Do Essays Get Quotes

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Visit the U of T Writing website's page on verbs for referring to sources.

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 you include too much quotation in your essay, you will crowd out your own ideas.

Consider quoting a passage from one of your sources if any of the following conditions holds: Condition 3 is especially useful in essays for literature courses.

Don't just parachute quotations into your essay without providing at least some indication of who your source is.

Letting your reader know exactly which authorities you rely on is an advantage: it shows that you have done your research and that you are well acquainted with the literature on your topic.

In the following passage, the parenthetical reference to the author does not adequately identify the source: The ancient Greeks never saw a need to justify wars that were waged outside the walls of the city state.

"Hence we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war, together with the first notion that there are just and unjust wars" (Arendt 12).

(Almost all of the examples in this handout follow the Modern Languages Association, or MLA, system of citation, which is widely used in the humanities and in those social sciences with a less quantitative approach.) Visit our handout on paraphrase and summary.

Quotations come from somewhere and your reader will want to know where.

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