What is a quotation?
A quotation is an exact reproduction of spoken or written words. Quotes can provide strong evidence, act as an authoritative voice, or support a writer's statements. For example:
Critical debates about the value of popular culture often raise the spectres of Americanisation and cultural imperialism, particular issues for a 'provincial' culture. However, as Bell and Bell (1993) point out in their study of Australian-American cultural relations: "culture is never simply imposed 'from above' but is negotiated through existing patterns and traditions." (Bell & Bell 1993, p. 9)
When to quote
- when the author's words convey a powerful meaning.
- when the exact words are important.
- when you want to use the author as an authoritative voice in your own writing.
- to introduce an author's position you may wish to discuss.
- to support claims in, or provide evidence for, your writing.
How to quote
Make sure that you have a good reason to use a direct quotation. Quoting should be done sparingly and should support your own work, not replace it. For example, make a point in your own words, then support it with an authoritative quote.
- Every direct quotation should:
- appear between quotation marks (" ")
- exactly reproduce text, including punctuation and capital letters.
- A short quotation often works well integrated into a sentence.
- If any words need to be omitted for clarity, show the omission with an ellipsis ( ... ).
- If any words need to be added to the quotation, put them between square brackets ([ ]).
- Longer quotations (more than 3 lines of text) should start on a new line and be indented on both sides.