American Psychological Association

A direct quotation reproduces words verbatim from another work or from your own previously published work. It is best to paraphrase sources rather than directly quoting them because paraphrasing allows you to fit material to the context of your paper and writing style.

Use direct quotations rather than paraphrasing:

  • when reproducing an exact definition (see Section 6.22 of the Publication Manual ),
  • when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or
  • when you want to respond to exact wording (e.g., something someone said).

Instructors, programs, editors, and publishers may establish limits on the use of direct quotations. Consult your instructor or editor if you are concerned that you may have too much quoted material in your paper.

This page addresses how to format short quotations and block quotations. Additional information is available about how to:

  • include page numbers for quotations
  • cite quotations from material without page numbers
  • cite quotations that include errors
  • indicate changes to quotations
  • present quotations from research participants

Quotations are covered in the seventh edition APA Style manuals in the Publication Manual Sections 8.25 to 8.35 and the Concise Guide Sections 8.25 to 8.34

how to insert a quote into an essay

Related handout

  • In-Text Citation Checklist (PDF, 227KB)

Short quotations (fewer than 40 words)

For quotations of fewer than 40 words, add quotation marks around the words and incorporate the quote into your own text—there is no additional formatting needed. Do not insert an ellipsis at the beginning and/or end of a quotation unless the original source includes an ellipsis.

Effective teams can be difficult to describe because “high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another” (Ervin et al., 2018, p. 470).

For a direct quotation, always include a full citation ( parenthetical or narrative ) in the same sentence as the quotation, including the page number (or other location information, e.g., paragraph number).

  • Place a parenthetical citation either immediately after the quotation or at the end of the sentence.
  • For a narrative citation, include the author and year in the sentence and then place the page number or other location information in parentheses after the quotation.
  • If the quotation precedes the narrative citation, put the page number or location information after the year and a comma.
  • If the citation appears at the end of a sentence, put the end punctuation after the closing parenthesis for the citation.
  • If the quotation includes citations, see Section 8.32 of the Publication Manual .
  • If the quotation includes material already in quotation marks, see Section 8.33 of the Publication Manual .
  • Place periods and commas within closing single or double quotation marks. Place other punctuation marks inside quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted material.

Block quotations (40 words or more)

Format quotations of 40 words or more as block quotations:

  • Do not use quotation marks to enclose a block quotation.
  • Start a block quotation on a new line and indent the whole block 0.5 in. from the left margin.
  • Double-space the entire block quotation.
  • Do not add extra space before or after it.
  • If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, indent the first line of each subsequent paragraph an additional 0.5 in. See an example in Section 8.27 of the Publication Manual .
  • Either (a) cite the source in parentheses after the quotation’s final punctuation or (b) cite the author and year in the narrative before the quotation and place only the page number in parentheses after the quotation’s final punctuation.
  • Do not add a period after the closing parenthesis in either case.

Block quotation with parenthetical citation:

Researchers have studied how people talk to themselves:

Inner speech is a paradoxical phenomenon. It is an experience that is central to many people’s everyday lives, and yet it presents considerable challenges to any effort to study it scientifically. Nevertheless, a wide range of methodologies and approaches have combined to shed light on the subjective experience of inner speech and its cognitive and neural underpinnings. (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015, p. 957)

Block quotation with narrative citation:

Flores et al. (2018) described how they addressed potential researcher bias when working with an intersectional community of transgender people of color:

Everyone on the research team belonged to a stigmatized group but also held privileged identities. Throughout the research process, we attended to the ways in which our privileged and oppressed identities may have influenced the research process, findings, and presentation of results. (p. 311)

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How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps

How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

Learn about our Editorial Process

How to use Quotes in an Essay

A quote can be an effective and powerful literary tool in an essay, but it needs to be done well. To use quotes in an essay, you need to make sure your quotes are short, backed up with explanations, and used rarely. The best essays use a maximum of 2 quotes for every 1500 words.

Rules for using quotes in essays:

  • Avoid Long Quotes.
  • Quotes should be less than 1 sentence long.
  • Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples.
  • Use Max. 2 Quotes for 1500 words.
  • Use page numbers when Citing Quotes.
  • Don’t Italicize Quotes.
  • Avoid quotes inside quotes.

Once you have mastered these quotation writing rules you’ll be on your way to growing your marks in your next paper.

How to use Quotes in an Essay

1. avoid long quotes.

There’s a simple rule to follow here: don’t use a quote that is longer than one line. In fact,  four word quotes  are usually best.

Long quotes in essays are red flags for teachers. It doesn’t matter if it is an amazing quote. Many, many teachers don’t like long quotes, so it’s best to avoid them.

Too many students provide quotes that take up half of a paragraph. This will lose you marks – big time.

If you follow my  perfect paragraph formula , you know that most paragraphs should be about six sentences long, which comes out to about six or seven typed lines on paper. That means that your quote will be a maximum of one-sixth (1/6) of your paragraph. This leaves plenty of space for discussion in your own words.

One reason teachers don’t like long quotes is that they suck up your word count. It can start to look like you didn’t have enough to say, so you inserted quotes to pad out your essay. Even if this is only your teacher’s perception, it’s something that you need to be aware of.

Here’s an example of over-use of quotes in paragraphs:

Avoid Quotes that are Too Long

Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors on economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

This student made the fatal mistake of having the quote overtake the paragraph.

Simply put, don’t use a quote that is longer than one line long. Ever. It’s just too risky.

Personally, I like to use a 4-word quote in my essays. Four-word quotes are long enough to constitute an actual quote but short enough that I have to think about how I will fit that quote around my own writing. This forces me to write quotations that both show:

  • I have read the original source, but also:
  • I know how to paraphrase

2. Do not use a Quote to that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph

These are three common but fatal mistakes.

Essay quotes that start sentences or end paragraphs make you appear passive.

If you use a quotation in an essay to start a sentence or end a paragraph, your teacher automatically thinks that your quote is replacing analysis, rather than supporting it.

You should instead start the sentence that contains the quote with your own writing. This makes it appear that you have an  active voice .

Similarly, you should end a paragraph with your own analysis, not a quote.

Let’s look at some examples of quotes that start sentences and end paragraphs. These examples are poor examples of using quotes:

Avoid Quotes that Start Sentences The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. “Children have the ability to learn through play and exploration. Play helps children to learn about their surroundings” (Malaguzzi, 1949, p. 10). Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.

Avoid Quotes that End Paragraphs Before Judith Butler gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex, men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time. “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).

Both these quotes are from essays that were shared with me by colleagues. My colleagues marked these students down for these quotes because of the quotes:

  • took up full sentences;
  • started sentences; and
  • were used to end paragraphs.

It didn’t appear as if the students were analyzing the quotes. Instead, the quotes were doing the talking for the students.

There are some easy strategies to use in order to make it appear that you are actively discussing and analyzing quotes.

One is that you should make sure the essay sentences with quotes in them  don’t start with the quote . Here are some examples of how we can change the quotes:

Example 1: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “children have the ability to learn through play and exploration.” Here, Malaguzzi is highlighting how to play is linked to finding things out about the world. Play is important for children to develop. Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.

Here, the sentence with the quote was amended so that the student has an active voice. They start the sentence with According to Malaguzzi, ….

Similarly, in the second example, we can also insert an active voice by ensuring that our quote sentence does not start with a quote:

Example 2: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice In 1990, Judith Butler revolutionized Feminist understandings of gender by arguing that “gender is a fluid concept” (p. 136). Before Butler’s 1990 book  Gender Trouble , gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex. Men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time.

In this example, the quote is not at the start of a sentence or end of a paragraph – tick!

How to Start Sentences containing Quotes using an Active Voice

  • According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “…”
  • Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) argues that “…”
  • In 1949, Malaguzzi (p. 10) highlighted that “…”
  • The argument of Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) that “…” provides compelling insight into the issue.

3. Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples

Earlier on, I stated that one key reason to use quotes in essays is so that you can analyze them.

Quotes shouldn’t stand alone as explanations. Quotes should be there to be analyzed, not to do the analysis.

Let’s look again at the quote used in Point 1:

Example: A Quote that is Too Long Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults.  “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors in economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.”  (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

This student has included the facts, figures, citations and key details in the quote. Essentially, this student has been lazy. They failed to paraphrase.

Instead, this student could have selected the most striking phrase from the quote and kept it. Then, the rest should be paraphrased. The most striking phrase in this quote was “[poverty] is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761).

So, take that one key phrase, then paraphrase the rest:

Example: Paraphrasing Long Quotes Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. In their analysis, Mistry et al. (2016) highlight that there is a misconception in American society that hard work is enough to escape poverty. Instead, they argue, there is evidence that over 40% of people born in poverty remain in poverty. For Mistry et al. (2016, p. 761), this data shows that poverty is not a matter of being lazy alone, but more importantly  “a consequence of structural and social barriers.”  This implies that poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.

To recap,  quotes shouldn’t do the talking for you . Provide a brief quote in your essay, and then show you understand it with surrounding explanation and analysis.

4. Know how many Quotes to use in an Essay

There’s a simple rule for how many quotes should be in an essay.

Here’s a good rule to follow: one quote for every five paragraphs. A paragraph is usually 150 words long, so you’re looking at  one quote in every 750 words, maximum .

To extrapolate that out, you’ll want a maximum of about:

  • 2 quotes for a 1500-word paper;
  • 3 quotes for a 2000-word paper;
  • 4 quotes for a 3000-word paper.

That’s the maximum , not a target. There’s no harm in writing a paper that has absolutely zero quotes in it, so long as it’s still clear that you’ve closely read and paraphrased your readings.

The reason you don’t want to use more quotes than this in your essay is that teachers want to see you saying things in your own words. When you over-use quotes, it is a sign to your teacher that you don’t know how to paraphrase well.

5. Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays

One biggest problem with quotes are that many students don’t know how to cite quotes in essays.

Nearly every referencing format requires you to include a page number in your citation. This includes the three most common referencing formats: Harvard, APA, and MLA. All of them require you to provide page numbers with quotes.

Citing a Quote in Chicago Style – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990, 136).

Citing a Quote in APA and Harvard Styles – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).

Citing a Quote in MLA Style – Include Page Numbers

  • Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler).
  • Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 136).

Including a page number in your quotation makes a huge difference when a marker is trying to determine how high your grade should be.

