Essay Format 2 Paragraph Quotes

Integrating the words or ideas from another source is a big part of academic writing. Students must be careful not only to avoid plagiarism, but also to enable readers to fully understand your use of a quote or a paraphrase from a source.

Never insert a quote or a paraphrase abruptly into your writing without first introducing the quote (or paraphrase), citing it, and explaining it This means that you will never begin or end a paragraph with a quote. This method is often referred to as the ICE method of integrating quotes: Introduce, Cite, and then Explain.

  • Introduce. When introducing your quote, you will provide the context of this quote as well as show the source of the quote. The quote cannot do the work for you; you must provide your reader with some idea of why you have chosen to use this quote. You should also tell your reader who is speaking or where this quote came from and the relationship this person or source has to the point you are making. That is, why should your reader take this quote seriously? Is the speaker or the source an authority on the topic?

    Here is an example:

    In the beginning stages of the juvenile justice system, it operated in accordance to a paternalistic philosophy.   This can be understood through the published words of Judge Julian Mack, who had a hand in the establishment of the juvenile justice system. In 1909, he stated...

    This provides the reader with some context, or the points that you are making by including this quote.

    This part provides the reader with who this quote is coming from as well as his relationship or authority on the topic.


    After including the source of the quote, be sure that you use a signal verb to indicate that the source’s words are next. In the example above, you can see that "he stated" has been used to signal the source’s words. Other signal verbs include:


    addsremarksexclaimsannouncesrepliesclaims
    commentsrespondsestimateswritespoints outpredicts
    arguessuggestsproposesdeclarescriticizesproclaims
    notescomplainsobservesthinkspresentsconcludes

    For other options, see our list of signal verbs.


    Templates for introducing quotations:

    X states, "...."
    As the prominent philosophy X puts it, "...."
    According to X, "...."
    X himself writes, "...."
    In her book,...., X maintains that "...."
    In the article,....., X claims that "...."
    In X's view, "...."
    X agrees when she writes, "...."
    X disagrees when he writes, "...."
    X complicates matters further when she writes, "...."

  • Cite. Directly after your quote, you will need to provide the in-text citation. For APA format, this includes the author’s last name only, the year of the publication, and the page number (or paragraph number if there is no page number listed).

    Here is an example:
    In 1909, he stated that this system should treat juveniles “as a wise and merciful father handles his own child” (as quoted in Scott and Steinberg, 2008, p. 16).

  • Explain. After the quote, you will need to explain the significance of the quote. How might it relate to your thesis? Your reader should not have to interpret the quote and what it means or how it helps to support the point you are trying to make. Never leave any room for interpretation. It is your responsibility as the writer to interpret the quote for your reader and provide the significance.

    Using the same quote as above, here is an example of the ICE method: Judge Mack viewed juveniles as children first. He envisioned a system that would protect and give treatment to these young offenders so that they could become productive adults, and saw no place for criminal responsibility and punishment within this system.

    Now, if we look at each step together, this is what we see:

    In the beginning stages of the juvenile justice system, it operated in accordance to a paternalistic philosophy. This can be understood through the published words of Judge Julian Mack, who had a hand in the establishment of the juvenile justice system. In 1909, he stated that this system should treat juveniles “as a wise and merciful father handles his own child” (Scott and Steinberg, 2008, p.16). Judge Mack viewed juveniles as children first. He envisioned a system that would protect and give treatment to these young offenders so that they could become productive adults, and saw no place for criminal responsibility and punishment within this system.

    Context

    Whose words these are and why he is an authority on this topic.

    Quoted material along with citation.

    This part provides the reader with who this quote is coming from as well as his relationship or authority on the topic.

  • Quote the Good Stuff. Beware of using quotations that do not mean anything or add substance to your essay.

    If a source says something so well that you couldn't possibly change it, use it!

    If a source backs up a point you made, use it!

    If you understand what a source is saying, use it! You will have to analyze it later, so understanding it will help you.

  • Avoid Over-quoting. Remember "less is more." Do not pad your essay with other people's ideas.

  • Keep Quotations Short. Keep your quotations 1–2 sentences long or use a few key words/phrases. If you need it all, turn the quotation into a "block quotation," but use them sparingly! "Block" the quotation if it's more than 40 words long. Block the quotation by having it start on a new line and in the same position as a new paragraph.

    Example (Note: Block quotations should not be double–spaced):

    In the chapter "Chicken Man," McBride (1997) narrated his rebellion as a teenager with honesty but without remorse:

    I was obviously hiding, and angry as well, but I would never admit that to myself. The marvelous orchestrated chaos that Mommy had so painstakingly constructed to make her house run smoothly broke down when Daddy died, and Mommy was in no fixing mood. (p. 140)

  • Copy Quotations Correctly. Misspellings and use of incorrect grammar when it's obvious that the source couldn't have made those mistakes affects your own credibility as a writer. Accuracy indicates care for one's work.

    Use brackets when you alter a word or phrase from the quotation. Example: Picciano (2001) stated, "[Distance learning] technologies [have] certain benefits and certain limitations and, as indicated earlier, a best technology does not yet exist" (p. 61).

    Use an ellipsis when you omit words or phrases from the quotation. Use an ellipsis with brackets [...] when you omit an entire sentence. Example: When Fuller (2005) returns home, she explained, "...I was dislocated and depressed" (p. 72).

