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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Paranoid about Plagiarism?


What is quotation?

The simplest method of presentation is quotation in which the exact words of another person are used with quotation marks and appropriate citation. 

Example: Dann Wigner said, "I can't think of any impressive quotes right now."

Direct vs. Indirect Quotation

Direct -- Robert Ingersoll condemned those who deny others their civil liberties: "I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample underfoot."

Indirect -- Robert Ingersoll proclaimed that he was the inferior of any man whose rights he trampled underfoot.

Note: Both types of quotation require citation.

Note: Indirect quotation is not generally accepted for academic research, particularly research papers. Do not assume you can use indirect quotation. Ask your professor.

When to quote?

  1. Never quote something just because it sounds impressive. The style of the quotation -- the level of difficulty, the choice of vocabulary, and the degree of abstraction -- should be compatible with your own style. Don't force your reader to make a mental jump from your own characteristic voice and wording to a far more abstract, flowery, or colloquial style.
  2. Never quote something that you find difficult to understand. When the time comes to decide whether to quote, rapidly read the quotation and observe your own reactions. If you become distracted or confused, your reader will be, too.
  3. Quote primary sources -- if they are clear and understandable. A person who witnessed the Chicago Fire has a better claim to have his original account presented verbatim than does a historian, writing decades later. 

Adapted from Writing from Sources, 8th edition, by Brenda Spatt