Quotes don’t speak for themselves!

Do you find yourself struggling to incorporate quotes into your papers? Consider taking a look at the Writing Studio’s handout on quotations, which provides information regarding the conventions and mechanics of quoting as well as some helpful stylistic tips.

One of the most frequent problems professors and writing tutors find in student papers is the unexplained or under-interpreted quote. Though it’s tempting to try and bolster your argument with a quote from one of your sources, a quote without context, interpretation, and analysis can be more harmful to your paper than helpful. And, it will almost surely confuse your readers, who might not find the quote’s meaning clear without explanation. Because the meaning of a quote may not be self-evident, it’s crucial to tell your reader why and/or how the quote you’ve included is important and necessary to your argument!

The Writing Studio handout’s section on introducing and interpreting quotes might be particularly helpful here. It explains how to effectively incorporate a quote into the body of your paragraph and provides examples of how to avoid the problem of the quote without explanation or context.



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