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6.4: Working with Sources- Part II

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    How to Incorporate Quotations into Sentences

    Basic Quotations

    The basic way to write a support sentence with a quote is to introduce the quote with a "signal phrase" and follow it with the appropriate citation (see the following example).

    Sentences with quotations have three parts:

    1. Signal phrase (who said it): Joe said / According to Joe

    2. Quotation (what was said): “Kawabunga!”

    3. Citation (where it was said): (36).

    Exercise 3\(\PageIndex{1}\)

    In the following examples, identify the signal phrase, the quotation, and the citation:

    1. Professor Finkelman said, “College is a glorious adventure for those with the bravery to attempt it” (68).
    2. The report clearly indicated that we were not meeting our sales quota when it stated, “Revenues for next quarter must be revised downwards” (12).
    3. According to the article “Students Who Fold Clothes,” “Part-time work can offer students the best of both worlds” (Chartrand 11).

    Citation and Documentation

    Citations are done in the same way, whether you are quoting or paraphrasing. The author (or the organization if there is no author, or the title of the article if there is no author or organization) should be somewhere either in the signal phrase or the citation. This author, organization, or title should match the entry in the Works Cited page so your reaer can easily find the source if needed.

    Purpose of Citation

    The purpose of citation is not just to avoid breaking plagiarism "rules." Rather, it's an academic convention that acknowledges the other authors in the conversation into which you are entering. Imagine going into a group of people you don't know and not acknowledging them and just starting to talk. You would probably be asked (maybe rudely) to leave. But if you enter that conversation by acknowledging what others are saying and then adding in your piece, the group is more likely to accept our presence. Citation is kind of like that without some of the same inter-personal issues. In addition, citation provides a service to your reader. They may find something you quoted or paraphrased intriguing and want to know more. You citation tells them where to look it up. It's possible your audience may want to fact-check you. Citations allow that too. They show you are transparent and forthcoming with your sources, which provides you with more credibility.

    What to Include in Citations -- Frequently Asked Questions

    Do you need to include the author in the citation, and what if there isn't an author?

    • If you’ve already introduced the author in the signal phrase, you only need to include the page number in parentheses.

    Example: Ms. Tang says, "This student works best under fairly steady supervision" (77).

    • If you have not already included the author’s last name in the signal phrase, put the author’s last name in the parentheses before the page number.

    Example: According to the article “Balancing College and Cash,” “Flexible part-time work can offer students the best of both worlds, but it increases their time-management stress” (Al-Nouri 11).

    • If there is no author, and you don’t mention the article name in the signal phrase, include it in parentheses.

    Example: According to prisoners and nonprofit organizations, “Rikers’ Island prison is a hell hole” (The Prison from Hell 3A).

    Do I always need to put a page number in parentheses?

    Most of the time. If your source is a webpage and has no page numbers, you do not need to include a page number. However, .pdfs online or downloaded from a journal that do have page numbers should include the page number from the .pdf. Almost all printed sources have page numbers.

    Where do I put the period?

    • If no information is needed in parentheses (i.e., a webpage and you mention the author in the signal phrases), include the period inside the close quotation mark.

    Example: According to Muldoon's blog, "erosion has become a serious problem in the North Sea islands."

    • If you do include a citation in parentheses, place a period only after the close parentheses.

    Example: She implores, "We must do something about this" (Muldoon).

    (At this point, if your reader wants to know more, they will look up the full bibliographic entry, listed under "Muldoon," on the Works Cited page.)

    What if my quote includes a question or exclamation mark at the end?

    If your quote includes a question or exclamation mark at the end, include that mark inside the close quotation mark. If your quote is going to have a citation at the end, place a period after the close parentheses. If you do not need to place a citation at the end, you do not need to include any period.

    Example: Josie said, "I can't believe what you're telling me!"

    Quotation Basics: Why and How to Use Them

    Reasons to use quotes:

    To give credit to the author (and avoid plagiarism!)

    To prove or support your points

    To keep the author’s interesting word choice

    To provide the source for your reader.

    How to use use quotes:

    • Choose them AFTER you have decided what your is.
    • Choose them BECAUSE they support your point.


    • Choose them to help you create your point.
    • Put them in the middle of the paragraph, not as a topic sentence or to conclude.
    • Follow every quote with an explanation of how it supports your point.

    Table 6.4.1 explains how to incorporate quotations into your writing.

    Table 6.4.1

    How to put quotations into your writing:

    1. Introduce the quote and who said or wrote it.

    2. Incorporate the quote into a complete sentence to support your point (the quotation does not have to be a complete sentence though; you can incorporate part of a quoted sentence into your own sentence).

    3. Cite the author and the page number.

    4. Analyze the quote (maybe paraphrase first) and its relevance to your point.

    Strategy: PICA (Point, Introduce, Cite, Analyze)





    The following example demonstrates how to use this strategy in a body paragraph.


    Your point: Students should not just assume they need a four-year degree degree to get to where they want to be.

    Introduce: Ben Strickland, senior at the University of Oklahoma, believes in taking a break from the education system to develop a plan. He states, “the truth is this: there is much to be gained by spending time other ways than rigorously studying. College is hardly the only source of education in life. And while you take a break and see the world, college will still be here when you get back-- and, who knows, you might just find a purpose”

    Cite: (Robinson 185).

    Analyze: It is difficult to do well in school if one doesn’t see the point. If people enjoy and can afford to use school to explore their options, they should, but some fields don’t require a Bachelor’s Degree, and some people prefer to find their interests outside of college.

    Exercise 4\(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Read a student’s body paragraph below.

