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Lawrence: Political Science: Using Quotations

When to Use Quotations

Use quotations sparingly, and only when specific sections of an author's text are particularly interesting, appropriate, or unique; quotations should enhance your writing, not obscure it. If you do use a quotation, make sure that you:

- copy the work accurately

-cite the work appropriately

-format the quotation correctly

Use this citation format when incorporating a quotation into your paper: (Lastname page #). If a quotation spans two pages in your source, cite the page range: (Lastname page #-page #)

"All electronic communications should be considered public documents" (Post 299-300).

Short Quotations (4 Lines or Fewer)

If a quotation runs 4 lines or fewer, incorporate it into the text. For example:

The author notes, "Shakespeare was manifestly drawn to the popular genre of the revenge tragedy because it gave him the opportunity to confront a condition of being and acting" (Knowles 67).

Alternatively, you can incorporate smaller sections of particularly appropriate quotations, instead of a full-sentence quote.

Richard Knowles notes that Shakespeare wrote revenge tragedy quite frequently because it was a convenient and illustrative medium for confronting "a condition of being and acting" (Knowles 67).

Long Quotations (More Than 4 Lines)

Quotations which fill more than four lines (or three lines of poetry) should be set off in a block. Create a block quotation by starting a new line on your page, indenting the entire quote (all lines) one inch from the left margin, and keeping page spacing double-spaced. The first line of your block quotation should not be indented any further than the rest of the quote. No quotation marks are needed, and the parenthetical (in-text) citation is placed after the last line and period of the quotation.

*See the video on the "Formatting Your Paper" tab for more guidance on formatting a block quotation.

In the essay Hamlet and Counter-Humanism, the author argues that contemporary audiences of Shakespeare's time would have understood Hamlet the character's musings as a cultural conversation that was taking place in their time:

The madness of Hamlet takes on a specific form which an audience would have immediately understood in relation to commonplaces of language and civility. The relationship between words and things was a leading preoccupation of the Renaissance. Though some scientists doubted the value of rhetoric and rhetoric itself was open to various abuses, nevertheless the overwhelming humanist assumption was that language somehow defined both man and society; language was a hallmark of civilization. (Knowles 78)