You can use direct quotations or paraphrasing to include someone else’s writing or speech in your own writing. Direct quotations can be formatted as run-in or block quotations. Today’s post explains direct quotations and paraphrasing in more detail…and you can quote me on that!
Direct quotations present the original writer’s or speaker’s words verbatim. Direct quotations can be formatted as run-in or block quotations.
Run-in quotations are woven into your text. They are usually prefaced or concluded with an independent clause or a noun and verb phrase (e.g., “Tom said,” “Jane says,”) identifying the speaker or writer.
Gerry stormed into the conference room: “The mandatory team meeting began at 3:00 p.m., but Joe didn’t show up.”
Susan said, “He went to the warehouse for supplies.”
“Well, he should have let us know,” replied Brian.
Kitchen blogger Bob Smith claims, “The new ACME dish soap will eliminate the need for electric dishwashers within five years.”
Run-in quotation fragments can also be incorporated into a sentence without an introductory phrase.
The researcher said his findings were “solid and represented the available data,” but admitted that “further study should be done if additional information comes to light.”
Visit “How to Introduce Run-in Quotations” for more information and detailed examples.
Block quotations are longer quotations presented as blocks of text indented from your own writing.
You can find additional guidance in my three-part block quotation series:
Block Quotations, Part 1: How to Introduce Block Quotations
Block Quotations, Part 2: How to Format Block Quotations
Block Quotations, Part 3: Block Quotation Issues and Concerns
When paraphrasing, you include someone else’s content, although not their exact words, in your own writing while maintaining the original writer’s or speaker’s thought or idea. Because paraphrasing doesn’t represent your own thought or idea (even if you put a lot of thought into how to write the paraphrased content), the original writer or speaker must be credited either directly in the sentence and/or in a citation, endnote, or footnote to avoid plagiarism.1
According to Professor Sniffledorf, the new rocket technology will allow humans to land on Mars in 2031.
The new rocket technology will allow humans to land on Mars in 2031 (Sniffledorf, 2017).
The in-text citation in the example above, “(Sniffledorf, 2017),” would be accompanied by a corresponding entry in your reference list documenting the author’s or speaker’s name, the source’s location (journal, book, website, etc.), the publisher, and the year of publication, as well as the page numbers, if applicable. Citation formatting varies by style guide, so consult your preferred guide if you are required to follow a specific style.
- The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 13.3; MLA Handbook, 8th ed. (New York: Modern Language Association, 2016), 57–58; Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2020), 8.23–8.24.