  • Do Not Start a Paragraph with a Quotation. A paragraph should begin with your ideas. The first sentence of a paragraph is known as the topic sentence or assertion, both of which support the focus of the essay. In turn, the quotation supports the topic sentence.

  • Do Not End a Paragraph with a Quotation. Always conclude the paragraph with your ideas. The last sentence should be part of your analysis of the quotation.

  • How to Use Quotes Effectively

     

    Most, if not all, of your college professors will require you to use research material as a vital component of your writing.  However, this process is not as simple as cutting and pasting sentences (or even worse, paragraphs) from the original texts into your essay.  You need to do more than just parrot information; simple cutting and pasting resorts in an incoherent flow of information in which the diction becomes nearly schizophrenic—literally, a confusion of voices.  Technically, an isolated quotation is called a “free-standing quote.”  It is essential, therefore, for you to integrate quotations into your writing so that the essay flows as smoothly as possible. 

     

    Let’s say you have to write an essay on creativity for your Introduction to Psychology course, and you have decided to make creative writing your focus.  While you were researching, you came across a certain quote that you feel would work effectively in a paragraph in which you analyze the relationship between creativity and perceptiveness. 

     

    Before you try to place the quote in your essay, you need to understand two things: what the quote literally means and how the quote will fit with the context of your paragraph and essay.  The quote will not help your essay if you are unsure of its specific meaning, so be sure to understand any complex vocabulary or ideas.  Second, the placement of quotes should not be haphazard; you should have a definite, specific purpose for placing each quote.  Without such a purpose, your essay will seem random, a quality  successful writing does not possess.

     

    Here is an original quote and three ways to incorporate it into your text.

     

    Being a good poet makes you a good psychologist, it is suggested, one capable of “profound insight,” but being a good psychologist doesn’t seem to make people good poets. 

     


     

    1.  Use a simple introductory phrase.

     

    According to Adam Phillips, the former Principal Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London and the author of many influential books on psychoanalysis, “being a good poet makes you a good psychologist […] but being a good psychologist doesn’t seem to make people good poets” (4).  [MLA]

     

    According to Phillips (2001), “being a good poet makes you a good psychologist […] but being a good psychologist doesn’t seem to make people good poets” (p. 4). [APA]

     

    Here we’ve used a simple “according to” phrase to introduce the quote, and we’ve used ellipses with brackets to use part of quote that we may find most emphatic.  Note the ellipses are in brackets.  Any change you make to the original quote, changes of verb tense, capitalization, etc, need to be bracketed.  Also, you do not need to introduce or end your quotes with ellipses; they are only used with quotes to indicate omitted information in the middle.  In addition to citing our source, we have also qualified our author.  Rather than just providing the name, we have provided relevant context, which strengthens our essay by providing credibility. 

     


    2.  Use an independent clause and a colon.

     

    Creativity is ripe with paradox.  For example, artists often have a complex understanding of human nature while those who have studied  human nature often have no artistic ability: “Being a good poet makes you a good psychologist, it is suggested, one capable of ‘profound insight,’ but being a good psychologist doesn’t seem to make people good poets” (Phillips 4).  [MLA]

     

    Creativity is ripe with paradox.  For example, artists often have a complex understanding of human nature while those who have studied  human nature often have no artistic ability: “Being a good poet makes you a good psychologist, it is suggested, one capable of ‘profound insight,’ but being a good psychologist doesn’t seem to make people good poets” (Phillips, 2001, p 4).  [APA]

     

    The key here is to make sure you have a complete sentence (independent clause) preceding the quote.  If you do not have an independent clause before the quote, the sentence is a fragment.

     


    3.  Incorporate the quote into the context of your sentence.

     

    While “being a good poet” may turn an otherwise uneducated person into “a good psychologist,” the authors of many scholarly texts would not be able to craft a metaphor if their lives depended on it (Phillips 4).  [MLA]

     

    While “being a good poet” may turn an otherwise uneducated person into “a good psychologist,” the authors of many scholarly texts would not be able to craft a metaphor if their lives depended on it (Phillips, 2001, p 4).  [APA]

     

     

     

    This technique is the most sophisticated, but it also has potential for mishap: be sure to make all your verb tenses and pronouns consistent.  If the quote uses a plural verb while your sentence has a singular subject, your sentence will be incorrect grammatically.  Either use brackets to change certain parts of the original quote, or change your sentence to match the quote.  Either way, consistency is the goal.

     

     


     

    Those are three different ways in incorporating quotations into the flow of your essay (thus avoiding the weakness of free-standing quotes).  Which of the three ways is the best?  A well-written documented essay will have examples of all three types, depending on the context of the quote.

     

    You should also be aware of block quotes.  Any quote that fills more than three lines of your paper needs to be offset (blocked) from the rest of your essay. 

     

    As a final note, always remember to cite the quotes correctly with parenthetical citations and a works cited page.

     

     

    Phillips, Adam.  “Poetry and Psychoanalysis.”  Promises, Promises: Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature.  New York: Basic, 2001. 1-34.  [MLA]

     

    Philips, A. (2001).  Poetry and psychoanalysis.  Promises, promises: Essays on psychoanalysis and literature (pp 1-34). New York: Basic.  [APA]

     

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