Academic Guide For Students: How to Put a Quote in an Essay

Have you ever wondered how to put a quote in your essay? If your answer is “yes”, then I got your back! This is the main focus of today’s session.

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Here’s the outline:

Introducing a quote in your essay is also an essential skill in academic writing. Would you believe that?

What is a Quote?

A quote or a quotation means you repeat the author’s words without introducing any changes to it. It is usually indicated by a double or a single quotation marks depending on the circumstance. For example, a quote within a quote uses a single quotation mark. When quoting, the author is cited to attribute the text to its original source.

You can use a quote to emphasize or support your arguments. Moreover, quotes are added to provide additional insights to the topic of the paper. It is up to you how you are going to incorporate a quote into your essay. My advice to you is to use them intelligently.

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What is an In-Text Citation?

Before you begin incorporating a quote in your essay, I ought to teach you writing an in-text citation first.

In research papers or any academic papers you write in school, it is important to place an in-text citation on a text you referenced from another author. An in-text citation indicates that a particular information is taken from another source. It tells your reader,

Hey, I got this text from this author!

Having an in-text citation in your paper prevents you from being accused (or being charged) of plagiarism by your instructor. The next section will tackle how you can properly quote a quote.

How to Do an In-Text Citation (APA)?

You asked, how can I quote a quote? I’ll give you a simple answer — by having an in-text citation. In APA, you have to write the following in an in-text citation:

  1. Author’s last name
  2. Date
  3. Page number

John Stuart Mill (1859) asserts, “[f]or a long time past, the chief mischief of the legal penalties is that they strengthen the social stigma” (p. 31). In my opinion, I find his statement thought-provoking.

He muses, “[f]or a long time past, the chief mischief of the legal penalties is that they strengthen the social stigma” (Mill, 1859, p. 31). In my opinion, I find his statement thought-provoking.

How to Do an In-Text Citation (MLA)?

For MLA, you would need the following for your in-text citation:

  1. Author’s last name
  2. Page number

Now let us transform the previous examples from APA to MLA. Be sure to take note of their differences. For the page number, you do need to write “p.”. And notably, the name and page number are not separated by a comma.

John Stuart Mill asserts that “[f]or a long time past, the chief mischief of the legal penalties is that they strengthen the social stigma” (31). In my opinion, I find his statement thought-provoking.

He muses, “[f]or a long time past, the chief mischief of the legal penalties is that they strengthen the social stigma” (Mill 31). In my opinion, I find his statement thought-provoking.

For all your citation needs, I would like to recommend you to read (or find a copy in your campus library) of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook published in 2016. As for APA, you may refer to the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychologist Association.

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How to Cite a Long Quote?

If you are observing my examples carefully, you can see that I only cited short quotations. Things will be different when you are going to cite a long quotation/block quotation. Keep calm, for I’ve got you covered in quoting a paragraph.

Are you citing in MLA or APA style?

  • In APA, long quotes should be more than 40 words.
  • Alternatively, MLA requires your quote to consist of more than four lines.
  • Long quotes should be typed on a free standing block and indented at ½ Inch from the left margin.
  • Citations should be written after the closing punctuation of the block quotation

Always remember to find out:

  • Author
  • Date published (APA)
  • Page number

This is how you cite a block quotation in APA. He asserts,

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Being a philosophy enthusiast, I definitely found his perspective interesting and eye-opening.

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Being a philosophy enthusiast, I definitely found his perspective interesting and eye-opening.

In the book On Liberty, it is worth noting that,

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In John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, he finds,

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How to Introduce a Quote?

Figure out which citation style you are going to use. Like I said previously, different citation styles have their own way of referencing a quote.

Well, you can’t just blindly incorporate a quote in your paper without properly introducing it. Really, it would look weird. Don’t leave your quote hanging! Some common signal phrases are:

  1. According to…
  2. As stated by…/as mentioned by…
  3. (Author’s name) states that…
  4. (Author’s name) believes that…
  5. In the article, (Author’s name) hypothesizes that…

If you use other signal phrases other than the ones listed here, then you are free to incorporate those phrases in your paper. I would give you more words to introduce a quote in the next section.

Sometimes I would even add the occupation of the author (Ex: Professor, director, and etc.) or the title of the book/article if I know it would help my reader understand my paper more. In a nutshell, you can’t go wrong by making the proper introduction to your quote.

Be creative with your signal phrases, as they can make your essay more colorful to a certain degree. Think of it this way — at least you will not be restricted by “says/said”.

Do not forget to include the parenthetical citation of your quote. It would be counted as plagiarism if you don’t reference it.

Bear in mind the following:

  • Choose quotes that are related to the topic or theme of your essay.
  • Additionally, choose quotes that will substantiate the content of your paper.
  • Sometimes, you would have to be concise with your quotes. Therefore, it is best to follow quote editing guidelines such as adding brackets or ellipses.
  • Don’t fill up your paper with a lot of quotes! It is also crucial to contribute your own thoughts, not just the author’s.
  • Learn to paraphrase too! Paraphrasing is a helpful skill in academic writing.

In John Stuart Mill’s book On Liberty (1859), he believes that “[l]iberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion” (p.14).

Phrases to Introduce a Quote

I would like to give you a more comprehensive list of phrases you can use to introduce a quote in your essay.

  1. Argues
  2. Finds
  3. Names
  4. Notes
  5. Compares
  6. Acknowledges
  7. Believes
  8. Affirms
  9. Conjectures
  10. Questions
  11. Asks
  12. Narrates
  13. Explains
  14. Defines
  15. Observes
  16. Asserts
  17. Justifies
  18. Muses
  19. Informs
  20. Examines

Tip: You can have this list beside you as you draft your essay.

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Yahoo! You have reached the end of my guide. Try to use the words/signal phrases I enumerated in the guide. Who knows? Your teacher might be impressed. I hope you will get an A+ in your next academic paper.

Good luck, dear readers!

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