How to use quotations


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How to use quotations


You may decide that a quotation is sometimes more suitable than a paraphrase to support a point that you are making in your academic writing. There are a number of important conventions that you should follow when you use quotations. These also require being able to select and use appropriate reporting verbs and the correct punctuation for any quotations that you use.


In these activities you will learn about the use of quotations in academic writing. You will consider some statements about the use of quotations and practise producing quotations in the correct format for academic writing.

Activity 1: Quoting correctly

In this activity you are going to consider how to use and insert quotations correctly.


Read these statements about using quotations and decide which ones are true and which are false. Select the appropriate button and then read the feedback.

Longer quotations should be indented and should not be part of your main text. You should not use quotation marks. You can use italics or a different font.

You should use as many quotations as possible in your text to show how much research you have done.

Use a reporting verb, such as 'explain' to introduce a quotation. Then include the quotation as part of your text using quotation marks. The final quotation mark should come after the full stop. Single quotation marks are more common than double in this context.

List all of the sources for direct quotations in your bibliography or reference section. A student assignment normally asks for a bibliography AND a reference section.

  Quotations should only be about one sentence in length and no longer.

Activity 2: Applying the conventions when quoting

In this activity you are going to check that you know and can apply the conventions correctly when using quotations. You are going to do this by identifying errors in examples taken from the text of student essays.


Examine these example quotes taken from student writing and look for at least one mistake in each of them. When you have identified the mistake(s), edit them to produce correct versions. Then read the feedback.

Doug Cansdell (2003:56) states that 'prohibitive pricing has caused sales of G3 technology to fall well below expectations'.

In the journal, 'Business Research', [5] Borowski notes that 'few companies actively encourage such research'.

As Wcziskiewicz (1999:37) states 'public spending must increase before we see an improvement in public services'.

Cooper (1995:298) defines drug abuse as, 'drug abuse is the incorrect or improper use of any illegal or legal drug'.

As Baird (2003:12) points out that, 'GM food technology was thought to be in its infancy as little as three years ago'.

As Czerwiec [16] points out, '...the composition of the peel oil from Shima-mikan resembles more closely the oil of the Mediterranean mandarin'.

Clarke [1] reports that the inadequate data collection procedures rendered the experiment meaningless'.

Additional Resources

BibMe’s Free APA Format Guide & Generator

How to Quote a Source

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