LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Using Quotations

A quotation is a reference to an authority or a citation of an authority. There are two types of quotations: direct and indirect.

  1. A direct quotation uses the exact words of an authority and must be identified in your paper with quotation marks and parenthetical documentation.

  2. An indirect quotation, or paraphrase, is a restatement of a thought expressed by someone else that is written in your own style that needs to be documented.


Know when to use quotations


Incorporating quotations into your paper

    Original: Tania Modleski suggests that "if television is considered by some

    to be a vast wasteland, soap operas are thought to be the least nourishing

    spot in the desert" (123).


    Revised: In her critique of soap operas, Tania Modleski argues that some

    view television as "a vast wasteland" and soap operas as "the least nourishing

    spot in the desert" (123).



Note: Overusing quotations can result in "patchwork" writing, a jumble of miscellaneous information from various sources that is merely pieced together. Quotations should fit logically into your text.

Short Quotations

Long Quotations


Example: Robert Hastrow sums up the process in the following passage,

where he compares rays of light to a ball thrown up from the earth and

returning because of the pull of gravity:

The tug of that enormous force prevents the ray of light from leaving

the surface of the star; like the ball thrown upward from the earth, they

are pulled back and cannot escape to space. All the light within the star

is now trapped by gravity. From this moment on, the star is invisible. It

is a black hole in space (65).

Final Reminders