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Quotes for Your Paper: Use Them Right

by in Other
Hamlet Reciting

Has it ever happened to you, that you get a suspicious feeling that a certain thing lacks from your essay? It could have great content, brilliant examples, spot-on spelling and grammar, but it still does not receive the mark you wished for. The reasons for this could be plentiful, and the most common among them is that you did not produce the desired effect on your reader. You can easily achieve such impression by adding a quote to your school essay. In this article, our team wishes to present to you the reasons why you should add a quote to brighten your work, and how to do it the right way.

Reasons to Use Them

Please, keep a note that not every type of work requires you to add quotes. Before thinking of decorating your essay with a few direct words, you should consult your professor if he allows the usage of quotes. At the same time, if you are composing an essay on a free topic or listing out your reasons for something, you definitely should use this hidden trick.


The main reason to use quotes is to emphasize on something. You can prove this point by doing an experiment: read an article on any topic that is devoid of quotes, and one that has them. Which one captures your attention better? Which one is more interesting? Which one is more rhythmic? You will find out that just by adding a quote you will get ahold of the reader’s focus much better. There is no harm in using this trick in your works too.

Showing Knowledge


A cheeky reason to use quotes would be to show that you have entirely grasped the material. Some professors love it when you quote their works, or use the quotes from some textbooks that they recommended. To them, it means that not only you have read the material like a diligent student, but also liked it enough to add it to your original essay. It is a good reason to use a quote, as you are sure to receive some bonus points for adding an insightful detail to your essay. You could also quote an external source, and still be praised for your vast knowledge.

Capturing Essence

Instead of writing thousands of words on how the scene in the book got to the culmination, and what the first character said, and which reply did he receive, you could shorten the whole situation to a short quote that captures the essence. Of course, this does not relate only to quoting dialogue. Whenever you feel like the original author has said it better than you, do not hesitate to add a quote. It will make you avoid superfluous words and will show you as someone who knows how to quickly express the purpose of your writing.

Practical Advice

Notebook and Pen

Now that we have covered the main purposes for using quotes, let us give you some practical advice on how to do it right. Even though there is nothing complicated, you should still be mindful of a few details. Pay attention to the points below. Here are some other pieces of advice if you would like some further reading on the topic.

Just Right Size

A huge mistake would be to choose a big quote, and a tiny mistake would be to choose a small one. With big quotes, you will look like someone who does not want to write his own text or someone who does not know how to spot the important details. On the other hand, an overly small quote may be lost on some readers, as they will simply not understand your meaning if they have not read the original source. Choose a quote appropriately. It should be something that is understood without context and provides you with the emphasis and meaning you need in your paper.


If you want to impress your professor with insightful quotes, the biggest mistake would be to use non-existing ones. Please realize that your professor has a wider range of knowledge and plenty of books he has read on the topic, and he will be able to spot a false quote, or discern the mistakes in a misquoted once. Be careful, because even though some quotes are ingrained in society, they still might be unreliable! For example, Sherlock Holmes has never said the phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” that is ascribed to him. Check each quote carefully.

Position in the Text

What is the best position for your quote? The answer is, anywhere is fine, as long as it supports your text. A quote before your essay will be seen as tasteful and will set the tone for the whole paper. A quote after your essay will act as a conclusion for the essay. Anywhere in the text is also appropriate, as long as you know why you are adding it.


Pay attention to the format of the quote, use quotation marks and other appropriate punctuation. Make sure that the font and size coincide with your text. Do not use italics or a bold text if your professor does not allow it, because then it will be deemed inappropriate. Consult with your professor first and use quotes of the appropriate font.


A quote is not complete without the source, make sure to include it! Otherwise it will be considered plagiarism, and it will affect your grade in a bad way. If your quote is from a book by an author, make sure to include the name of the book too.

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