Chapter 40: QUOTING & PARAPHRASING
How should you add quotations and paraphrases?
Basic Quoting and Paraphrasing
Fitting Quotations & Paraphrases into Sentences
Quotations (with Example)
(Click to go to another page.)
Conclusion: What Do You Get
Out of It?
This chapter goes into more detail about the basics of how to write an
MLA (and APA) bibliography, how to use quotations and paraphrases, and how to
smoothly introduce quotations and paraphrases into your paragraphs through a
technique called "sandwiching." For more details on any of these, please
see "Paraphrasing" and "Quoting" in
And for more
detailed information on how to write bibliographies, see
There also are excellent
examples of quoting, paraphrasing, and bibliography writing in the "Samples"
sections of several chapters in this textbook. Just click below on the following chapters
to go directly to their "Samples" pages:
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A bibliography is a final page,
typed after the last page of your manuscript on a separate page, that lists your sources—books, articles,
Web sites, etc. Different disciplines use different ways of listing.
This example shows an MLA style bibliography, called a "Works Cited" page.
For best results, use a computer program. Some schools provide these.
If your school doesn't, see "Bibliography
Makers" in Chapter 17. of OnlineGrammar.org.
the following in any MLA (or APA) bibliography:
space for every
Type--use same font size and style as the rest of your paper.
Use normal margins--the same margins as in your paper.
your entries starting with the author's last name.
Make "hanging" indents
of 1/2" (.5in): in
MS Word, mark the entire page; then click on “Format/Paragraph/Special/Hanging.”
Number the page(s) that continue the page numbering of your paper.
(If you have done your bibliography
separately and, when you're ready to hand it in you realize your numbering is
not consecutive, simply cross out the incorrect number once, clearly, and neatly
write in the correct number.)
Type a simple bibliography title called "Works Cited": center it;
keep the font size and style the same as in the
rest of the bibliography and paper.
"Works Cited" is just for works you have
quoted or paraphrased.
(What if you have additional sources?
Unused sources that helped you may be added to a separate page titled “Other
Works Consulted." Highly recommended additional sources may be added to a
separate page titled “Selected Bibliography.”)
Note: These titles are for MLA style.
The titles often are
different in APA, CMS, CSE, and other styles.
Here are examples of five types of entries:
Example of an MLA Works Cited Page
In the Land of Magic Soldiers. New York: Farrar, 2003. Print.
brawl.” Star Tribune 23 Nov. 2004. A22. Print.
Catherine. Alice Walker. College of Staten Island of CUNY, 26 Aug. 1997. Web. 15 Nov. 2004.
Michael D. “Explaining Déjà Vu. Time 20 Aug. 2007. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 5 Dec. 2007.
Jacqueline Jones. “From Practice to Theory: Writing across the
Disciplines at Spelman College.” Writing, Teaching, and Learning in the
Ed. Anne Herrington and Charles Moran. New York: MLA, 1992.
Same margins & p. # as for rest of paper
Centered title with no " ", not in bold
ß Book Name
(Titles are in italics.)
ß “News article” (without an author.
Use word “Print” for printed sources.)
ß Web Site (Publisher, publication date.
Has the word “Web.” & your own access date.)
Library Source (Source, date. Name of electronic source. “Web.” Date of your access.)
ß One essay in a
book of many by different authors. (Essay is in “ ” with essay’s beginning and ending p. #s and
the word “Print.”)
Entries alphabetical &
double-spaced with hanging indents
APA entries use slightly different pattern and contents.
For more on bibliographies, see "Chapter 17.
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Basic Quoting and Paraphrasing
How would you use the above entries in your paper?
Generally, use information from each
“Works Cited” entry at least once in your paper, as either a quotation or
a paraphrase. If you have any kind of quotation, paraphrase (idea), fact,
figure, or illustration, of any kind at all that you found or borrowed from
someone else, be sure to add it to your bibliography. However, if it is
your own idea or common knowledge, you do not have to add a source.
are quotations and paraphrases?
They are evidence--details--supporting your thoughts. A “quotation” (“Q”) is a source’s
own words. A “paraphrase” (“P”) is a source’s idea summarized in your
words. AVOID PLAGIARISM—you must give credit to each source. Even accidental
plagiarism can lead to flunking a course or being fired from a job. To avoid
such consequences, give authors credit not only for their words but also for
How do you give credit?
In your paper, state a source name using the first word or two from the
bibliography entry—see the left-hand box immediately below and compare the
author's names below with the same names in the bibliography above. If a page number is available, add it in
your paper in parentheses after the quotation or paraphrase.
