Use of Quotes in MLA format

How do you introduce or contextualize quotes in MLA format of referencing? Quoting the words of an author is an essential technique that helps learners to include information they get from external sources. Use of quotes enables a student to effectively advance their own arguments. However, it is important to note that utilizing quotes in your piece of writing calls for a thorough assessment of the words used. One will want to use quotes that strongly corroborate their claim.  In light of the above information, it is imperative for students to correctly cite the sources they extract quotes from. When using MLA format, do not forget to include the author’s last name and the page number. This article will explain how students can introduce their quotations. Numerous examples that use MLA format have been provided.

Examples of how to Contextualize a Quote

1. The first way of introducing a quote is through the use of a colon.

Examples:

  • Ebert ends his poem on a sarcastic note: “To every woman a happy ending” (25).
  • The setting emphasizes deception: “Nothing is as it appears” (Gowdy, 1).

2. A student can also start a sentence with their own words and then complete it using a quote.

Examples:

  • Michelle’s assignment is to avenge a “foul and most unnatural murder” (Leonardo 712).
  • Everyone was puzzled by the sleeping child, whose “eyes were sparkling like an ocean flower” (Plath 17).

3. You can also contextualize your quote by using an introductory phrase, which is then followed by a comma. It should be noted that the first letter after the quotations marks should be in capital letter. Even if the quote does not start with a capital letter from the source you obtained it from, MLA format requires that you use upper case. However, a square bracket should be used to show the change.

Examples:

  • According to Vargas, “[R]eading is fun” (13).
  • In Vargas’ words, ” . . .
  • In Vargas’ view, ” . . .

4. You can also introduce quoted words using a descriptive verb, which is followed by a comma. However, most professors advise students to refrain from using “says” unless the author spoke the words in an interview. Examples of introductory phases are given below:

Examples:

  • Vargas states, “The film is super-entertaining” (9).
  • Harris  remarks, ” . . .                                                 Vargas  asserts
  • Vargas  writes, ” . . .                                                    *Smith  believes
  • Harris  notes, ” . . .                                                     *Vargas  claims
  • Vargas  comments, ” . . .                                             *Ahmed  disputes
  • Camilla argues
  • Vargas observes, ” . . .
  • Michelle concludes, ” . . .
  • Vargas reports, ” . . .
  • Jane maintains, ” . . .
  • Vargas adds, ” . . .

NOTE: if the introductory phrase ends with “that” or “as”, then a comma should not be included.

For instance:

  • Lee points out that “it is time to address the problem of bullying in schools” (22).
  • Lee describes the book as “a summary of human experience” (17).

Types of Quotes

There are five main types of quotes you can use in your essay. Many students are not aware of them and this is the reason why I figured out that this information might help them. Below are examples of the five types of quotes.

1) Direct Quote: (Also referred to as “original quote”)

According to Jessie Sacket, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, homeownership is the “cornerstone of the American dream. Recently, however, we’ve realized that keeping that dream alive for the future generations means making some changes to how we live today” (36).

2) Direct Quote Using Ellipsis

According to a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, homeownership is the “cornerstone of the American dream…keeping that dream alive for the future generations” is critical (Sackett 36).

3) Direct Quote Using Square Brackets

According to Jessie Sacket, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, homeownership is “[T]he cornerstone of the American dream [which is constitutional]. Recently, however, we’ve realized that keeping that dream alive for the future generations means making some changes to how we live today” (36).

4) From Direct Quote to Indirect Quote: Rewrite in your own words and still credit the author.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Green Building Council reminds us that homeownership is fundamental to the American dream; however, in order to preserve that dream for generations to come, we need to develop more energy-efficient houses and lifestyles today (Sackett 36).

5) Block Quotation: A larger passage takes from the same source:

MLA Block Quotation

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