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How to Integrate Quotations

Integrating quotations is vital to many papers because it helps readers to understand why a particular source is in your paper and how that source supports the claim you are making. Successfully integrating quotes can also help you avoid plagiarism.

To successfully integrate a quotation, you MUST

  • Introduce the author or source in a signal phrase
  • Match the grammar of the original sentence to your own grammar
  • Modify the quote for length (if necessary)
  • Cite it correctly

Introduce the quote with a signal phrase

A signal phrase indicates the author of the source, and may also include the source’s title. In APA, the date is included after the author’s name.

For example:

MLA

In their article, “The Starbucks Myth: Measuring the Work of the English Major” Sheryl Fontaine and Stephen Mexal state, “In the lingering aftermath of this most recent recession, we should not be surprised at the reemergence of the particular belief the college degrees in the liberal arts and humanities somehow render students unfit for gainful employment” (36).

APA

Wilson and Moore (2008) argue that “The screen is the stained glass of the digital age, except now we have the privilege of working in a dynamic rather than static form” (p. 43).

When a phrase is used to introduce a quotation, then there must be a comma (,) after the end of the phrase.

For example:

MLA

David Brooks claims, “People want to be around others who are roughly like themselves, That’s called community” (58.)

APA

Brooks (2102) claims, “It’s appalling that people should be content to cut themselves off from everyone unlike themselves” (p. 58).

If a part of another’s work is used in the sentence word-for-word, it must have quotations marks around the part.

For example:

Original Passage: “Now that family life is in turmoil, reinvigorating our notion of friendship—to mean something more than familiarity—could help fill some of the void left by disintegrating household arrangements and social connections frayed by the stubborn individualism of our times” (Akst 85).

MLA

Akst thinks that if our culture redefines friendship to mean something more than familiarity, we will be happier (85).

APA

Akst (2012) thinks that if our culture redefines friendship to mean something more than familiarity, we will be happier (p. 85).

Match the Grammar of the Source to Your Own Grammar

Ideally, you should write your sentence to fit with the grammar of the sentence you are quoting.

For example:

Original Passage: “English is unusual in including the impossible and pleasurable in its litany of profanities” (Bryson 215).

MLA

Incorrect: According to Bryson, most cultures have swear words, which are harmless or not harmless, and in English, “is unusual in including the impossible and pleasurable in its litany of profanities” (215).

Correct: According to Bryson, most cultures have swear words, which are harmless or not harmless, and English, “is unusual in including the impossible and pleasurable in its litany of profanities” (215).

APA

Incorrect: According to Bryson (1990), most cultures have swear words, which are harmless or not harmless, and in English, “is unusual in including the impossible and pleasurable in its litany of profanities” (p. 215).

Correct: According to Bryson (1990), most cultures have swear words, which are harmless or not harmless, and English, “is unusual in including the impossible and pleasurable in its litany of profanities” (p. 215).

 Modify the Quote (If necessary)

However, there are situations where you can make minor modifications to a quote for your paper. Any modifications MUST maintain the original meaning of the quote.

Brackets

Brackets can be used to insert information that makes the quote clearer by providing information from the source that a reader needs to understand the quote but that is not contained within the quote.

For example:

Original Passage: “When people turn on the television set, as opposed to picking up a book or doing something more interactive, they’re looking for a passive, mind-resting experience. They want something that doesn’t require close attention, the way a twisty plot might. Something akin to visual music. Something ambient, in a way. Much of food television gives them that. It’s a banquet of colorful, seductive, and familiar images, presented rhythmically, with a soundtrack of oohs and ahhs” (Bruni 111).

MLA

In his article on why people watch food shows even if they don’t cook, Bruni notes “It’s [food television] a banquet of colorful, seductive, and familiar images, presented rhythmically, with a soundtrack of oohs and ahhs” (111).

APA

In his article on why people watch food shows even if they don’t cook, Bruni (2012) notes “It’s [food television] a banquet of colorful, seductive, and familiar images, presented rhythmically, with a soundtrack of oohs and ahhs” (p. 111).

Ellipses

If the quote is too long or you want to emphasize only the main point, you can remove part of the quote using ellipses (…) to show that you’ve removed part of the quote.

For example:

Original Passage: “The mythic horror movie, like a sick joke, has a dirty job to do. It deliberately appeals to all that is worst in us” (King 326).

MLA

According to King, “The mythic horror moviehas a dirty job to do. It deliberately appeals to the worst in us” (326).

APA

According to King (2012), “The mythic horror moviehas a dirty job to do. It deliberately appeals to the worst in us” (p. 326).

Cite the Source Correctly

Even when you use a signal phrase, you still need to cite the source in the sentence and on your Works Cited page.

For example:

MLA

In-text: Use a page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

In their article, “The Starbucks Myth: Measuring the Work of the English Major” Sheryl Fontaine and Stephen Mexal state, “In the lingering aftermath of this most recent recession, we should not be surprised at the reemergence of the particular belief the college degrees in the liberal arts and humanities somehow render students unfit for gainful employment” (36).

Works Cited Page: Use the appropriate MLA citation format for your source.

Fontaine, Sheryl I. and Stephen J. Mexal. “The Starbucks Myth: Measuring the Work of the English Major.” ADE Bulletin 152 (2012): 36-46. Print.

APA

In-text: Include the year after the author’s name(s) and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

Wilson and Moore (2008) argue that “The screen is the stained glass of the digital age, except now we have the privilege of working in a dynamic rather than static form” (p. 43).

Works Cited Page: Use the appropriate APA citation format for your source.

Wilson L. and Moore J. (2008). The Wired Church 2.0 Nashville: Abingdon Press.

Additional notes on punctuation

Commas and periods as ending punctuation go inside of the quotations unless there is a citation at the end of the sentence. Then the ending punctuation goes after the in-text citation.

For example:

The raptors in Raptors of Glisten Faults are actually “men who howl at the moon in hopes to start anew” (Ader 43).

All other punctuation (question marks, colons, etc) always go outside of the quotation marks unless the punctuation is part of the quotation.

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