Can you start a university essay with a quote

In these two examples, observe the forms of punctuation used to introduce the quotations. When you introduce a quotation with a full sentence, you should always place a colon at the end of the introductory sentence. When you introduce a quotation with an incomplete sentence, you usually place a comma after the introductory phrase. However, it has become grammatically acceptable to use a colon rather than a comma:.

If you are blending the quotation into your own sentence using the conjuction that , do not use any punctuation at all:. Arendt writes that "we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war. If you are not sure whether to punctuate your introduction to a quotation, mentally remove the quotation marks, and ask yourself whether any punctuation is still required.

Finally, note that you can deviate from the common pattern of introduction followed by quotation. Weaving the phrases of others into your own prose offers a stylistically compelling way of maintaining control over your source material. Moreover, the technique of weaving can help you to produce a tighter argument. The following condenses twelve lines from Arendt's essay to fewer than two:. What Arendt refers to as the "well-known realities of power politics" began to lose their moral legitimacy when the First World War unleashed "the horribly destructive" forces of warfare "under conditions of modern technology" Familiarize yourself with the various verbs commonly used to introduce quotations.

Here is a partial list:. Each verb has its own nuance. Make sure that the nuance matches your specific aims in introducing the quotation. Vary the way you introduce quotations to avoid sounding monotonous.

Using Quotations: University College Writing Handouts | University College U of T

But never sacrifice precision of phrasing for the sake of variety. Visit the U of T Writing website's page on verbs for referring to sources.


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If your quotation is lengthy, you should almost always introduce it with a full sentence that helps capture how it fits into your argument. If your quotation is longer than four lines, do not place it in quotation marks.

How to write a quote

Instead, set it off as a block quotation :. Although Dickens never shied away from the political controversies of his time, he never, in Orwell's view, identified himself with any political program:. The truth is that Dickens' criticism of society is almost exclusively moral. Hence his lack of any constructive suggestion anywhere in his work. He attacks the law, parliamentary government, the educational system and so forth, without ever clearly suggesting what he would put in their places. Of course it is not necessarily the business of a novelist, or a satirist, to make constructive suggestions, but the point is that Dickens' attitude is at bottom not even destructive.

For in reality his target is not so much society as human nature. The full-sentence introduction to a block quotation helps demonstrate your grasp of the source material, and it adds analytical depth to your essay. But the introduction alone is not enough. Long quotations almost invariably need to be followed by extended analysis.

Simple Tips for Starting Essay with Quotes

Never allow the quotation to do your work for you. Usually, you will want to keep the quotation and your analysis together in the same paragraph. Hence it is a good idea to avoid ending a paragraph with a quotation. But if your analysis is lengthy, you may want to break it into several paragraphs, beginning afresh after the quotation. Once in a while, you can reverse the pattern of quotation followed by analysis. A felicitously worded or an authoritative quotation can, on occasion, nicely clinch an argument.

There is some flexibility in the rule that block quotations are for passages of four lines or more; a shorter passage can be represented as a block quotation if it is important enough to stand on its own. For example, when you are quoting two or more lines of poetry , you will probably want to display the verse as it appears on the page:.

In the opening heroic couplet of The Rape of the Lock , Pope establishes the unheroic nature of the poem's subject matter:. What dire offense from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things. If you choose to integrate verse into your own sentence, then use a slash surrounded by spaces to indicate line breaks:. If you need to alter your quotations in any way, be sure to indicate just how you have done so. In The Mirror and the Lamp , Abrams comments that the "diversity of aesthetic theories.

In all, there will be four periods. See Orwell on Dickens, above. Many people overuse ellipses at the beginning and end of quotations.

Use an ellipsis in either place only when your reader might otherwise mistake an incomplete sentence for a complete one:. Abraham Lincoln begins "The Gettysburg Address" with a reminder of the act upon which the United States was founded: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation. In "The Gettysburg Address" Abraham Lincoln reminds his listeners of the principles that had inspired the creation of "a new nation" 1.

If you need to alter or replace text from the original, enclose the added text within square brackets. You may, for example, need to alter text to ensure that pronouns agree with their antecedents. Do not write,. Alternatively, you can include Gertrude's original phrasing in its entirety as long as the introduction to the quotation is not fully integrated with the quotation.


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  • How to Start an Essay with a Quote: Recommendations, Examples, Pros & Cons?

The introduction can be an independent clause:. Gertrude implores her son Hamlet to stop mourning the death of his father: "cast your nighted colour off" I. You must preserve the punctuation of a quoted passage, or else you must enclose in square brackets any punctuation marks that are your own.

There is, however, one important exception to this rule. You are free to alter the punctuation just before a closing quotation mark. You may need to do so to ensure that your sentences are fully grammatical. Do not worry about how the original sentence needs to be punctuated before that quotation mark; think about how your sentence needs to be punctuated.

Note, for example, that if you are using the MLA system of referencing, a sentence always ends after the parenthetical reference. Do not also include a period before closing the quotation mark, even if there is a period there in the original. However, if you are using footnotes, the period remains inside the quotation mark, while the footnote number goes outside:.

In Canada and the United States, commas and periods never go outside a quotation mark. They are always absorbed as part of the quotation, whether they belong to you or to the author you are quoting:. However, stronger forms of punctuation such as question marks and exclamation marks go inside the quotation if they belong to the author, and outside if they do not:. To start with, the right use of quotes in essays augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays appear more convincing.

Plus, essays with quotes tend to score better than essays without them, because of the initial impact the use of quotes create on the reader, and help strengthen your point. But we need to exercise prudence. At times, an essay can appear painfully discorded if the quotations are out of place or if the essay is too stuffed with quotes. You should start writing your essay with a quote that lays foundation to the main idea behind the essay. This can have a major impact on the evaluator. You can also comment on the quotation in this introductory paragraph if you wish.

Breadcrumbs

Using the exact words from the original source is called quoting. You should quote when you believe that the way the original author expresses an idea is the most effective way to communicate the point you wish to make. If you deploy a lot of quotations in your essay, it appears as though several people are talking about the topic apart from yourself.

This would downplay your own voice and leaves little room for your own ideas. Quote as infrequently as possible. As a rule of thumb, refrain from using more than 2 quotes in any essay. One in the introductory paragraph and the other if necessary in the conclusion. The last thing you would want is get your score cancelled on account of plagiarism.

You should place the quote in double quotation marks.

Here is an example usage citing the author:. This may sound crazy because giving out the questions in advance is not normal. Now, use this to your advantage. Well, there are close to topics in all — far too many to practice responses in advance. Also, practicing each of these topics is not advisable as it is going to take a lot of time and effort and there is no point in mugging them up. You could as well spend this time on learning some math. Just scanning through these two lists will give you an excellent idea of the types of issues and arguments that show up on test day.

I just made things a bit easy for you, though. Most of the topics that show up on the GRE essay section can be broadly grouped into five categories. So, next time when you practice writing an essay response, make sure you write at least one essay from each of these categories.

7 tips on How to use Quotes in an Essay (with Explanations and Examples)

And memorize a few quotes related to each one of these topics, as they will be handy. Bookmark this page NOW for future reference. The following quotes from great thinkers have been selected based on their relevance to common GRE essay topics and for their ease of usage. Now, these are a handful of quotes. While practicing, you may look at the list of quotes found above however, if you can remember a specific quote apposite to your essay topic, try to use it — one quote for every essay. For those avid writers, who believe the number of quotes above are too low, we have the right tool for you.

Ellipsoid created a random quote generator tool that draws 5 famous quotes from Goodreads every time you reload the page.