Quotations and Paraphrases
Bergner says, “Here, . . . in the
middle of the lowest nation on earth, something baffling . . . had been
created . . . (213).
According to Royster, it is wise for “instructors to ‘image’ what it is
that they see themselves trying to do in the classroom” (122).
“Basketball” says that civil behavior is gradually decreasing in NBA games
(MLA) Is there no author? Then
use the bib. entry's first 1-3 words.
There are specific Web sites placing Alice Walker in the context of other
women writers (Lavender).
Web pages have no p.
#s (but PDF files do).
Author says, “Quotation” (00).
APA style: Author (20XX) said, “Quotation” (p.
According to Author, “Quotation” (00).
APA style: According to Author
(20XX), “Quotation” (p. 0).
Author says that paraphrase (00).
APA style: Author (19XX) said
that paraphrase (p. 0).
MLA style: Paraphrase
APA style: Paraphrase
How do you
know what not to credit?
Do not credit what is common knowledge. Simply write it in your own words.
"Common knowledge" is information similar to what is in a standard dictionary—it
is something a large number of sources know without needing to cite a specific
source. "The moon is in space" or "the earth takes 24 hours to turn once"
are, for example, common knowledge. “Common knowledge” is, as a rule, an idea or fact you can find
in three or more sources, none of which credits a source. Your own ideas
also require no credit; however, if you find a published source also saying it,
you should credit that source, as well. For example, you can write
something like this: "One idea is to ____. This idea also is recognized by
[author's name]." In that way, you can show you thought of the idea on
your own, and then you later found it in an official source. In that way,
you are avoiding even the appearance of committing plagiarism.
Does using the word "says" before
quotations get too repetitive?
When you introduce an
author and then his or her quotation, you should almost always use the word “says,” (or in APA, “said,").
You may occasionally use such very common words as “argues,” “asks,”
“suggests,” “implies,” etc.. You may, very rarely, use “writes.” You
should never say before a quotation, “The author describes,” “The author thinks,” or
"The author quotes” (unless the author is actually quoting another author). Why
should you use "says" (or "said" in APA) and not something fancier, or vary the
words you use? If you use a lot of variety in how you say "says," your
readers will notice it and be drawn away from the content of your paper.
Instead, let the word "says" remain mostly unnoticed, much like the periods at
the ends of sentences. One almost never hears someone complain that the
periods are too boring and need to be varied. That is because they act as
a nearly invisible form of punctuation. So does the word "says."
Using it simply marks the beginning of a quotation.
For details about quoting and paraphrasing, see
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Fitting Quotations & Paraphrases
Here are some tips
for fitting MLA (and APA) quotations into your papers. Other styles will
vary these methods somewhat.
Basic Patterns or Formulas:
The most basic way to
fit a quotation or paraphrase into the flow of your paper is as follows:
Author says, "Quotation" (161).
According to Author, "Quotation" (161).
Author says that "quotation" (161).
Author says that
[Paraphrase] (Author 161).
"Americans believe freedom is important" (161).
According to Smith, "Americans believe freedom is important (161).
Smith says that our citizens "believe freedom is important (161).
Smith says that
citizens value being free (161).
Citizens value being free (Smith 161).
In APA style, these
would look like the following:
Author (2009) said, "Quotation" (161).
According to Author (2009), "Quotation" (161).
Author (2009) says that our citizens "quotation" (161).
Author (2009) said
that [paraphrase] (161).
[Paraphrase] (Author, 2009, 161).
Smith (2009) said,
"Americans believe freedom is important" (161).
According to Smith (2009), "Americans believe freedom is important (161).
Smith (2009) said
that citizens value being free (161).
Citizens value being free (Smith, 2009, 161).
MLA: In MLA,
the basic formula for introducing a quotation is to use the author's last name
with the word "says," with a comma. However, the basic formula for
introducing a paraphrase is to use the author's name with "says that" with no
APA: In APA,
the formula is similar to MLA's, but APA uses the past tense. A
quotation uses the author's last name with the word "said," with a comma.
A paraphrase uses "said that" with no comma. APA also requires the
date of publication immediately after the author's name.
When quoting, a common second option is to use the phrase "According to."
You then add the author's name (and date in APA), and the quotation with the
page number afterward.
Also notice that there are two acceptable ways to paraphrase: you can place the
author's name before or after the paraphrase. The most common way in MLA
is to place the author's name first. The more common way in APA is to
place it after the paraphrase.
