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Humanities Libertexts

2.5: Quoting--Some Special Cases

  • Page ID
    15669
  • Breaking Up and Changing Quotes

    As mentioned, you should quote the smallest possible unit necessary to make your point. Consider this passage from Lindsey Grace's article "Designing games that change perceptions, opinions and even players’ real-life actions"

    "Games offer a unique opportunity to persuade their audiences, because players are not simply listening, reading or interpreting the game’s message – they are subscribing to it. To play a game, players must accept its rules and then operate within the designed experience. As a result, games can change our perceptions, and ultimately our actions."

     

    If you only need part of a quote, it is very important to make sure that the part of the quote you are using doesn’t change the meaning of the quote. Be careful to retain the parts of the quote that accurately represent what the author was originally saying. For example, it would be confusing if you quoted in this way:

    Grace believes that "players are not simply listening, reading or interpreting the game’s message."

     

    If you don't need an entire sentence as a quote, but you do need two parts of that sentence, you can use ellipses to show that you've removed part of the quote. Or, you can embed those parts of the quote within your own sentence: a kind of hybrid quote/paraphrase.

    Grace believes that "Games . . .  persuade their audiences, because players are not simply listening, reading or interpreting the game’s message." 

    OR

    Grace believes that "Games offer a unique opportunity to persuade their audience," which means that we can use games to "change our perceptions, and ultimately our actions."

     

    If you have to change the form of a word, use brackets to show that you've changed the word.

    Grace considers games "persua[sive]" because "players must accept [a game's] rules and then operate within the designed experience."

     

    You don't need to go out of your way to use these tips. In fact, they often take more time that it would to just use the quote as it is. Most often, these tips are most useful when you are including quotes in a summary or paraphrase. 

    Special Cases: Songs and Poems

    When you quote a sentence from an essay or a story, it doesn't matter if you change the line breaks. But, songs and poems have special rules for quoting because the line breaks are so important. Make sure that you quotes show the line breaks and your in-text citations show the line numbers. 

    If you wanted to quote several lines from Kendrick Lamar's song "Swimming Pools," you could format them as a block quote by using a double indent. In general, whenever you are quoting more than 3 lines, you should use a block quote).

    Now I done grew up round some people living their life in bottles
    Granddaddy had the golden flask back stroke every day in Chicago
    Some people like the way it feels
    Some people wanna kill their sorrows (lines 5-8)

    If you want to quote two lines, you can show the line break with a slash.

    In "Swimming Pools," Kendrick Lamar compares bottles of alcohol to swimming pools in the lines "Now I done grew up round some people living their life in bottles / 
    Granddaddy had the golden flask back stroke every day in Chicago" (5-6).

    Special Cases: Quoting a Quote

    Sometimes you will want to quote something that already contains a quote, or you'll want to quote a quote from a text. There are special rules to follow to make sure you provide proper attribution to both the the author the text and the author of the quote. Consider this sentence from the Sarah Boxer article quoted before. 

    As the art historian Claire Bishop notes in Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, one paradox of this sort of participatory work "is that in intensifying convivial relations for a small group of people … it produces greater exclusivity vis-à-vis the general public."

    If you wanted to quote this whole sentence as is, you would need to change the quotation marks inside the quote to single quotation marks.

    Boxer relies on other art critics, as when she makes the point that "As the art historian Claire Bishop notes in Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, one paradox of this sort of participatory work 'is that in intensifying convivial relations for a small group of people … it produces greater exclusivity vis-à-vis the general public.”"

    Or, you could just reuse the quote and give Boxer credit for finding it for you.

    Boxer cites the work of another art critic to make the point that "in intensifying convivial relations for a small group of people … it produces greater exclusivity vis-à-vis the general public" (Claire Bishop, quoted in Boxer).

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