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Incorporating and Explaining Quotations

It’s important, especially when dealing with more than one text, that you clearly identify each writer’s assertions in your own text. Signaling where a quote comes from or including an author tag is helpful to the reader. Here’s a helpful list* of ways to introduce quotes that will ensure that you’re clearly identifying where the quote came from:

  • X states that, “______________.”
  • As the prominent philosopher puts it, “______________.”
  • According to X, “____________.”
  • X himself writes, “_____________.”
  • In their article, _________, X and Y maintain that, “____________.”
  • Writing for the New York Times, X comments that, “_____________.”
  • In X’s view, “__________.”
  • X agrees when she writes, “_____________.”
  • X disagrees when he writes, “____________.”
  • X complicates matters further when she notes that, “____________.”

Once you've decided to use a quotation, you should also think about how explain or interpret the quote in regards to your writing. Here are some helpful templates* for explaining quotations:

  • Basically, X is saying ___________.
  • In other words, X believes __________.
  • In making this comment, X argues __________.
  • X is insisting that ___________.
  • X’s point is that ___________.
  • The essence of X’s argument is that __________.

  *These templates are adapted from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein's "They Say/I Say": The Moves that Matter in Persuasive Writing.