However, there are
many variations on these basic formulas. Variations depend partly on the
nature of your quotation or paraphrase and partly on you:
No author name:
What if you don't have the name of the author? The rule for
citing--whether an author or anything else--is to use the first word (or
two) in the bibliography entry. When you don't have an author's name, then
the first word or two almost always is a title. If it is more than a few
words, you may use just the first one to three main words. For example, if
your bibliography entry starts with a book named Applied Psychology of Twin
Behaviors, then your quotation (or paraphrase) might look like this:
Applied Psychology says, "Quotation" (53).
Applied Psychology (2007) said, "Quotation" (53).
Using a title with an author's name: Sometimes a book, essay, or website
is so well known or so authoritative sounding that you may want to introduce a
quotation by a title. This is allowed. However, you always must
include the author's last name, before or after, if you have it. For
example, here are two ways to introduce a paraphrase from a famous book:
The Hobbit suggests that elves, dragons, and
dwarves exist (Tolkien).
Tolkien's The Hobbit suggests that elves, dragons, and dwarves exist.
Quotation within a quotation:
One question that often is asked is how to cite and document
a quotation within a quotation. In other words, what if you have, for example,
an essay that quotes Martin Luther King but does not tell the name, date, or
place of the speech? Here is how to handle it:
IN YOUR PAPER:
Formula: Author of Q, "Q" (qtd. in Other Author XX).
Example: Martin Luther King said he had "been to the
mountain top and seen the Promised Land" (qtd. in Johnson 258).
IN YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Simply add the main author (Johnson, in this example) as your
source. You do not need to worry about finding information on the original
source for the King quotation.
However, in a major term paper or upper-level or graduate
research paper, a different approach is better. If you can, find the
original source of the quotation or paraphrase and then take your quotation or
paraphrase directly from it.
If you use
only a phrase from a sentence in your source, and that phrase is not at the
beginning of the source's sentence, then you can the quotation with a small letter--just
like it is in the source. In such a situation, you can either start the
quotation with "Author says that "quotation," or you can merge the author's
words into your own sentence. You also can make slight changes in a
sentence by using brackets, as long as you don't change the meaning of the
In addition, if the
phrase you take from the sentence is a complete sentence in itself (even though,
in the original, it begins in the middle with a small letter), then you can
capitalize the first letter using brackets.
Here are four
examples of how to quote a phrase from the middle of a sentence:
by an author named "Smith":
"It is likely, as
some psychologists argue, that most ideas have value."
Four methods of quoting the words in the end of his sentence:
"Says that": Smith says that “most ideas have value” (21).
authors like Smith believe "ideas have value" (21).
Authors like Smith believe in "ideas hav[ing] value" (21).
Add a word:
Authors like Smith believe "ideas [can] have value" (21).
Make a bracketed
capital letter: Smith says, "[M]ost ideas have value" (21).
Adjusting for Deleted Words with an
Ellipsis (". . ."):
If you want to leave
unnecessary words out of a quotation, you use an ellipsis to replace the missing
words. You do this to show that you have removed words from the original.
An ellipsis is three dots with a space before and after, and between each one ("
. . . "). Here are several uses of an ellipsis:
“They left Paris at once. It felt like time to go."
Using an ellipsis to show where words have been removed:
"From the middle:
“They left . . .
at once” (21)
“They left Paris. . . .
It felt like time to go" (21).
At the end, no
page number: “They left Paris.
. . .”
At the end w/page
number: “They left Paris
. . .” (21).
Note that if you use an ellipsis at the end of a sentence, you also have a
period. It looks like four dots, but it really is a period first, followed
by the three-dot ellipsis. When a period is present, there is no space
before the period.
There are two common methods of using paraphrases.
One, more common in MLA and history's Chicago/CMS styles, is to add them as you
would a quotation, using a formula such as
Smith says that ___ (16).
or other formulas or methods discussed above.
However, there is another method that is used
especially in APA style and in other styles in which writing must be very
efficient. In this method, you simply make statements in a flow of your
own efficient words. If your statements are your own ideas--or they are
common knowledge--you do not provide citations for them. However, if one
of your statements comes from a source, then you provide a citation. Here
is an example of this kind of writing:
In the 1990s, the West African country of Sierra
Leone endured a terrible civil war. Many authors have documented the
atrocities committed there (Bergner, 2003, Singer, 2005, et al.) Many
atrocities had to do with the use of child soldiers, work and sex slaves, and
the chopping off of hands and arms and other maimings. One particularly
gruesome description of the chopping off of hands is the story of a young man
who describes how one of his arms was laid on a "chopping block" that was an
upended log (Bergner, 2003, pp. 3-7). The first time a boy soldier tried
to cut his forearm off, the machete did not go all the way through, so the boy
soldier had to chop it again. Other civilians simply were shot down
because they were in the way of soldiers stealing food and valuables. Tens
of thousands of civilians died from such atrocities.
