of the main ideas from the passage you wish to quote as a way of contextualizing what the source is about. This provides a helpful framework for the reader to understand the purpose and meaning of your quote better.

Example In Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking, she raises several theoretical and philosophical viewpoints concerning both the act of walking, or flânerie, and the walker, or flâneur. On escapism, Solnit posits: “In the city, one is alone because the world is made up of strangers, and to be a stranger surrounded by strangers, to walk along silently bearing one’s secrets and imagining those of the people one passes, is among the starkest of luxuries” (23).

3. Blend a shorter quotation into your own sentence structure

This is the best method to use if you have only a short passage, some key words, or a specific phrase you want to quote in your writing. For this method, you want to build your own original sentence that leads up to the key ideas in your short quotation to blend it together as one cohesive sentence.

Example Within a participatory culture, individuals are often gathered together as a community due to shared interest networks, like video games, in which “members believe that their contributions matter” and there is “some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices” (Jenkins 7).

Practice in the Writing Center

For more support and guidance on directly quoting, make an appointment with us here at the Writing Center! We can help you integrate “quotes” into your writing projects effectively and with style so that your support is interesting and convincing to readers.

For further reading, check out these resources from the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association:

  • Integrate Quotations in Writing, by Carla Mannix (2017)
  • List of Reporting Verbs, from University of Technology Sydney

***Adapted from TESOL International Association Handout “Integrate Quotations in Writing” by Carla Mannix, Nov. 2017

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How To Embed Quotes in Your Essay Like a Boss

October 2, 2012

how to insert a quote into an essay

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Updated 30/12/2020

  • What Are Quotes?
  • Why Use Quotes?
  • What You Want To Quote
  • How Much You Want To Quote
  • How That Quote Will Fit into Your Essay
  • There Are Also Other Ways of Using Quotation Marks
  • Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Weaving Quotes into Sentences
  • How To Find Good Quotes

1. What Are Quotes?

Quotations, better known by their abbreviation ‘quotes’, are a form of evidence used in VCE essays. Using quotations in essays helps to demonstrate your knowledge of the text, and provides solid evidence for your arguments. The discussion on quotations in this study guide can be applied to all three areas of study in the VCAA English course which have been explained in detail in our Ultimate Guide s to VCE Text Response , Comparative and  Language Analysis .

A quotation is the repetition of a group of words taken from a text by someone other than the original author. The punctuation mark used to indicate a repetition of another author’s work is presented through quotation marks. These quotation marks are illustrated by inverted commas, either single inverted commas (‘ ’) or double inverted commas (“ ”). There is no general rule in Australia regarding which type of inverted comma you must use for quotations. Single inverted commas are preferred in Australia as they follow the British standard. The American standard involves styling quotations with the double inverted comma. You can choose either style, just be consistent in your essays.

2. Why Use Quotes?

The usage of quotations in essays demonstrates:

  • Your knowledge of the text
  • Credibility of your argument
  • An interesting and thoughtful essay
  • The strength of your writing skills.

However, quotations must be used correctly, otherwise you risk (and these frequent mistakes will be discussed in detail later):

  • Irrelevant quotations
  • Overcrowding or overloading of quotations
  • Broken sentences

How You Integrate a Quote into an Essay Depends on Three Factors:

  • What you want to quote
  • How much you want to quote
  • How that quote will fit into your essay.

3. What You Want To Quote

As you discuss ideas in a paragraph, quotes should be added to develop these ideas further. A quote should add insight into your argument; therefore, it is imperative that the quote you choose relates intrinsically to your discussion. This is dependent on which aspect of the text you are discussing, for example:

  • Description of theme or character
  • Description of event or setting
  • Description of a symbol or other literary technique

Never quote just for the sake of quoting. Quotations can be irrelevant  if a student merely adds in quotes as ‘sentence fillers’. Throwing in quotations just to make your essay appear more sophisticated will only be more damaging if the quotation does not adequately reinforce or expand on your contention. Conversely, an essay with no quotations will not achieve many marks either.

4. How Much You Want To Quote

A quotation should never tell the story for you. Quotations are a ‘support’ system, much like a back up for your ideas and arguments. Thus, you must be selective in how much you want to quote. Generally speaking, the absolute minimum is three quotes per paragraph but you should not  overload  your paragraphs either. Overcrowding your essay with too many quotations will lead to failure to develop your ideas, as well as your work appearing too convoluted for your assessor. Remember that the essay is  your  piece of work and should consist mainly of your own ideas and thoughts.

Single Word Quotations

The word ‘evaporates’, used to characterise money and happiness intends to instill the idea that happiness as a result of money is only temporary. (VCAA ‘Can Money Buy Happiness’ Language Analysis)

Single worded quotations can often leave the largest impression on the assessor. This is because you are able to demonstrate that you can focus on one word and develop an entire idea around it.

Phrase Quotations

Sunil Badami ‘still found it hard to tie my Indian appearance to my Australian feeling', showing that for Sunil, his culture was not Indian, but Australian due to his upbringing. ( Sticks and Stones and Such-like, Sunil Badami in Growing Up Asian in Australia )

A phrase quotation is the most common quotation length you will use in essays.

Long Quotations

The multitudes of deaths surrounding Anna began to take its toll on her, burdening her with guilt as ‘sometimes, if I walked the main street of the village in the evening, I felt the press of their ghosts. I realised then that I had begun to step small and carry myself all hunched, keeping my arms at my sides and my elbows tucked, as if to leave room for them.’ ( Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks )

Long quotations comprise of more than one sentence – avoid using them as evidence. Your assessor will not mark you highly if the bulk of your paragraphs consists of long quotations. You should aim to keep your quotations to less than 2 lines on an A4 writing page. If you have a long quotation you wish to use, be selective. Choose only the important phrases or key words, and remove the remaining sentence by replacing it with an ellipsis (…).

Here is the same example again, with the student using ellipsis:

The multitudes of deaths surrounding Anna began to take its toll on her, burdening her with guilt as she felt ‘the press of their ghosts…[and] begun to step small and carry myself all hunched…as if to leave room for them.’ ( Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks)

In this case, we have deleted: ‘sometimes, if I walked the main street of the village in the evening’ and ‘I realised then that I had’ by using an ellipsis – a part of the quotation that is not missed because it does not represent the essence of the student’s argument. You would have noticed that a square bracket ([  ]) was used. This will be discussed in detail under  Blending Quotes.

5. How That Quote Will Fit into Your Essay

You must never take the original author’s words and use them in your essay  without  inserting them in quotation marks. Failure to do so leads to ‘plagiarism’ or cheating. Plagiarism occurs when you take someone else’s work and pass it off as your own. You must make sure that you use quotation marks whenever you use evidence from your text.

The following is plagiarism:

Even a single flicker of the eyes could be mistaken for the essential crime that contained all other crimes in itself – thought crime.  (1984, George Orwell)

Using quotation marks however, avoids plagiarism:

Even ‘a single flicker of the eyes’ could be mistaken for ‘the essential crime that contained all other crimes in itself – thought crime.’  (1984, George Orwell)

There are serious consequences for plagiarism. VCAA will penalise students for plagiarism. VCAA uses statistical analysis to compare a student’s work with their General Achievement Test (GAT), and if the cross-referencing indicates that the student is achieving unexpectedly high results with their schoolwork, the student’s school will be notified and consequential actions will be taken.

Plagiarism should not be confused with:

  • ‍ Paraphrasing : to reword or rephrase the author’s words
  • ‍ Summarising: to give a brief statement about the author’s main points
  • ‍ Quoting : to directly copy the author’s words with an indication (via quotation marks) that it is not your original work

Blending Quotations

You should always aim to interweave quotations into your sentences in order to achieve good flow and enhanced readability of your essay. Below is a good example of blending in quotations:

John Proctor deals with his own inner conflict as he is burdened with guilt and shame of his past adulterous actions. Yet during the climatic ending of the play, Proctor honours his principles as he rejects signing a false confession. This situation where Proctor is confronted to ‘sign [himself] to lies’ is a stark epiphany, for he finally acknowledges that he does have ‘some shred of goodness.’ ( The Crucible, Arthur Miller)

There are three main methods in how you can blend quotations into an essay:

1. Adding Words

Broken sentences  are a common mistake made when students aim to integrate quotations into their sentences. Below are examples of broken sentences due to poor integration of a quotation:

‘Solitary as an oyster’. Scrooge is illustrated as a person who is isolated in his own sphere. ( A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Never write a sentence consisting of  only  a quotation. This does not add insight into your argument, nor does it achieve good flow or readability.

Scrooge, ‘solitary as an oyster’, is illustrated as a person who is isolated in his own sphere.  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

This example is better, however the sentence is still difficult to read. In order to blend quotations into your sentences, try adding in words that will help merge the quotation and your own words together:

Described as being as ‘solitary as an oyster’, Scrooge is illustrated as a person who is isolated in his own sphere.  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Scrooge is depicted as a person who is ‘solitary as an oyster’, illustrating that he is isolated in his own sphere.  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Tip: If you remove the quotation marks, the sentence should still make sense.

2. Square Brackets ([   ])

These are used when you need to modify the original writer’s words so that the quotation will blend into your essay. This is usually done to:

Change Tense

Authors sometimes write in past  (looked) , present  (look)  or future tense  (will look) . Depending on how you approach your essay, you may choose to write with one of the three tenses. Since your tense may not always match the author’s, you will need to alter particular words.

Original sentence: ‘…puts his arm around Lewis’ shoulder’ ( Cosi, Louis Nowra)

Upon seeing Lewis upset, Roy attempts to cheer him up by ‘put[ting] his arm around Lewis’ shoulder’. ( Cosi, Louis Nowra)

Change Narrative Perspective

The author may write in a first  (I, we) , second  (you)  or third person  (he, she, they)  narrative. Since you will usually write from an outsider’s point of view, you will refer to characters in third person. Thus, it is necessary to replace first and second person pronouns with third person pronouns. Alternatively, you can replace first and second person pronouns with the character’s name.

The original sentence: ‘Only now can I recognise the scene for what it was: a confessional, a privilege that I, through selfishness and sensual addiction, failed to accept…’  (Maestro, Peter Goldsworthy)

When Keller was finally ready to share his brutal past with Paul, the latter disregarded the maestro, as he was too immersed in his own adolescent interests. However, upon reflection, Paul realises that ‘only now can [he] recognise the scene for what it was: a confessional, a privilege that [he], through selfishness and sensual addiction, failed to accept’.  (Maestro, Peter Goldsworthy)

Insert Missing Words

Sometimes, it may be necessary to insert your own words in square brackets so that the quotation will be coherent when incorporated into your sentences.

The original sentence: ‘His heels glow.’ ( Ransom, David Malouf)

Achilles, like Priam, feels a sense of refreshment as highlighted by ‘his heels [which] glow.’ ( Ransom, David Malouf)

It is important to maintain proper grammar while weaving in quotations. The question is: does the punctuation go inside or outside the final quotation mark?

The rule is: If the quoted words end with a full stop (or comma), then the full stop goes inside the quotation marks. If the quoted words do not end with a full stop, then the full stop goes outside the quotation marks.

Original sentence: 'Sagitty’s old place plus another hundred acres that went from the head waters of Darkey Creek all the way down to the river.’ ( The Secret River, Kate Grenville)

Punctuation inside:

During the past decade, Thornhill became the wealthiest man in the area, owning ‘Sagitty’s old place plus another hundred acres that went from the head waters of Darkey Creek all the way down to the river.’ ( The Secret River, Kate Grenville)

Punctuation outside:

During the past decade, Thornhill became the wealthiest man in the area, owning ‘Sagitty’s old place plus another hundred acres’. ( The Secret River, Kate Grenville)

6. There Are Also Other Ways of Using Quotation Marks

Title of text.

When including the title of the text in an essay, use single quotation marks.

Directed by Elia Kazan, ‘On The Waterfront’ unveils the widespread corruption among longshoremen working at New Jersey docks. ( On The Waterfront, Elia Kazan)

Alternatively, you can underline the title of the text instead of using single quotation marks. Many teachers and examiners prefer this option.

Quotation Within a Quotation

When you quote the author who is quoting someone else, then you will need to switch between single and double quotation marks. You firstly need to enclose the author’s words in single quotation marks, and then enclose the words they quote in double quotation marks. If you're following the American standard, you'll need to do this the opposite way - that is, using double quotation marks for the author's words and and then single quotation marks for the quote. We recommend sticking to the preferred Australian style though, which is single and then double.

Original sentence: ‘…something bitter and stringy, too difficult to swallow. “It’s just that – I – um, I hate it…It’s too – it’s too Indian!”’ ( Sticks and Stones and Such-like, Sunil Badami in Growing Up Asian in Australia)

Sunil’s unusual name leads him to believe that it is ‘…something bitter and stringy, too difficult to swallow. “It’s just that – I – um, I hate it…It’s too – it’s too Indian!”’ ( Sticks and Stones and Such-like, Sunil Badami in Growing Up Asian in Australia)

As you can see, the student has quoted the author’s words in single quotation marks. The dialogue used by the author is surrounded by double quotation marks. This demonstrates that the dialogue used in the text still belongs to the author.

Using Quotations to Express Irony

When you wish to express irony, you use quotation marks to illustrate that the implied meaning of the actual word or phrase is different to the normal meaning.

