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Writing

Integrating Quotes 

What is quotation integration? Academic papers include cited ideas from other scholars. We show  familiarity with other scholars’ work and build on their thoughts by quoting or paraphrasing them.  

IMPORTANT: Use proper punctuation and phrasing to make it clear which words are your own and which words are the work of another writer. 

Quotations must never stand alone. Your own words must be part of the same sentence as the quotation. You might introduce quotations with state, claim, show, argue, or write. Enclose quotations in quotation marks to distinguish them from your own words. Note: all quotations require citations! Use citation guidelines indicated by your department or Faculty. 

  • Incorrect: Procrastination is a challenge all writers face. “Even professional writers have days when they’d rather clean the toilet than do the writing.” 

  • Correct: Procrastination is a challenge all writers face. As popular writer Octavia Butler explains, “Even professional writers have days when they’d rather clean the toilet than do the writing.” 

  • Correct: Procrastination is a challenge all writers face: “Even professional writers have days when they’d rather clean the toilet than do the writing.” 

Quotations must serve a purpose.  Do not clutter your work with long quotations and avoid block quotations. Quotations must relate directly to your arguments; this means you might only need to quote a single phrase or word instead of an entire sentence. You can use Point—Proof—Explanation so that your thoughts and words appear before and after the quote.  

  • Point is your original idea, stated in your own words. 

  • Proof is supporting evidence from your source in the form of a quotation or paraphrase. 

  • Explanation is analysis of the quotation: how it supports your point and how it fits with your other points and/or your argument as a whole. Explanation is entirely in your own words. 

Change the contents of a quotation only when necessary. You might need to make small grammatical alterations to a quotation to fit the grammar of your own sentence.  Only make changes that are grammatically necessary! Any changes you make must be indicated in square brackets. 

  • Incorrect: Hannah Arendt suggests stories “reveals meaning without the error of defining it.” 

  • Correct: Hannah Arendt suggests stories “[reveal] meaning without the error of defining it.” 

 

Improve your writing and study skills! Book an appointment with a writing advisor and/or academic coach on OSCARplus.  Questions? Email skills@mcmaster.ca

References 

Buckley, J. (2009). Fit to Print: The Canadian student’s guide to essay writing (7th ed.). Toronto: Nelson. 

Lunsford, A. A. (2015). The St. Martin’s handbook (8th ed). Toronto: Nelson. 

Vanier College (n. d.). Integrating quotes. Retrieved from http://www.vaniercollege.qc.ca/tlc/tipsheets/writing/integrating-quotes.pdf 

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