Quotation is a writing technique that repeats others’ expressions, words or passages, especially when they are famous and authoritative, in order to make one’s statements or arguments persuasive and well-founded. As with other writing techniques such as exemplification, compare and contrast, quotation enables writers to illustrate viewpoints with variety and persuasiveness.


In most of circumstances, quotation marks and some typical verbs are indications of quotation. According to Jerry Plotnick, Toronto University College Writing Center, there are some various commonly used verbs to introduce quotation. [1]quotation_verbs.png
Apart from verbs, there are other ways to begin quotations. Here are three commonly used phrasings: [1]

According to....
In sb's view,.....
In the words of sb....

Why Use Quotation

When quotation is manipulated appropriately in writing, it would appeal to readers with impression of convincing works. That is to say, the author is very likely to strengthen the overall persuasiveness and influence of his work on its audience by elaborating his own thoughts on the supportive base of quotations. In addition, good quotations can grace works with variety and readability. Similarly, Duke University concludes the reasons for using quotation in a plain way on its website that “Quotations can spice up a paper, tie your thoughts to a text, and provide concrete examples of what you're talking about.”[2]


Generally, quotation can be divided into two categories, direct quotation and indirect quotation. Those two catogories are differentiated mainly by their fomates and whether quotation marks are attached to.

1. Direct Quotaion

According to Linn-Benton Community College, “a direct quotation is a direct restatement of an author’s words. A direct quotation must match the source word for word, letter for letter, and must be introduced and concluded with quotation marks”.[3]For example, Balzac says, “there is no such thing as a great talent without great will-power.” or "I need to go now" said my wife.

2. Indirect Quotation

An indirect quotation is an expression presenting an author's ideas in one’s own words. It is not concluded with quotation marks. Therefore, indirect quotation is similar to paraphrase to some extent.


1. an example of direct quotation:


2. an example of indrect quotation:


Work cited page

A quotation lacking of source citations for any facts or ideas is apt to be considered as plagiarism or unauthentic. Therefore, to avoid plagiarism, a work cited page should be attached to the paper when quotation is used in writing. There are several citation formats, such as APA and MLA. Three frequently-used MLA citation formats are listed below:
Last name, First name. The Book Title. City: Publisher, Date.
Last, First. "Article Title." Journal Name Volume (Year): Page-Page.
Web site
Last, First. "Article Title." Site Name. Article date. Organization Name. Date of access [6]

There is a website designed to make citation by you filling in all the blanks. In the end, it will form the right citation format for you. Here is an example of citation from books in MLA format [7]:



[2]. http://library.duke.edu/research/plagiarism/cite/directquote.html


[4] http://library.duke.edu/research/plagiarism/cite/directquote.html




External Links