As a young girl, Elaine is a victim of Mrs Smeath and her so called ‘friends’. Her father’s interest in insects and her mother’s lack of housework presents Elaine as an easy bullying target for other girls her age who are fit to fulfill Toronto’s social norms. ( Cat’s Eye,  Margaret Atwood)

In this case, ‘friends’ is written in inverted commas to indicate that Elaine’s peers are not truly her friends but are in fact, bullies.

7. Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Weaving Quotes into Sentences

1.  Does the quote blend into my sentence?

2.  Does my sentence still make sense?

3.  Is it too convoluted for my readers to understand?

4.  Did I use the correct grammar?

8. How To Find Good Quotes

Tip One: Do not go onto Google and type in 'Good quotes for X text', because this is not going to work. These type of quotes are generally the most famous and the most popular quotes because, yes they are good quotes, but does that necessarily mean that it's going to be a good quote in your essay? Probably not. But why? Well, it's because these quotes are the most likely to be overused by students - absolutely every single person who has studied this text before you, and probably every single person who will study this text after you. You want to be unique and original. So, how are you going to find those 'good quotes'? Recognise which quotes are constantly being used and blacklist them. Quotes are constantly used in study guides are generally the ones that will be overused by students. Once you eliminate these quotes, you can then go on to find potentially more subtle quotes that are just as good as the more popular or famous ones. Tip Two: Re-read the book. There is nothing wrong with you going ahead and finding your own quotes. You don't need to find quotes that already exist online or in study guides. Go and find whatever gels with you and whatever you feel like has a lot of meaning to it. I had a friend back in high school who was studying a book by Charles Dickens. I haven't read the book myself, but there was a character who couldn't pronounce the letter S, or he had a lisp of some sort. What my friend did was he found this one word where, throughout the entire book, the guy with the lisp only ever said the S one time and that was a massive thing. So, he used that. This is something that is really unique and original. So, go ahead and try to find your own quotes. Tip Three: Realise that good quotes do not necessarily have to come from the main character. Yes, the main character does often have good quotes associated with whatever they're saying, but just know that you do have minor characters who can say something really relevant and have a really good point too. Their quote is going to be just as strong in your essay as a main character's quote, which will probably be overused and overdone by so many other students. Tip Four: Develop a new interpretation of a famous or popular quote. Most of the time, the really popular quotes are analysed in very much the same way. But if you can offer a new insight into why it's being said or offer a different interpretation, then this is automatically going to create a really good quote that's going to offer a refreshing point of view. For example, if we look at The Great Gatsby , one of the most famous quotes that is constantly being used is, 'He found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.' What most people will do is they will analyse the part about the 'grotesque thing a rose', because that's the most significant part of the quote that stands out. But what you could do instead, is focus on a section of that quote, for example the 'raw'. Why is the word raw being used? How does the word raw contribute extra meaning to this particular quote? This way you're honing in on a particular section of the quote and really trying to offer something new. This automatically allows you to investigate the quote in a new light. Tip Five: Just remember that the best quotes do not have to be one sentence long. Some of the best quotes tend to be really short phrases or even just one particular word. Teachers actually love it when you can get rid of the excess words that are unnecessary in the sentence, and just hone in on a particular phrase or a particular word to offer an analysis. And also, that way, when you spend so much time analysing and offering insight into such a short phrase or one sentence, it shows how knowledgeable you are about the text and that you don't need to rely on lots and lots of evidence in order to prove your point. Those are my five quick tips on how to find good quotes from your texts!

Need more help with quotes? Learn about 5 Ways You're Using Quotes Wrong .

Resources for texts mentioned/referenced in this blog post:

Comparing: Stasiland and 1984 Study Guide

A Killer Text Guide: Cosi (ebook)

Cosi By Louis Nowra Study Guide

Cosi Study Guide

Growing Up Asian in Australia Study Guide

A Killer Text Guide: On the Waterfront (ebook)

A Killer Text Guide: Ransom (ebook)

Ransom Study Guide

The Crucible by Arthur Miller Study Guide

A Killer Text Guide: The Crucible (ebook)

‍ The Crucible and Year of Wonders Prompts

Comparing: The Crucible and Year of Wonders Study Guide

The Great Gatsby Study Guide

‍ A Killer Text Guide: The Secret River (ebook)

The Secret River by Kate Grenville Study Guide

Get our FREE VCE English Text Response mini-guide

Now quite sure how to nail your text response essays? Then download our free mini-guide, where we break down the art of writing the perfect text-response essay into three comprehensive steps. Click below to get your own copy today!

how to insert a quote into an essay

Struggling to answer the essay topic?

Has your teacher ever told you:

"You're not answering the prompt"

"You're going off topic"

Then you're not alone! If you struggle to understand and stay on topic, learn how to answer the prompt every time with our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide.

how to insert a quote into an essay

Updated 11/12/2020.

What is language analysis, what are you expected to cover (language analysis criteria).

  • School Assessed Coursework (SAC), Exams, and Allocated Marks

How To Prepare for Your Language Analysis SAC and Exam

How to write a language analysis.

Language Analysis (also known as Analysing Argument, Argument Analysis, and an array of other names) is comparatively the most different of the three parts of the VCE English study design. The other two parts of English, Text Response and Comparative, focus on analysing texts (like novels and films) where students are then expected to produce an extended piece of writing reflecting on those texts' ideas, themes and messages.

how to insert a quote into an essay

Language Analysis, officially known as ‘Analysing Argument’ in the study design, is the 2nd Area of Study (AoS 2) - meaning that majority of students will tackle the Language Analysis SAC in Term 2. Unlike Text Response and Comparative, in Language Analysis you will be asked to read 'cold material' (meaning that you won't have seen the piece before, i.e. not had the chance to study it prior to your SAC and exam). This 'cold material' will be 1-3 articles and/or images (we'll just refer to all articles/images as 'texts' for simplicity) written for the media, whether it be an opinion piece for a newspaper, or an illustration for a political campaign.

You are expected to read the article, analyse the persuasive techniques used by the author, and express this in an essay. Let's get into it!

What are teachers and examiners expecting to see in your essays? Below are the VCE criteria for Language Analysis essays.

Note: Some schools may express the following points differently, however, they should all boil down to the same points - what is necessary in a Language Analysis essay.

1. Understanding of the argument(s) presented and point(s) of view expressed

The first most important step is to understand the contention and arguments presented in the text because you'll base your entire analysis on your assumption. This can be tricky if you're unfamiliar with the contentious topic, or if the writer expresses their ideas in complex ways. In the worst case scenario, you'll misinterpret what the author is arguing and this will subsequently mean that your analysis will be incorrect. Never fear! There are many tactics to try and ascertain the 'right' contention - we'll go into detail later.

2. Analysis of ways in which language and visual features are used to present an argument and to persuade

This is where 'language techniques' come into play. You're expected identify the language used by the writer of the text and how that's intended to persuade the audience to share their point of view. There are too many language techniques to count, but you're probably already familiar with inclusive language, rhetorical questions and statistics. For most students, this is the trickiest part of Language Analysis. To read more on how to overcome this part of the criteria, get educated with Why Your Language Analysis Doesn’t Score As Well As It Should . My golden SIMPLICITY and SPECIFICITY strategy (discussed further under 'ebook' later in this guide) shows you how to analyse any language technique with confidence and accuracy.

3. Control and effectiveness of language use, as appropriate to the task

When examiners read essays, they are expected to get through about 12-15 essays in an hour! This results in approximately 5 minutes to read, get their head around and grade your essay - not much time at all! It is so vital that you don’t give the examiner an opportunity to take away marks because they have to reread certain parts of your essay due to poor expression and grammar.

School Assessed Coursework (SAC), Exams and Allocated Marks

Reading and Creating is assessed in Unit 1 (Year 11) and Unit 3 (Year 12). The number of allocated marks are:

  • Unit 1 - dependant on school
  • Unit 3 English – 40 marks
  • Unit 3 EAL – 30 marks (plus 10 marks for short-answer responses and note form summaries)

Exactly when Language Analysis is assessed within each unit is dependent on each school; some schools at the start of the Unit, others at the end. The time allocated to your SAC is also school-based. Often schools use one or more periods combined, depending on how long each of your periods last. Teachers can ask you to write anywhere from 800 to 1000 words for your essay (keep in mind that it’s about quality, not quantity!)

In your exam, you get a whopping total of 3 hours to write 3 essays (Text Response, Comparative, and Language Analysis). The general guide is 60 minutes on Language Analysis, however, it is up to you exactly how much time you decide to dedicate to this section of the exam. Your Language Analysis essay will be graded out of 10 by two different examiners. Your two unique marks from these examiners will be combined, with 20 as the highest possible mark.

Preparation is a vital component in how you perform in your SACs and exam so it’s always a good idea to find out what is your best way to approach assessments. This is just to get you thinking about the different study methods you can try before a SAC. Here are my top strategies (ones I actually used in VCE) for Language Analysis preparation that can be done any time of year (including holidays - see How To Recharge Your Motivation Over the School Holidays for more tips):

Get your hands on some sample texts

If your teacher hasn't given you any to practice with, try the VCAA English exam page . You've got exams dating back to 2001, so there are no shortages of practice papers!

Know your terminology (persuasive techniques and tones)

Make sure you brush up on the definitions of persuasive techniques. It’s not going to be a tick if you use metaphor instead of simile, or if you use alliteration instead of assonance. These mistakes do happen! Don’t fall into this trap.

Here are 10 easy Language Analysis techniques you should definitely know:

  • Inclusive language
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Credentials and expert opinion
  • Alliteration
  • Exaggeration
  • Generalisation

Also ensure you're familiar with tones. It may be easy to identify the writer is ‘angry’, but is there a better way of expressing that? Perhaps ‘irritated’ is a better term or ‘vexed’, ‘passionate’, ‘furious’, ‘disgruntled’, ‘outraged', ‘irate’ and the list goes on….Stuck? Have a look at our 195 tones for Language Analysis .

Images (including cartoons, illustrations, and graphs) are something you also need to get your head around. Understanding how an image persuades its audience can be challenging, so test yourself and see if you know to look for these 10 things in cartoons .

Read and watch Lisa's Study Guides' resources

Doing this study all by yourself can be rather daunting, so we've got your back. We specialise in supporting VCE English by creating helpful videos, study guides and ebooks. Here are some just to get your started:

YouTube Videos

We create general Language Analysis advice videos where I answer your questions in a QnA format:

We also create article-specific videos where I select a past VCAA exam and analyse it in real-time:

Check out our entire YouTube channel (and don't forget to subscribe for regular new videos!).

Study Guides

Our awesome team of English high-achievers have analysed popular Language Analysis articles (most based off past VCAA exams). Here's a compilation of all the ones we've covered so far:

Medi-Info Card - VCAA Exam 2001 (we're going wayyy back!)

Truancy - VCAA Exam 2002 (hey, weren't you born around this time?)

Keyed In Sample Analysis- VCAA Exam 2009

Taking Stock Sample Analysis – VCAA Exam 2010

Lawton, The Home Of The Giant Watermelon - VCAA Exam 2016

A Better, Faster Shopping Experience - VCAA Exam 2019

‍ Biodiversity Speech Analysis – VCAA Sample Exam 2020

Drones - VCAA Exam 2020

how to insert a quote into an essay

And if that isn't enough, I'd highly recommend my How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook.

In this ebook, I teach you my unique SIMPLICITY and SPECIFICITY strategy.

Many people overcomplicate Language Analysis, and as a result, they think it's much harder than it should be. I was one of those people.

To be fair, when I was in VCE, I was getting straight As in my Language Analysis (and that was awesome!). However, I wanted to achieve more. I wanted to break the A+ barrier that I just couldn't seem to breach. I tried using more advanced language techniques, tried to make my analyses more complex, but they all failed.

It was only when I figured out the SIMPLICITY and SPECIFICITY strategy that I finally saw my marks hit the A+ range - I was ecstatic! Find out more by accessing a sample of my ebook via the Shop page , or at the bottom of this blog.

‍ Practice Your Analysis

how to insert a quote into an essay

Analysing can get messy when you will have dozens of annotations sprawled across the text. Start testing out strategies that work for you. For example, try using idea-based-colouring. This means that if the article discusses injustice – for all techniques you identify dealing with injustice, highlight it yellow. For freedom, highlight them green. This will have you annotating and grouping ideas in one go, saving time and confusion.

Another approach is to use technique-based-colouring, where you highlight same or similar techniques in the one colour.

Above is an example of idea-based-colouring from my Lawton, The Home Of The Giant Watermelon - VCAA Exam 2016 video. If you haven't watched this video series, don't worry if it doesn't make sense to you for now. The point here is how the colours help me to quickly locate ideas when I'm writing my essay.

Write Plans

Once you've done some analysis and revision , it's time to write plans! Plans will help ensure you stick to your essay topic, and have a clear outline of what your essay will cover. This clarity is crucial to success in a Language Analysis essay.

Doing plans is also an extremely time-efficient way to approach SACs. Rather than slaving away hours upon hours over writing essays, writing plans can will save you the burnout, and get you feeling confident faster.

