How to quote a text

I frequently see writing like the below: 

Due to the economic conditions in Enniscorthy, Eilis and her brothers need to move to other cities for jobs. ‘Eilis realised that she could not turn down the offer.’ There are not enough jobs in Enniscorthy for everyone and Eilis has been unemployed for a long period already.

Although that is a perfectly ok quote to use in this paragraph, the quote is not fitting inside the student’s sentence (what we call paraphrasing). This sample shows very little except that the student can copy from the book. It is very important that students fit a quote inside their own sentence so that they can show off their technical and analytical skills. There are several ways we can do this: 

  1. Insert the full quote inside another sentence. 

    Due to the economic conditions in Enniscorthy, ‘Eilis realised that she could not turn down the offer’ of working at Miss Kelly’s shop. 

  2. Chop up the quote to fit.

    Due to the economic conditions in Enniscorthy, Eilis is forced to work at Miss Kelly’s shop because she ‘could not turn down the offer’. 

  3. Take out words by using ‘…’ (ellipsis)

    Due to the economic conditions in Enniscorthy, Eilis ‘realised… she could not turn down the offer’ of working at Miss Kelly’s shop. 

  4. Insert words or letters in brackets so it fits grammatically.

    Due to the economic conditions in Enniscorthy, Eilis cannot afford to ‘turn down (any) offer(s)’ of work. 

By paraphrasing, you can show off your technical skills as well as demonstrate that you can effectively use quotes to support your interpretation. Two birds, one stone! 

I hope that was helpful! 

~Shirlaine

Header image credit: Elise Amendola/Associated Press

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