How to Incorporate
Quotes into your Writing
Creating a Sandwich
What is a quote?
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Quotes are one way of adding concrete details to
your paper. When you quote a text, you use the
exact words of the writer.
Paraphrasing is another way of adding concrete
details to your paper. When you paraphrase, you
change the speaker’s words to your own.
What Should a Quote Accomplish?
A quote is meant to illustrate your point. If it doesn’t,
don’t use it!
Quotes should be…
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brief
relevant to your point
introduced
discussed
Readers need to know:
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who is speaking
when or in what situation the speaker said this
why this quote is important and how it fits in with
your argument
The Sandwich!
Think of a quote as part of a sandwich.
A sandwich needs bread and meat.
The Meat
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Think of the quote as the meat of your sandwich.
Make sure it supports the point you want to make.
The Bread
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Your words are the bread of the sandwich.
The top piece of bread is your introduction to the
quote.
The bottom piece of bread is your discussion of
the quote. This is also called “commentary.”
Making your Sandwich
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Decide on the point you want to make.
Find a quote that illustrates your point.
Introduce your quote.
Write the page number where you found the quote
in parentheses after the quote.
Discuss your quote. Why is it important? How
does it illustrate your point?
Let’s Try It!
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First, decide on the point you want to make. I want to prove that
the residents of Maple Street are allowing fear to turn them into a
mob.
Now, find a quote that illustrates your point. I am going to look at
Les Goodman’s words when he is being threatened by his neighbors.
Next, introduce your quote. I will write:
 As the residents of Maple Street turn on Les Goodman, he warns
them that, “this thing you’re starting – that should frighten you”
(77).
Finally, discuss your quote. My commentary might be:
 Les Goodman makes clear that his neighbors are choosing a path
that can only lead to chaos and the breakdown of their community.
This point will later be echoed by the aliens.
The Whole Sandwich
As the residents of Maple Street turn on Les
Goodman, he warns them that, “this thing
you’re starting – that should frighten you” (77).
With these words, Goodman makes clear that
his neighbors are choosing a path that can only
lead to chaos and the breakdown of their
community. This point will later be echoed by
the aliens.
Introduce Quotes with Vivid Verbs
Some Alternatives to Says
(Notice that they are all in present tense.)
describes
assesses
admits
shows
reports
illustrates
finds
concedes
sees
complains
notes
predicts
concurs
thinks
comments
observes
insists
grants
bemoans
argues
points out
maintains
laments
condemns
states
relates
suggests
warns
supposes
speculates
Parenthetical Citations
This just means that we need to let the reader know who said what and on
what page of the text.
For Example:
As the residents of Maple Street turn on Les Goodman, he warns them
that, “this thing you’re starting – that should frighten you” (77).
Notice:
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the quotation marks around exact words
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the comma leading into the quote
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the page number in parentheses.
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the period at the end of the line.
* If I were using quotes from more than one source, I would put the author’s
name and page number in parentheses, like this: (Serling 77).
In conclusion, ask yourself…
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What is the quote really saying?
Does my quote support my idea?
What do I need my readers to understand?
Have I introduced the quote…the speaker and the
occasion?
Have I discussed the quote?
Paraphrasing
Instead of always quoting a text, add a bit of variety and
put the quote in your own words.
As Les Goodman realizes that his neighbors, the residents of
Maple Street, are turning on him, he predicts that it is their
behavior that will lead to dire consequences. It is this, he
asserts, that should frighten them most.
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Notice that no quotation marks are needed when you are
paraphrasing.
Notice that we always write about literature in present tense.