This is especially true when you’re already up in the higher marks range. These little editing points can mean the difference between placing first in the class and third. Don’t underestimate the importance of attention to detail.

6. Don’t Italicize Quotes

For some reason, students love to use italics for quotes. This is wrong in absolutely every major referencing format, yet it happens all the time.

I don’t know where this started, but please don’t do it. It looks sloppy, and teachers notice. A nice, clean, well-formatted essay should not contain these minor but not insignificant errors. If you want to be a top student, you need to pay attention to minor details.

7. Avoid quotes inside quotes

Have you ever found a great quote and thought, “I want to quote that quote!” Quoting a quote is a tempting thing to do, but not worth your while.

I’ll often see students write something like this:

Poor Quotation Example: Quotes Inside Quotes Rousseau “favored a civil religion because it would be more tolerant of diversity than Christianity. Indeed ‘no state has ever been founded without religion as its base’ (Rousseau, 1913: 180).” (Durkheim, 1947, p. 19).

Here, there are quotes on top of quotes. The student has quoted Durkheim quoting Rousseau. This quote has become a complete mess and hard to read. The minute something’s hard to read, it loses marks.

Here are two solutions:

  • Cite the original source. If you really want the Rousseau quote, just cite Rousseau. Stop messing around with quotes on top of quotes.
  • Learn the ‘as cited in’ method. Frankly, that method’s too complicated to discuss here. But if you google it, you’ll be able to teach yourself.

When Should I use Quotes in Essays?

1. to highlight an important statement.

One main reason to use quotes in essays is to emphasize a famous statement by a top thinker in your field.

The statement must be  important. It can’t be just any random comment.

Here are some examples of when to use quotes in essays to emphasize the words of top thinkers:

  • The words of Stephen Hawking go a long way in Physics ;
  • The words of JK Rowling go a long way in Creative Writing ;
  • The words of Michel Foucault go a long way in Cultural Studies ;
  • The words of Jean Piaget go a long way in Education Studies .

2. To analyze an Important Statement.

Another reason to use quotes in essays is when you want to analyze a statement by a specific author. This author might not be famous, but they might have said something that requires unpacking and analyzing. You can provide a quote, then unpack it by explaining your interpretation of it in the following sentences.

Quotes usually need an explanation and example. You can unpack the quote by asking:

  • What did they mean,
  • Why is it relevant, and
  • Why did they say this?

You want to always follow up quotes by top thinkers or specific authors with discussion and analysis.

Quotes should be accompanied by:

  • Explanations of the quote;
  • Analysis of the ideas presented in the quote; or
  • Real-world examples that show you understand what the quote means.
Remember: A quote should be a stimulus for a discussion, not a replacement for discussion.

What Bad Quotes Look Like

Many teachers I have worked with don’t like when students use quotes in essays. In fact, some teachers absolutely hate essay quotes. The teachers I have met tend to hate these sorts of quotes:

  • When you use too many quotes.
  • When you use the wrong citation format.
  • When you don’t provide follow-up explanations of quotes.
  • When you used quotes because you don’t know how to paraphrase .

how to use quotes in an essay

Be a minimalist when it comes to using quotes. Here are the seven approaches I recommend for using quotes in essays:

  • Avoid Long Quotes in Essays
  • Do not use a Quote that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph
  • Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples
  • Use a Maximum of 2 Quotes for every 1500 words
  • Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays
  • Don’t Italicize Quotes
  • Avoid quotes inside quotes


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Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations

When you quote another writer's words, it's best to introduce or contextualize the quote. 

How To Quote In An Essay?

To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format.

Use A Full Sentence Followed by A Colon To Introduce A Quotation

  • The setting emphasizes deception: "Nothing is as it appears" (Smith 1).
  • Piercy ends the poem on an ironic note: "To every woman a happy ending" (25).

Begin A Sentence with Your Own Words, Then Complete It with Quoted Words

Note that in the second example below, a slash with a space on either side ( / ) marks a line break in the original poem.

  • Hamlet's task is to avenge a "foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare 925).
  • The speaker is mystified by her sleeping baby, whose "moth-breath / flickers among the flat pink roses" (Plath 17).

Use An Introductory Phrase Naming The Source, Followed By A Comma to Quote A Critic or Researcher

Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets. APA format doesn't require brackets.

  • According to Smith, "[W]riting is fun" (215).
  • In Smith's words, " . . .
  • In Smith's view, " . . .

Use A Descriptive Verb, Followed by A Comma To Introduce A Critic's Words

Avoid using says unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.

  • Smith states, "This book is terrific" (102).
  • Smith remarks, " . . .
  • Smith writes, " . . .
  • Smith notes, " . . .
  • Smith comments, " . . .
  • Smith observes, " . . .
  • Smith concludes, " . . .
  • Smith reports, " . . .
  • Smith maintains, " . . .
  • Smith adds, " . . .

Don't Follow It with A Comma If Your Lead into The Quotation Ends in That or As

The first letter of the quotation should be lower case.

  • Smith points out that "millions of students would like to burn this book" (53).
  • Smith emphasizes that " . . .
  • Smith interprets the hand washing in MacBeth as "an attempt at absolution" (106).
  • Smith describes the novel as "a celebration of human experience" (233).

Other Writing Resources

Enhance your academic writing skills by exploring our additional writing resources that will help you craft compelling essays, research papers, and more.

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What this handout is about

Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument. This handout will help you decide when and how to quote like a pro.

When should I quote?

Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). And quotations are only one type of evidence: well-balanced papers may also make use of paraphrases, data, and statistics. The types of evidence you use will depend in part on the conventions of the discipline or audience for which you are writing. For example, papers analyzing literature may rely heavily on direct quotations of the text, while papers in the social sciences may have more paraphrasing, data, and statistics than quotations.

Discussing specific arguments or ideas

Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:

“At the beginning of World War Two, almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly.”

If it is especially important that you formulate a counterargument to this claim, then you might wish to quote the part of the statement that you find questionable and establish a dialogue between yourself and John Doe:

Historian John Doe has argued that in 1941 “almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly” (Doe 223). Yet during the first six months of U.S. involvement, the wives and mothers of soldiers often noted in their diaries their fear that the war would drag on for years.

Giving added emphasis to a particularly authoritative source on your topic.

There will be times when you want to highlight the words of a particularly important and authoritative source on your topic. For example, suppose you were writing an essay about the differences between the lives of male and female slaves in the U.S. South. One of your most provocative sources is a narrative written by a former slave, Harriet Jacobs. It would then be appropriate to quote some of Jacobs’s words:

Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from North Carolina, published an autobiographical slave narrative in 1861. She exposed the hardships of both male and female slaves but ultimately concluded that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”

In this particular example, Jacobs is providing a crucial first-hand perspective on slavery. Thus, her words deserve more exposure than a paraphrase could provide.

Jacobs is quoted in Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

Analyzing how others use language.

This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language.

Examples of topics that might require the frequent use of quotations include:

Southern colloquial expressions in William Faulkner’s Light in August

Ms. and the creation of a language of female empowerment

A comparison of three British poets and their use of rhyme

Spicing up your prose.

In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language. All quotations, however, must closely relate to your topic and arguments. Do not insert a quotation solely for its literary merits.

One example of a quotation that adds flair:

President Calvin Coolidge’s tendency to fall asleep became legendary. As H. L. Mencken commented in the American Mercury in 1933, “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”

How do I set up and follow up a quotation?

Once you’ve carefully selected the quotations that you want to use, your next job is to weave those quotations into your text. The words that precede and follow a quotation are just as important as the quotation itself. You can think of each quote as the filling in a sandwich: it may be tasty on its own, but it’s messy to eat without some bread on either side of it. Your words can serve as the “bread” that helps readers digest each quote easily. Below are four guidelines for setting up and following up quotations.

In illustrating these four steps, we’ll use as our example, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quotation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1. Provide context for each quotation.

Do not rely on quotations to tell your story for you. It is your responsibility to provide your reader with context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where, and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. So, in providing context for our above example, you might write:

When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression.

2. Attribute each quotation to its source.

Tell your reader who is speaking. Here is a good test: try reading your text aloud. Could your reader determine without looking at your paper where your quotations begin? If not, you need to attribute the quote more noticeably.

Avoid getting into the “they said” attribution rut! There are many other ways to attribute quotes besides this construction. Here are a few alternative verbs, usually followed by “that”:

add remark exclaim
announce reply state
comment respond estimate
write point out predict
argue suggest propose
declare criticize proclaim
note complain opine
observe think note

Different reporting verbs are preferred by different disciplines, so pay special attention to these in your disciplinary reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of any of these words or others you find in your reading, consult a dictionary before using them.

3. Explain the significance of the quotation.

Once you’ve inserted your quotation, along with its context and attribution, don’t stop! Your reader still needs your assessment of why the quotation holds significance for your paper. Using our Roosevelt example, if you were writing a paper on the first one-hundred days of FDR’s administration, you might follow the quotation by linking it to that topic:

With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.

4. Provide a citation for the quotation.

All quotations, just like all paraphrases, require a formal citation. For more details about particular citation formats, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . In general, you should remember one rule of thumb: Place the parenthetical reference or footnote/endnote number after—not within—the closed quotation mark.

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Roosevelt, Public Papers, 11).

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1

How do I embed a quotation into a sentence?

In general, avoid leaving quotes as sentences unto themselves. Even if you have provided some context for the quote, a quote standing alone can disrupt your flow.  Take a look at this example:

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

Standing by itself, the quote’s connection to the preceding sentence is unclear. There are several ways to incorporate a quote more smoothly:

Lead into the quote with a colon.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.

Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (Rowling, p. 176).

The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker. Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.

“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2).

“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Dividing the quote may highlight a particular nuance of the quote’s meaning. In the first example, the division calls attention to the two parts of Hamlet’s claim. The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular. As you decide whether or not you want to break up a quote, you should consider the shift in emphasis that the division might create.

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence.

When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression.

Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma.

The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

How much should I quote?

As few words as possible. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, so quote only the most pithy and memorable parts of sources. Here are guidelines for selecting quoted material judiciously:

Excerpt fragments.

Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented:

“I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:

Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

Excerpt those fragments carefully!

