When is it appropriate to quote? When is it okay to paraphrase instead? If these are some of the questions that have been working you up, then you are in luck. In this article, you will see when it’s okay for you to perform either of the actions. However, before we go on any further, it is essential to appreciate the fact that any academic paper you write ought to be guided by your ideas on the assignment topic and how you wish to organize your writing. The supporting information is only for providing credibility to the claims you make in the paper. Thus, it is important not to allow research information to run your assignment.

That said, ideally, it is advisable to paraphrase than to quote even for a book report. Why? Quotations often stick out in writing and thus draw the attention of the reader away from your work. However, if you have to quote, it is best practice to keep your quotations short and to a minimum. Moreover, ensure that your quotes add to, explain, illustrate, or illuminate the arguments you put in your piece.

As a general rule, whenever you provide a direct quotation, it is necessary to include all introductory and contextual information to enable the reader to make sense of it. Also, of equal importance is that the sentence containing the quote should make sense.

A quotation is preferred when you want to show:

  • Authority

If a statement is more convincing when provided directly from the secondary source, it is okay to quote.

  • Precision

Whenever you feel that a critical phrase will be lost in paraphrasing, it is preferable to quote. By doing this, you avoid the possibility of providing misleading info in your paper.

  • Vividness

Quoting is necessary if a source provides information on something in a manner that is mainly descriptive and this might be lost in paraphrasing.

  • Evidence

Direct quoting is the way to go when presenting evidence in your assignment.

Here is what you should avoid when using quotes:

  • Don’t just place a quote in your content randomly but instead, make sure the words you quote from an author also blend and add weight to your own.
  • Don’t include too many quotes in your document. If you are writing a 2000-word paper and you intend to use long direct quotes, don’t put more than three of them. For short quotes, you can limit them to four or five. Write the rest in your own words.
  • If you paraphrase a direct quote, don’t just change a few words in it. You must rewrite the entire quote without changing its meaning or use the quote as it is in your text.

Final Words

Before adding a quote, consider your reasons for doing so. Are you using direct quotes just to fill up space? Is it that you don’t understand the aspect well enough to paraphrase it? Quotes can add value to your writing or water it down depending on how you use them. Overall, don’t overdo their use.