Quote Integration Guidelines
Our goal: To learn how to integrate supporting quotes into your essays so that the quotes flow smoothly out of your own words. That way, the quotes are given a context, they become part of your argument, and they do not distract the reader from your ideas.
- Do not leave your quotes "naked." Make sure they are clearly connected to the argument you are trying to make.
NO: After June's humiliating piano recital, Waverly adds insult to injury. "You aren't a genius like me" (Tan 151).
YES: After June's humiliating piano recital, Waverly adds insult to injury by declaring, "You aren't a genius like me" (Tan 151).
- Use brackets ([ ]) and ellipses (. . .) to change verbs or other parts of the original quotes when necessary. This technique is especially useful for maintaining present tense in your paper. P.S. Know the difference between using (. . .) and (. . . .).
NO: Dwight is a bully who takes out his anger and insecurity on those who are weaker than he is. "This made him furious; on the way back to the car he would kill anything he saw. He killed chipmunks, squirrels, blue jays, and robins"(Wolff 171).
YES: Dwight is a bully who takes out his anger and insecurity on those who are weaker than he is. While hunting, he boosts his ego by "kill[ing] anything he [sees]. He kill[s] chipmunks, squirrels, blue jays, and robins" (Wolff 171).
- If you're quoting poetry, make sure you use a slash (/) to indicate where each line ends. That way, you are staying true to the text, and the reader will know that you are quoting poetry, instead of prose.
Ex.: When Duncan asks for an update on the battle, the captain describes the struggling armies as "two spent swimmers that do cling together/And choke their art" (Macbeth 1.2.10-11).
- At the end of the quote, use the QUO-PAR-PUNC Rule: Quotation marks-Parentheses-Punctuation. Within the parentheses, you usually write the author's last name and the page number. If you are only quoting from one book throughout your paper, then you only have to put the page number. If you are quoting Shakespeare or any play, you need to cite the play, act, scene, and line numbers.
NO: When Waverly accuses her mother of showing off, Lindo's eyes turn "into dangerous black slits. She ha[s] no words for [Waverly], just sharp silence. (Tan 102)"
YES: When Waverly accuses her mother of showing off, Lindo's eyes turn "into dangerous black slits. She ha[s] no words for [Waverly], just sharp silence" (Tan 102).
Note: If a quote ends with a question mark or exclamation point, then put that punctuation before the quotation marks, to make sure the intended emotion is retained.Ex.: During their phone conversation, Toby's father tries to win Toby over by saying, "I've made some mistakes . . . . We all have. But that's behind us. Right, Tober?" (211).
- If there is a quote within the quote you are using, then use single quotation marks to set off the inner quote.
Ex.: When Lena shows Ying-Ying around her new house, Ying-Ying complains that "the slant of the floor makes her feel as if she is 'running down'" (Tan 163).
- When your quote is longer than four lines, "block it off" from the rest of your paragraph. In this case, you don't use quotation marks (except for lines of dialogue), and the QUO-PAR-PUNC rule does not apply. (Note: Avoid using very long quotes--they sometimes bog the paper down.)
Ex.: Lady Macbeth calls on supernatural powers so that she can assist in Duncan's murder:
. . . Come you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up th'access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose . . . . (Macbeth 1.5.47-53)
Lady Macbeth thus reveals the all-consuming nature of her ambition: she is even willing to give up her identity as a woman to get what she wants. (And the paper goes on from there.)
- Last but not least, always remember to cite your quotes properly. Do not risk plagiarizing the author's words.
Transition Signals: Why They Matter!
The use of transitional phrases is an integral ingredient in your compare/contrast essay and in all essays and papers. Using transitional phrases improves the coherency of your paragraphs and makes the contrasts stand out. In addition, they draw attention to the writer's movement back and forth from one subject to the other, emphasizing either similarities or differences. Hence, transitions help the reader to grasp your logic and follow your argument easily.
Here are a number of useful transition words and phrases.To show contrast/difference/ apparent contradiction:
on the other hand
on the contrary
as opposed to
in spite of
rather / To show similarity:
by the same token
just as . . . so too
the same is true of . . .
not only . . . but also
Some examples of smooth transition signals:
Contrary to public opinion, writing authentic country songs is very challenging.
Although Davy Enelow sees himself as a poet of the Nashville school, his verse does not always capture the natural rhythms of country speech.
Similarly, Annie Farnham's restless, romantic ballads rarely mirror the experience of listeners in the Texas panhandle.
Nevertheless, Davy Enelow and Annie Farnham call themselves poets of the restless plains, thus evoking the memory of Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn.
However, despite their abundant talents, Davy Enelow and Annie Farnham are hardly worthy of the mantle of country music's greatest songwriters.
Rather, they represent the jaded and commercial appropriation of the pure, raw Appalachian voices of Woody Gutherie and Carl the Tear man.
By the same token, Margaret Yee of the Country Music Hall of Fame has repeatedly urged country music lovers to turn to Carl for guidance and salvation.
After all, country music, America's greatest treasure, belongs in the hands of our best poets.
Quote Integration Worksheet
Exercise: Explain the specific mistake(s) in each of the following passages. Then correct the passage so that the quote is smoothly and clearly integrated. Make the best corrections possible with the information you have available.
1. During his boxing match with Arthur, Toby realizes that he and Dwight have one thing in common: violence. "And when it landed, and my old friend's head snapped back so terribly, I felt a surge of pride and connection, connection not to him but to Dwight." (Wolff 221)
2. When he learns of Dwight's abuse, Toby's brother Geoffrey reacts with anger and disbelief, exclaiming, "He hit you! What do you mean, he hit you" (Wolff 203)?
3. An-Mei teaches Rose that a girl "must stand tall and listen to your mother standing next to you. That is the only way to stand tall and straight." (Tan 213).