Quoting the words of others carries a big responsibility. Misquoting misrepresents the ideas of others. Here’s a classic example of a misquote:

John Adams has often been quoted as having said: “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here’s the rest of the quotation:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

As you can see from this example, context matters!

This example is from Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press, 1989).

Use block quotations sparingly.

There may be times when you need to quote long passages. However, you should use block quotations only when you fear that omitting any words will destroy the integrity of the passage. If that passage exceeds four lines (some sources say five), then set it off as a block quotation.

Be sure you are handling block quotes correctly in papers for different academic disciplines–check the index of the citation style guide you are using. Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations:

  • Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon.
  • Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.
  • Single space or double space within the block quotation, depending on the style guidelines of your discipline (MLA, CSE, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
  • Place parenthetical citation according to your style guide (usually after the period following the last sentence of the quote).
  • Follow up a block quotation with your own words.

So, using the above example from John Adams, here’s how you might include a block quotation:

After reading several doctrinally rigid tracts, John Adams recalled the zealous ranting of his former teacher, Joseph Cleverly, and minister, Lemuel Bryant. He expressed his ambivalence toward religion in an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson:

Adams clearly appreciated religion, even if he often questioned its promotion.

How do I combine quotation marks with other punctuation marks?

It can be confusing when you start combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. You should consult a style manual for complicated situations, but the following two rules apply to most cases:

Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.

So, for example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.”

In the above example, both the comma and period were enclosed in the quotation marks. The main exception to this rule involves the use of internal citations, which always precede the last period of the sentence. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries” (Poe 167).

Note, however, that the period remains inside the quotation marks when your citation style involves superscript footnotes or endnotes. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.” 2

Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.

Take a look at the following examples:

I couldn’t believe it when my friend passed me a note in the cafe saying the management “started charging $15 per hour for parking”!

The coach yelled, “Run!”

In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the outrageous nature of the parking price change. The original note had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation.

How do I indicate quotations within quotations?

If you are quoting a passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.

Here’s an example of a quotation within a quotation:

In “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “‘But the Emperor has nothing on at all!’ cried a little child.”

Remember to consult your style guide to determine how to properly cite a quote within a quote.

When do I use those three dots ( . . . )?

Whenever you want to leave out material from within a quotation, you need to use an ellipsis, which is a series of three periods, each of which should be preceded and followed by a space. So, an ellipsis in this sentence would look like . . . this. There are a few rules to follow when using ellipses:

Be sure that you don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the quotation by omitting material.

Take a look at the following example:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus and serves the entire UNC community.”

“The Writing Center . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location.

Do not use ellipses at the beginning or ending of quotations, unless it’s important for the reader to know that the quotation was truncated.

For example, using the above example, you would NOT need an ellipsis in either of these situations:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus . . .”

The Writing Center ” . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses.

For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual.

“The boys ran to school, forgetting their lunches and books. Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

“The boys ran to school. . . . Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma.

“The red car came to a screeching halt that was heard by nearby pedestrians, but no one was hurt.”

“The red car came to a screeching halt . . . , but no one was hurt.”

Is it ever okay to insert my own words or change words in a quotation?

Sometimes it is necessary for clarity and flow to alter a word or words within a quotation. You should make such changes rarely. In order to alert your reader to the changes you’ve made, you should always bracket the altered words. Here are a few examples of situations when you might need brackets:

Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence.

Suppose you were quoting a woman who, when asked about her experiences immigrating to the United States, commented “nobody understood me.” You might write:

Esther Hansen felt that when she came to the United States “nobody understood [her].”

In the above example, you’ve changed “me” to “her” in order to keep the entire passage in third person. However, you could avoid the need for this change by simply rephrasing:

“Nobody understood me,” recalled Danish immigrant Esther Hansen.

Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation.

For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets.

“The principal of the school told Billy [William Smith] that his contract would be terminated.”

Similarly, if a quotation referenced an event with which the reader might be unfamiliar, you could identify that event in brackets.

“We completely revised our political strategies after the strike [of 1934].”

Indicating the use of nonstandard grammar or spelling.

In rare situations, you may quote from a text that has nonstandard grammar, spelling, or word choice. In such cases, you may want to insert [sic], which means “thus” or “so” in Latin. Using [sic] alerts your reader to the fact that this nonstandard language is not the result of a typo on your part. Always italicize “sic” and enclose it in brackets. There is no need to put a period at the end. Here’s an example of when you might use [sic]:

Twelve-year-old Betsy Smith wrote in her diary, “Father is afraid that he will be guilty of beach [sic] of contract.”

Here [sic] indicates that the original author wrote “beach of contract,” not breach of contract, which is the accepted terminology.

Do not overuse brackets!

For example, it is not necessary to bracket capitalization changes that you make at the beginning of sentences. For example, suppose you were going to use part of this quotation:

“The colors scintillated curiously over a hard carapace, and the beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello.”

If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes.

“The beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Not: “[T]he beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. 2012. The Modern Researcher , 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Put a Quote in an Essay

Home / Blog / How To Put A Quote In An Essay (with Examples)

How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Examples)


When writing an essay , it is essential to incorporate quotes from reputable sources to support your arguments and ideas. However, knowing how to use quotes effectively is crucial in maintaining the flow and clarity of your essay. This blog will discuss the proper ways to put a quote in an essay with examples.

Why Use Quotes in an Essay?

Quotes are used in an essay to support or reinforce the writer's arguments and ideas. They provide evidence for your claims and demonstrate that your argument is backed up by research and authority. Incorporating quotes also helps to provide context and depth to your writing and can add a unique perspective to your essay.

Types of Quotes

There are two types of quotes you can use in your essay: direct quotes and indirect quotes.

Direct Quotes: Direct quotes are the exact words used by the source that you are quoting. When using direct quotes, you need to use quotation marks and indicate the source.

Example: According to John Smith, "The Earth is round."

Indirect Quotes: Indirect quotes are a paraphrase of the original source. When using indirect quotes, you do not need to use quotation marks.

Example: John Smith claims that the Earth is round.

How to Put a Quote in an Essay

When using quotes in an essay, there are several rules that you need to follow to ensure that your writing is clear, accurate, and appropriate. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Choose a Relevant Quote

Before you start writing your essay, identify the quotes that you want to use to support your arguments. Ensure that the quotes you select are relevant, reliable, and add value to your essay.

Step 2: Introduce the Quote

Introduce the quote by providing context and indicating who the source is. This will help the reader understand the significance of the quote and its relevance to your argument.

Example: According to Jane Doe, a renowned climate scientist, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity."

Step 3: Use Quotation Marks

When using a direct quote, use quotation marks to indicate that you are using the exact words of the source.

Example: According to Jane Doe, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity."

Step 4: Provide the Source

Provide the source of the quote, including the author's name, the title of the book or article, and the page number. This will help the reader find the source if they want to read it.

Example: According to Jane Doe, a renowned climate scientist, "Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity." (Doe, The State of the Climate, p. 25)

Step 5: Punctuate Correctly

Punctuate the quote correctly by placing the comma or period inside the quotation marks, depending on whether it is a part of the quote or your sentence.

Step 6: Explain the Quote

Explain the significance of the quote in your own words. This will help the reader understand how the quote supports your argument.

Example: Jane Doe's quote highlights the urgency of addressing climate change as it poses a significant threat to human survival.

Step 7: Cite Your Sources

Ensure that you cite your sources correctly using the citation style specified by your instructor or the style guide for your discipline.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Quotes in an Essay

Using quotes in an essay can be tricky, and many students make mistakes that can impact the quality of their writing. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using quotes in an essay:

Failing to provide context: It is essentialto provide context when using a quote in an essay. Failure to do so can confuse the reader and make the quote appear out of place. Always introduce the quote and provide some background information about the source and why you are using the quote.

Overusing quotes: While quotes can add value to your essay, it is essential not to overuse them. Use quotes sparingly and only when necessary. Overusing quotes can make your writing appear lazy, and it may give the impression that you are not confident in your own ideas.

Incorrectly citing sources: Always cite your sources correctly using the citation style specified by your instructor or the style guide for your discipline. Failure to do so can lead to accusations of plagiarism , which can have serious consequences.

Misquoting or altering a quote: When using a direct quote, it is essential to use the exact words of the source. Do not alter the quote or misquote the source as this can distort the meaning and accuracy of the quote.

Failing to explain the quote: When using a quote, it is important to explain its significance and how it supports your argument. Failure to do so can make the quote appear irrelevant and disconnected from your essay.

Examples of Quotes in an Essay

Here are some examples of how to use quotes in an essay:

Example 1: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Should students be required to wear school uniforms?

Quote: "School uniforms promote a sense of unity and equality among students, and they help to reduce instances of bullying based on clothing." (Johnson, School Uniforms, p. 10)

Explanation: The quote supports the argument that school uniforms can have a positive impact on student behavior and reduce instances of bullying. It is introduced with the source and provides context for the argument.

Example 2: Persuasive Essay

Topic: The importance of recycling

Quote: "Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 463 gallons of oil." (Environmental Protection Agency)

Explanation: The quote provides a powerful statistic that supports the importance of recycling. It is introduced with the source, and its significance is explained in the following sentences.

Example 3: Expository Essay

Topic: The history of the American Civil War

Quote: "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." (Lincoln, Gettysburg Address)

Explanation: The quote is an iconic line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which is a significant event in American history. It is introduced with the source, and its significance is explained in the following sentences.

Incorporating quotes in an essay can add depth, context, and authority to your writing. However, it is important to use quotes effectively and appropriately. Always choose relevant and reliable quotes, introduce them with context, use the correct punctuation, explain their significance, and cite your sources correctly. By following these guidelines, you can effectively use quotes in your essay and improve the quality of your writing.

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  • How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

Published on 15 April 2022 by Shona McCombes and Jack Caulfield. Revised on 3 September 2022.

Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:

  • The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you’re consistent) or formatted as a block quote
  • The original author is correctly cited
  • The text is identical to the original

The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism , which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker .

How to Quote

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Table of contents

How to cite a quote in harvard and apa style, introducing quotes, quotes within quotes, shortening or altering a quote, block quotes, when should i use quotes, frequently asked questions about quoting sources.

Every time you quote, you must cite the source correctly . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style you’re using.

