Introducing Quotations in your Essay Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

This posting is a bit early because I had a graduate student who asked me a question today and I thought you might benefit from reading my answer.

Personally, I like students to introduce a quotation in their writing, rather than just dumping it into a paper. In this case, the student was writing an APA formatted essay and she wanted to know what I was looking for in an introduction that did not interrupt the flow of her paper. Here is how I replied:

As far as your in-text citations go, let’s pretend that you want to quote Tom Smith who wrote an online  article in 2015. There are no page numbers, but your quote (making sure it is introduced in your essay) would look like this in APA format:

Smith (2015) posits that “here is the quotation” (para. 5).

You will not interrupt the flow of the paper with this type of citation. You can say that Smith does the following, to break up the introductions a bit:

Smith (2015) argues

Smith (2015 contends

Smith (2015) maintains

Smith (2015) states

Now, you are just using different verbs here. Do not use all of them in one paragraph. Rather, since we know Smith is a male, you could just say something like the following, if you are still in the same paragraph but want to use more than one quote from him:

Additionally, he also argues that “here is the quotation” (para. 6).  (Note that we did not use the date here because we already have the 2015 date earlier in the paragraph.)

If you do not use his name in the sentence, your quote might look like the following:

It has been stated that “here is the quotation” (Smith, 2015, para. 7).

I hope this helps you write an in-text citation with an introduction for a quote that does not contain a page number. Yes, you really do need to count the paragraphs!

Best,

Dr. Sheri


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Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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