How To Introduce Quotations In An Essay

Remember that you are required to cite your sources for paraphrases and direct quotes. For more information on MLA Style, APA style, Chicago Style, ASA Style, CSE Style, and I-Search Format, refer to our Gallaudet TIP Citations and Referenceslink.

Words that introduce Quotes or Paraphrases are basically three keys verbs:

  • Neutral Verbs(here)
  • Stronger Verbs(here)
  • Inference Verbs(here)

Neutral Verbs: When used to introduce a quote, the following verbs basically mean "says"

Examples of Neutral Verbs

The authorsays. The authornotes. The authorbelieves. The authorobserves. The authorcomments. The authorrelates. The authordeclares. The authorremarks. The authordiscusses. The authorreports. The authorexplains. The authorreveals. The authorexpresses. The authorstates. The authormentions. The authoracknowledges. The authorsuggests. The authorthinks. The authorpoints out. The authorresponds. The authorshows. The authorconfirms.

Sample Sentences

MLA Style

    • Dr. Billowsaysthat being exposed to television violence at a young age desensitizes children to violence in real life (author's last name p.##).
    • As the authornotes, "In an ideal classroom, both gifted children and learning disabled children should feel challenged" (p.##).
    • Burdowbelievesthat being able to write using proper English grammar is an important skill (author's last name p.##).
    • Dr. Patelobservesthat "most people tend to respond well to hypnotherapy" (p. ##).
    • We see this self doubt again in the second scene, when Agatha comments, "Oh, times like this I just don't know whether I am right or wrong, good or bad" (p. ##).
    • Goeff then relatesthat his childhood was "the time he learned to live on less than bread alone" (p. ##).
    • The author declares, "All people, rich or poor, should pay the same taxes to the government" (p. ##).
    • Godfried remarks, "Ignorance is a skill learned by many of the greatest fools" (author's last name p.##).
    • The article discusses the qualities of a good American housewife in the 1950s (author's last name p.##).
    • After the war is over, the General reports that "It seemed a useless battle to fight even from the start" (p.##).
    • Danelli explains, "All mammals have hair" (p.##).

APA Style

      • The author reveals his true feelings with his ironic remark that we should "just resort to cannibalism to defeat world hunger" (p. ##).
      • Forton expresses disapproval of the American welfare system (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • The author states that "More than fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce" (p. ##).
      • He also mentions, "Many children grow up feeling responsible for their parents' mistakes" (p. ##).
      • Jones acknowledges that although the divorce rate is increasing, most young children still dream of getting married (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • The author suggests that we hone our English skills before venturing into the work force (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • The author thinks that the recent weather has been too hot (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • Folsh points out that there were hundreds of people from varying backgrounds at the convention (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • Julia Hertz responded to allegations that her company was aware of the faulty tires on their cars (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • His research shows that 7% of Americans suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (author's last name, year, p. ##).
      • Jostin's research confirmed his earlier hypothesis: mice really are smarter than rats (author's last, year, name p. ##).

Stronger Verbs: These verbs indicate that there is some kind of argument, and that the quote shows either support of or disagreement with one side of the argument.

Examples of Stronger Verbs

The author agrees . . .The author rejects. The author argues. The author compares. (the two studies)The author asserts.The author admits.The author cautions.The author disputes. The author emphasizes. The author contends. The author insists. The author denies. The author maintains. The author refutes. The author claims. The author endorses.

Sample Sentences

MLA Style

        • Despite criticism, Johnston agrees that smoking should be banned in all public places (author's last name p.##).
        • The author argues that "subjecting non-smokers to toxic second-hand smoke is not only unfair, but a violation of their right to a safe environment" (p.##).
        • Vick asserts that "cigarette smoke is unpleasant, and dangerous" (p.##).
        • The author cautions that "people who subject themselves to smoky bars night after night could develop illnesses such as emphysema or lung cancer" (p.##).
        • Rosentrhaw emphasizes that "second-hand smoke can kill" (p.##).
        • Still, tobacco company executives insist that they "were not fully aware of the long term damages caused by smoking" when they launched their nationwide advertising campaign (author's last name p.##).
        • Though bar owners disagree, Johnston maintains that banning smoking in all public places will not negatively affect bar business (author's last name p.##).
        • Jefferson claims that banning smoking in public places will hurt America's economy (author's last name p.##).

APA Style

        • Johnson refutes allegations that his personal finances have been in trouble for the past five years (author's last name, year, p. ##).
        • Whiley rejects the idea that the earth could have been formed by a massive explosion in space (author's last name, year, p. ##).
        • Lucci compares the house prices in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (author's last name, year, p. ##).
        • Although they have stopped short of admitting that smoking causes cancer in humans, tobacco companies have admitted that "smoking causes cancer in laboratory rats" (p. ##).
        • For years, local residents have been disputing the plans to build a new highway right through the center of town (author's last name, year, p. ##).
        • Residents contend that the new highway will lower property values (author's last name, year, p. ##).
        • The Department of Transportation denies claims that the new bridge will damage the fragile ecosystem of the Potomac River (author's last name, year, p. ##).
        • Joley endorses the bridge, saying "our goal is to make this city more accessible to those who live outside of it" (p. ##).

Inference Verbs: These verbs indicate that there is some kind of argument, and that the quote shows either support of or disagreement with one side of the argument.

Examples of Inference Verbs

The author implies.The author suggests.The author thinks.

Sample Sentences

MLA Style

        • By calling them ignorant, the author implies that they were unschooled and narrow minded (author's last name p.##).
        • Her preoccupation with her looks suggests that she is too superficial to make her a believable character (author's last name p.##).
        • Based on his research, we can assume Hatfield thinks that our treatment of our environment has been careless (author's last name p.##).

One phrase that is often used to introduce a quotation is:

According to the author, . . .

      • According to the author, children with ADD have a shorter attention span than children without ADD (author's last name, year, p. ##).

Handout: Quoting Others

Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2010-11-30 11:18:58

Using the words of others can be tricky business. You typically only want to use a direct quotation in the following situations: if you’re using that statement as a piece of evidence for your own argument, if you’re establishing another’s position, or if another person has said something better and more clearly than you can. 

The main problem with using quotations happens when writers assume that the meaning of the quotation is obvious.  Writers who make this mistake believe that their job is done when they’ve chosen a quotation and inserted it into their text.  Quotations need to be taken from their original context and integrated fully into their new textual surroundings.  Every quotation needs to have your own words appear in the same sentence.  Here are some easy to use templates* for doing this type of introduction:


Templates for Introducing Quotations

X states, “__________.”

As the world-famous scholar X explains it, “________.”

As claimed by X, “______.”

In her article _______, X suggests that “_________.”

In X’s perspective, “___________.”

X concurs when she notes, “_______.”

You may have noticed that when the word “that” is used, the comma frequently becomes unnecessary.  This is because the word “that” integrates the quotation with the main clause of your sentence (instead of creating an independent and dependent clause).  

Now that you’ve successfully used the quotation in your sentence, it’s time to explain what that quotations means—either in a general sense or in the context of your argument.  Here are some templates for explaining quotations:


Templates for Explaining Quotations


In other words, X asserts __________.

In arguing this claim, X argues that __________.

X is insisting that _________.

What X really means is that ____________.

The basis of X’s argument is that ___________.


Interview Situations

1.  What was the most exciting thing you did last summer?  Explain.

2.  Describe a situation when something completely wacky happened.

3.  What’s the strangest thing that happened to you at work?

*These templates are derived from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein's "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, second edition

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