Blending Quotations Correctly and Naturally
Provide context for your reader
. Identify (1) who’s speaking thelines (if it’s dialogue that you’re quoting) and (2) what’s happening inthe story when those lines are spoken.2.
Change or adjust words to make them blend grammatically with yourwriting.
Don’t quote without purpose. Don’t start a sentence with a quotation.***Follow this pattern
. Make some argument or sub-argument about the story.b.
Quote, with context, a line or passage that supportsthat argument.c.
Comment on the quotation, directly engaging thelanguage and explaining how it supports your assertion.
Common Error #1
: The Quotation is Alive!In this error, the writer personifies the quotation, making it do something, like show, describe,exemplify, explain. A quotation is not alive; thus, it cannot do anything. --“
Karen sat at the round table in Marblehead with her new family” describesthe setting a little bit-- where they are and at what kind of table they are sitting
.--Our goal, of course, is to incorporate the quotation naturally into our own writing. In writing,we would never make a quotation do something like the following: “
You are a big jerk” mademe cry
DO NOT START THE SENTENCE WITH A QUOTE
!!!Therefore, to fix the above quotation from “The Carved Table,” fit the descriptionof Karen into your own writing by
the quotations: --
The setting is clearly one of wealth, for Karen sits “at the round tablein Marblehead,” dining with “her new family.”
Common Error #2:
Referring to the Author When Discussing the Story--Our goal, again, is to incorporate quotations naturally into our ownwriting. Writing over and over again that “
the author writes
” or “
” ruins that naturalness and makes our essays sound artificial.1