Citing a quote in Harvard style

When you include a quote in Harvard style, you must add a Harvard in-text citation giving the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. Any full stop or comma appears after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

Citations can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in brackets after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) . Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to Harvard style

Citing a quote in APA Style

To cite a direct quote in APA , you must include the author’s last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use ‘p.’; if it spans a page range, use ‘pp.’

An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in parentheses after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

Punctuation marks such as full stops and commas are placed after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) .
  • Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to APA

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Make sure you integrate quotes properly into your text by introducing them in your own words, showing the reader why you’re including the quote and providing any context necessary to understand it.  Don’t  present quotations as stand-alone sentences.

There are three main strategies you can use to introduce quotes in a grammatically correct way:

  • Add an introductory sentence
  • Use an introductory signal phrase
  • Integrate the quote into your own sentence

The following examples use APA Style citations, but these strategies can be used in all styles.

Introductory sentence

Introduce the quote with a full sentence ending in a colon . Don’t use a colon if the text before the quote isn’t a full sentence.

If you name the author in your sentence, you may use present-tense verbs, such as “states’, ‘argues’, ‘explains’, ‘writes’, or ‘reports’, to describe the content of the quote.

  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Introductory signal phrase

You can also use a signal phrase that mentions the author or source but doesn’t form a full sentence. In this case, you follow the phrase with a comma instead of a colon.

  • According to a recent poll, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • As Levring (2018) explains, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Integrated into your own sentence

To quote a phrase that doesn’t form a full sentence, you can also integrate it as part of your sentence, without any extra punctuation.

  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (p. 3).

When you quote text that itself contains another quote, this is called a nested quotation or a quote within a quote. It may occur, for example, when quoting dialogue from a novel.

To distinguish this quote from the surrounding quote, you enclose it in double (instead of single) quotation marks (even if this involves changing the punctuation from the original text). Make sure to close both sets of quotation marks at the appropriate moments.

Note that if you only quote the nested quotation itself, and not the surrounding text, you can just use single quotation marks.

  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘ ‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ‘ he told me, ‘ just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had ‘ ‘ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘”Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had “  (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”’ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway begins by quoting his father’s invocation to ‘remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’ (Fitzgerald 1).

Note:  When the quoted text in the source comes from another source, it’s best to just find that original source in order to quote it directly. If you can’t find the original source, you can instead cite it indirectly .

Often, incorporating a quote smoothly into your text requires you to make some changes to the original text. It’s fine to do this, as long as you clearly mark the changes you’ve made to the quote.

Shortening a quote

If some parts of a passage are redundant or irrelevant, you can shorten the quote by removing words, phrases, or sentences and replacing them with an ellipsis (…). Put a space before and after the ellipsis.

Be careful that removing the words doesn’t change the meaning. The ellipsis indicates that some text has been removed, but the shortened quote should still accurately represent the author’s point.

Altering a quote

You can add or replace words in a quote when necessary. This might be because the original text doesn’t fit grammatically with your sentence (e.g., it’s in a different tense), or because extra information is needed to clarify the quote’s meaning.

Use brackets to distinguish words that you have added from words that were present in the original text.

The Latin term ‘ sic ‘ is used to indicate a (factual or grammatical) mistake in a quotation. It shows the reader that the mistake is from the quoted material, not a typo of your own.

In some cases, it can be useful to italicise part of a quotation to add emphasis, showing the reader that this is the key part to pay attention to. Use the phrase ’emphasis added’ to show that the italics were not part of the original text.

You usually don’t need to use brackets to indicate minor changes to punctuation or capitalisation made to ensure the quote fits the style of your text.

If you quote more than a few lines from a source, you must format it as a block quote . Instead of using quotation marks, you set the quote on a new line and indent it so that it forms a separate block of text.

Block quotes are cited just like regular quotes, except that if the quote ends with a full stop, the citation appears after the full stop.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more. (16)

Avoid relying too heavily on quotes in academic writing . To integrate a source , it’s often best to paraphrase , which means putting the passage into your own words. This helps you integrate information smoothly and keeps your own voice dominant.

However, there are some situations in which quotes are more appropriate.

When focusing on language

If you want to comment on how the author uses language (for example, in literary analysis ), it’s necessary to quote so that the reader can see the exact passage you are referring to.

When giving evidence

To convince the reader of your argument, interpretation or position on a topic, it’s often helpful to include quotes that support your point. Quotes from primary sources (for example, interview transcripts or historical documents) are especially credible as evidence.

When presenting an author’s position or definition

When you’re referring to secondary sources such as scholarly books and journal articles, try to put others’ ideas in your own words when possible.

But if a passage does a great job at expressing, explaining, or defining something, and it would be very difficult to paraphrase without changing the meaning or losing the weakening the idea’s impact, it’s worth quoting directly.

A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .

For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: ‘This is a quote’ (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).

Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.

In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.

In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .

As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.

If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarises other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA  recommends retaining the citations as part of the quote:

  • Smith states that ‘the literature on this topic (Jones, 2015; Sill, 2019; Paulson, 2020) shows no clear consensus’ (Smith, 2019, p. 4).

Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted.

If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase ‘as cited in’ in your citation.

A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate ‘block’ of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.

APA uses block quotes for quotes that are 40 words or longer.

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McCombes, S. & Caulfield, J. (2022, September 03). How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA. Scribbr. Retrieved 18 June 2024, from

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Mastering the art of including quotes in your essay – a comprehensive guide.

How to write a quote in an essay

In the realm of academia, the art of seamlessly integrating quotes into your writing often feels like an elusive skill. However, mastering this practice is essential for creating compelling and persuasive essays that showcase your knowledge and analysis. By utilizing a few simple techniques, you can effortlessly incorporate quotes into your work, enhancing the credibility and strength of your arguments.

1. Amplify your point with authoritative quotes

One effective approach to incorporating quotes is to use them as evidence to support your claims or bolster your argument. Including a well-chosen quote from a respected authority in the field can lend credibility to your statements and elevate the overall quality of your essay. By referencing experts, scholars, or renowned authors, you demonstrate a thorough understanding of the subject matter and establish yourself as a well-informed writer.

“As noted by esteemed philosopher John Doe, ‘…'”

2. Add depth and complexity with contrasting quotes

Drawing from a range of perspectives is a powerful way to weave quotes into your essay. By including contrasting quotes that offer differing opinions or interpretations, you showcase your ability to consider multiple viewpoints. This demonstrates your analytical skills and encourages critical thinking among your readers. Plus, incorporating diverse quotes can help you establish a well-rounded argument that takes into account various facets of the topic at hand.

“While some scholars argue that X is true, others contend that Y is a more accurate representation of the situation…”

3. Utilize quotes as literary devices

Using quotes as literary devices can add a layer of sophistication and complexity to your essay. Consider incorporating quotes as metaphors, allusions, or symbols to create a nuanced and thought-provoking narrative. This creative approach not only showcases your mastery of the subject matter but also captivates your readers by infusing the essay with literary flair.

“By likening the situation to ‘a storm brewing on the horizon,’ the author evokes a sense of impending doom and foreshadows the dire consequences that lie ahead.”

By employing these strategies, you can smoothly incorporate quotes into your academic work, elevating the quality and impact of your writing. Remember to be selective with your quotes, choosing only those that best support your arguments or provide unique insights. With practice, you’ll soon master the art of seamlessly integrating quotes, enhancing the strength and persuasiveness of your essays.

Incorporating quotes to support your arguments

Integrating quotes into your essay helps to strengthen your arguments by providing evidence and supporting information from reputable sources. By incorporating quotes from experts in the field or from reliable studies, you can add credibility to your claims and make your essay more persuasive.

Benefits of using quotes Examples
1. Adding credibility “According to renowned economist John Smith, ‘the current economic crisis is a result of poor government policies.'”
2. Providing evidence “A study conducted by Harvard University found that ‘regular exercise has numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease.'”
3. Strengthening arguments “In support of this argument, Dr. Jane Doe states that ‘climate change is a pressing issue that requires immediate action.'”

When incorporating quotes, it is important to properly introduce and contextualize them within your essay. Start by providing the author’s name and credentials, if available, to establish their expertise in the field. Then, clearly state the quote and explain how it supports your argument.

In order to seamlessly integrate quotes into your essay, you should also consider using signal phrases or transitions to introduce the quote. These phrases can help to smoothly transition between your own ideas and the quote, avoiding any abrupt shifts in tone or style.

Additionally, it is crucial to properly cite your sources when using quotes in your essay. This not only gives credit to the original author but also helps to avoid plagiarism. Different citation styles, such as APA or MLA, have specific rules and formats for citing sources, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the guidelines of the style you are using.

Finally, it is important to use quotes sparingly and only when they add value to your arguments. Overusing quotes can make your essay appear disjointed and may undermine the strength of your own analysis and interpretation of the topic.

Incorporating quotes effectively can greatly enhance the strength and persuasiveness of your arguments. By using credible sources and properly introducing and contextualizing the quotes, you can bolster your essay and make it more compelling to your readers.

Blending quotes seamlessly into your writing

Integrating quotes into your writing can be a daunting task, but it is an essential skill for any successful writer. Striking the right balance between your own voice and the words of others requires careful thought and consideration. In this section, we will explore some strategies to help you blend quotes seamlessly into your writing.

1. Provide context: When introducing a quote, it is important to provide context for your reader. This can be achieved by providing a brief explanation or background information before the quote. By setting the stage and giving your reader some context, you ensure that the quote flows smoothly into the rest of your writing.

Example: According to renowned author Jane Austen, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Pride and Prejudice). Austen’s famous opening line sets the tone for her novel and establishes the central theme of marriage.

2. Use signal phrases: Signal phrases can help to seamlessly introduce quotes and integrate them into your writing. These phrases can be used to attribute the quote to its author and provide a smooth transition between your own thoughts and the quoted material.

Example: As Shakespeare eloquently stated in Hamlet, “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” The famous soliloquy reflects the existential dilemma faced by the play’s protagonist.

3. Blend quotes into your sentence structure: Rather than dropping a quote into your writing without any connection, try to blend it into your sentence structure. This can be done by incorporating the quote into the flow of your sentence or by paraphrasing parts of it and seamlessly integrating it into your writing.

Example: The renowned physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” This quote highlights the significance of creativity and innovation in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

By following these strategies, you can effectively incorporate quotes into your writing and maintain a seamless flow of ideas. Remember to always give credit to the original author and to use quotes sparingly, choosing only the most impactful and relevant ones for your essay.

