How to Use a Colon to Introduce a Quotation

Pick a quotation that supports your argument and convinces your reader. Usually, it is the results of credible research, an opinion of a characteristics of narrative essay subject matter expert, or confirmed statistics. You can also quote from the text you’re reviewing or critiquing to back up your opinion.

how to introduce quotations

He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2). Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2). Refer to section 25.2 in the Turabian Manual (8th ed.) for details on incorporating quotes into your paper.

How to Put a Quote in an Essay

Do not use two quotations in a row without intervening text of your own. You should always be contextualizing all of your outside material with your own ideas, and if you let quotes build up without a break, readers will lose track of your argument. Quoting is only one of several ways to present textual material as evidence. You can also refer to textual data, summarize, and paraphrase.

Cite the author’s last name and page number in parentheses to cite in MLA. Write out the author’s last name, then list the numerical page number.

Integrating Quotations

If for the sake of brevity you wish to omit material from a quoted passage, use ellipsis points to indicate the omission. Notice how in the paragraph about To the Lighthouse, above, the writer quoted only those portions of the original sentences that related to the point of the analysis. Within a literary analysis, your purpose is to develop an argument about how to start a quote what the author of the text is doing—how the text “works.” You use quotations to support this argument. This involves selecting, presenting, and discussing material from the text in order to “prove” your point—to make your case—in much the same way a lawyer brings evidence before a jury. You don’t want to just drop a quote in your paragraph and keep writing.

  1. Prepare to paraphrase by reading the passage that you want to use several times, cover it, and then write out the ideas of the writer without looking at the original passage.
  2. For example, you would not use the verb describes if the speaker of the quotation is arguing a strong point.
  3. You can use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation.
  4. If quotations are simply dropped into a paper without significant warning, a reader may become confused as to the appropriateness and relevance of that particular quotation.
  5. We can help make sure your quotations are fully integrated into the rest of your text.
  6. The original note had not included an exclamation mark.
  7. It would be hard to write a good essaywithout quoting sources.

Doing this will help your writing flow smoothly and make you seem credible as a writer. There are two rules about verb tense when introducing quotations. However, it is appropriate to use quotations in your writing, especially in research writing. Even in research writing, quotations should be used to support your ideas! Let’s review some guidelines for using quotations in your writing. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to include direct quotations in your writing. If the author’s name appears in the introduction to the quote or in the paraphrase, it doesn’t have to appear in the parenthetical reference, as the citations above illustrate.

Writing and Mini Research Activities Using Quotes

This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language. Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument. This handout will help you decide when and how to quote like a pro. Quoting your sources will help to support your ideas, and should only serve as a portion of your paper.

  1. For MLA formatting, you’ll prepare a Works Cited page, APA formatting requires a References page, and Chicago Style formatting will have either a References page or a Bibliography.
  2. And, when in doubt, you can always submit a document for proofreading.
  3. This unit of text should be positioned one half inch from the left margin, and opening and closing quotation marks are not used.
  4. In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language.
  5. Summarize or paraphrase when it is not so much the language of the text that justifies your position, but the substance or content.
  6. If you’re not paraphrasing , you must put quotation marks around the quote.

Then, create a thesis statement, which is your opinion on the topic or the main message of the essay. Finally, do research to find data and examples that can support your reasons. In the example above, the writer refers to something that was said at a well-known past event, so the quotation is introduced with the past tense .

Notice the Punctuation!

If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes. For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual. The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location. With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.

This technique also applies to multiple phrases or clauses. By submitting this form, I opt in to receive select information and deaf resources from Gallaudet University via email. Based on his research, we can assume Hatfield thinks that our treatment of our environment has been careless (author’s last name p.##). Her preoccupation with her looks suggests that she is too superficial to make her a believable character (author’s last name p.##).


This can undermine your argument and make you lose credibility with your reader. Try not to use more than 1 direct quote in a paragraph. Instead, use a paraphrase or a summary to support your ideas. Paraphrase the quote if you can restate the author’s ideas in your own words. Paraphrasing is when you restate someone else’s ideas in your own words. It’s a great way to incorporate evidence into your paper without using a direct quote every time. Although you don’t need to use quotes around a paraphrase, you do need to cite it.

  1. Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
  2. If the author’s name appears in the introduction to the quote or in the paraphrase, it doesn’t have to appear in the parenthetical reference, as the citations above illustrate.
  3. “Our baby was a boy,” Shukumar tells his wife in the conclusion of Lahiri’s “A Temporary Matter” .
  4. The core/gist/meaning/significance of X’ s argument is that .
  5. Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker.
  6. As before, a parenthetical or footnote citation should follow this passage to acknowledge your source of information.

When you quote another writer’s words, it’s best to introduce or contextualize the quote. Remember that using proper quotation format not only adds polish and smoothness to your paper, it also guards against potential plagiarism. When in doubt as to whether or not to quote, it is always safer to use a quotation. When using quotations in a paper, the quotation should become part of your sentence.

Grammar Tips: Transitive Verbs

There are more descriptive verbs that can introduce a quotation. See the chart below for other words you can use to introduce a quotation. Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses. If you are quoting a profile essay outline passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.

how to introduce quotations

In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the outrageous nature of the parking price change. The original note had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating how long is a thousand word essay the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation. Place all other punctuation marks outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation. In addition, the introduction, also called an attribution, can come after the quotation.

Research Papers

You can use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation. Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon. The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.

how to introduce quotations

In the work that lies ahead, the Lord will ask us to do hard things. First, when writing about a quotation from a book or a news, magazine, research, or internet article, use present tense. Vanderbilt is a private research university how to start off a descriptive essay in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt is optimized to inspire and nurture cross-disciplinary research that fosters discoveries that have global impact. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 2,554,475 times.

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence

You can use a lead-in naming the author or character, followed by a comma. For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets. Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation. Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence. Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma. Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!! ’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly.


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