Write Essays

Yes, sad but it’s a fact. Writers only get better by actually writing . Even if you just tackle a couple of essays then at least you will have started to develop a thinking process that will help you to set out arguments logically, utilise important quotes and time yourself against the clock. It will help you write faster as well – something that is a major problem for many students. With that said, let's get into how to write a Language Analysis next.

Since we've established that Language Analysis is quite different from Text Response and Comparative, it's not surprising that the essay has its own set of best practices and rules.

Essay Structure

Depending on how many texts you're given in your SAC or exam (it can be up to 3 texts), you should have an idea of how you plan to execute your essay accordingly - whether that be through a block structure, bridge structure or integrated structure. To learn more about essay structures, check out Christine's (English study score 49) advice in How To Structure A Language Analysis For Two Or More Texts .

Introduction

In an introduction, you're expected to have the following:

Kristin (English study score 50) writes about this 'CDFASTCAT' acronym in her post, How To Write An A+ Language Analysis Introduction .

Here's an example from Gabrielle (English study score 42), in her post Exploring an A+ Language Analysis Essay Comparing Two Articles :

In recent years, the issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers has become a topic of interest for many Australian citizens, with the debate focusing centrally on the ethics of their indefinite detention, and the reliability of this initiative as a working solution. Many articles intending to weigh-in on the debate depict the Australian Government’s favoured solution in various tones, with two pieces, written by news source, The Guardian, by authors Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson, and activist Kon Karapanagiotidis, respectively, asserting that the initiative is the wrong approach to a growing problem. In their piece, 'Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self destruction', the former of the authors speaks with an accusatory tone to their audience of regular readers of the popular news publication site and debates the practicality of the 'arbitra[y]' detention of these asylum seekers, as well as calls into question the humanity of the act and assesses whether it is an effective use of Australia’s wealth, intending to persuade readers to be similarly critical of the initiative. Likewise, the author of the open letter, 'Stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum this holiday season', writes to supporters of his resource centre in a tone of conviction, asserting that asylum seekers deserve the safety of asylum within Australia, that detaining or barring them from entering the country is inhumane and the root of much suffering, and that overall, it is morally wrong, and thus should be ceased immediately. Both articles contend that Australia’s current solution to the growing issue is incorrect, with Doherty and Davidson specifically believing that there is a better solution that must be sought, and Karapanagiotidis believing that detention as a whole is inhumane and should not be further employed by the government.

Try to keep your introduction to the point. There's no need to prolong an introduction just to make a set number of sentences. It's always better to be concise and succinct, and move into your main body paragraphs where the juicy contents of your essay resides.

Body Paragraph

Most of you will be familiar with TEEL . TEEL can stand for:

  • Topic sentence
  • Linking sentence

In Language Analysis, it seems that schools teach their students different acronyms, whether it be TEE :

or WWHW as Joanna (English study score 47) explores in her post Analysing Argument - What, When, How, Why Method :

And if your teacher or school teaches you something slightly different to the aforementioned acronyms - that's okay too. At the end of the day, the foundations in what's expected are the same. Below is an integrated structure example:

While both articles make very different arguments on the same topic, in one particular case they give voice to the same issue, namely, the inhumanity of detaining refugees, in which both articles become advocates for the abolition of offshore detention. Authors for The Guardian write that it is 'needlessly cruel', 'harsh', and a 'brutal regime', using emotive language to give weight to their argument and invoke a sense of discomfort within their readers, particularly towards the government’s chosen solution. They call on the opinions of a number of other sources who have 'repeatedly criticised', the operation, such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among other similar experts on the matter. The authors depict Asylum Seekers as individuals who are 'arbitrarily punished offshore', and who 'have been accused of no crime', and are therefore, by the judgement of the authors, being treated immorally. In agreement, Karapanagiotidis writes of the abuse endured by asylum seekers in detention, including their separation from loved ones, their arbitrary incarceration, and stating that he, himself, 'cannot begin to imagine the personal toll detention has had on [them]', implying further damage has been done and inviting his audience to similarly place themselves into the figurative shoes of an asylum seeker. The author writes that the offshore detention of asylum seekers causes 'pain', and 'suffering', as well as the 'depriv[ation] of [their] hope', using emotive language to invoke sympathy and understanding within his readers. Karapanagiotidis hands the blame for such 'suffering inflicted', on the Australian government, a similar tactic which The Guardian employed throughout their piece. Overall, both articles use a range of language devices and expert sources to agree that the act of detention is inhumane, and the root of much suffering.

As you're writing essays, you'll probably find that you're using the word 'persuades' very often. To mix it up, have a ‘Persuade’ Synonym Word Bank with you whenever you're studying so that you can build up your vocabulary bank and avoid the dreaded, 'I just keep repeating the same word over and over again!'

Conclusions should be short and sweet.

The two articles, in their discussion of Australia’s offshore detention initiative, bring light to several key points. Authors for The Guardian use various appeals, emotive phrases and evidence of reported monetary statistics to sway the reader to share their opinion, as well as arguments regarding the lack of reliability the initiative provides in its ability to deter boats, the sheer cost of the program, and the morality of the issue. Similarly, Karapanagiotidis, the author of the open letter, uses a humanising image, appeals to the values of the readers, and employs phrases with pre-existing connotations known to the audience, to assert main contentions: that asylum seekers deserve asylum, that barring them from settling in the country is the root of much suffering, and that their indefinite detention is not only inhumane, but morally wrong.

If you’d like to see a list of sentence starters to help you broaden your vocabulary for your Analysing Argument essay, check out this blog .

That's it for the Ultimate Guide to Writing a Language Analysis. Good luck!

Ransom and Invictus are studied as part of VCE English's Comparative. For one of most popular posts on Comparative (also known as Reading and Comparing), check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative.

Introductions

Clint Eastwood’s 2009 film ‘Invictus’ centers on the events following the election of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black President in the post-apartheid era. The film follows President Mandela’s attempt to infuse a deeply divided country with new energy, by supporting the South African rugby team’s victorious 1995 World Cup Campaign. The unlikely bond formed between President Mandela and Francois Pienarr, the captain of the rugby team, illustrates themes of unity and reconciliation in a divided nation. The film begins with the image of a deeply divided society in 1990, as Mandela is released from 27 years of incarceration. A poignant opening scene sees Mandela drive along a long dirt road that runs between two playing fields, on one side, young black children shout excitedly as Mandela passes. On the other side, immaculately dressed white boys stare vacantly, as their coach proclaims, “This is the day our country went to the dogs.” This tumultuous period in South African history is of central concern to ‘Invictus’, as Eastwood portrays the lingering racial prejudices imbedded in this society. The film portrays the tension between the bitter resentment of black South Africans towards their former oppressors, with the fear and uncertainty of white Afrikaners under Mandela’s political leadership. Eastwood masterfully depicts the true story of the moment when Nelson Mandela harnessed the power of sports to unite a deeply divided South Africa.

Set during the Trojan War, one of the most famous events in Greek mythology, David Malouf’s historical fiction ‘Ransom’ seeks to explore the overwhelming destruction caused by war, and the immense power of reconciliation. Drawing on the Iliad, the epic poem by Homer, Malouf focuses on the events of one day and night, in which King Priam of Troy travels to the enemy Greek encampment to plead with the warrior Achilles to release the body of his son, Hector. Maddened by grief at the murder of his friend Patroclus, Achilles desecrates the body of Hector as revenge. Despite Achilles refusal to give up Hector’s body, Priam is convinced there must be a way of reclaiming the body – of pitting new ways against the old, and forcing the hand of fate. Malouf’s fable reflects the epic themes of the Trojan war, as fatherhood, love, grief and pride are expertly recast for our times.

Malouf and Eastwood both depict societies on the brink: Troy faces annihilation by the Greeks, while South Africa faces an uncertain future as it emerges from the injustices of the apartheid era, both worlds are in dire need of true heroes to bridge the great divide. Together, these two texts echo the significance of hope in the enactment of change. To learn more, head over to our full Ransom Study Guide (covers themes, characters, chapter summaries, quotes and more).

The power of shared human experiences

Both texts are centrally concerned with the significance of the universal experiences of love, loss, grief and hope to unite a divided people. Both Invictus and Ransom explore how societal forces divide people into different, often conflicting groups – whether this be race, history, culture, or war. Each text appeals to the universal experiences that define the human condition, and emphasise the significance of opportunities to cross-cultural divides.

In ‘Ransom’, Malouf is centrally concerned with the theme of fatherhood. This concept links the mortal and godly realms, which King Priam straddles over the course of his journey. The relationship between Priam and Somax illustrates this complex theme most clearly. The two men, despite being deeply separated by their class, education and power, share their common familial experiences. Priam confronts the poignancy of their shared experience of losing sons, questioning whether it “meant the same for him as it did for the driver”. Malouf thus presents Priam as initially lacking in terms of his understanding, Somax’s friendship and stories are the catalyst for Priam to engage in deeper, empathetic understanding. Somax’s trivial yet symbolically significant story about the griddle-cakes represents a moment of anagnorisis for Priam, wherein the shared bond of humanity in fatherhood allows Priam to obtain insight, and progressively grow as a human and as a leader. This incident fuels the journey to appeal to Achilles “man to man”, Priam’s insight into the power of empathy allows him to appeal to their shared bond as suffering fathers.

Just as Priam goes to Achilles “as a father”, using their common quality, fatherhood, to further understand each other, Mandela, too, emphasises the point that you must “know [your] enemy before [you] c[an] prevail against him” and thus he “learned their language, read their books, their poetry”. Mandela attempts to unite Black and white South Africans, despite the mutual animosity and distrust fostered by decades of apartheid. Black and White South Africans share almost nothing in common, with significant cultural and societal barriers to their reconciliation, including different dialects. Rugby emerges as the most poignant manifestation of this divide as the White South Africans support their national team, but the black south Africans barrack for the opposing side. The scene wherein Pienarr and Mandela meet over tea is symbolic of this sentiment of fostering unity amongst deep divisions. President Mandela literally hunches over to pour the tea for Pienaar, this inversion of status demonstrates his willingness to reduce his dignity as a superior and speak with Pienarr, and by extension, white south Africans, on an equal level, modelling an example of how race relations in his nation should be carried out. This equality is also symbolised by the passing of the tea to Pienaar, the close up shot where both arms of the individuals are depicted on an equal level reinforces this sense of mutual equality and respect, extolling the virtues of empathy and integrity as a uniting force.

Leadership and Sacrifice

Mandela and Priam symbolise how leadership must inevitably entail familial sacrifices. Both leaders self-identify with their nation and people. Priam embodies Troy itself, his body is the ‘living map’ of the kingdom.  The ‘royal sphere’ he embodies is constrained by customs and tradition, full of symbolic acts that separate him from the mortal world. To an extent, these royal obligations and ritual suffocate Priam’s individuality and he is unable to show his true nature, or connect with his family in the way he would desire to. He regards intimate relationships with his children as “women’s talk” that “unnerves him” as it is not “his sphere”. This articulation of the disassociation of the “royal sphere” with natural human bonds of family reveals the secondary role that family and love must take when one’s role as a leader is paramount. Similarly, Mandela claims “I have a very big family. Forty-two million people”. Unlike Priam, Mandela seeks human connection, predicating his leadership on democratic ideals. This takes a physical and emotional toll, as shown by Mandela’s collapse in his driveway. The cost of leadership here is evident, as Mandela has effectively sacrificed his family for the good of his nation. His strained relationship with his daughter Zindzi further reinforces this, as she disapproves of Mandela reaching out to Pienarr, likening him to one of the white “policeman who forced (her) out of her home”, showing the disconnect between father and daughter due to the sacrifices necessitated by Mandela’s life of leadership, including his 27 year imprisonment.

Fatherhood and Masculinity

In ‘Ransom’ Malouf presents an enclosed, limited and unemotional masculine world, with particularly stringent expectations for men’s behaviour. This is a world characterised by war, wherein the expectations of violent masculinity are paramount. In presenting Achilles inside of “a membrane stretched to a fine transparency”, Malouf reveals the constant tension between the emotional, domestic human nature inside Achilles and the hierarchical violent external society that he is expected to abide by, revealing the constricting nature that the society has on defining men’s actions. Malouf uses words like “knotted” and “rope-like” when describing Achilles’ muscles, implying that his conventional great strength, the source of his fearsome reputation, represents a confinement that the society enforces on him and other men. Further, through a degree of compassion, Priam is able to touch the “sore spot whose ache he has long repressed” in Achilles, a symbol of the emotions that have been supressed by the dominant patriarchal nature of this society.

Whilst the world of ‘Invictus’ is less overtly masculine and patriarchal, the narrative of the film is primarily focused on the male experiences, with female characters assuming a largely secondary role. Zindzi’s strained relationship with her father exemplifies the sacrifices involved in leadership. Whilst Mandela is seen to have sacrificed a close connection with his daughter, this is suggested to be in service of the nation, “I have a big family. Forty two million people”.

Character analysis and comparison

Character analysis/comparison.