Adding context to your quotes for better understanding

Providing context to the quotes you include in your essay is essential for enhancing the reader’s comprehension of your argument. By offering background information and explanations, you can ensure that your quotes are interpreted accurately and effectively contribute to the overall message of your essay.

Instead of presenting quotes in isolation, it is imperative to introduce them with a brief explanation of their significance. By doing so, you can provide a framework for understanding the quote and establish its relevance to the topic or argument you are exploring.

One effective way to add context to your quotes is by introducing the author or speaker and their credentials or expertise in the field you are discussing. This allows the reader to understand the context from which the quote arises and provides credibility to the source. For example, instead of simply stating, “According to a study,” you can provide more context by saying, “Dr. Jane Smith, a renowned psychologist, conducted a comprehensive study that found….”

In addition to introducing the author, it is also important to provide a brief summary of the source or text from which the quote is taken. This can include the title of the book, article, or research paper, as well as any relevant information about the publication or organization. By offering this information, you allow the reader to gauge the reliability and validity of the source and better understand the context in which the quote was made.

Another way to add context to your quotes is by explaining the specific situation or context in which the quote was originally spoken or written. This can help the reader grasp the intended meaning of the quote and understand the motivations or circumstances that led to its creation. For example, if you are quoting a historical figure, you can provide background information about the time period, political climate, or social issues that influenced their perspective.

By providing context to your quotes, you enhance the reader’s understanding and ensure that your argument is supported by accurate and relevant evidence. Remember to always introduce the author, provide a summary of the source, and explain the context in which the quote was made. This will not only strengthen your essay but also demonstrate your ability to critically analyze and interpret the information you include.

Using quotes as evidence for your claims

Utilizing quotes as substantiation can significantly enhance the credibility and persuasiveness of your arguments. When making claims in your essay, supporting them with evidence in the form of quotes helps to establish a solid foundation for your ideas.

By incorporating quotes from reputable sources, such as experts in the field or well-known authors, you are demonstrating that your claims are not simply based on personal opinions but rather on well-researched information. Including quotes adds weight to your arguments and conveys to your readers that you have done thorough research on the topic.

Quotes serve as concrete evidence that can support your claims by providing direct support from primary or secondary sources. These quotes can be used to back up statements, provide examples, or showcase different perspectives on the subject matter. By including quotes, you are letting other voices speak on behalf of your arguments, adding depth and validity to your own ideas.

Benefits of using quotes as evidence:
1. Credibility: Quotes from trusted sources enhance the credibility of your arguments.
2. Authority: Quoting experts in the field establishes your authority on the subject matter.
3. Support: Quotes provide concrete evidence that supports your claims.
4. Validation: Incorporating quotes demonstrates that your ideas are grounded in research and not just personal opinions.

However, it is important to use quotes judiciously and effectively. Ideally, quotes should be concise, relevant, and directly related to the point you are making. Avoid using lengthy quotes that detract from your own analysis. Instead, select key excerpts that strengthen your arguments and provide insight.

In conclusion, using quotes as evidence adds credibility and support to your claims in an essay. By incorporating quotes from trusted sources, you can bolster the strength of your arguments and demonstrate your depth of research on the topic. Remember to use quotes selectively and ensure they directly contribute to the points you are making.

Citing quotes properly to avoid plagiarism

Accurate citation of quotes in your essay is crucial for avoiding plagiarism. Plagiarism, the act of using someone else’s work without giving them proper credit, is a serious ethical violation and can result in severe consequences. To ensure that you are citing your quotes properly, it is important to understand the guidelines and conventions of the citation style you are using.

One important aspect of citing quotes properly is to clearly indicate the source of the quote. This can be done by including the author’s name, the title of the work, and the page number where the quote can be found. Depending on the citation style you are using, the format for indicating the source may vary. Some common citation styles include MLA, APA, and Chicago style.

In addition to indicating the source of the quote, it is also important to properly format the quote itself within your essay. This can be done by using quotation marks to enclose the quote and by providing a clear transition between your own words and the quote. It is also important to be mindful of the length of the quote you are using. Long quotes should be indented and formatted differently from shorter quotes.

Another important aspect of citing quotes properly is to include a proper citation in your bibliography or works cited page. This allows your readers to easily locate the original source of the quote if they wish to further explore the topic. The citation in your bibliography should include all the necessary information about the source, such as the author’s name, the title of the work, the publisher, and the year of publication.

Overall, citing quotes properly is not only essential for avoiding plagiarism, but it also demonstrates your respect for the original author’s work and ideas. By following the guidelines and conventions of your chosen citation style, you can ensure that your essay is well-documented and that your ideas are supported by credible sources.

Analyzing quotes to enhance your analysis

Analyzing quotes to enhance your analysis

Examining and interpreting quotes can greatly enhance the depth and quality of your analysis, bringing a new level of insight to your essay. By carefully analyzing the language and context of a quote, you can uncover deeper meanings, explore different interpretations, and develop a more nuanced understanding of the subject matter.

When analyzing quotes, it is important to look beyond their surface level and delve into their underlying implications. Pay attention to the choice of words, the tone, and the emotions conveyed, as these elements can reveal the author’s intentions and perspective. Consider the context in which the quote is used, including the historical, social, and cultural background, as this can have a significant influence on its meaning.

An effective way to analyze quotes is to examine their relationship to the overall thesis or argument of your essay. Ask yourself how the quote supports or challenges your main ideas and how it contributes to the overall message you are trying to convey. Are there any contradictions or counterarguments present in the quote that can be explored further? By critically engaging with the quote in relation to your argument, you can strengthen your analysis and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.

In addition to considering the author’s perspective, it is also important to analyze the impact of the quote on the reader. How does the quote affect the tone or mood of the essay? Does it evoke any specific emotions or reactions? By examining the rhetorical devices used in the quote, such as metaphors, similes, or imagery, you can gain insights into the intended effect on the audience and further develop your analysis.

Lastly, remember that quotes should not be analyzed in isolation. Instead, they should be integrated seamlessly into your essay and analyzed in relation to the surrounding text. Consider how the quote builds upon or contrasts with the ideas presented before and after it. Does it provide a new perspective or reinforce existing arguments? By analyzing quotes in the broader context of your essay, you can create a more cohesive and cohesive analysis.

1. Look beyond the surface level and explore the underlying implications.
2. Consider the language, context, and author’s perspective.
3. Examine the quote’s relationship to your thesis or argument.
4. Analyze the impact of the quote on the reader.
5. Integrate quotes seamlessly into your essay and analyze them in relation to the surrounding text.

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  • Block quoting in MLA style

MLA Block Quotes | Format and Examples (8th Edition)

Published on May 23, 2018 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on March 5, 2024.

When you include a long quote in an MLA paper , you have to format it as a block quote . MLA style (8th edition) requires block quote formatting for:

  • Quotes of poetry longer than three lines
  • Quotes of prose longer than four lines

An MLA block quote is set on a new line, indented 0.5 inches, with no quotation marks. The MLA in-text citation  goes after the period at the end of the block quote.

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Table of contents

How to block quote in mla, block quote examples, quotes within block quotes, omitting words or lines in block quotes, frequently asked questions about block quoting in mla.

To create a block quote in MLA, follow these four simple steps.

Step 1: Introduce the quote

Always introduce block quotes in your own words. Start with a sentence or two that shows the reader why you are including the quote and how it fits into your argument. After the introductory sentence, add a colon , and then start the quote on a new line.

Step 2: Format the quote

Like the rest of your MLA format paper, the block quote should be double spaced. Indent the entire quote half an inch from the left margin. Include the same capitalization , punctuation, and line breaks as appear in the original text.

Step 3: Cite the quote

At the end of the quote, add an MLA in-text citation directly after the final punctuation mark. This contains the name of the author(s) and the page number(s) from which the quote is taken.

Every in-text citation must correspond to an entry in the Works Cited list. You can create citations using our free MLA citation generator .

Step 4: Comment on the quote

Under the block quote, analyze or comment on the quoted text. Never end a paragraph with a block quote – you should always start and end in your own words.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Use the tabs to navigate between the examples for quoting prose and quoting poetry . Pay attention to the indentation, spacing, the colon after the leading sentence, and the parenthetical citation.

  • Block quote of prose
  • Block quote of poetry

The reader quickly becomes familiar with Nick Carraway’s relationship with Jay Gatsby, as the very first mention of the character illustrates both his admiration and disdain :

The poem “My Country” is one of the most widely known in Australia, expressing the poet’s affection for the country’s unique landscape :

If you block quote from a play, follow our guide to MLA play citation .

If you want to block quote a passage that itself contains a quote , use quotation marks as you normally would around the inner quote.

Example nested quotation

Like his introduction of Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s opening description of Daisy immediately informs the reader of her charm and allure:

You can shorten block quotes by using ellipses ( … ) to indicate that you have removed some text. If you shorten a quote like this, make sure it doesn’t change the author’s original meaning or leave out important context.

If you want to omit a line of poetry , you can indicate this with a line of periods approximately the same length as the line of the poem.

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how to insert a quote into an essay

In MLA style , if you quote more than four lines from a source, use MLA block quote formatting .

If you are quoting poetry , use block quote formatting for any quote longer than three lines.

To format a block quote in MLA:

  • Introduce the quote with a colon and set it on a new line.
  • Indent the whole quote 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • Place the MLA in-text citation after the period at the end of the block quote.

Then continue your text on a new line (not indented).

To create a correctly formatted block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
  • Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
  • On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.

Do not put quotation marks around the quote, and make sure to include an MLA in-text citation after the period at the end.

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Gahan, C. (2024, March 05). MLA Block Quotes | Format and Examples (8th Edition). Scribbr. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

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Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

In any study of a subject, people engage in a “conversation” of sorts, where they read or listen to others’ ideas, consider them with their own viewpoints, and then develop their own stance. It is important in this “conversation” to acknowledge when we use someone else’s words or ideas. If we didn’t come up with it ourselves, we need to tell our readers who did come up with it.

It is important to draw on the work of experts to formulate your own ideas. Quoting and paraphrasing the work of authors engaged in writing about your topic adds expert support to your argument and thesis statement. You are contributing to a scholarly conversation with scholars who are experts on your topic with your writing. This is the difference between a scholarly research paper and any other paper: you must include your own voice in your analysis and ideas alongside scholars or experts.

