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Essay Quotations And Citations: User's Guide

25 Mar 2018Essay Writing Guides

One of the essential things included in the essay planning process is preparing quotations and citations that would fit organically into your text and support your main thesis. Why include these elements in your paper? Regardless of the purpose of your college essay, there is one general requirement that you always have to keep in mind – in such assignments you have to provide various facts, examples, and quotes to strengthen your main points.

When it comes to determining the terms quotation and citation that is where many people make a mistake of thinking that these two elements are identical and have no differences between them. In fact, they are absolutely different. When you make an essay citation, you are referencing a specific source but do not provide a direct quote.

For example, you want to include a paragraph of some relevant article in your text and restate its main idea with your own words  – this is a citation. In this case, you can’t just paste the original piece in your text. Quoting, on the contrary, assumes that you will paste a direct phrase or paragraph without changing anything, and that is how these two elements are different.

This is not all you need to know. The format of these components is another important thing. The format is determined by the citation styles and you have to use the one that was specified in the guidelines by your instructor for your academic paper, otherwise, you risk getting a lower grade. 

Types Of Quotations And Examples

How to use quotes in an essay? Below you can find a brief guide on inserting phrases from various sources in your text using the two most common styles – APA and MLA.

  1. MLA style quotations in an essay

Short – In accordance with this style, a short quote is a phrase that is less than four printed lines of prose or three lines of verse. If your phrase meets these requirements regarding length, then you will just need to mark it with double quotes, indicate the author's last name, and specify the page number. Also, you need to include some sort of an introductory text before.

Example: Some critics say that literary fiction “is all but dead in the 21st century” (Smith, 200).

Long – Longer pieces are included in the form of a separate text without using the quotation marks and, as a rule, such pieces go after a colon to make them look organic. These are also followed by the author’s family name and a page in parentheses. It should be indented 0,5 inches and double-spaced.

Example:

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:

They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte, 78)

  1. APA style

Short – Here the format is similar with the MLA format but you also have to write the page number after the following character “p.” and indicate the year.

Example: Some critics say that the literary fiction “is all but dead in the 21st century” (Smith, 2004, p. 200).

Long – The format of longer pieces is also similar to MLA style but have to be followed with a brief reflection on the provided evidence that you write in your own words. They should also be double-spaced and s indented 0,5 inches.

Example:

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:

They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte, 2017, p. 78)

Although it looks simple, almost every student faces difficulties with this matter, which is why we should encourage you not to be afraid of asking for essay writing help if you need it!

Types Of Citations And Examples

  1. MLA citation for an essay

You will need to indicate only the author’s name and page.

Example: In his work, Smith claims that fiction in literature is almost dead in the 21st century (200).

  1. Chicago/Turabian

This style is different from others. Here you can make in-text citations using endnotes or footnotes, which means that you don’t need to include anything except the number of citation after the phrase, but on the endnotes page (or in footnotes) you will need to provide a comprehensive bibliographical information. Look at the example below.

Example: In his work, Smith claims that the fiction in the literature is almost dead in the 21st century.1

1. First and last names of the author, the name of the source, (Place where it was published, the name of the publisher, year), page number.

  1. APA

You have to include the author’s family name, as well as the year of publication and pages included in the parenthesis, within the sentence that includes the phrase.

Example: Smith (2004, p. 200) claims that fiction in literature is almost dead in the 21st century.

We hope that you now have a better idea of how to use citations and quotations in your essay but keep in mind that you can always request professional assistance at a reliable essay writing service if you are having troubles with academic writing, editing, formatting or other issues!

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