For more details about quoting and paraphrasing, see
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When you first add
quotations to an early or rough draft of your paper, it is okay to simply "slap"
them into your paragraphs. However, as you revise, you need to surround
your quotations with a smooth flow of comments that helps your reader
understand, step by step, what you are saying. The ideal reading
experience to give readers is that they almost never notice the actual words,
punctuation, and spacing on your paper on a conscious level; instead, what they
are aware of consciously, is a constant flow of ideas, images, and feelings.
One way to do this
well sometimes is to write your paper for an imaginary reader who knows nothing about your
subject. Your imaginary reader may be someone other than your teacher
– perhaps a friend, relative, another teacher, or someone else who knows nothing
about your specific subject, though he or she may be interested in hearing what
you have to say. This means you will have to explain very clearly and
obviously what you are saying.
Basics of Sandwiching
As you explain, be clear
by using "sandwiching."
means that before your quote, you write an introduction of one to
three sentences; and after it, a conclusion of one to two sentences.
Don’t keep repeating the same
words when you sandwich. But if you are new at sandwiching, you may do
better to practice it a little too much than too little. It can
improve the readability of your papers dramatically.
Here is more detail:
Details of Sandwiching
– Introduce a
quotation by paraphrasing and clarifying it in one or more ways:
(1) Use a transition
such as “For example.”
(2) Paraphrase: summarize briefly what the quotation says.
Clarify: use the 5 W's of journalism, if needed, to give background information for people, places, and events: what is happening – who is in the quotation, what
is going on, and where, when, and why/how.
correctly: Author says, "Xxx" (21).
– Conclude: State
how the quotation helps exemplify, support, or demonstrate what you mean to say or prove in that paragraph or body section.
the main idea
Here is an example without sandwiching (on the left) and without sandwiching (on the
Which is easier to read? Why? What elements of introduction and
conclusion from above were added?
Sandwiched vs. Non-Sandwiched Quotations
Some soldiers worry
about the morality of their actions in war.
Johnson says, "Look, Jake, it was terrible. Wasn’t
there anything different
we could have done” (161)?
worry about the morality of their actions in war. William
Johnson, for example,
discusses such moral reservations in "A Soldier’s Beliefs." There
he describes how he, as a soldier, talked to another soldier, named Jake,
during a break at their base camp. They talked about a tense battle both of
them were in, at a time when several civilians were accidentally killed. Johnson
says, "Look, Jake, it
was terrible. Wasn’t there anything different we could have done” (161)?
Their conversation about this event is an
example of how some soldiers do think—and even talk—about the morality of
their actions in war.
Exercise (Click to go to another page.)
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What Do You Get Out of It?
What do you get out of the act of quoting
and paraphrasing? You'll discover two important events: (1) You'll explore
and discover your topic in deeper, richer, more meaningful ways. (2)
You'll be much more likely to convince or at least sway your reader.
The first point, discovering the topic at
deeper levels, often is what both instructors and students think of the process
of research as doing. However, there are many ways to experience a topic
or subject more deeply and richly that don't necessarily involve careful
research, and some don't even involve going to school. What instructors
and especially students often forget is the concept of audience. For more
on this, see "Audience"
in the chapter in this textbook called "What is College Writing?" In
short, research papers are written not just for one's own development but also
with an audience in mind. That audience is the imagined group of thousands
of similar researchers and instructors in the same field or discipline at
colleges and universities throughout the country.
In most introductory courses in the first
two years of college, if you imagine your audience as excellent students
majoring in these fields, you will have a good sense of an audience that your
instructors will appreciate. In other words, imagine students who might
excel in the field or discipline your class represents. How can you write
your paper logically, clearly, and in interesting ways such that those who are
interested in your idea might find your paper interesting, enjoyable, and
perhaps even useful to read? If it helps you, imagine you are writing your
paper for just one such person in your audience--a friend who knows about the
discipline or field; perhaps you can imagine writing directly to your
instructor, him or herself. In any case, research papers are meant to be
written not just as an expression of oneself, but also in a format of thinking
and writing that fits the discipline or field for which they are being written.
The best student research papers sound
like they might contribute some piece of knowledge to the discipline or field
about which they are writing. Try to imagine you are providing such
knowledge to other students interested in your subject--and do so honestly,
logically, and fairly with plenty of facts, examples, and other details to help
And if you also write your paper smoothly
by inserting your ideas and quotations and paraphrases of others' ideas, then
your paper will be much easier to read. You want both: great information
and a clear reading experience for your audience. Then you will have
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