Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

Tips on Using Quotations in an Essay: How to Quote Properly 

In some essays, the pressure to write formally is not as high as others. Still, the use of quotations in such essays should be approached carefully. Some essay writers use quotations too much in their writing, or are afraid that quotations might distort their meaning in areas where they would have been very useful. Quotations are used extensively in social sciences and humanities, but rarely feature in scientific writing. Here are some general tips on how to use quotations in essay writing effectively.

  • The writer should introduce the quotations in their own words, and then integrate it into the sentence. This transition is important as it does not interrupt the flow of the essay and allows the writer to put the quote into context. It also enables the writer to integrate the quote grammatically into the sentence.
  • The writer should, when writing the quote, reproduce everything said exactly as the person they are quoting said it. They should reproduce even the errors, punctuation, capitalization, and wording, t make sure that the quote does not lose any meaning. If there is any additional information, the writer should include it in square brackets or parentheses if inside or outside the quotations respectively. After errors, the writer should add the word sic in brackets.
  • The writer should always discuss their quotations. Just like it is important to introduce quotations and not have them out of nowhere, the quotation should never be left hanging. The writer should discuss what they mean and relate it to the general point they are putting across in the essay. The writer should keep in mind that quotations are used as illustrations to ideas not as substitutes to the ideas in the essay.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to quote a lot of times in the essay, so the reader should use variety in their quotation. If the writer varies their method of introducing the quotations, then they will appear less repetitive and boring.
  • Perhaps the most important point to consider is punctuation. Punctuation marks when using quotations can make or break the idea. If there is a comma or period, it should be inside the final quotation mark. If there is a colon or semi-colon, they should be outside the final quotation mark. Question and exclamation marks should be inside the final quotation marks.

Quotations help a lot in relaying the original message, but one should be careful when using them.