- aging king of troy

- individuality has been subsumed by the ceremonial functions of his high position

- self-identifies with nation

- life of obligation

- foregoes convention and embraces chance with his proposal to offer ransom for his son’s body

- becomes more attuned to the natural world

- gains a greater appreciation of his true self as a man, rather than a symbolic figurehead

- historic figure, symbol of peace

- spent 27 years in prison for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government while he was trying to gain civil rights for all south Africans

- tackled institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality

- suffered under apartheid

- pursues reconciliation, prepared to face down calls for retribution

- in his speech to the sports council, he defends the traditions of the people who persecuted him

- interacts easily with people of all social standings

- charismatic, in touch with the people

 Comparison

- embody essential role that leadership plays in achieving just resolutions to conflict

- sacrifice family for leadership

- illustrate that effective leadership takes a toll on the individual

- exemplify that reconciliation requires unexpected and difficult acts. Such as Mandela’s embrace of the Springboks and Priam’s appeal to Achilles “man to man”

- both show effective leadership involves expressing empathy and understanding the humanity of your enemies

Literary and cinematic techniques

- In one of the first scenes in Mandela’s office after he is elected President, Eastwood strategically frames the racial segregation and tension between the two groups via the mise-en-scene; they stand on separate sides of the room, wearing distinctly different clothing and calling Mandela either “Mr President” or “Madiba”, representative of their own identity. The lingering tension between the two groups permeates the entirety of the film, and the microcosm of the bodyguards acts as a symbol of the chasm within the wider nation.

- The deeply symbolic scene wherein Mandela and Pienaar have tea, Eastwood strategically uses a close up shot to frame the passing of the tea cup so that both arms of the individuals are depicted on the same level, reinforcing this sense of mutual equality and respect. It is this sharing of hope that ignites Pienaar to reciprocate Mandela’s egalitarian actions. As Pienaar brings a ticket for Eunice, recognising that “there’s a fourth” family member, he mimics Mandela’s value that “no one is invisible”. Consequently, it is demonstrated that regardless of skin colour, characters reciprocate Mandela’s empathy and compassion, revealing the limitless power such human qualities to reach across the boundaries of division.

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- The wide shot of the passing of the trophy from Mandela to Pienaar is framed against the large crowd, metaphorically representing South Africa’s support with the unity of the black and whites, reflecting Mandela’s desire to “meet black aspirations and quell white fears”. Their diegetic cheers work to create the idyllic depiction of the lasting power of this change, implying the true limitless nature of hope in their society.

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Learn more through Caleb (English study score 47) about Invictus Film Technique Analysis - How Can I Write About It?

- Priam’s moment of anagnorisis in which he discovers the concept of “chance”, marks the beginning of his enactment of change through the power of hope. Despite his family who wishes that he would “spare [himself of] this ordeal”, Priam’s vision guides him to overcome familial and societal obstacles in pursuit of reconciliation.

- Symbol: Griddlecakes – represent pleasure in common things, but also the growing realisation within Priam of his distance from such pleasures. The love and care with with Somax’s daughter cooked the cakes has a value that surpasses the conventional riches associated with the ruling elite. This is a catalyst for a moment of realisation for Priam.

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The Erratics is usually studied in the Australian curriculum as a Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Within the intimate Albertan landscape of her memoir, The Erratics , author Vicki Laveau-Harvie guides her readers through the inhospitable terrain that marked her family environment. Laveau-Harvie’s memoir is complex, showcasing the complicated dynamics that arise within her dysfunctional family. Understanding the ideas and values that underpin these family tensions is crucial to scoring well in The Erratics , which is why this blog will break down the key themes and quotes to help you analyse the memoir. 

Family & Trauma

Truth & perspective, choice & agency.

Family lies at the heart of The Erratics . Both sisters spent their childhoods navigating the hostile familial setting fostered by their mother’s turbulent behaviour, resulting in a profound trauma that manifests itself in their present lives. The ways in which they manage this trauma, whilst reestablishing a connection with their family, is a core aspect of Laveau-Harvie’s memoir. 

‍ ‘We’ve been disowned and disinherited…When something bad happens to them, we’ll know soon enough and we’ll deal with it together. I don’t realise at the time, but when I say that, I imply care. I imply there may be something to salvage. I misspeak. But I’m flying there anyhow. So is my sister. Blood calls to blood. What can I tell you?’ (p. 17) 

From the outset, Laveau-Harvie asserts the underlying tension of her memoir. Having established her mother to be as ‘mad as a meat-axe’ in the first chapter, the reader may find Laveau-Harvie’s decision to return to Canada bizarre, to say the least. However, for Vicki the choice makes sense, having promised her sister that she will return to support her when ‘something bad happens’. 

Laveau-Harvie suggests that people cannot completely separate themselves from their blood relations, and that most importantly, a moral obligation to one’s family and self-preservation are not mutually exclusive. Rather, she suggests that there exists a ‘precarious balance’ between these commitments and that one’s family cannot be ignored in times of need, because, ultimately, ‘blood calls to blood’. 

‍ ‘...everybody knows a family Christmas will always go badly, that even the most extremely lowered family expectations will not be met. Magazines publish the same articles…year after year, on why we harbour these wildly unrealistic expectations of family unity.’ (p. 54)

Laveau-Harvie challenges the ‘wildly unrealistic expectations’ of familial culture depicted in countless generations of Canadian magazines. She uses the imagery of a ‘family Christmas…go[ing] badly’ to dismantle the idea of a traditionally wholesome festive season, suggesting that such compassion is inaccessible in the presence of her mother’s ‘mercurial’ personality.

Additionally, Laveau-Harvie’s insistence that ‘everybody knows a family Christmas will always go badly’ is immediately juxtaposed by the gracious dinner she shares with her friends. Laveau-Harvie appreciates how they ‘light up their properties in such joyous fashion’ relative to the ‘Hotel California’ her parents reside in. Thus, Laveau-Harvie invites her readers to reflect upon the value she places on this fulfilment of familial duty; how all it takes is an act of selfless humanity to restore (to some extent) the vision that ‘family unity’ is not ‘unrealistic’, but rather, completely possible. 

‍ '...the giant Douglas fir…It has prospered, cutting off the view of the Rockies…even though it should have never flourished…The tree is full of tiny birds, red-breasted nuthatches who live in it year-round…' (p. 42)

Laveau-Harvie uses the Douglas fir as a symbol of survival, emblematic of the extraordinary circumstances under which she was able to 'flourish'. Laveau-Harvie recounts her numerous travels throughout the memoir – Canada, Australia and Hong Kong – her decision to 'opt for geography' acting as a means of self-preservation, placing distance between herself and her family (in particular, her mother). It is made clear from the prologue that the Okotoks Erratic foothills, also called the Rockies, are a motif for the indomitable presence of the mother ( see here for more on setting in The Erratics ) from which Laveau-Harvie escapes.

Hence when the Douglas fir is described to have '[cut] off the view of the Rockies' it conveys Laveau-Harvie’s success in physically removing herself from the hostile family setting she was trapped in. However, note that Laveau-Harvie’s geographical location does not relieve her of her trauma – she openly explains how she 'walk[s] like an invalid through life'. Regardless of this, Laveau-Harvie 'prosper[s]…even though [she] should have never flourished', parenting kind and compassionate children ('tiny birds') of her own despite the immeasurable anguish she endured during her own childhood. Thus, Laveau-Harvie demonstrates the capacity to break a vicious cycle of trauma created by her mother, instead using her own 'principle of pre-emptive karma' to limit passing on her grief.

A reflection of a specific six-year period of her life, Laveau-Harvie uses her memoir to explore the multifaceted nature of truth, how a shared experience can give rise to varying perspectives and responses. An intimate piece of storytelling in its own right, The Erratics is a platform from which Laveau-Harvie urges the reader to discover their own truth, whilst cherishing a balanced view of reality 

‍ 'This is not untrue. My sister feels differently. She has her truth and I have mine but she isn’t the one doing the talking right now.' (p. 12)

Consistently throughout The Erratics , Laveau-Harvie emphasises the differences between the sisters, and the varying extents to which their past trauma has affected and damaged them. She suggests that despite a shared upbringing, with the same malignant presence of their mother, one’s perspective is unique to the individual. It also raises discussion about the truth the reader is presented in the memoir. As the author, Laveau-Harvie guides her readership through events as they pertain to her memory - the subjectivity of her memoir is something Laveau-Harvie openly admits to her readers. 

Regardless, there are clear distinctions between how the sisters respond to their trauma. The sister struggles to 'negate a past that haunts her', feeling 'the blows of the past continuously in her present'. Conversely, Laveau-Harvie’s past 'is not merely faded…it’s not there', with many of her memories repressed to help her survive her anguish. Thus, Laveau-Harvie affirms how one’s response to trauma is dependent on the individual, how one’s truth is often adapted to their needs in order to survive. 

‍ 'The aurora borealis are fading. Well, he says, show’s over. Gotta see a man about a dog. You should move on too. You’ll have more scope now, for the good stuff. He waves his arm. Wider view, he says. Farther reach. But only for the good stuff.' (p. 217)

Bookending her memoir with the geological construction and spiritual origins of the Okotoks Erratic foothills, Laveau-Harvie ultimately uses her memoir as a reflective process that helps her find 'closure' towards her mother’s legacy. Initially conveying her mother’s menace through the 'danger' of the Rockies, Laveau-Harvie’s connection with the Albertan landscape helps her see hope within the 'landscape of uncommon beauty'. Her mother’s life 'tainted' by mental illness, Laveau-Harvie comes to an understanding that her behaviour, much like the harshness of the Canadian winter, was 'nothing personal'. Thus, upon her mother’s death, Laveau-Harvie crafts an intimate interaction between her mother and Napi the Trickster, closing her memoir with the hopeful wish that her mother now lives a life with 'wider view…farther reach…but only for the good stuff'. Hence, in a final act of forgiveness, Laveau-Harvie honours the life of her mother, whose potential was tarnished by mental illness. 

‍ 'My sister says her suburb is working-class; she also tells me that she considers herself working-class…I try to make her see that we have sprung desperately from a violently aspirational upper-middle-class background, and that I see that as part of the greater malaise we live with.' (p. 186)

Laveau-Harvie continues to emphasise the differences between her and her sister, with one focus being how their values have developed in response to their trauma. There is a clear difference between the sisters when they discuss their definitions of ‘working-class’; the sister argues that she and her suburb are working-class, defined by 'having a job'. Contrastingly, Laveau-Harvie 'tr[ies] to make her see that [they] have sprung…from a violently aspirational upper-middle-class background', and expresses some concern towards her societal status being 'part of the greater malaise [they] live with'. 

The sister chooses to identify as 'working-class', thereby highlighting how her parent’s obsession with the accumulation of material wealth has influenced her perception of class and privilege. Amassing an 'impressive wall of properties', the sister parallels her father’s 'pride…at the sight of watching his wife spend big'. On the other hand, Laveau-Harvie openly acknowledges her family’s privilege but instead perceives it as a 'malaise' and chooses to separate herself from any degree of avarice. Thus, the reader is invited to reflect upon the differences between the sisters’ perspectives, how the sister may still be in thrall to her parent’s values, whereas Laveau-Harvie’s sense of self is inextricably linked to the natural landscape over material possessions. 

Many characters that feature in Laveau-Harvie’s memoir are elderly, and experience a unique set of challenges that only comes with the ageing process. The mother and the father, for example, both endure deteriorating health conditions that compromise their independence and autonomy. As such, Laveau-Harvie offers an interesting insight into what it’s like to observe and deal with ageing parents who struggle to accept the limits of their age. 

‍ 'My father is looking far away, back in a moment when life was excitement and danger and possibilities…’ (p. 91)

Laveau-Harvie’s father often finds himself reminiscing over his past, reflecting on war-time memories or the wealth he accumulated from his work in the oil industry. Although, Laveau-Harvie does suggest to her readers that these stories become more exaggerated each time they are told, highlighting the difficulty the father has in coping with his ageing body. Laveau-Harvie illustrates how the ageing process inevitably incurs a loss of independence and autonomy, and uses the characterisation of her father to emphasise the challenge of reconciling with this isolating experience. 

By 'looking far away, back in a moment when life was excitement and danger and possibilities', Vicki’s father uses his memories to retain the feeling that 'he’s twenty and bullet-proof'. Reminiscing over his act of heroism during the war, the father commends himself for the 'precise calculations' that enabled him and his copilot to perform a 'remarkable manoeuvre'. Thus Laveau-Harvue uses this hyperbolic description of her father’s story to reveal how elderly people must often depend upon their past memories to maintain a sense of autonomy in the present. 

Laveau-Harvie suggests that elderly individuals such as her father must 'confront the real' in accepting that the ageing process will physically hinder their independence, leaving them to feel rejected by their own bodies. Hence, Laveau-Harvie exposes her readers to how the ageing process can be an inherently challenging experience for elderly individuals to accept. 

‍ 'It happens, they say. With older people They come to, and a whole married life of disappointment and bitterness slips out, like an organ escaping an incision, like a balloon filled with acid. It bursts on impact, burning holes in their spouses’ clothing and leaving little round scars on their flesh that never heal completely.' (p. 19)

There are many marriages and long-term relationships mentioned throughout the memoir: the mother and the father, the aunt and the uncle and the sister and her partner. Even Laveau-Harvie herself is divorced from 'the father of [her] children'. Laveau-Harvie acknowledges the difficulty in maintaining these types of relationships; how they are often marked by histories that invariably include events that are never resolved or forgiven. Laveau-Harvie explores this notion through her use of metaphor, likening the 'bitterness' of unresolved conflict to 'a balloon filled with acid…burst[ing] on impact'. Here, she asserts the importance of forgiveness in a long-term relationship, affirming its capacity to maintain and restore compassion, love and empathy. 

