Using Quotations: When to Use a Quotation
Last updated 5/6/2020
Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Using Quotations” and the video title “When to Use a Quotation.”
Audio: Guitar music
Visual: Slide changes to the title “When to Use a Quotation” and the following:
- Exactly what you’d like to say
- Too specific or full of factual information to paraphrase
- You can use a portion of the quote
- Quotation is not too long
Audio: An important element of integrating sources and using quotations is determining the appropriate times to use a quotation. This is important because not all situations call for a quotation, and generally in academic writing writers use quotations sparingly. Here are our suggestions about when to use a quotation:
You might use a quotation when it is exactly what you would like to say. This might be a case where the original’s author’s phrasing was so specific that the reader really needs to hear exactly what the source said to fully understand the idea.
You might also use a quotation when what you're quoting is just too specific or full of factual information to paraphrase. For example, you might quote a long list of statistics you need to include in your writing.
Another time you might use a quotation is if you’re able to use a partial quotation, using just a small portion of the original author’s wording or shortening a quotation with ellipses.
Similarly, you might also use the quotation if the quotation you’re including isn’t too long so it doesn’t require block quotation formatting, which is applied when quotations are 40 words or more.
Visual: Slide changes to the title “Questions to Ask Before Using a Quotation” and the following list of questions:
- How does this quotation connect to my thesis?
- How does it connect to the topic of this paragraph?
- What does it really mean or imply?
- Can I rephrase it in my own words?
- Is there a portion of the quotation I’d like to use rather than the entire quotation?
- Is what I’d like to quote paraphrased or already quoted information?
Audio: To help you determine if you should use a quotation, you can ask yourself the following questions: How does this quotation connect to my thesis? How does it connect to the topic of this paragraph? What does it really mean or imply? Can I rephrase it in my own words? Is there a portion of the quotation I’d like to use rather than the entire quotation? Is what I’d like to quote paraphrased or already quoted information?
These questions can help you think through the decision of whether to quote or paraphrase a source, so you can use them to help guide your decision making.
Visual: The screen changes to an ending slide with slide a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The email address email@example.com appears on the screen.