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Writing Guide with Handbook

12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations

Writing Guide with Handbook12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
  1. Preface
  2. The Things We Carry: Experience, Culture, and Language
    1. Unit Introduction
    2. 1 The Digital World: Building on What You Already Know to Respond Critically
      1. Introduction
      2. 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
      3. 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
      4. 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
      5. 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
      6. 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
      7. 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
      8. 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
      9. 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    3. 2 Language, Identity, and Culture: Exploring, Employing, Embracing
      1. Introduction
      2. 2.1 Seeds of Self
      3. 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
      4. 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
      5. 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
      6. 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
      7. 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
      8. 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
      9. 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    4. 3 Literacy Narrative: Building Bridges, Bridging Gaps
      1. Introduction
      2. 3.1 Identity and Expression
      3. 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
      4. 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
      5. 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
      6. 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
      7. 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
      8. 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
      9. 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
      10. 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
      13. Works Consulted
  3. Bridging the Divide Between Personal Identity and Academia
    1. Unit Introduction
    2. 4 Memoir or Personal Narrative: Learning Lessons from the Personal
      1. Introduction
      2. 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
      3. 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
      4. 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
      5. 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
      6. 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
      7. 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
      8. 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
      9. 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
      10. 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    3. 5 Profile: Telling a Rich and Compelling Story
      1. Introduction
      2. 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
      3. 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
      4. 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
      5. 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
      6. 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
      7. 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
      8. 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
      9. 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
      10. 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
      11. Works Cited
    4. 6 Proposal: Writing About Problems and Solutions
      1. Introduction
      2. 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
      3. 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
      4. 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
      5. 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
      6. 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
      7. 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
      8. 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
      9. 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
      10. 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    5. 7 Evaluation or Review: Would You Recommend It?
      1. Introduction
      2. 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
      3. 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
      4. 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
      5. 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
      6. 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
      7. 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
      8. 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
      9. 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
      10. 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    6. 8 Analytical Report: Writing from Facts
      1. Introduction
      2. 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
      3. 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
      4. 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
      5. 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
      6. 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
      7. 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
      8. 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
      9. 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
      10. 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    7. 9 Rhetorical Analysis: Interpreting the Art of Rhetoric
      1. Introduction
      2. 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
      3. 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
      4. 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
      5. 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
      6. 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
      7. 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
      8. 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
      9. 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
      10. 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    8. 10 Position Argument: Practicing the Art of Rhetoric
      1. Introduction
      2. 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
      3. 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
      4. 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
      5. 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
      6. 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
      7. 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
      8. 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
      9. 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
      10. 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    9. 11 Reasoning Strategies: Improving Critical Thinking
      1. Introduction
      2. 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
      3. 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
      4. 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
      5. 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
      6. 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
      7. Further Reading
      8. Works Cited
    10. 12 Argumentative Research: Enhancing the Art of Rhetoric with Evidence
      1. Introduction
      2. 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
      3. 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
      4. 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
      5. 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
      6. 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
      7. 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
      8. 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
      9. 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
      10. 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    11. 13 Research Process: Accessing and Recording Information
      1. Introduction
      2. 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
      3. 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
      4. 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
      5. 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
      6. 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
      7. 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
      8. Further Reading
      9. Works Cited
    12. 14 Annotated Bibliography: Gathering, Evaluating, and Documenting Sources
      1. Introduction
      2. 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
      3. 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
      4. 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
      5. 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
      6. Further Reading
      7. Works Cited
    13. 15 Case Study Profile: What One Person Says About All
      1. Introduction
      2. 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
      3. 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
      4. 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
      5. 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
      6. 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
      7. 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
      8. 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
      9. 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
      10. 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
  4. Navigating Rhetoric in Real Life
    1. Unit Introduction
    2. 16 Print or Textual Analysis: What You Read
      1. Introduction
      2. 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
      3. 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
      4. 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
      5. 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
      6. 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
      7. 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
      8. 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
      9. 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
      10. 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    3. 17 Image Analysis: What You See
      1. Introduction
      2. 17.1 “Reading” Images
      3. 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
      4. 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
      5. 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
      6. 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
      7. 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
      8. 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
      9. 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
      10. 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    4. 18 Multimodal and Online Writing: Creative Interaction between Text and Image
      1. Introduction
      2. 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
      3. 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
      4. 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
      5. 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
      6. 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
      7. 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
      8. 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
      9. 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    5. 19 Scripting for the Public Forum: Writing to Speak
      1. Introduction
      2. 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
      3. 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
      4. 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
      5. 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
      6. 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
      7. 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
      8. 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
      9. 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    6. 20 Portfolio Reflection: Your Growth as a Writer
      1. Introduction
      2. 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
      3. 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
      4. 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
      5. 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
      6. 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
      7. 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
      8. 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
      9. 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
  5. Handbook
  6. Index

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Apply citation conventions systematically in your work, understanding the concepts of intellectual property that motivate documentation conventions.
  • Compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from appropriate sources.

Direct quotations are most effective when you integrate them smoothly into the flow of your paper. You can do this by introducing the source and reason for the quotation in a phrase or sentence. Readers should be able to follow your meaning easily and to understand the relevance of the quotation immediately.

Introduce Quotations

Because readers need to know who is speaking, introduce quoted material with a signal phrase (sometimes called an attributory phrase). A signal phrase is a word or group of words that introduces borrowed or quoted material and informs readers of the source and purpose of the quotation. If the source is well-known, the name alone will be enough of a signal phrase. For example, a first-year student wrote, “Henry David Thoreau asserts in Walden, ‘The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’” (5).

