The Length Of A Quote In An Essay: Writing Tips For Dummies

There are many instances where quoting directly from a text or person in a paper is preferable to summarizing it in your own words. First, if you feel that the way the quote says or phrases it is unique or particularly eloquent, quoting it directly will capture not only the original idea of the author, but also their wording and syntax. Second, if you want to attribute the words themselves to the author, not just the idea, than you should quote it directly. And third, if you are analyzing a text and are commenting on the quote itself, then you should quote it directly.

What to include in the quote

It can often be difficult to decide what to include in the quote and what to leave out. A common mistake by students is to include more in the quote than is needed. If the part that you are interested in part of a longer sentence or paragraph, don’t feel that you need to include the whole thing. It is perfectly acceptable to start the quote halfway through the sentence or only to quote a few words, if that is all that is necessary to making your point. So in general, you should only include the part of the quote that is absolutely necessary to making your point. If the quote needs to be set up, with a lead in, you can do that outside of the quotation marks.

Make sure the context is clear

Another common mistake when it comes to using quotes in papers is to include superfluous quotes that don’t really accomplish anything for your argument, or to have floating quotes that you never really explain the context or importance of. So you want to make sure that the context of the quote is clear. You can do this by setting up the quote, or by explaining it after you have presented it.

How to format the quote

Formatting the quote will vary based on the length of it. If the quote is less than three lines of text than you should include it in line with your text. But if the quote is more than three lines of text it is formatted differently. For this length of quote you should center the text and have it indented from each margin and single spaced. With this formatting you also don’t need to use quote marks.

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