Writing Fundamentals: How to Quote

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Learn How to Quote

Like games, the foundation of writing too entirely depends upon rules. Fluently, writing may not come to all easily, but perfection can be attained with repeated practice.

From a very early age, students are made aware of writing fundamentals. However, this evolves over time. The different purpose of writing, formal or informal, has distinguished styles. For example, articles, essays, letters, paragraphs, blogs, etc. all have their unique format.

What unites them are the writing fundamentals. One such is the use of quotations. The use of a quotation is widespread and known to all. However, the proper application of a quotation often baffles the writers, especially the students and the beginners.

The use of a single quotation, double quotation, and quotation within a quotation portrays different meanings.  Before delving deeper into the question of how to quote, one must first understand:

When Are Quotations Necessary?

Writers, bloggers, publishers use quotations on words, sentences, phrases to indicate that those words do not originally belong to them. Quotations allow writers to use someone else’s writing, from the book, published article, blog, or interview in their writing.

While creating content, writers include other author’s versions in the form of words or sentences to prove or highlight the point they are trying to make through their writing. A second opinion helps writers validate his or her views or statements expressed through the written piece.

Quotation works as a method of source citation, including acknowledging the creator’s hard work. If writers use a portion of other authors’ writing without proper quotation without their consent, the content is considered plagiarized and duplicated. Writers must learn how to use quotation marksto avoid risks of the accusation of plagiarism.

Does the Quotation Help in Avoiding Plagiarism?

Quoting and paraphrasing both are safe ways to avoid plagiarism while using a source for content creation. However, summarizing and paraphrasing are also considered acts of plagiarism just as a blatant copy of words and ideas.

Paraphrasing and summarizing tools available online are hardly reliable. Often they leave out words that put the content at risk of being recognized as a duplicate content. Manual paraphrasing and summarizing is also a tedious task.

First, the task is time-consuming. Second, merely using synonyms for some words is never enough to reduce the chances of plagiarism. All terms of content except the generic terms need to be replaced with the writer’s vocabulary.

Besides, it is safe to say writers must also consider a change of sentence construction and order of words to avoid plagiarism. As a final step before publishing, the written work goes through scrutiny to detect plagiarism. The use of quotations makes the writing quickly pass the check for plagiarism.

How to Quote a Quote?

  • Single Quotes

Single quotes are used to quote the sentences that are in direct speech. Like essays and stories, students are taught to use quotes to include sentences written-in direct speech. Single quotes are also used when writers have the exact words, sentences, and phrases of other writers in their writing.

  • Double Quotes

Double quotes indicate a quote within a quote. For instance: the content creator takes up a few lines from a book that contains direct speech in it. He or she then uses both single quote and double quote.

Using quotations within quotations is not as difficult as it sounds: the single quote is used for the first quotation: the originally quoted words and the double quotations highlight the quotation within that one. This particular style is followed in British writing techniques.

  • American Style

The American style is the exact opposite of the one mentioned above. In American style, the original words or the first quote is marked with a double quotation, and the one within that is demarcated with single ones. 

  • Usage of Comma

The quotation is preceded by a comma in case the quote contains a direct speech. Punctuation inside the quote is also very crucial. More so, because the words belong to someone else, inappropriate use of punctuation may rob the words of their original essence and beauty.

  • Indentation

According to the standardized writing style such as MLA, the quotations must always start from a new line with indented from the left margin. It is mostly applicable if the quotation is a long one. Since the quotation is a citation of the source, the closing quote must be followed by a parenthesis.

  • Acknowledging the Sources

For quotation within quotes, the writer must acknowledge both the sources. The first is the source the writer has received the information from and the original one.

  • Short Quotations

For short quotations, double quotes can be used, followed by elaborate details of the page from where the information has been gathered.

  • Usage of a Dot

At par with the same style, the deletion of one or more words in the exact quotation must be indicated with dots since the writer attempts to portray the author’s same words. Minimal alteration is expected to maintain the flavor of the same.

Many sites and many writers have restrictions over their content that limits the writers’ access to it. Writers should be thoroughly aware of the contents available for users to avoid any chances of accidental plagiarism.


The reason quotations play a significant role in writing is they can change the entire meaning of a sentence if misused. Like any using a comma, quotation marks also need to be placed in the correct position to make a meaningful sentence.

Similar to the plagiarism checker online, multiple other applications enable the writers to detect punctuation, grammar, construction, and spelling errors in sentences.

The user-friendly and fast software also comes with an auto-correct application or feature. In case an error is located within the writing, one can use it to make changes. Creating a flawless written piece is now an art everyone can master.

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