If your paper focuses on the published work itself, introduce a quotation with the work’s title rather than the author’s name, as long as the reference is clear—for example, “Walden sets forth one individual’s antidote against the ‘lives of quiet desperation’ led by the working class in mid-nineteenth-century America” (Thoreau 5). If either the author or the source is not well-known, introduce the quotation with a brief explanation to give readers enough context to understand the quotation—for example, “Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of renown anthropologist Margaret Mead, has become, in her own right, a student of modem civilization.”

Select the Right Signal Phrase

Signal phrases tell readers that the words or ideas that follow come from another source. Signal phrases often contain a verb that indicates the tone or intention of the author. To avoid monotony, vary the placement and words of the signal phrases you use. Note the differences, both slight and significant, in the following signal words and phrases as you integrate some of them into your draft:

acknowledges denies points out
admits emphasizes refutes
agrees endorses reports
argues follows up reveals
asserts grants says
believes illustrates shows
claims implies states
comments insists suggests
concedes maintains thinks
concludes notes writes
declares observes
Table 12.7

Quote Smoothly and Correctly

A direct quotation repeats an author’s or speaker’s exact words. Slight changes in wording are permitted, but these changes must be clearly marked. Although you cannot change what a source says, you do have control over how much of it you use. Because using quotations that are too long can imply that you have little to say for yourself, use only the part of the quotation needed to make your point. Quotations should support your points, not say them for you.

To shorten a quotation to include only the most important information, integrate it smoothly and correctly into the body of your paragraph to provide minimal disruption for readers. Unless the source quoted is itself the topic of the paper (as in a literary interpretation), limit brief quotations to no more than two per page and long quotations to no more than one every three pages. The following examples illustrate both correct and incorrect use of quoted material.

Original Passage

According to one film critic, the plot is exciting, but most of the dialogue “has the energy and impact of day-old gruel, without sugar, spice, or raisins.” In fact, if I had to judge the film on dialogue alone, I’d say, “Save your money.” Most of the characters alternate between a low and intermittent mumble, like a distant helicopter with engine trouble, and garbled whoops, as though speaking in tongues. Perhaps this is the director’s way of trying to mask a cornucopia of cliché-ridden, monosyllabic utterances, which, I agree, are not worth audience attention. Much of the acting is no better. However, some notable exceptions eclipse all the negatives of the script and the bit-part actors.

Omit or Substitute Words Judiciously

Cutting words for the sake of brevity is often useful, but do not distort meaning. Indicate omitted words by using ellipsis points (three dots within a sentence, four to indicate a complete sentence is being omitted). Use brackets ([ ]) to indicate any changes or additions.

Distorted Quotation

“The plot is exciting . . . the dialogue has . . . energy and impact.”

The critic’s words are taken out of context. Negatives are removed, as are the critic’s dismissive comments about the film and the exceptions to the opinion.

Accurate Quotation

“The plot is exciting, but most of the dialogue ‘has the energy and impact of day-old gruel. . . .’ However, some notable exceptions eclipse all the negatives of the script.”

Quotation Marks for Short Quotations

Embed brief quotations in the main body of your paper, and enclose them in quotation marks. The previous examples in this section are brief and would be embedded within paragraphs as normal sentences. According to MLA style guidelines, a brief prose quotation consists of four or fewer typed lines; a brief poetry quotation consists of three or fewer typed lines.

Block Format for Long Quotations

Set quotations of more than four lines in block format. Block quotations are indented but spaced the same as the normal text. Format block quotations as follows:

  • Introduce the quotation in the last line of normal text with a sentence that ends with a colon.
  • Indent one half inch, and then begin the quotation.
  • Do not use quotation marks, as the indentation signals direct quotation.
  • Include the page number, in parentheses, after the end punctuation.

For example, this student writing on Thoreau used a block quotation from Walden to describe the scenery in the author’s own words:

The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore; yet this pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular description. It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long and a mile and three quarters in circumference, and contains about sixty-one and a half acres; a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak woods, without any visible inlet or outlet except by the clouds and evaporation (195).

Explain and Clarify Quotations

Sometimes you will need to explain a quotation’s relevance or meaning in the context of your discussion. For example, one student wrote, “In A Sand County Almanac, author Aldo Leopold invites modern urban readers to confront what they lose by living in the city and mentions the resulting ‘spiritual dangers’: ‘supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery and . . . heat comes from the furnace’ (6). Leopold sees city-dwellers as self-centered children, blissfully but dangerously unaware of how their basic needs are met.”

If you need to clarify what a word or reference means, write your definition or explanation and enclose it within square brackets.

Adjust for Clarity and Accuracy

A passage containing a quotation must follow all the rules of grammatical sentence structure: tenses should be consistent, verbs and subjects should agree, and so on. If the form of the quotation doesn’t quite fit the grammar of your own sentences, you can either quote less of the original source, change your sentences, or make a slight alteration in the quotation. For example, you might write, “Leopold writes that city dwellers assume ‘breakfast comes from the grocery’” or “Leopold writes that city dwellers ‘[suppose] that breakfast comes from the grocery.’” For more information on using quotations, see Editing Focus: Quotations and Quotations.

When to Quote

Reserve direct quotations for cases in which you cannot express ideas better yourself or when the exact words offer the strongest support for your ideas. Use quotations when the original words are especially precise, clear, powerful, or vivid, but ensure they do not substitute for your own thoughts.

  • Precise. Use quotations when the words are important in themselves or when the author makes fine but important distinctions.

    “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil: in its worst state, an intolerable one.”—Thomas Paine

  • Clear. Use quotations when the author’s ideas are complex and difficult to paraphrase. “Paragraphs tell readers how writers want to be read.”—William Blake
  • Powerful. Use quotations when the words are especially authoritative and memorable.

    “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”—John 8:32, King James Version

  • Vivid. Use quotations when the language is lively and colorful, when it reveals something of the author’s or speaker’s character.

    “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”—Mark Twain

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