All your sources must relate to your thesis, or central argument, whether they are in agreement or not. It is a good idea to address all sides of the argument or thesis to make your stance stronger. There are two main ways to incorporate sources into your research paper.

Quoting is when you use the exact words from a source. You will need to put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from. For example:

“It wasn’t really a tune, but from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop . . . Slowly the dog’s growls ceased – it tottered on its paws and fell to its knees, then it slumped to the ground, fast asleep” (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to cite a passage:

  • Choose to quote passages that seem especially well phrased or are unique to the author or subject matter.
  • Be selective in your quotations. Avoid over-quoting. You also don’t have to quote an entire passage. Use ellipses (. . .) to indicate omitted words. Check with your professor for their ideal length of quotations – some professors place word limits on how much of a sentence or paragraph you should quote.
  • Before or after quoting a passage, include an explanation in which you interpret the significance of the quote for the reader. Avoid “hanging quotes” that have no context or introduction. It is better to err on the side of your reader not understanding your point until you spell it out for them, rather than assume readers will follow your thought process exactly.
  • If you are having trouble paraphrasing (putting something into your own words), that may be a sign that you should quote it.
  • Shorter quotes are generally incorporated into the flow of a sentence while longer quotes may be set off in “blocks.” Check your citation handbook for quoting guidelines.

Paraphrasing is when you state the ideas from another source in your own words . Even when you use your own words, if the ideas or facts came from another source, you need to cite where they came from. Quotation marks are not used. For example:

With the simple music of the flute, Harry lulled the dog to sleep (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to paraphrase a passage:

  • Don’t take a passage and change a word here or there. You must write out the idea in your own words. Simply changing a few words from the original source or restating the information exactly using different words is considered plagiarism .
  • Read the passage, reflect upon it, and restate it in a way that is meaningful to you within the context of your paper . You are using this to back up a point you are making, so your paraphrased content should be tailored to that point specifically.
  • After reading the passage that you want to paraphrase, look away from it, and imagine explaining the main point to another person.
  • After paraphrasing the passage, go back and compare it to the original. Are there any phrases that have come directly from the original source? If so, you should rephrase it or put the original in quotation marks. If you cannot state an idea in your own words, you should use the direct quotation.

A summary is similar to paraphrasing, but used in cases where you are trying to give an overview of many ideas. As in paraphrasing, quotation marks are not used, but a citation is still necessary. For example:

Through a combination of skill and their invisibility cloak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione slipped through Hogwarts to the dog’s room and down through the trapdoor within (Rowling 271-77).

Important guidelines

When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components:

  • Introductory phrase to the source material : mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase.
  • Source material : a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.
  • Analysis of source material : your response, interpretations, or arguments regarding the source material should introduce or follow it. When incorporating source material into your paper, relate your source and analysis back to your original thesis.

Ideally, papers will contain a good balance of direct quotations, paraphrasing and your own thoughts. Too much reliance on quotations and paraphrasing can make it seem like you are only using the work of others and have no original thoughts on the topic.

Always properly cite an author’s original idea, whether you have directly quoted or paraphrased it. If you have questions about how to cite properly in your chosen citation style, browse these citation guides . You can also review our guide to understanding plagiarism .

University Writing Center

The University of Nevada, Reno Writing Center provides helpful guidance on quoting and paraphrasing and explains how to make sure your paraphrasing does not veer into plagiarism. If you have any questions about quoting or paraphrasing, or need help at any point in the writing process, schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.

Works Cited

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  A.A. Levine Books, 1998.

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Updated 30/12/2020

  • What Are Quotes?
  • Why Use Quotes?
  • What You Want To Quote
  • How Much You Want To Quote
  • How That Quote Will Fit into Your Essay
  • There Are Also Other Ways of Using Quotation Marks
  • Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Weaving Quotes into Sentences
  • How To Find Good Quotes

1. What Are Quotes?

Quotations, better known by their abbreviation ‘quotes’, are a form of evidence used in VCE essays. Using quotations in essays helps to demonstrate your knowledge of the text, and provides solid evidence for your arguments. The discussion on quotations in this study guide can be applied to all three areas of study in the VCAA English course which have been explained in detail in our Ultimate Guide s to VCE Text Response , Comparative and  Language Analysis .

A quotation is the repetition of a group of words taken from a text by someone other than the original author. The punctuation mark used to indicate a repetition of another author’s work is presented through quotation marks. These quotation marks are illustrated by inverted commas, either single inverted commas (‘ ’) or double inverted commas (“ ”). There is no general rule in Australia regarding which type of inverted comma you must use for quotations. Single inverted commas are preferred in Australia as they follow the British standard. The American standard involves styling quotations with the double inverted comma. You can choose either style, just be consistent in your essays.

2. Why Use Quotes?

The usage of quotations in essays demonstrates:

  • Your knowledge of the text
  • Credibility of your argument
  • An interesting and thoughtful essay
  • The strength of your writing skills.

However, quotations must be used correctly, otherwise you risk (and these frequent mistakes will be discussed in detail later):

  • Irrelevant quotations
  • Overcrowding or overloading of quotations
  • Broken sentences

How You Integrate a Quote into an Essay Depends on Three Factors:

  • What you want to quote
  • How much you want to quote
  • How that quote will fit into your essay.

3. What You Want To Quote

As you discuss ideas in a paragraph, quotes should be added to develop these ideas further. A quote should add insight into your argument; therefore, it is imperative that the quote you choose relates intrinsically to your discussion. This is dependent on which aspect of the text you are discussing, for example:

  • Description of theme or character
  • Description of event or setting
  • Description of a symbol or other literary technique

Never quote just for the sake of quoting. Quotations can be irrelevant  if a student merely adds in quotes as ‘sentence fillers’. Throwing in quotations just to make your essay appear more sophisticated will only be more damaging if the quotation does not adequately reinforce or expand on your contention. Conversely, an essay with no quotations will not achieve many marks either.

4. How Much You Want To Quote

A quotation should never tell the story for you. Quotations are a ‘support’ system, much like a back up for your ideas and arguments. Thus, you must be selective in how much you want to quote. Generally speaking, the absolute minimum is three quotes per paragraph but you should not  overload  your paragraphs either. Overcrowding your essay with too many quotations will lead to failure to develop your ideas, as well as your work appearing too convoluted for your assessor. Remember that the essay is  your  piece of work and should consist mainly of your own ideas and thoughts.

Single Word Quotations

The word ‘evaporates’, used to characterise money and happiness intends to instill the idea that happiness as a result of money is only temporary. (VCAA ‘Can Money Buy Happiness’ Language Analysis)

Single worded quotations can often leave the largest impression on the assessor. This is because you are able to demonstrate that you can focus on one word and develop an entire idea around it.

Phrase Quotations

Sunil Badami ‘still found it hard to tie my Indian appearance to my Australian feeling', showing that for Sunil, his culture was not Indian, but Australian due to his upbringing. ( Sticks and Stones and Such-like, Sunil Badami in Growing Up Asian in Australia )

A phrase quotation is the most common quotation length you will use in essays.

Long Quotations

The multitudes of deaths surrounding Anna began to take its toll on her, burdening her with guilt as ‘sometimes, if I walked the main street of the village in the evening, I felt the press of their ghosts. I realised then that I had begun to step small and carry myself all hunched, keeping my arms at my sides and my elbows tucked, as if to leave room for them.’ ( Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks )

Long quotations comprise of more than one sentence – avoid using them as evidence. Your assessor will not mark you highly if the bulk of your paragraphs consists of long quotations. You should aim to keep your quotations to less than 2 lines on an A4 writing page. If you have a long quotation you wish to use, be selective. Choose only the important phrases or key words, and remove the remaining sentence by replacing it with an ellipsis (…).

Here is the same example again, with the student using ellipsis:

The multitudes of deaths surrounding Anna began to take its toll on her, burdening her with guilt as she felt ‘the press of their ghosts…[and] begun to step small and carry myself all hunched…as if to leave room for them.’ ( Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks)

In this case, we have deleted: ‘sometimes, if I walked the main street of the village in the evening’ and ‘I realised then that I had’ by using an ellipsis – a part of the quotation that is not missed because it does not represent the essence of the student’s argument. You would have noticed that a square bracket ([  ]) was used. This will be discussed in detail under  Blending Quotes.

5. How That Quote Will Fit into Your Essay

You must never take the original author’s words and use them in your essay  without  inserting them in quotation marks. Failure to do so leads to ‘plagiarism’ or cheating. Plagiarism occurs when you take someone else’s work and pass it off as your own. You must make sure that you use quotation marks whenever you use evidence from your text.

The following is plagiarism:

Even a single flicker of the eyes could be mistaken for the essential crime that contained all other crimes in itself – thought crime.  (1984, George Orwell)

Using quotation marks however, avoids plagiarism:

Even ‘a single flicker of the eyes’ could be mistaken for ‘the essential crime that contained all other crimes in itself – thought crime.’  (1984, George Orwell)

There are serious consequences for plagiarism. VCAA will penalise students for plagiarism. VCAA uses statistical analysis to compare a student’s work with their General Achievement Test (GAT), and if the cross-referencing indicates that the student is achieving unexpectedly high results with their schoolwork, the student’s school will be notified and consequential actions will be taken.

Plagiarism should not be confused with:

  • ‍ Paraphrasing : to reword or rephrase the author’s words
  • ‍ Summarising: to give a brief statement about the author’s main points
  • ‍ Quoting : to directly copy the author’s words with an indication (via quotation marks) that it is not your original work

Blending Quotations

You should always aim to interweave quotations into your sentences in order to achieve good flow and enhanced readability of your essay. Below is a good example of blending in quotations:

John Proctor deals with his own inner conflict as he is burdened with guilt and shame of his past adulterous actions. Yet during the climatic ending of the play, Proctor honours his principles as he rejects signing a false confession. This situation where Proctor is confronted to ‘sign [himself] to lies’ is a stark epiphany, for he finally acknowledges that he does have ‘some shred of goodness.’ ( The Crucible, Arthur Miller)

There are three main methods in how you can blend quotations into an essay:

1. Adding Words

Broken sentences  are a common mistake made when students aim to integrate quotations into their sentences. Below are examples of broken sentences due to poor integration of a quotation:

‘Solitary as an oyster’. Scrooge is illustrated as a person who is isolated in his own sphere. ( A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Never write a sentence consisting of  only  a quotation. This does not add insight into your argument, nor does it achieve good flow or readability.

