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12.3: How to Use Paraphrases and Quotations

  • Page ID
    13197
  • Use signal phrases that mention your source to help your reader distinguish between the source and your own ideas. Do not drop quotes into your paper with no setup or explanation. This is your paper and your arguments must be supported; this includes showing how the quote or paraphrase connects to and proves your ideas. A signal verb introduces the quote that is coming and indicates your stance towards the material.

    acknowledge emphasize
    admit illustrate
    agree note
    argue observe
    assert point out
    claim report
    comment state
    compare suggest
    complain summarize
    describe write

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\)Some Sample Signal Verbs

    Use different verbs of expression to avoid being monotonous but also because some verbs are better for setting up the point you are making. For example, to stress weakness in a source’s argument, you might choose to write that your sourceadmitsorconcedesa point.

    Paraphrase with Signal Phrase

    As the author points out, quotations are great, but sometimes paraphrases are better (DeVries 3).

    Quotation with signal phrase:

    In her diary, the nurse lamented that “one of the most stabbing things in this war is seeing the lines of empty motor ambulances going up to bring down the wrecks who at this moment are sound and fit” (Burton 413).

    Some signal phrases do not make use of verbs but rely on signal phrases likeaccording toorin the opinion oforin the words of.

    How do I Make a Quotation Work with the Grammar of my Own Sentence?

    Each quotation should be an element inside one of your own sentences and should not stand alone.

    Example of an incorrect placement of quotation:

    The author wrote about conditions for nurses during World War I. “One of the most stabbing things in this war is seeing the lines of empty motor ambulances going up to bring down the wrecks who at this moment are sound and fit” (Burton 441).

    Notice that the quotation stands alone. It is not an element within one of your own sentences. Some beginning writers might try to correct the problem by changing the period after “World War II” to a comma. However, that simply tacks one sentence to the end of another and creates a punctuation error. Instead, each quotation must work within the grammar of one of your sentences.

    One way to make a quotation work with sentence grammar is to place it after a verb of expression.

    The author states, “One of the most stabbing things in this war is seeing the lines of empty motor ambulances going up to bring down the wrecks who at this moment are sound and fit” (Burton 498).

    How do I Make a Quotation Work with the Grammar of my Own Sentence if I am not Quoting a Complete Sentence?

    A quoted phrase can play any number of roles in the grammar of a sentence: verb, subject or object, adjective or adverb. Look at the example below and pretend that there are no quotation marks. Would the sentence still be grammatical? Yes. That shows that the quoted material works with the grammar of the sentence.

    The nurse makes the ambulances sound like tow trucks going to retrieve demolished vehicles when she writes that it was horrible to watch “empty motor ambulances going up to bring down the wrecks” of men (Burton 72).

    To integrate a quotation into a sentence, omitting words from the source is acceptable if you follow two rules: use ellipses (…) to signal the omission and avoid distorting the source’s meaning. It is also acceptable to adjust capitalization and grammar provided that you follow two rules: use brackets [ ] to signal the change and, again, avoid distorting the source’s meaning.

    Lessig argues against the position that “[f]ile sharing threatens… the ability of creators to earn a fair return from their creativity” (Lessig 203).

    When he wrote his book, nearly everyone in the music industry felt that “[f]ile sharing threaten[ed]…the ability of creators to earn a fair return from their creativity” (Lessig 203).

    What Punctuation Should I use with Quotations?

    Place quotation marks at the start and the end of direct quotations unless the quotation is long enough to justify the use of the block quotation format (four lines or more).

    The in-text, or parenthetical, citation shows your reader where your quotation or paraphrase ends. In-text citations are inserted after the final quotation marks. An in-text citation is not found in the words that you are quoting; it is something you create to identify the source for your readers.

    If the quotation immediately follows a verb capturing the act of expression, place a comma after the verb:

    As the author wrote, “A free culture has been our past, but it will only be our future if we change the path we are on right now” (Lessig 287).

    Under limited circumstances, a colon (:) can be used to introduce a quotation. The quotation must re-identify or restate a phrase or idea that immediately precedes the colon.

    Lessig reached a radical conclusion about copyrighted material: “It should become free if it is not worth $1 to you” (251).

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