    • Where the writer makes their own point, put a P.
    • Where the writer introduces the quote, put an I.
    • Where the writer cites the quote, put a C.
    • Where the writer analyzes the quote, put an A.

    Example 1:

    _____ Early in their lives, both Malcolm X and Luis Rodriguez were ashamed of their writing skills.

    _____ Malcolm X wrote and rewrote his letters to his religious mentor, Elijah Muhammad. He describes, “At least twenty-five times I must have written that first one-page letter to him, over and over. I was trying to make it both legible and understandable. I practically couldn’t read my handwriting myself; it shames even to remember it”

    _____ (X 172).

    _____ Malcolm X rewrote his letter so many times because his handwriting and his vocabulary embarrassed him (even when he thought about it, years later).

    Example 2:

    _____ Like Malcolm X, Rodriguez had a similar feeling about writing.

    _____ When his teacher first reads his poetry, Luis says, “Yeah, sure-They are no good, _____ right?” (Rodriguez 218).

    _____ Rodriguez just assumed his teacher thought his poems were terrible, before she said anything. Even though he had talent, his feelings of shame prevented him from recognizing it. Both writers persisted through their shame and self-doubt to be able to make use of their gifts.

    What you just read was a paragraph that used two quotes to support its main point, that Malcolm X and Luis Rodriguez both struggled to develop confidence in their ability to write.

    As you can see, the quotes are sandwiched between the student writer’s own words.

    Introducing a Quote: Part I

    How to incorporate a quote into a grammatically correct sentence:

    Use ONE of the following methods:

    First method:

    • According to Tanzina Vega, “….”

    Second method:

    • Tanzina Vega, journalist, writes “….”
    • Tanzina Vega argues that “…”

    First Method

    According to Schwartz, “Most of all, we want work that is meaningful — that makes a difference to other people and thus ennobles us in at least some small way” (1).

    Second Method

    • Carnavale et al write, “Our projections suggest that the economy will create 55 million new job openings over the next decade, and 65 percent, or 37 million, of these new job vacancies will require some postsecondary education and training (1).
    • Holloway adds that “in 2014, Americans outworked several expected other countries, among them Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland and Austria, all countries that (coincidentally, I’m so sure) rank higher than us on the most recent World Happiness survey” (1).

    Exercise 5\(\PageIndex{1}\)


    What kind of punctuation comes before the quote? __________________________________

    What kind comes after? _________________________________________________________

    In the second method, what tense is the verb in? _____________________________________

    Practice both methods to introduce a quote you will use in your essay:

    First method:

    Second method:

    Incorrect Incorporation of Quotations

    Mixing the two above methods:

    According Kali Holloway claims that, “…"

    Using strange sentence structure

    In the article by Carnevale et al, it states that…

    (Who is “it”? Articles can’t “state” things; only writers or speakers can!)

    Using the word "quote"

    Robinson quotes, “…”

    (Quoting is what you are doing by repeating his words; he is not quoting, but writing.)

    Exercise 6\(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Correct the three incorrect examples from above

    Naming the source as you introduce the quote is also an option the first time you use a source (only). But don't do this to much because it can interrupt the flow of you thought or make the sentence too long to digest.


    • In “Race, Ethnicity, and the American Labor Market” Roberta Spalter-Roth and Terri Ann Lowenthal note that the “Creation of ‘ethnic niches’ in certain occupations or industries also affects both the desirability and availability of jobs” (5).
    • Symonds, Schwartz and Ferguson, in their report, Pathways to Prosperity, argue that “When young adults fail to successfully complete a post-secondary degree or credential, it is increasingly difficult for them to find an alternative pathway to success through the labor market” (4).
    • In his memoir, It Calls You Back, Luis Rodriguez recounts, “My writing became an obsession. I wrote whenever I had the chance in the midst of all the drama, with rotating shifts and even sixteen-hour days at the mill” (95).

    Exercise 7\(\PageIndex{1}\)


    What kind of punctuation or formatting is used with article titles? _____________________________________

    What kind of punctuation or formatting is used with longer texts like books? ________________________

    What kind of punctuation surrounds the name of each text? ___________________________

    What is the subject of each sentence above? 1. ______________________________________

    2. __________________________________ 3. ________________________________

    What verb is each subject “doing”? 1. _____________________________________________

    2. __________________________________ 3. ________________________________

    What conclusions can you draw about correct quoting from your observations of subjects and verbs? ____________________________________________________________________


    NOTE: The writer or speaker is usually the subject of a sentence that contains a quote. The verb is usually a present tense action verb like: writes, states, argues, claims, etc.

    Exercise 8\(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Incorporate one of the quotes for your essay correctly using the PICA method and the tips above:

    State the POINT your quote supports:

    INTRODUCE the quote, its writer or speaker, and the text it comes from:

    Insert the quote and CITE it correctly:

    ANALYZE its relevance to your point:

    Exercise 9\(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Find the errors in the citations below and rewrite them correctly: Remember to ask yourself: Who is writing what?

    1. As it quotes in Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson, “attitude can be everything” (Robinson 146).

    2. According to Mike Rose states, tasks like the diagnosis that a plumber has to make while feeling around blindly inside a wall “don’t typically appear on IQ tests but are manifestations of intelligence” (Rose).

    3. In Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson it is stated that, “because they have such a narrow view of ability, school systems usually promote a very wide idea of disability” (Robinson 46).


    This page most recently updated on June 8, 2020.

    This page titled 6.4: Working with Sources- Part II is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Athena Kashyap & Erika Dyquisto (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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