The rules and regualtion of Quotations and Citations

A citation is should be used a particular idea that you got from another author. A quotation can be used the exact words of another author.

Key Points

  • When using your own words, you cite; when you use the words of someone else, you quote. Both methods help you to introduce another author‘s work as a means of strategically improving the persuasiveness of your paper, by providing an example or evidence relevant to a claim that you have made.

  • You might want to change a quote slightly in order to make it fit your essay. In such cases, square brackets should be used around words not contained in the original quote.

  • If a quote needs to be substantially changed, it may be better to simply cite the author’s ideas in your own words, providing a succinct gloss that not only gets the author’s point across, but also prepares you to explain why this is relevant to your essay.

Terms

  • A fragment of a human expression that is being referred to by somebody else. 

  • A paraphrase of a passage from a book, or from another person, for the purposes of a scholarly paper.

Examples

  • Two examples of blending another author’s words with your own might be: “Williams Carlos Williams writes that what “counts as a work of art” is what the writer “makes, with such intensity of perception that it lives with an intrinsic movement of its own to verify its authenticity. ” 1. Williams, William Carlos, “Author’s Introduction to The Wedge,” Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800–1950, ed. Melissa Kwasny (Middleton, Conn: Wesleyan University Press, 2004), p 342.

  • Relegating traditional heroic values to an existence through absence instead of through physical presence in a character is precisely the subversive element that Brombert points at, and it can be a very powerful literary tool: “Implicitly or explicitly, they [antiheroic characters] cast doubt on values that have been taken for granted, or were assumed to be unshakeable. ” 1. Brombert, Victor. In Praise of Antiheroes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, p 2.

 

There is an important difference between citations and quotations. A citation is using a particular idea that you took from another author. A quotation is using the exact words of another author. Another way of understanding the distinction is this: when using your own words, you cite; when you use the words of someone else, you quote. Both methods help you to introduce another author’s work as a means of strategically improving the persuasiveness of your paper, by introducing a quote in order to provide an example or evidence relevant to a claim that you have made.

When using quotations, you need to be very careful to copy the quote as it appears in an author’s text. However, you may find that a quotation does not grammatically align with how you want to use it, or that the relevance of the quote may not be readily apparent to a reader. In such instance, you might want to change a quote slightly in order to make it fit your essay. In such cases, square brackets should be used around words not contained in the original quote. This will signal to your reader that you have inserted your own words within the original quote. If the quote needs to be substantially changed, it may be better to simply cite the author’s ideas in your own words, providing a succinct gloss that not only gets the author’s point across, but also prepares you to explain why this is relevant to your essay. As with any instance of appealing to another author’s work within your own, whether you use citation or quotation, be aware of the particular context that an idea or quote comes from and try to only utilize quotes that maintain contextual relevance with your own work. This will ensure that you have not decontextualized and misused another author’s work for your own purposes.

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