Moreover, Laveau-Harvie suggests that in the absence of forgiveness, marital conflicts are left to foster 'disappointment and bitterness' that is released when people enter elderly life. Laveau-Harvie conveys how the 'burning holes' in a long-term relationship can compromise its stability, leaving 'little round scars…that never heal completely' - thereby reinforcing the feelings of isolation and despondency endured by The Erratic ’s elderly characters. Thus, Laveau-Harvie reinforces the value of forgiveness, how a willingness to empathise with a partner, especially early in a relationship, can minimise the 'bitterness' experienced when one ages. 

‍ 'We’re like the king and the queen, my uncle says, every time we see any of them, whenever they visit. Like the king and the queen. They smile at the fullness of their life: love and problems, success and loss, pride and a hefty measure of grief. A well-worn life fully lived, perspectives widening with each new baby, blossoming like one of those paper flower buds that unfold into unexpected beauty when you plunge them into water. ' (p. 86) 

With Laveau-Harvie’s parents at the forefront of the memoir, it seemingly appears that she depicts only a grim image of old age. Whilst she does offer these insights, Laveau-Harvie also portrays the emotionally rich and satisfying life lived by her ageing aunt and uncle. 'Smil[ing] at the fullness of their life', the aunt and the uncle 'peer endearingly' over their extended family. Their 'perspectives widening with each new baby', Laveau-Harvie also uses the virtuous imagery of her aunt and uncle to emphasise the value of an emotionally rich elderly life. 

Metaphorically referred to as 'the king and the queen', Laveau-Harvie uses the connotations of royalty imbued in this metaphor to emphasise the richness of a life spent in a nurturing family environment, where widening perspectives help ageing individuals find a 'fullness' in their life despite the 'hefty measure of grief' endured. Thus, Laveau-Harvie juxtaposes her aunt and uncle’s willingness to engage with family against her parent’s 'disown[ment] and disinherit[ment]' of their daughters. 

Throughout their lives, the sisters have suffered immeasurable trauma at the hands of their parent’s decisions. Yet, despite this, the two daughters demonstrate that they possess a strength of character capable of making the most difficult of decisions. Laveau-Harvie explores the significance of employing one’s agency in reconnecting with, and restoring, familial relationships. 

‍ 'It means always try to do the decent thing, the rational thing, the selfless thing, the boring thing, because then you won’t have to beat yourself up with guilt until your early stress-induced death…Do nothing you know you will live to regret.' (p. 80)

'Tattoo[ed]' 'on the corner of [her] soul', the philosophy to live without regret is permanently engrained as part of Laveau-Harvie’s character, a testament to the integrity she holds that allows her to make the difficult decision to return to Canada and reconcile with her trauma. Laveau-Harvie fully understands the challenges, and even dangers, she would be facing upon her return. Despite having been disinherited two decades prior, and entirely aware of her mother’s volatility, Laveau-Harvie ultimately chooses to use her agency and confront, reconcile and heal from her past.

Interestingly, Laveau-Harvie’s sister also exhibits similar behaviour. When her mother is hospitalised, the sister also returns to Alberta; she takes upon herself several responsibilities involving the cleaning and organising of her parent’s house (which ultimately risks her life as she triggers an angioedema attack). This therefore invites the reader to reflect upon the sister’s willingness to do 'the selfless thing[s]' necessary to help her family; and perhaps suggests that to live with no regrets is a philosophy shared by two sisters 'petrified by grief'. 

‍ 'I reminded her that Dad went along with my mother in disinheriting us, removing any right we had to help him in his old age; that, most hurtfully of all, he believed everything she told him about us, even though he now holds other views. It is as a result of his own inability to act that he now barely has a connection with us and has none whatsoever with his grandchildren.' (p. 187)

When the reader is first introduced to the father, they are met with the imagery of a frail old man suffering from a starvation diet enforced by his cruel and narcissistic wife. However, as the memoir progresses, Laveau-Harvie limits the reader’s sympathy towards her father, who she instead affirms is a victim of his own design. Laveau-Harvie holds her father accountable for the passiveness that perpetuated the mother’s unpredictable behaviour. Illustrating how her father 'went along with [the] mother in disinheriting' herself and her sister, Laveau-Harvie challenges the extent to which her father’s intervention could have mitigated the devastating 'swathe of misery' cast by the mother. Therefore, Laveau-Harvie asserts the power of one’s voice, suggesting that had her father employed his agency then perhaps the extent of his daughters’ trauma could have been minimised. 

‍ 'There are the dangers and difficulties you summon up the courage to deal with physically, every day, in the lab or the forest, and then there are the blows that fall from the air, unseen, unpredictable, but nonetheless brutal and crippling. Confronting the real makes you a person of substance; fending off the invisible light that always blindsides you makes you Chicken Little, hoping to absorb a little warmth from the lights on the tree.' (p. 65)

'Confronting the real', Laveau-Harvie demonstrates that to begin the healing process and reconcile with the past, one must make the difficult choice to 'summon up the courage to deal with…the blow that fall from the air'. Upon her return to Canada, Laveau-Harvie faces the 'unseen' and 'unpredictable' challenges her mother has imposed. She deals with the web of lies spun by her mother, the bureaucracy of the hospital workers and her starved father’s declining health. However, despite the overwhelming trauma of her past and the challenge of being reunited with her parents, Laveau-Harvie ultimately chooses to use her agency and 'confront the real', enduring the 'brutal and crippling' blows along the way. 

Want to dive deeper into this text? Check out our blog post on Understanding the Symbolic Nature of Setting in The Erratics. 

Updated 19/01/2021

Ah, language analysis. It’s that time of year again, which sees us trade our novels and films for newspapers and blog articles, and our knowledge of characters and themes for the never-ending list of persuasive language devices which we will soon begin to scour our texts in search of.

Once again we must put ourselves in the mind of an author, only this time it’s a little different. No longer are we searching for hidden meanings within the text, instead we search for techniques and appeals to emotions which our daring author uses to persuade us to stand in solidarity with their view. My, how times change. Just when we think we’re getting the hang of something, VCE English throws us a curveball. Typical VCAA.

There's a lot that goes into a strong Analysing Argument response and it can be difficult to know where to start, so here's a specific breakdown of an A+ essay to help you elevate the quality of your own writing! Just before we get started, if you'd like to find out more about Language Analysis, head here for a comprehensive overview of this area of study.

Alright, let's get into it!

The following post refers to two articles, ‘ Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self-delusion ,’ by Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson, and ‘ Stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum this holiday season, ’ by Kon Karapanagiotidis.

Step 1: Planning Your Essay

Now, before you get too deep into this step - and I know how eager you must be to dive into that juicy analysis – you first need to decide on a structure. In this particular case of Language Analysis, we are comparing two articles, meaning we have a couple of different structures to choose from. That is, we now need to decide whether we will be separating the analysis of each article into its own individual paragraph, or rather, integrating the analysis and drawing on similar ideas from each of the texts to compare them within one paragraph. Tough decisions, eh?

While most examiners prefer integrated paragraphs, as it shows a higher level of understanding of the texts, sometimes the articles make implementing this structure a little difficult. For example, maybe one article focuses more on emotional appeals, while the other uses factual evidence such as statistics to persuade the reader. What do we do then? If none of the arguments are similar, but we still want to use that amazing integration technique, what can we do?

Well first of all, remember that we are comparing two articles. Comparisons don’t always have to be about similar things, in fact, the true spirit of comparison should take into account the articles’ differences too. So what does this mean for us? We can still integrate our paragraphs, however, we will be focusing on how two contrasting techniques seek to achieve the same result of persuading the audience.

Next, now that we’ve got structure out of the way, we can work on the actual analysis part of planning. That is, scouring through the articles for those various language devices the author has used to turn this article from an exposition to a persuasive text, and then deciding on how we shall be using this in our essay.

I absolutely cannot stress this enough, but: PLAN YOUR ESSAYS! Yes, I happened to be one of those students who never planned anything and preferred to jump straight into the introduction, hoping all my thoughts would fall into place along the way. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: that was a notoriously bad idea. My essays always turned out as garbled, barely legible messes and I always managed to talk myself into circles. Trust me, planning is crucial to an A+ essay.

It is also crucial that you know what exactly should be going into the planning process. There are two main aspects of planning that you need to focus on for a Language Analysis essay: analysis and implementation . I know that might not make much sense right now, but allow me to explain:

This includes reading through your articles and picking out all the pieces that seem like persuasive techniques. For example, you might find a paragraph using inclusive language such as "our problem” to convince the reader that this is an issue that they need to be directly concerned about, or perhaps you may find a sentence describing the “excess of funds” being poured into the initiative that demonstrates to the audience how big of a problem it is. This step typically includes underlining areas of interest in the articles, making arrows between similar arguments which you think should be linked and doodling in the margins of the paper with all your immediate thoughts so you don’t forget them later. This part is the lengthiest and it may take you some time to fully understand all of the article.

Next, comes implementation.

Implementation

This is the part where we make ourselves an actual essay plan, in which we decide how to implement all the new information we’ve collected. That is, deciding which arguments or language devices we will analyse in paragraph 1, paragraph 2 and so on. This part is largely up to you and the way in which you prefer to link various ideas.

Below is an example of how you might choose to plan your introduction and body paragraph. It may seem a bit wordy, but this is the recommended thought process you should consider when mapping out your essay, as explained in the following sections of this blog post. You may want to skip ahead and read those first so you know what we’re talking about when you see CCTAP (explained in Step 2: Introduction ) or TEEL (explained in Step 3: Body Paragraphs ), but otherwise it’s pretty straight forward. With enough practice you may even be able to remember some of these elements in your head, rather than writing it out in detail during each SAC or exam (it might be a little time consuming).

Sample Introduction Plan

Note: Sentences in quotation marks ('') represent where the information has been implemented in the actual introduction.

Article 1 (by Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson) :

Context : Detention of Asylum Seekers is currently a popular topic of discussion, 'issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers'.

Contention : Methods must be revaluated, 'better solution must be sought'.

Tone : Accusatory, 'accusatory tone'.

Audience : Regular readers, 'regular readers of the popular news publication site'.

Purpose : Incite critical conversation, 'persuade readers to be similarly critical of the initiative'.

Article 2 (by Kon Karapanagiotidis) :

Context: Detention of Asylum Seekers is currently a popular topic of discussion, 'issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers'.

Contention: Detention of Asylum Seekers is wrong, 'detention as a whole is inhumane'.

Tone: Conviction, 'tone of conviction'.

Audience: Those in favour of Asylum Seekers, 'supporters of his resource centre'.

Purpose: Allow Asylum Seekers into the country, '[barring them from entering the country]…should be ceased immediately'.

Sample Body Paragraph Plan

Topic: Inhumanity of detention

Evidence : Article 1’s Emotive Language

          Example : 'harsh', 'brutal regime', 'needlessly cruel' to invoke discomfort.

Evidence : Article 1’s Expert Opinions

          Example : Amnesty International, UN, etc. 'repeatedly criticised'.

Evidence : Article 1’s Humanisation of Asylum Seekers

          Example : Depicts as individuals who’ve been 'arbitrarily punished'.

Evidence : Article 2’s Invitation to Empathise

          Example : Writes he 'cannot imagine the horrors', inviting readers to try too.

Evidence : Article 2’s Emotive Language

          Example : 'pain', 'suffering', 'deprivation of hope' to invoke sympathy.

Evidence : Article 2’s Placing of Blame

          Example : Blames Australian Government for the 'suffering inflicted'.

Link: Restate topic sentence in relation to entire essay

Step 2: Introduction

Now that you’ve got all the planning out of the way, next comes beginning the essay and writing up your introduction. Having a top notch introduction not only sets the standard for the rest of your language analysis, but it gives you a chance to set yourself apart from the crowd. Your teacher or examiner will be reading heaps of these kinds of essays within a short period of time and no doubt it’ll begin to bore them. Thus, having a punchy introduction is bound to catch their attention.

In addition to having a solid beginning, there are a few other things you need to include in your intro, namely, CCTAP. What does CCTAP stand for and why is it so important, you may ask? Well, the nifty little acronym stands for C ontext, C ontention, T one, A udience and P urpose, which are the five key pieces of information you need to include about both of your articles within your introduction. In addition to all the various language devices we collected during planning, you will need to scan through the articles to find this information in order to give the reader of your essay the brief gist of your articles without ever having read them.  

