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Handout: Quoting Others

Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2010-11-30 11:18:58

Using the words of others can be tricky business. You typically only want to use a direct quotation in the following situations: if you’re using that statement as a piece of evidence for your own argument, if you’re establishing another’s position, or if another person has said something better and more clearly than you can. 

The main problem with using quotations happens when writers assume that the meaning of the quotation is obvious.  Writers who make this mistake believe that their job is done when they’ve chosen a quotation and inserted it into their text.  Quotations need to be taken from their original context and integrated fully into their new textual surroundings.  Every quotation needs to have your own words appear in the same sentence.  Here are some easy to use templates* for doing this type of introduction:


Templates for Introducing Quotations

X states, “__________.”

As the world-famous scholar X explains it, “________.”

As claimed by X, “______.”

In her article _______, X suggests that “_________.”

In X’s perspective, “___________.”

X concurs when she notes, “_______.”

You may have noticed that when the word “that” is used, the comma frequently becomes unnecessary.  This is because the word “that” integrates the quotation with the main clause of your sentence (instead of creating an independent and dependent clause).  

Now that you’ve successfully used the quotation in your sentence, it’s time to explain what that quotations means—either in a general sense or in the context of your argument.  Here are some templates for explaining quotations:


Templates for Explaining Quotations


In other words, X asserts __________.

In arguing this claim, X argues that __________.

X is insisting that _________.

What X really means is that ____________.

The basis of X’s argument is that ___________.


Interview Situations

1.  What was the most exciting thing you did last summer?  Explain.

2.  Describe a situation when something completely wacky happened.

3.  What’s the strangest thing that happened to you at work?

*These templates are derived from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein's "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, second edition

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