What is the best strategy for Integrating Quotations In Essays?

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Answered by: John, An Expert in the Grammar and Composition - General Category
Most effective essays include quotations from the text about which they are being written or from a variety of secondary sources. Integrating quotations in essays smoothly can turn a routine "book report" into an engaging analysis. To effectively integrate a source into your essay, it is best to use the five step formula:

Transition+Context+Quotation+Citation+Explanation. To begin integrating quotations in essays, you will want to start with a transitional expression that flows naturally from the sentence before. You ought to then briefly identify the context of the quotation: speaker (if any), situation (when and why the quotation appears), and tone (how the quotation was said). Following the context, a comma, semicolon, or colon would then appear, followed by the quotation from your text.

Following the quotation, end the quotation with a closed quotation mark, and include a parenthetical citation in an acceptable form (examples include MLA, APA, and Chicago formats). Following the citation, you should conclude with a proper punctuation mark (a period, for example). The sentence(s) that follow should explain the quotation's relevance as it relates to both your paragraph's topic sentence and the essay's thesis statement in general. The explanation is the most important part of integrating quotations, as it makes it clear to your reader why it is you've included the quoted text within your essay.

Consider the following examples of integrating quotations that follows the formula explained above.

Example one:

Another example of the author's use of simile occurs in chapter eight when Mayor Brandt addresses the City Council in an exasperated tone: "The budget you've proposed is as balanced as the see-saw outside of the Community Center!" (Smith 138). By comparing the latest proposed financial situation to the town's previously-described playground equipment, Mayor Brandt appeals to the council members' sense of pathos. The quotation serves as a prime example of how similes can be used to develop character, as the Mayor's ability to craft an understandable comparison makes him more sympathetic to his fellow characters and to readers.

Example two:

Readers are confronted with the Smith's use of italics to emphasize tone in the second paragraph of the story. After being chastised by her mother for being late for her curfew, Linda exclaims: "The only reason I'm late is because your watch is wrong" (Smith 2). The italicized pronouns, "I'm" and "your" emphasize the conflict that is brewing between mother and daughter. The author thus visually shows readers the sarcasm of Linda's response; they imagine her stressing her difference from her mother in a pointed, brusque tone.

In both examples above, the student writer has crafted sentences that should fit nicely within the paragraphs of his or her essay. The transitional phrases allow for the integration of quotations to occur fluidly, keeping the reader's tempo unhindered by the use of a source text. The context of both quotations is stated concisely and naturally, allowing the reader to know the quotation's situation--regardless of whether he or she has read the source text. The quotation is presented as written, properly cited, and not standing as a sentence by itself. Last, the explanation is strong, tying the quotation back to the central premise of the essay.

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