For an example on how you would accomplish this all in one paragraph, here’s my introduction:

In recent years, the issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers has become a topic of interest for many Australian citizens, with the debate focusing centrally on the ethics of their indefinite detention, and the reliability of this initiative as a working solution. Many articles intending to weigh-in on the debate depict the Australian Government’s favoured solution in various tones, with two pieces, written by news source, The Guardian, by authors Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson, and activist Kon Karapanagiotidis, respectively, asserting that the initiative is the wrong approach to a growing problem. In their piece, 'Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self destruction', the former of the authors speaks with an accusatory tone to their audience of regular readers of the popular news publication site and debates the practicality of the 'arbitra[y]' detention of these asylum seekers, as well as calls into question the humanity of the act and assesses whether it is an effective use of Australia’s wealth, intending to persuade readers to be similarly critical of the initiative. Likewise, the author of the open letter, 'Stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum this holiday season', writes to supporters of his resource centre in a tone of conviction, asserting that asylum seekers deserve the safety of asylum within Australia, that detaining or barring them from entering the country is inhumane and the root of much suffering, and that overall, it is morally wrong, and thus should be ceased immediately. Both articles contend that Australia’s current solution to the growing issue is incorrect, with Doherty and Davidson specifically believing that there is a better solution that must be sought, and Karapanagiotidis believing that detention as a whole is inhumane and should not be further employed by the government. ‍

‍ Step 3: Body Paragraphs ‍

And now we reach the meat of your essay - the body paragraphs. A typical essay should have at least three of these, no less, although some people might feel the need to write four or five. While this may seem like a good idea to earn those extra marks, you should never feel pressured to do so if you already have three good paragraphs planned out. You have limited time to write your essay and getting as many words on the page as possible won’t always improve your score, especially if you traded quality for quantity. What your teachers and examiners are really looking for is a comprehensive understanding of the texts and the way in which you organise your ideas into paragraphs. So sure, writing an extra paragraph may be useful if you have the time and technique, but never feel pressured to expend the effort on one if it costs you time to the point where you’re turning in an unfinished essay. You can achieve an A+ essay with only three paragraphs, so don’t stress.

Now, onto writing the actual paragraphs. There are various little acronyms to help you through this process, such as TEEL, PEEL or MEAT. Some of these you may have already heard of before and you might even have a preference as to which one you will use. But regardless of what you choose, it is important that you add all the correct elements, as leaving any of them out may cost you vital marks. Make sure you include a T opic sentence, E vidence, E xample and L ink (TEEL). Once you have the structure down pat, there’s one other thing you need to consider during a Language Analysis essay: don’t forget to analyse the picture.

Seriously, it’s pretty crucial. A requirement of this kind of essay is to analyse imagery, whether it be the newspaper’s header, a cartoon or an actual photograph. This step may involve analysing the image for what it is, or linking the imagery with an already existing argument within the article. Whatever you deduce it to mean, just make sure you slip it into one of the paragraphs in your essay. [Note: an analysis of imagery is not included in following paragraph].

Here is an example of an integrated paragraph ( learn more about integrated vs. bridge vs. block structures here ):

While both articles make very different arguments on the same topic, in one particular case they give voice to the same issue, namely, the inhumanity of detaining refugees, in which both articles become advocates for the abolition of offshore detention. Authors for The Guardian write that it is 'needlessly cruel', 'harsh', and a 'brutal regime', using emotive language to give weight to their argument and invoke a sense of discomfort within their readers, particularly towards the government’s chosen solution. They call on the opinions of a number of other sources who have 'repeatedly criticised', the operation, such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among other similar experts on the matter. The authors depict Asylum Seekers as individuals who are 'arbitrarily punished offshore', and who 'have been accused of no crime', and are therefore, by the judgement of the authors, being treated immorally. In agreement, Karapanagiotidis writes of the abuse endured by asylum seekers in detention, including their separation from loved ones, their arbitrary incarceration, and stating that he, himself, 'cannot begin to imagine the personal toll detention has had on [them]', implying further damage has been done and inviting his audience to similarly place themselves into the figurative shoes of an asylum seeker. The author writes that the offshore detention of asylum seekers causes 'pain', and 'suffering', as well as the 'depriv[ation] of [their] hope', using emotive language to invoke sympathy and understanding within his readers. Karapanagiotidis hands the blame for such 'suffering inflicted', on the Australian government, a similar tactic which The Guardian employed throughout their piece. Overall, both articles use a range of language devices and expert sources to agree that the act of detention is inhumane, and the root of much suffering. ‍ ‍

If you'd like to see more sample A+ body paragraphs and essays, all with annotations to see exactly what makes them high-scoring, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook for an in-depth guide to nailing your Language Analysis.

Step 4: Conclusion

You’ll be glad to know that this is the final part of your essay, hooray! And some might argue it is in fact the easiest, because now all you need to do is summarise all of those body paragraphs into a concise little one. Simple right?

Conclusions typically don’t even have to be all that long, I mean, you’re only restating what you’ve already written down, so there’s no new thinking involved. Under no circumstances should you be using your conclusion to add in any new information, so just make sure you give a brief description of your previous arguments and you should be good to go!

And one more thing: never start your conclusions with 'In conclusion'. Seriously, that may have worked in Year 8, but we’re writing for a whole different standard these days and starting your conclusions off like that just isn’t going to cut it. Be sure to check out 5 Tips for a Mic-Drop Worthy Essay Conclusion if conclusions are something you struggle with.

Here’s mine:

The two articles, in their discussion of Australia’s offshore detention initiative, bring light to several key points. Authors for The Guardian use various appeals, emotive phrases and evidence of reported monetary statistics to sway the reader to share their opinion, as well as arguments regarding the lack of reliability the initiative provides in its ability to deter boats, the sheer cost of the program, and the morality of the issue. Similarly, Karapanagiotidis, the author of the open letter, uses a humanising image, appeals to the values of the readers, and employs phrases with pre-existing connotations known to the audience, to assert main contentions: that asylum seekers deserve asylum, that barring them from settling in the country is the root of much suffering, and that their indefinite detention is not only inhumane, but morally wrong.  

Good luck with your own essays!

‍ This blog was updated on 05/10/2020.

2. Characters

4. Literary Devices

5. Important Quotes

6. Sample Essay Topics

7. A+ Essay Topic Breakdown

Pride and Prejudice is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice , follows the titular character of Elizabeth Bennet as she and her family navigate love, loyalty and wealth.

When Mrs. Bennet hears that a wealthy, young and eligible bachelor, Mr. Bingley, has moved into the manor of Netherfield Park nearby, she hopes to see one of her daughters marry him. Of the five daughters born to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, Jane takes an early liking to Mr. Bingley despite his friend, Mr. Darcy, initial coldness and apathy towards her younger sister Elizabeth. Though Mr. Darcy’s distaste soon grows to attraction and love.

While Jane and Mr. Bingley begin to fall for each other, Elizabeth receives and declines a marriage proposal from her supercilious cousin Mr. Collins, who eventually comes to marry Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte. While Mr. Darcy is in residence at Netherfield Park, Elizabeth finds and enjoys the company of a young officer named Mr. Wickham who too has a strong disliking for Mr. Darcy. Mr. Wickham claims it was Mr. Darcy who cheated him out of his fortune, which then deepens Elizabeth's initial ill impression of the arrogant man.

After a ball is held at Netherfield Park, the wealthy family quits the estate, leaving Jane heartbroken. Jane is then invited to London by her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, which Mr. Darcy fails to tell Mr. Bingley as he has persuaded him not to court Jane because of her lesser status.

When Elizabeth visits her newly married friend Charlotte, she meets Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s (Mr. Darcy’s Aunt) other nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam. While there, Mr. Darcy appears and proposes to Elizabeth unexpectedly claiming he loves and admires her. To Mr. Darcy’s surprise, Elizabeth refuses as she blames him for ruining Mr. Wickam’s hopes of success and for keeping Jane and Mr. Bingley apart. Mr. Darcy later apologies in a letter and admits to persuading Mr. Bingley not to pursue Jane, but argues that her love for him was not obvious. In the letter, he also denies Wickam’s accusations and explains that Wickham had intended to elope with his sister for her fortune.

Elizabeth joins her Aunt and Uncle in visiting Mr. Darcy’s great estate of Pemberley under the impression he would be absent. It is there that Elizabeth learns from the housekeeper that Mr. Darcy is a generous landlord. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy then have a chance encounter after he returns home ahead of schedule. Following her previous rejection of him, Mr. Darcy has attempted to reform his character and presents himself amiably to Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle as she begins to warm up to him.

Mr Darcy happens upon Elizabeth as she receives the terrible news that Lydia has run off with Wickam in an event that could ruin her family. Mr. Darcy then going out in search for Wickham and Lydia to hurry their nuptials. When Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy return to Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is pleased to see him though Darcy shows no sign of his regard for her. Jane and Mr. Bingley soon become engaged.

Soon thereafter, Lady Catherine visits the Bennets and insists that Elizabth never agree to marry her nephew. Darcy hears of Elizabeth's refusal, and when he next comes, he proposes a second time which she accepts, his pride then humbled and her prejudices overturned.

  • Elizabeth Bennet
  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
  • Jane Bennet
  • Mr. Charles Bingley
  • Mrs. Bennet
  • George Wickham
  • Lydia Bennet
  • Mr. Collins
  • Miss Bingley
  • Lady Catherine De Bourgh
  • Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
  • Charlotte Lucas
  • Georgiana Darcy
  • Mary Bennet
  • Catherine Bennet

Within the text the theme of pride is ever present as it plays a major role in how Austen’s characters present themselves, their attitudes and how they treat each other. For much of the novel pride blinds both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth of their true feelings and hence becomes something both characters must overcome. While Darcy’s pride makes him look down upon those not immediately within his social circle, Elizabeth takes so much pride in her ability to judge the character of others that she refuses to amend her opinions even when her initial judgements are proven wrong. Indeed, this is why Elizabeth despises the benign Darcy early on in the text, but initially takes a liking to the mendacious Wickham. By the denouement of the novel, both Datcy and Elizabeth have overcome their pride by encouraging and supporting each others own personal evolution. Indeed, as Darcy sheds his elitism Elizabeth comes to realise the importance of revaluation.

The tendency of others to judge one another based on perceptions, rather than who they are and what they value becomes a point of prolific discussion within Pride and Prejudice . Indeed, the title of the text clearly implies the related nature of pride and prejudice as both Darcy and Elizabeth are often shown to make the wrong assumptions; Darcy’s assumptions grounded in his social prejudice whereas Elizabeth’s is rooted in her discernment led astray by her excessive pride. As Austen subtly mocks the two lovers biases, she gives the impression that while such flaws are common faulting someone else for the prejudice is easy while recognising it in yourself is hard. While Austen’s representation of prejudice is aligned with personal development and moral growth as she wittingly condemns those who refuse to set aside their prejudices like Lady Catherine and Caroline.

The family unit that Austen displays with Pride and Prejudice becomes the social and domestic sphere as it forms the emotional center of the novel in which she grounds her analysis and discussion. Not only does the family determine the social hierarchy and standing of its members but provides the intellectual and moral support for its children. In the case of the Bennet family, Austen reveals how the individuals identity and sense of self is molded within the family as she presents Jane and Elizabeth as mature, intelligent and witty and lydia as a luckless fool. Not only this, Austen reveals the emotional spectrum that lives within every family as shown through Elizabeth’s varying relationship with her parents; the tense relationship with her mother and sympathy she shares with her father.

At the center of its plot, Pride and Prejudice examines the complex inequality that governs the relationships between men and women and the limited options that women have in regards to marriage. Austen portrays a world in which the socio-economic relationship between security and love limits the woman and her choices as it based exclusively on a family’s social rank and connections. Indeed, the expectations of the Bennet sisters, as members of the upper class is to marry well instead of work. As women can not inherit their families estate nor money, their only option is to marry well in the hope of attaining wealth and social standing. Through this, Austen explains Mrs. Bennet’s hysteria about marrying off her daughters. Yet Austen is also shown to be critical of those who marry purely for security, thereby offering Elizabth as the ideal, who initially refuses marriage as she refutes financial comfort but ends up marrying for love.

Class and Wealth

As Austen focuses much of her novel on the impacts of class and wealth, she makes clear of the system that favours the rich and powerful and often punishes the weak and poor. Characters like Lady Catherine, whose enforcement of rigid hierarchical positions often leads her to mistreatment of others. Other characters like Mr. Collins and Caroline are depicted as void of genuine connection as they are unable to live and love outside the perimeter of their social standing. In contrast, characters such as Bingley and the Gardiners offer a respectable embodiment of wealth and class through their kindness and manners. Indeed, Austen does not criticise the entire class system as she offers examples that serve to demonstrate the decency and respectability. Darcy embodies all that a high-class gentleman should as though he is initially presented as flawed and arrogant, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that he is capable of change. Always generous and compassionate, his involvement with Elizabeth helps to brings his nurturing nature to the foreground, evident in his attempts to help the foolish lydia. Ultimately, Austen suggest through Darcy’s and Elizabeth's union that though class and wealth are restrictive, they do not determine one’s character nor who one is capable of loving.

Literary Devices

  • Symbolism, imagery and allegories
  • Writing style
  • Three Act plot

Important Quotes

  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (ch.1)

When writing on any text in Text Response, it is essential to use quotes and analyse them.

Let’s take this quote, for example.

“it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”

This is the opening line of the novel. It is satirical, ironic and mocking in tone. Austen makes fun of the notion that wealthy bachelors must be wanting to marry in order to be valued in society. By using this tone, she subverts this “truth universally acknowledged” and encourages readers to question this societal presumption of wealth and marriage.

Have a look at the following quotes and ask yourself, ‘how would I analyse this quote?’:

  • “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” (ch.3)
  • "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (ch.20)
  • “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (ch.34)
  • “They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” (ch.43)
  • “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” (ch.58)

Essay Topics

1. What do the various relationships shown in Pride and Prejudice tell us about love, marriage and society?

2. Austen shows that even those of the best moral character can be blinded by their pride and prejudice . To what extent do you agree?

3. Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time . What impact does this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships ? Discuss.

For more sample essay topics, head over to our Pride and Prejudice Study Guid e to practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this blog!

Essay Topic Breakdown

Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response because it’ll dramatically enhance how much you can take away from the following essays and more importantly, to then be able to apply these in your own writing.

Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are:

Step 1: A nalyse

Step 2: B rainstorm

Step 3: C reate a Plan  

Character-based Prompt: Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time. What impact could this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships? Discuss. 

The following comes essay topic breakdown comes from our Pride and Prejudice Study Guide:

Step 1: Analyse 

Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time . What impact could this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships ? Discuss.

A character based essay prompt is pretty self-explanatory as the prompt will have a specific focus on one character or a group of characters. While they may look relatively simple and straightforward, a lot of students struggle with character based questions as they find it is hard to discuss ideas in a lot of depth. With that in mind, it's important that we strive for what the author is saying; what is the author trying to convey through this specific character? What do they represent? Do they advocate for specific ideas or does the author use this character to condemn a certain idea and action?  

Step 2: Brainstorm

This question is looking at the attitude Elizabeth Bennet has in regard to the expectation and institution of marriage and how her view could impact the lives of the people around her. As always, we want to make sure that we not only identify our key words but define them. I started by first defining/ exploring the attitude Elizabeth holds towards the institution of marriage ; as marriage was not only an expectation in the times of regency England but a means to secure future financial security , Elizabeth’s outlook that an individual should marry only for the purpose of happiness and love was not only radical but dangerous . Her outlook, while noble, could and did put her family at jeopardy of being cast out from their estate as without a union between one of the Bennet daughters and Mr. Collins, Mr. Collins would have every right to do so as the only male inherent. I also looked at the wider implications Elizabeth’s outlook could have on the lives of the other characters such as Charlotte , Darcy and Bingley .

Step 3: Plan

Contention : Your contention relates to your interpretation of the essay prompt and the stance you’re going to take – i.e. are you in agreement, disagreement, or both to an extent.

While radical for her time, Elizabeth's progressive view of marriage can be seen to advocate for the rights of women and love and happiness but also, can jeopardise the livelihoods of those around her as Elizabeth is guided by selfish motives. 

P1: The radical view of marriage Elizabeth holds can be viewed as selfish and guided by her own self interest which is shown to negatively impact the lives of her family. 

P2: As Elizabeth diverts from the traditional approach to marriage, she encourages her friends and loved ones to follow their own hearts and morals rather than society's expectations. 

P3: Because Elizabeth is depicted as a bold and beautiful woman, she is unable to recognise that her radical view is a luxury that not all characters have access to. 

If you'd like to see an A+ essay on the essay topic above, complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essays achieved A+ so you can emulate this same success, then you'll definitely want to check out our Pride and Prejudice Study Guide: A Killer Text Guide! In it, we also cover themes, characters, views and values, metalanguage and have 4 other sample A+ essays completely annotated so you can kill your next SAC or exam! Check it out here ."

The Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response

How To Write A Killer Text Response Study Guide

How to embed quotes in your essay like a boss

How to turn your Text Response essays from average to A+

5 Tips for a mic drop worthy essay conclusion

There is  one  particular thing that everyone should set out to do before their English exam. It’s probably crossed your mind but you’re so overwhelmed with other exam preparation that you decided to give this one a miss. If you’ve already started, or completed what I’m about to advise, then congratulate yourself because you have probably scored yourself a few bonus points on the exam.  So what’s this ‘must do’?

Re-read your chosen English text(s) for the exam

Why?  It may seem like a waste of time but I can guarantee you another read will be one of the best things you’ve done in English – even if you feel like you know the book inside out. There are many reasons why you should re-read your English novels/watch your films so I decided to create a list.

1.  It’s been a while.  Some texts are studied at the start of the year so a refreshment is good to jog the mind again. Although reading notes and study guides are a great start, these sources are often incomplete and sketchy, so it’s not the same as actually reading the text again. You will be taking an ‘active’ approach to learning, rather than passively flipping through notes that were made too long ago.

2.  Consolidation.  Preparing for the exams is all about strengthening your knowledge and understanding. It is likely that you have forgotten some vital information that may be useful for the exam, particularly if you haven’t been writing practice essays throughout the year. There may be gaps in your memory of how or when an actual event unfolded so use this opportunity to fill in those gaps. Another read will allow you to answer your own questions, identify something you missed or didn’t quite understand.

3.  Time efficiency.  You might feel that reading is a waste of time especially if you need to practice your essay writing. But think of it this way, if you haven’t revised the foundations, your essay writing won’t be as clear and detailed as it can be. The students who can pick out major and minor details from the text will ultimately score higher than those who write a wishy-washy paragraph.

4.  Choices.  For those who aren’t sure which text they’re going to use; don’t solely base your decision on what others are doing or which text scored a higher average mark in past exams. Make the decision by  knowing which text you feel most comfortable with. Go back and read your the texts if you feel divided because chances are, it’ll help you establish which text you have greater understanding of, which text you’ll write better on, and which text you prefer.

5.  Distinction.  Students often just use the information their teacher has taught them in class. This is ok, but what’s going to make the difference between you and 25 others students in your class, let alone VCE students around Victoria? You need to take initiative to search for new information since you’ve learnt the same ideas and explored the same quotes as many other students. I guarantee that if you sit down, spend some time reading your texts, you will definitely come across some interesting information that you’d like to use in the exam. Compounding the information you learnt in class with your own learning will definitely put you on the course to success! 

We all know that to be successful at English we need to have decent vocabulary. Any essay can risk sounding bland and monotonous if you can only express your ideas using a limited span of words. Mixing up your essay with some interesting words will:

1. improve your expression,

2. capture your marker’s interest, and

3. impress your marker.

However, a word of caution – don’t be  too  determined to drown your essay with vocabulary, since you – get ready for this – risk your essay resonating utterly verbose and obstructing readability for the adjudicator (or in normal terms, you risk your essay sounding overly wordy which will therefore decrease the ease and flow when reading your essay). Remember that simple is best, but sprinkling with some vocabulary will definitely spice up your essay!

How do you go about obtaining a better vocabulary?

  • Words from your text.  This is usually one that many people overlook. Your book or movie is the best place to find great descriptive words for themes and characters.
  • Words from study guides.  These also have great vocabulary for your text. A good way to start your vocabulary list is to make notes or highlight certain words that you’d like to use in your essays.
  • Subscribe to vocabulary learning programs.  Personally, I’m subscribed to  Just Vocabulary  podcast which teaches two new words every week. The bonus is that it’s free and each episode is only 5 minutes long – perfect for on your way to school, when you want a quick break from writing essays, between classes etc.
  • Use your thesaurus.  Whenever I suggest to my students that they should use a thesaurus, I often get the response, ‘But we aren’t allowed to bring one into the exam!’ And that’s correct, you’re only allowed your dictionary. But that shouldn’t stop you from using a thesaurus throughout VCE! Using a thesaurus is the best way to speed up your vocabulary bank and also prevent you from using the same words. With regular use, those new words will be ingrained into your memory so that you won’t need a thesaurus in the exam anyway!
  • Write essays.  It’s no good having a list of words if you don’t practice incorporating them in your essays. The more you practice using your new vocabulary, the easier it will come to you when you are doing your SAC or exam.

Although it's important to improve your vocabulary, students often get the wrong impression. You're not improving your vocabulary to sound smarter, but to optimise your ability to use the right word to express your ideas clearly. Find out more about this in the blog post - Why big words can make you look dumber .

how to insert a quote into an essay

Have you ever come out of an exam or test and felt like you’ve nailed it? I’m guessing after you come out of that exam room, you and your friends crowd around the building screaming out the answers you got for each question or the types of ideas you came up with from the prompt given. But then results day arrive…and you’re sitting at your desk anxiously waiting for the teacher to hand you your paper. As soon as they place the test paper on your desk, you remain sitting there just staring at it, deciding whether or not to flip it around and see your score. Get it over and done with you think in your head, but your arms don’t move an inch. You just sit there for some time staring at it, and praying a little on the inside that it’s the score you want. Finally, you build enough courage to turn around the paper and BAM! It hits you. The score was way below the expectations you set for yourself, or maybe even the standards others have set for you.

What is it that you usually do when you come across such a situation?

From my observations and experiences, there are generally 4 main types of reactions people have – the complainer (the person who’s never satisfied with anything), the one who has no care in the world, the silent sufferer (the person who is disappointed with the score but does nothing to change it) and the calm one (the ideal level we all aspire to reach).

how to insert a quote into an essay

So here I give you 8 tips/suggestions to help you get you through what you may call ‘failure’:

DON’T ALLOW THE SCORE TO DEFINE YOU! I’m sure you’ve heard so many people tell you that you are more than just one score. And let me tell you that they’re absolutely right! That one test score won’t make so much of a difference in the long run. It may trigger some unsettling emotions throughout the day, but it’s not going to matter in a year.

Look at the score you got and then just put it at the back of your mind. Just don’t think too much about it in class. It may stress you out even more, cause you to divide your attention between what the teacher is saying and your own thoughts. Dwelling on what you cannot change, especially if it concerns the past is the worse idea and a better option would be to distract yourself with happy thoughts (obviously not while you’re supposed to be listening to your teacher).

Talk to your teacher and ask them why you have attained this particular score. By having a one-on-one conversation with them you can tell them why you thought you did better or where you believe you’ve missed marks. I’m sure they’ll be willing to help you out. If not, you could sit down and chat with another teacher about the test and get their feedback on it. Collecting feedback from various teachers (or even friends, tutors, etc.) can be useful in knowing which areas you need to improve on most.

Try to consider the concept of failure as your ‘First Attempt In Learning.’ Learn from your mistakes by re-evaluating your previous approach to the question, or the ideas and evidence you put out there. Look at where you lost the marks and redo the test if possible. Get it remarked by your teacher or even a friend. Keep going and don’t give up!

Avoid talking to those ‘stuck up’ students. You should most definitely distance yourself from people who make you feel uncomfortable or lower your self-esteem. It may seem tough at first, especially since you may be confined together in the same school or even classroom, but it’s to the benefit of your mental health. To do this, you could not sit next to them class or just let them know that you’re not comfortable with sharing your scores with them and would rather talk about other topics.

Make more friends! (just exclude those who were mentioned previously). Create study groups and revise together before a test or exam. Ask them about how they study for the specific subject or area of study and if you can read some of their work to get an idea of to how approach specific questions.

Be flexible and adaptable! Once you know that you’ve made a mistake, don’t make it again. Change up specific parts of your answer where you lost marks or just change the entire answer completely to fulfil the criteria. For example, when it comes to English, examiners are always advising students to not go into the exam with memorised responses. By going into the exam with memorised responses, you’re not going to be able to modify or mould your response to fit the specific prompt in front of you, costing you the marks you want. Just have ideas and evidence in mind that you know you can use when relevant rather than spilling unnecessary quotes here and there.

Balance is key. Wise advice that I received from one of my teachers in year 12 was to study a bit of every subject on the days you plan to study. Don’t cram and only focus on one subject a week before the SAC. If having a structured routine doesn’t work for you, it’s okay to ditch the timetable you have created yourself and just go with the flow. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just know when you should study

Finally, my last message to you all is to just take it easy, stay on a pace that works for you. Don’t stress too much about a score that’s not going to matter in the long run, and most importantly, don’t compare yourself to those around you. ☺

VCE English (or any one of the 4 Englishes) can be one of the most daunting and difficult subjects to study. On top of that, as students of the VCE, we are plagued daily by distractions that seemingly inhibit our ability to maximize the time to fulfil our best potential. Feeling anxious about what seems to be such little time before the exam in October, we face mind blanks and find ourselves in a constant battle against feelings of doubt and anxiety.

However, these feelings only trick us into thinking that we are not good enough to achieve and consequently diminish our much needed motivation. Thoughts about having to write three 1000-word essays in three hours by October translate into doubt about our skills, generating to thoughts saying  “I don’t know what to do!”  when attempting to start, or whilst writing an essay. Amidst this, our mind is inundated with thoughts about competition:  “what are other students in the state studying?”   “How do other students tackle the tasks so easily whilst I’m here still figuring out how to start?”  However, the more we align ourselves with such anxious thoughts, the more we convince ourselves that  “I can’t do it” , and we unknowingly retreat to procrastination. Despite this, time mercilessly continues to move forward and October will eventually and inevitably arrive!

To overcome this negative mentality, therefore, we must reconstruct our perception about what VCE English is really about and what it entails. To most of us, English simply involves the repetitive 1000-word essay involving an introduction-body-conclusion, discussing the themes of a novel, play or film which appear not to have any relevance for our future. But believe me; English can be far more exciting!

Put simply, we must start thinking:  collaboration, not competition.  English is one of the more exciting subjects because it provides us with a platform on which we can debate and share ideas. It also grants us an opportunity to express, in our own style, the ideas we construct thus granting us freedom for creativity and a space where all ideas are worth sharing! Hence, rather than perceiving your peers as competitors, embrace them as your allies. They too are most likely undergoing the same doubts and stresses. Whilst being willing to share your opinions, make sure that you engage with students who enjoy debating and sharing theirs – VCE is not something that you can do on your own!