Scrooge, ‘solitary as an oyster’, is illustrated as a person who is isolated in his own sphere.  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

This example is better, however the sentence is still difficult to read. In order to blend quotations into your sentences, try adding in words that will help merge the quotation and your own words together:

Described as being as ‘solitary as an oyster’, Scrooge is illustrated as a person who is isolated in his own sphere.  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Scrooge is depicted as a person who is ‘solitary as an oyster’, illustrating that he is isolated in his own sphere.  (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

Tip: If you remove the quotation marks, the sentence should still make sense.

2. Square Brackets ([   ])

These are used when you need to modify the original writer’s words so that the quotation will blend into your essay. This is usually done to:

Change Tense

Authors sometimes write in past  (looked) , present  (look)  or future tense  (will look) . Depending on how you approach your essay, you may choose to write with one of the three tenses. Since your tense may not always match the author’s, you will need to alter particular words.

Original sentence: ‘…puts his arm around Lewis’ shoulder’ ( Cosi, Louis Nowra)

Upon seeing Lewis upset, Roy attempts to cheer him up by ‘put[ting] his arm around Lewis’ shoulder’. ( Cosi, Louis Nowra)

Change Narrative Perspective

The author may write in a first  (I, we) , second  (you)  or third person  (he, she, they)  narrative. Since you will usually write from an outsider’s point of view, you will refer to characters in third person. Thus, it is necessary to replace first and second person pronouns with third person pronouns. Alternatively, you can replace first and second person pronouns with the character’s name.

The original sentence: ‘Only now can I recognise the scene for what it was: a confessional, a privilege that I, through selfishness and sensual addiction, failed to accept…’  (Maestro, Peter Goldsworthy)

When Keller was finally ready to share his brutal past with Paul, the latter disregarded the maestro, as he was too immersed in his own adolescent interests. However, upon reflection, Paul realises that ‘only now can [he] recognise the scene for what it was: a confessional, a privilege that [he], through selfishness and sensual addiction, failed to accept’.  (Maestro, Peter Goldsworthy)

Insert Missing Words

Sometimes, it may be necessary to insert your own words in square brackets so that the quotation will be coherent when incorporated into your sentences.

The original sentence: ‘His heels glow.’ ( Ransom, David Malouf)

Achilles, like Priam, feels a sense of refreshment as highlighted by ‘his heels [which] glow.’ ( Ransom, David Malouf)

It is important to maintain proper grammar while weaving in quotations. The question is: does the punctuation go inside or outside the final quotation mark?

The rule is: If the quoted words end with a full stop (or comma), then the full stop goes inside the quotation marks. If the quoted words do not end with a full stop, then the full stop goes outside the quotation marks.

Original sentence: 'Sagitty’s old place plus another hundred acres that went from the head waters of Darkey Creek all the way down to the river.’ ( The Secret River, Kate Grenville)

Punctuation inside:

During the past decade, Thornhill became the wealthiest man in the area, owning ‘Sagitty’s old place plus another hundred acres that went from the head waters of Darkey Creek all the way down to the river.’ ( The Secret River, Kate Grenville)

Punctuation outside:

During the past decade, Thornhill became the wealthiest man in the area, owning ‘Sagitty’s old place plus another hundred acres’. ( The Secret River, Kate Grenville)

6. There Are Also Other Ways of Using Quotation Marks

Title of text.

When including the title of the text in an essay, use single quotation marks.

Directed by Elia Kazan, ‘On The Waterfront’ unveils the widespread corruption among longshoremen working at New Jersey docks. ( On The Waterfront, Elia Kazan)

Alternatively, you can underline the title of the text instead of using single quotation marks. Many teachers and examiners prefer this option.

Quotation Within a Quotation

When you quote the author who is quoting someone else, then you will need to switch between single and double quotation marks. You firstly need to enclose the author’s words in single quotation marks, and then enclose the words they quote in double quotation marks. If you're following the American standard, you'll need to do this the opposite way - that is, using double quotation marks for the author's words and and then single quotation marks for the quote. We recommend sticking to the preferred Australian style though, which is single and then double.

Original sentence: ‘…something bitter and stringy, too difficult to swallow. “It’s just that – I – um, I hate it…It’s too – it’s too Indian!”’ ( Sticks and Stones and Such-like, Sunil Badami in Growing Up Asian in Australia)

Sunil’s unusual name leads him to believe that it is ‘…something bitter and stringy, too difficult to swallow. “It’s just that – I – um, I hate it…It’s too – it’s too Indian!”’ ( Sticks and Stones and Such-like, Sunil Badami in Growing Up Asian in Australia)

As you can see, the student has quoted the author’s words in single quotation marks. The dialogue used by the author is surrounded by double quotation marks. This demonstrates that the dialogue used in the text still belongs to the author.

Using Quotations to Express Irony

When you wish to express irony, you use quotation marks to illustrate that the implied meaning of the actual word or phrase is different to the normal meaning.

As a young girl, Elaine is a victim of Mrs Smeath and her so called ‘friends’. Her father’s interest in insects and her mother’s lack of housework presents Elaine as an easy bullying target for other girls her age who are fit to fulfill Toronto’s social norms. ( Cat’s Eye,  Margaret Atwood)

In this case, ‘friends’ is written in inverted commas to indicate that Elaine’s peers are not truly her friends but are in fact, bullies.

7. Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Weaving Quotes into Sentences

1.  Does the quote blend into my sentence?

2.  Does my sentence still make sense?

3.  Is it too convoluted for my readers to understand?

4.  Did I use the correct grammar?

8. How To Find Good Quotes

Tip One: Do not go onto Google and type in 'Good quotes for X text', because this is not going to work. These type of quotes are generally the most famous and the most popular quotes because, yes they are good quotes, but does that necessarily mean that it's going to be a good quote in your essay? Probably not. But why? Well, it's because these quotes are the most likely to be overused by students - absolutely every single person who has studied this text before you, and probably every single person who will study this text after you. You want to be unique and original. So, how are you going to find those 'good quotes'? Recognise which quotes are constantly being used and blacklist them. Quotes are constantly used in study guides are generally the ones that will be overused by students. Once you eliminate these quotes, you can then go on to find potentially more subtle quotes that are just as good as the more popular or famous ones. Tip Two: Re-read the book. There is nothing wrong with you going ahead and finding your own quotes. You don't need to find quotes that already exist online or in study guides. Go and find whatever gels with you and whatever you feel like has a lot of meaning to it. I had a friend back in high school who was studying a book by Charles Dickens. I haven't read the book myself, but there was a character who couldn't pronounce the letter S, or he had a lisp of some sort. What my friend did was he found this one word where, throughout the entire book, the guy with the lisp only ever said the S one time and that was a massive thing. So, he used that. This is something that is really unique and original. So, go ahead and try to find your own quotes. Tip Three: Realise that good quotes do not necessarily have to come from the main character. Yes, the main character does often have good quotes associated with whatever they're saying, but just know that you do have minor characters who can say something really relevant and have a really good point too. Their quote is going to be just as strong in your essay as a main character's quote, which will probably be overused and overdone by so many other students. Tip Four: Develop a new interpretation of a famous or popular quote. Most of the time, the really popular quotes are analysed in very much the same way. But if you can offer a new insight into why it's being said or offer a different interpretation, then this is automatically going to create a really good quote that's going to offer a refreshing point of view. For example, if we look at The Great Gatsby , one of the most famous quotes that is constantly being used is, 'He found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.' What most people will do is they will analyse the part about the 'grotesque thing a rose', because that's the most significant part of the quote that stands out. But what you could do instead, is focus on a section of that quote, for example the 'raw'. Why is the word raw being used? How does the word raw contribute extra meaning to this particular quote? This way you're honing in on a particular section of the quote and really trying to offer something new. This automatically allows you to investigate the quote in a new light. Tip Five: Just remember that the best quotes do not have to be one sentence long. Some of the best quotes tend to be really short phrases or even just one particular word. Teachers actually love it when you can get rid of the excess words that are unnecessary in the sentence, and just hone in on a particular phrase or a particular word to offer an analysis. And also, that way, when you spend so much time analysing and offering insight into such a short phrase or one sentence, it shows how knowledgeable you are about the text and that you don't need to rely on lots and lots of evidence in order to prove your point. Those are my five quick tips on how to find good quotes from your texts!

Need more help with quotes? Learn about 5 Ways You're Using Quotes Wrong .

Resources for texts mentioned/referenced in this blog post:

Comparing: Stasiland and 1984 Study Guide

A Killer Text Guide: Cosi (ebook)

Cosi By Louis Nowra Study Guide

Cosi Study Guide

Growing Up Asian in Australia Study Guide

A Killer Text Guide: On the Waterfront (ebook)

A Killer Text Guide: Ransom (ebook)

Ransom Study Guide

The Crucible by Arthur Miller Study Guide

A Killer Text Guide: The Crucible (ebook)

‍ The Crucible and Year of Wonders Prompts

Comparing: The Crucible and Year of Wonders Study Guide

The Great Gatsby Study Guide

‍ A Killer Text Guide: The Secret River (ebook)

The Secret River by Kate Grenville Study Guide

Get our FREE VCE English Text Response mini-guide

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how to insert a quote into an essay

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how to insert a quote into an essay

  • Historical Context
  • Plot Summaries
  • Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas
  • Sample Essay Breakdown

For a detailed guide on Comparative, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative.

1. Historical Context

To understand the works of Franklin and Ziegler, we are going to take a look at the historical contexts in which the texts were written. By doing this, we’ll establish a proper understanding of some of the language and concepts that you might have experienced in class. The three specific historical contexts that we will address are life in 1950s London , uncovering the enigma of DNA as well as 19th-century rural life in Australia . As you continue to read this study guide, you may wish to refer back to this section if you find some of the terminologies and references confusing!

