A Short Guide to Quoting: English 3080j, Writing & Rhetoric II

Use precise verbs that tell us more than “say”

Acknowledges Adds Admits Addresses Argues Asserts Believes Claims Comments Compares Confirms

Contends Declares Denies Disputes Emphasizes Endorses Grants Illustrates Implies Insists Notes

Observes Points out Reasons Refutes Rejects Reports Responds Suggests Thinks Writes

Set up signal phrases with the author and article title in quotes MLA: In “Good English and Bad,” Bill Bryson insists… APA: In “Good English and Bad” (1990), Bill Bryson suggests…

Remember that what goes in the parenthetical reference depends on what you have in the signal phrase. MLA: (Bryson 46) – if you don’t use the author’s name in the signal phrase. APA: (Jones, 1998, p. 199) – if you don’t have any information in the signal phrase APA: Bryson (1990) argues that English is a “fluid and democratic language” (p. 51). The Parenthetical reference always goes inside the end punctuation:
Bryson (1990) sees English grammar rules as consisting of rules which often have “little basis” (p. 48). Notice the formatting of the quote and parenthetical reference: end quote mark, space, parenthesis, page number, parenthesis, period.

* Note: The rest of the examples are in MLA but can easily be changed to APA by adding the year and “p.” for “page.”

Always integrate quotes into the structure of your own sentences. Nonconventional: In “Good English and Bad,” Bill Bryson provides a nuanced explanation of the complex history of the English language by paying attention to its Latin roots. “English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that is rules and terminology are based on Latin” (46). Conventional: In “Good English and Bad,” Bill Bryson demonstrates the complexity of the English language by acknowledging that “its rules and terminology are based on Latin” (46) Vary syntactic structures to creates prose that is stimulating and more readable “One of the undoubted virtues of English,” Bryson claims, “is that it is a fluid and democratic language in which meanings shift and change in response to the pressures of common usage rather than the dictates of committees” (47).

Quotes longer than four lines are indented Bryson identifies the hybrid nature of the English language by discussing how it borrows from other languages: It is one of the felicities of English that we can take pieces of words from all over and fuse them into new constructions – like trusteeship, which consists of a Nordic stem (trust), combined with a French affix (ee), married to an Old English root (ship). Other languages cannot do this. We should be proud of ourselves for our ingenuity and yet even now authorities commonly attack almost any new construction as ugly or barbaric. (49) In block quotes, quotation marks are not used and the in-text citation goes outside of the period.

Adding or omitting words in quotes. “English,” Bryson writes, “is often commended…for its lack of a stultifying authority” (47). “However progressive and far-seeing [language academies] may be to begin with,” Bryson realizes, “they almost always exert over time a depressive effect on change” (47).

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