Considering this, there are a few things you must keep in mind when studying English. A blank piece of paper or a blank word document on your computer screen appears scary, especially if you are unsure of what to write about, let alone how to start an essay. The important thing that all students must remember, therefore, is to  just put something down on paper first.  It doesn’t matter how well you write or express yourself (at first). Remember:  all ideas are worth sharing.  If you are unsure of what to write, write exactly what you think! Prioritise your ideas over your writing style! Assessors care more about seeing a mind at work and do not reward superfluous writing. A talented writer is worse off if he or she does not discuss complex ideas!

Next, it is crucial that you don’t take subsequent criticism from teachers as a message that  you can’t do it. Criticism is inevitable and it is a good thing. It means that your teacher really wants to help! Just remember that year 12 is not the end. It is often easy to think that once you finish school, your writing skill doesn’t improve. But this is incorrect. Even the best writers on this planet will always continue to strive to improve!

Essentially, it is important that you write often. The more you write the greater chance there is of improving. In light of this, your writing does not have to be focussed merely on what you study in English – spending time writing about anything you want in any style is a worthwhile mental exercise (it is the perfect substitute over jumping online on Facebook or YouTube when you feel like procrastinating)! Any concerns about writing within one hour should fade away naturally as you write more frequently – this is something you shouldn’t have to worry about.

Ultimately, English can be exciting when you are prepared to share your ideas and listen to the ideas of other students. See it not as a torturous race to scribble out three 1000-word essays in 3 hours, but more rather an opportunity to explore complex ideas that are challenging yet interesting at the same time. Just remember that ideas are the primary concern, and the final piece – the writing – is merely the polish. It is okay to inspire yourself too! Don’t get hung up on appearing modest. Everyone has a viewpoint and an opinion to share and the more you collaborate, the less you will be tricked into believing  you can’t.  Instead, you will be constantly reminded that  you can .

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Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

student in library on laptop

How to Write an Effective Essay

Writing an essay for college admission gives you a chance to use your authentic voice and show your personality. It's an excellent opportunity to personalize your application beyond your academic credentials, and a well-written essay can have a positive influence come decision time.

Want to know how to draft an essay for your college application ? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing.

Tips for Essay Writing

A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment. Think of it as a critical piece of the application process. Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor.

1. Start Early.

Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.

You don't have to work on your essay every day, but you'll want to give yourself time to revise and edit. You may discover that you want to change your topic or think of a better way to frame it. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.

2. Understand the Prompt and Instructions.

Before you begin the writing process, take time to understand what the college wants from you. The worst thing you can do is skim through the instructions and submit a piece that doesn't even fit the bare minimum requirements or address the essay topic. Look at the prompt, consider the required word count, and note any unique details each school wants.

3. Create a Strong Opener.

Students seeking help for their application essays often have trouble getting things started. It's a challenging writing process. Finding the right words to start can be the hardest part.

Spending more time working on your opener is always a good idea. The opening sentence sets the stage for the rest of your piece. The introductory paragraph is what piques the interest of the reader, and it can immediately set your essay apart from the others.

4. Stay on Topic.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays.

A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements. This seems like a time-saving way to avoid writing new pieces entirely, but it often backfires. The result is usually a final piece that's generic, unfocused, or confusing. Always write a new essay for every application, no matter how long it takes.

5. Think About Your Response.

Don't try to guess what the admissions officials want to read. Your essay will be easier to write─and more exciting to read─if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your subject. Here’s an example: If all your friends are writing application essays about covid-19, it may be a good idea to avoid that topic, unless during the pandemic you had a vivid, life-changing experience you're burning to share. Whatever topic you choose, avoid canned responses. Be creative.

6. Focus on You.

Essay prompts typically give you plenty of latitude, but panel members expect you to focus on a subject that is personal (although not overly intimate) and particular to you. Admissions counselors say the best essays help them learn something about the candidate that they would never know from reading the rest of the application.

7. Stay True to Your Voice.

Use your usual vocabulary. Avoid fancy language you wouldn't use in real life. Imagine yourself reading this essay aloud to a classroom full of people who have never met you. Keep a confident tone. Be wary of words and phrases that undercut that tone.

8. Be Specific and Factual.

Capitalize on real-life experiences. Your essay may give you the time and space to explain why a particular achievement meant so much to you. But resist the urge to exaggerate and embellish. Admissions counselors read thousands of essays each year. They can easily spot a fake.

9. Edit and Proofread.

When you finish the final draft, run it through the spell checker on your computer. Then don’t read your essay for a few days. You'll be more apt to spot typos and awkward grammar when you reread it. After that, ask a teacher, parent, or college student (preferably an English or communications major) to give it a quick read. While you're at it, double-check your word count.

Writing essays for college admission can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. A well-crafted essay could be the deciding factor─in your favor. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have no problem creating memorable pieces for every application.

What is the format of a college application essay?

Generally, essays for college admission follow a simple format that includes an opening paragraph, a lengthier body section, and a closing paragraph. You don't need to include a title, which will only take up extra space. Keep in mind that the exact format can vary from one college application to the next. Read the instructions and prompt for more guidance.

Most online applications will include a text box for your essay. If you're attaching it as a document, however, be sure to use a standard, 12-point font and use 1.5-spaced or double-spaced lines, unless the application specifies different font and spacing.

How do you start an essay?

The goal here is to use an attention grabber. Think of it as a way to reel the reader in and interest an admissions officer in what you have to say. There's no trick on how to start a college application essay. The best way you can approach this task is to flex your creative muscles and think outside the box.

You can start with openers such as relevant quotes, exciting anecdotes, or questions. Either way, the first sentence should be unique and intrigue the reader.

What should an essay include?

Every application essay you write should include details about yourself and past experiences. It's another opportunity to make yourself look like a fantastic applicant. Leverage your experiences. Tell a riveting story that fulfills the prompt.

What shouldn’t be included in an essay?

When writing a college application essay, it's usually best to avoid overly personal details and controversial topics. Although these topics might make for an intriguing essay, they can be tricky to express well. If you’re unsure if a topic is appropriate for your essay, check with your school counselor. An essay for college admission shouldn't include a list of achievements or academic accolades either. Your essay isn’t meant to be a rehashing of information the admissions panel can find elsewhere in your application.

How can you make your essay personal and interesting?

The best way to make your essay interesting is to write about something genuinely important to you. That could be an experience that changed your life or a valuable lesson that had an enormous impact on you. Whatever the case, speak from the heart, and be honest.

Is it OK to discuss mental health in an essay?

Mental health struggles can create challenges you must overcome during your education and could be an opportunity for you to show how you’ve handled challenges and overcome obstacles. If you’re considering writing your essay for college admission on this topic, consider talking to your school counselor or with an English teacher on how to frame the essay.

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  1. 009 How To Insert Quotes Into An Essay Lead Quote Step ~ Thatsnotus

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  2. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

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  3. Using Quotes in an Essay: Ultimate Beginner's Guide

    how to insert a quote into an essay

  4. 3 Ways to Lead Into a Quote

    how to insert a quote into an essay

  5. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

    how to insert a quote into an essay

  6. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

    how to insert a quote into an essay

VIDEO

  1. (insert quote)#ducksunlimited

  2. Essay Quote

  3. *insert inspirational quote*

  4. The cute quote in English ‎@ImportantEssayWriting #quote

  5. The cute quote in English ‎@ImportantEssayWriting #quote

  6. How to Make Your Essays Unique

COMMENTS

  1. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

    If you use the author's name in your lead-in to the quote, you just need to provide the year in parentheses: According to Luz Lopez, "the green grass symbolizes a fresh start for Lia (24).". 2. Include the author's last name, the year, and the page number for APA format. Write the author's name, then put a comma.

  2. How to Quote

    Citing a quote in APA Style. To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use "p."; if it spans a page range, use "pp.". An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  3. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Examples)

    Step 6: Explain the Quote. Explain the significance of the quote in your own words. This will help the reader understand how the quote supports your argument. Example: Jane Doe's quote highlights the urgency of addressing climate change as it poses a significant threat to human survival.

  4. MLA Formatting Quotations

    Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2 inch from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

  5. How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps (2024)

    Required fields are marked. How to use quotes in an essay: (1) Avoid Long Quotes, (2) Quotes should be less than 1 sentence long, (3) Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples, (4) Use Max. 2 Quotes for 1500 words, (5) Use page numbers when Citing Quotes, (6) Don't Italicize Quotes, (7) Avoid quotes inside quotes.

  6. Quotations

    For quotations of fewer than 40 words, add quotation marks around the words and incorporate the quote into your own text—there is no additional formatting needed. Do not insert an ellipsis at the beginning and/or end of a quotation unless the original source includes an ellipsis.

  7. How to Start an Essay With a Quote: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    5. Hook your reader. Think of a quotation as a "hook" that will get your reader's attention and make her want to read more of your paper. The well-executed quotation is one way to draw your reader in to your essay. [2] 6. Ensure that the quotation contributes to your essay.

  8. Quotations

    Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations: Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon. Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.

  9. How to Quote

    Citing a quote in APA Style. To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use 'p.'; if it spans a page range, use 'pp.'. An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  10. PDF how to use quotes in your essay

    3. Interject the Author's Name into the Middle of the Quote. "In 2005, less than 10% of Johnson & Roe's employees reported their political affiliation," Yang (2007) reports, "but more than 50% reporteddiscussing politics with their colleagues.". Phrases & Words to Introduce Quotes. Phrases to Introduce the Quote.

  11. Using Quotations in Essays

    A good quotation should do one or more of the following: Make an opening impact on the reader. Build credibility for your essay. Add humor. Make the essay more interesting. Close the essay with a point to ponder upon. If the quotation does not meet a few of these objectives, then it is of little value.

  12. Quote in an Essay ― How to Insert and Format It Correctly

    Short Quotations in an Essay. If you need to quote in a paragraph and choose a short quotation, you should seamlessly integrate it into your writing following the next steps: Provide some context to your readers regarding the topic or the source of the quotation. It helps set the stage and insert a quote in an essay.

  13. How to Put a Quote in Your Essay Like a Pro

    Tip #3: Seamlessly integrate quotes. Another strategy you might consider when adding quotes in your paper is to seamlessly integrate them in the middle of a sentence, much like you would a paraphrase. In this case, the quote isn't introduced by a signal phrase but is part of the sentence. Here's an example from a paper about mandatory ...

  14. How to Work Quotes into an Essay

    Quoting After a Colon. One option for working quotes into an essay is adding them after a colon. This should always come at the end of a full sentence, such as in the following: Ackerman (2016, p. 232) acknowledges that pigeons are widely considered unintelligent: 'They're considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo (a close relative, in ...

  15. Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

    Important guidelines. When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components: Introductory phrase to the source material: mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase. Source material: a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.

  16. INTEGRATING A QUOTATION INTO AN ESSAY Center for Writing and Speaking

    following general steps address how to properly integrate a quotation into an essay. Step 1: Introduce the Author of the Quotation Because you are using someone else's words, make sure you let your reader know this. The first time you use a quotation from a source in an essay, introduce the author and the work that the quotation is attributed ...

  17. MLA Block Quotes

    To create a block quote in MLA, follow these four simple steps. Step 1: Introduce the quote. Always introduce block quotes in your own words. Start with a sentence or two that shows the reader why you are including the quote and how it fits into your argument. After the introductory sentence, add a colon, and then start the quote on a new line.

  18. Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations

    To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format. Use A Full Sentence Followed by A Colon To Introduce A Quotation Examples:

  19. Integrating Quotations in MLA Style

    Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation within a quotation. Miller states, "Religions are examples of 'noble lies' aimed at uplifting human stature" (18). Adding Material within Quotations: Use square brackets to enclose material that you add to or change within a quotation to allow it to fit grammatically into a sentence.

  20. Inserting or Altering Words in a Direct Quotation

    Use brackets to enclose inserted words intended to clarify meaning within a quotation. Use parentheses when inserting words into a quotation. Use brackets to enclose inserted words intended to provide a brief explanation within a quotation. Use parentheses to enclose a change in letter case or verb tense when integrating a quote into your paper.

  21. The Basics of In-Text Citation

    At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays, research papers, and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises). Add a citation whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

  22. Quote Integration

    Introduce a quotation and have subsequent sentences that expand on the relevance. This is the best way to integrate quotes into a paper. It is crucial that anytime you use from an outside source, you explain the relevance of the quote to the rest of your paper. Dr. Carrie Fisher details some of the most pressing ethical concerns that arise in ...

  23. Integrating Direct Quotations into Your Writing

    Ideally, quotations should be about 1-3 lines long, or can even just be specific key words and short excerpts/phrases integrated into your own sentence structure! For more on block quotation formatting, though, check out Purdue OWL's guides on long quotations: Long Quotations in MLA format; Long Quotations in APA format

  24. How To Embed Quotes in Your Essay Like a Boss

    How that quote will fit into your essay. 3. What You Want To Quote. As you discuss ideas in a paragraph, quotes should be added to develop these ideas further. A quote should add insight into your argument; therefore, it is imperative that the quote you choose relates intrinsically to your discussion.

  25. Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

    One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays. A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements.