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Also note that for quotations within quotations, we change from double to single quotation marks ('mad emperors' above). This is an obscure area of grammar that drives both students and professors crazy, because the rules vary somewhat between systems of documentation (consult the MLA, APA, or Chicago guides at the library for details).Even some of the printed handbooks in the Writing Center have different rules for this type of punctuation!
In most writing, you should use quotations for one or more of the following specific purposes: Use quotation to reproduce distinctive, admirable, or felicitous phrasing--that is, when a paraphrase would be an inadequate representation.
The ultimate test of whether a quotation is necessary or not is this question: does it help support your thesis?
The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides guidelines/rules for quoting: This article discusses rules for quoting both prose and quotes within quotes. Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.
It also addresses a few special issues, like what to do if there is a spelling error in a quote, as well as how to handle punctuation. If you omit an entire sentence, use ellipses points, and retain rules for end punctuation (always place a period at the end of a declarative sentence).
Additionally, introducing the quote with a signal phrase helps you smoothly incorporate the quotation (“Quotations” 75). Original: “I know I have said this before and will say it again, but it bears repeating: if it’s not in the text, it doesn’t exist.
The rules for quoting prose vary according to how much you quote. We can only read what is present in a novel, play, or film. If something informed the author’s creation of the text but the evidence is not : Foster’s main point is that readers of literature should concern themselves with the evidence in the text. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines. Block quotations are commonly introduced by a clause ending with a colon.The block format itself takes the place of quotation marks.In general, however, use a blank space, three points, then another space when you omit material in the middle of a sentence, and four when skipping between sentences.If you break at the end of a sentence and then move to another, include the final punctuation mark from the first sentence.Consult the MLA Handbook to review additional topics and learn more. If you decide to quote a source in order to support your thesis statement, reproduce the source word for word. In other words, use four periods, with no space before the first or after the last. Unless you use brackets or parentheses (see below), changes to the source’s words, spelling, capitalization, or punctuation cannot be made. Follow this rule for a quotation with an ellipses at the end as well, except when a parenthetical citation follows the ellipses. Periods and commas, whether or not they are part of the quoted material, always go inside the closing quotation marks: Prose quotations that are longer than 4 lines or verse quotations of more than 3 lines should be set off in block format.The text remains double-spaced, with no extra lines before or after the quotation.Once the reader knows which edition of a text you are using, the only information necessary to document a quotation is a line or page number; the format varies slightly depending on the kind of work you are quoting: For poems whose lines are numbered consecutively, from beginning to end, just use line numbers: Note too that since the parenthetical documentation must be considered part of the sentence containing the quoted material to which it refers, it must come after quotation marks but before terminal punctuation (commas, periods, and such at the end of clauses).Thus: Besides mechanical correctness, you should strive for two other goals in your use of quotations: efficiency and grace.