Life in 1950s London (Photograph 51)

Photograph 51 is set during the 1950s in London. This was a challenging time for everyone, largely due to Britain’s impaired economy after the war, as well as the financial obligations of the nation to the United States. An iconic local feature of this time was the fact that the government encouraged everyone in the nation to grow food for themselves and their communities. Everywhere you looked, land was being used to farm crops! Indeed, people would grow food everywhere that they could because government rations were strictly enforced and the 1950s was a decade marked by the struggle for parents to find enough food for themselves and their children. This was a difficult situation in which to live and work. However, in this time after the Second World War, Britain experienced changes on a scale never experienced by the country before. The war had cost Britain its status as a nation of monumental power, and in the 1950s the nation was looking to rebuild itself. This was a period of enthusiasm and optimism, in which many technological and scientific developments were made. Computers became more sophisticated, and humanity deeply desired to explore the workings of the world.

Nonetheless, during this time of hope and progress, women were remarkably undervalued , and female professionals were often treated with contempt. We are provided with a snapshot of what this looked like in Photograph 51 . As a Jewish woman in the 1950s, Rosalind Franklin is depicted as a target for prejudice in the world around her. For example, she is not permitted to dine with her male colleagues at lunch, which renders her unable to engage in meaningful conversations with her colleagues and debate about their research and ideas. Additionally, despite the fact that she is just as qualified as Wilkins, he continually ignores her qualifications and achievements. We see this as he refers to her with the patronising nickname ‘Rosy’, which underscores the reality that he sees her as inferior to him. It is evident that the professional world was a challenging place for women and minorities during the 1950s in London. However, Rosalind Franklin was willing to persist with her important scientific work in this formidable social setting.

19th Century Rural Life in Australia (My Brilliant Career)

My Brilliant Career was published in 1901. This was the year when the Commonwealth of Australia was formed, as the colonies of Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales united as one nation. The text is set in areas around Goulburn in Australia in the 1890s, which is around 195 kilometres - or a two-hour drive - in the South-West direction of Sydney. To put it bluntly: Australia was a challenging place to live in in the 1890s. Take a moment to consider the harsh realities of life in this time and place. During this time, most of Australia was a rural environment and this was an era in which Australians were confronted with drought, economic hardships and high unemployment rates. Indeed, the period of prosperity during the 1850s gold rush was, unfortunately, coming to a close, international investment in Australia was devastatingly declining and the price of wool and wheat was dropping at a dangerous pace. The dire economic situation was certainly not helped by the long drought, which created a distressing situation for the agricultural industry. As we see in the text, Sybylla’s father is a dairy farmer, and her family lived through this unbearable summer heat, the harsh drought and the pain caused by dying livestock. Miles Franklin convincingly uses Sybylla and her family to illustrate the extent to which the adversity of the time had an impact on everyone and the fact that nobody could escape it.

During this period, many women had to take up jobs to support their families, due to the turbulent economic times. Having said that, this was a challenging environment for a woman to pursue a career. Marriage was seen as the only appropriate venture for a woman, and women were expected to marry as soon as they were able to. It was basically unthinkable for a woman to work and pursue a career unless she was working while she waited to be able to depend upon a husband for support. Those who chose not to marry were treated poorly by the world around them. In particular, women could be traded and bartered as labour, and we see when Sylblla becomes a governess to repay her family’s debt.

During this challenging time, it was becoming increasingly common for young women in Australia to publish books, with Miles Franklin being one of them. Nevertheless, Miles Franklin - officially born Stella Franklin - ensured that ‘Miss’ was excluded from her name on the cover of her text. Presumably, she did not want her readers to assume that My Brilliant Career was written by a woman, as this may have harmed sales. Despite this, it is undeniable that social perspectives surrounding gender roles were gradually shifting towards permitting women greater rights within society. For instance, women were eventually granted the right to vote in federal elections in Australia when the Franchise Act was passed in 1902. We see such a progressive attitude represented in the text through Sybylla. Despite the social expectations placed upon her, Sybylla has aspirations for her future. As part of her aspirations, she must choose between the traditional route of marriage to Harry Beecham or her plans to pursue a career. Through this, we see that Miles Franklin welcomes the potentiality for increased social freedom for women to pursue meaningful occupations. In defiance of what society expected of her, she wanted to do something with her life and have a meaningful career! Much like many women of the day in rural Australia, pursuing such a path was no easy task and she faced much opposition.

2. Plot Summaries

We’re now going to take a quick look at the plots of My Brilliant Career and Photograph 51 . However, I cannot overemphasise the importance of setting aside the time to read these texts in detail and annotate them for yourself. You may wish to use these summaries to refresh your memory about the plot, or to stay on track if you get lost or confused while you read! We’ll provide you with a general overview of what happens, with a particular focus on the key events in each text.

Summary: My Brilliant Career

My Brilliant Career is an Australian literary classic by Stella 'Miles' Franklin which is set in rural New South Wales in the late nineteenth century. The story is presented in an autobiographical format and depicts the life and travels of Sybylla Melvyn and her family. The novel is written in a fairly free-flowing format, which Sybylla unapologetically explains is the result of her life being unstructured and lacking a plot. At times you may be frustrated with Sybylla’s pessimism and cynicism . At other times, you may hold back tears as you reflect on the adverse circumstances she faces as she pursues her goals and strives to find purpose in her life.

The novel commences with Sybylla and her family living in Bruggabong. Sybylla is content with her life here, with the freedom to roam around and ride horses as she pleases. However, as the first chapter comes to a close, we are told that Sybylla’s father, Dick Melvyn, intends to sell his stations and move his family to Possum Gully. He hopes that Possum Gully will present him with greater financial opportunities through trading farm animals. Sybylla is frustrated by the move and perceives her family’s new home as boring and monotonous. At the same time, life is hard for her mother, who becomes increasingly critical of Sybylla who seems to be developing into a rebellious child. Dick inflicts a great deal of pain upon his family, as he spends too much time in town, loses money with every sale and becomes an alcoholic. The drought certainly doesn’t simplify matters, with the scorching heat taking a toll on Sybylla, her family and their animals.

Eventually, we learn that Sybylla’s grandmother has decided to take Sybylla to live with her in Caddagat. Sybylla enthusiastically agrees and celebrates the opportunity to experience life in a different location away from the difficulties of Possum Gully. Whilst in Caddagat, she lives with Grandma Bosser, Aunt Helen and Uncle Jay-Jay. During her time there, several men approach Sybylla with an interest in marrying her. The first is Everard Grey, a wealthy lawyer from Sydney with a keen interest in the performing arts. She is denied the opportunity to travel with him and he neglects her upon hearing this news. Frank Hawden, a farmhand to the family, is attracted to Sybylla, but she sharply rejects him due to his unsophisticated demeanour. Finally, she meets Harold Beecham of Five-Bob Downs. They enjoy spending time together and he brings out Sybylla’s playful side. They eventually become engaged. However, Sybylla never intends to marry him and only agrees to the engagement on the condition that it is kept a secret between the two of them. She shares to her audience that she intends to break off the engagement as a means of stirring up and confronting Harold. Eventually, Harold is forced to leave Five-Bob Downs due to his financial misfortune resulting in the loss of his property. However, he and Sybylla agree to maintain their engagement and commit to marrying after a few years. Having said that, Sybylla never really has any intention of marrying Harold, for she views marriage as restrictive and unnecessary controlling of her freedom to pursue her own life.

Shortly after Harold’s departure, Sybylla is confronted with the news that her father’s debt to Peter M’Swat means that she will be required to travel to Barney’s Gap to work as a governess for the M’Swat children. It would be an understatement to say that Sybylla is dissatisfied with this new state of affairs! She absolutely hates working for the M’Swat family! She finds that the house is filthy, the children are disobedient and she has very minimal personal space. All she wants is to go back and live with Grandma Bossier and Aunt Helen. However, her mother denies her this privilege, for she must repay her father’s debt. The experience at Barney’s Gap becomes so bad for her that she develops an illness due to the emotional strain that she experiences. Accordingly, Mr. M’Swat sends her back home to Possum Gully to be with her family.

Sybylla hardly receives a warm welcome from her parents. Her mother continually treats her as ungrateful, and her father’s drinking has had a significant impact on his demeanour. Her younger sister, Gertie, is sent off to live in Caddagat, and Sybylla feels as if Grandma Bossier, Aunt Helen and Uncle Jay-Jay have forgotten about her. To make matters worse, she feels as if Harold Beecham, who has been unable to return to Five-Bob Downs, is falling in love with Gertie. Eventually, Harold travels to Possum Gully. Sybylla is expecting her to ask Dick for permission to marry Gertie. But to her surprise, he actually intends to ask Sybyllla if she will marry him, even though she made it clear through her letters that she had no intention of doing so. For fear of hurting him and due to her view of marriage as restrictive, she rejects Harold again and sends him on his way.

And that’s basically the story! Sybylla concludes with some reflections on her position and purpose in life. She sees her purpose as completing the monotonous tasks that nobody wants to complete and she is thankful for the opportunity to earn her living through hard labour. Overall, we know that her ambition was to become an author, and this book is her final product as she writes about her various experiences.

Summary: Photograph 51

Photograph 51 is a play by Anna Ziegler which tells the story of the discovery of the structure of DNA. The title takes its name from the photograph taken by Raymond Gosling and Rosalind Franklin at King’s College in 1952. The play has been constructed by Ziegler with a bit of artistic license, and she herself admits that she has modified timelines, altered facts and events, and recreated characters. If we take a step back and look at the big picture, we have a great representation of events that makes some bold statements about injustice within the scientific community and society at large.

It is important to mention that this play is full of characters who break the fourth wall - a performance convention in which we usually imagine that there is a wall that separates characters from the audience when we watch a television show, movie or play. Ziegler has deliberately constructed this play in a manner where the characters that feature in the play provide commentary on the events to the audience. And this is how we start, with Rosalind directly speaking to the audience alongside Wilkins, Watson, Crick, Caspar and Gosling. Rosalind shares that the play will be about ‘powerful’ scientists accomplishing incredible feats. Shortly after this, our story begins (with frequent interruptions from the male scientists who want to bicker with each other and give their own commentary on the events).

Rosalind arrives at King’s College in London to work in the field of genetics. However, much to her surprise and dissatisfaction, she is told that she will be working on uncovering the structure of DNA. She also learns that she will be working with a doctoral student, Gosling, under the direction of Wilkins. Wilkins and Rosalind clearly don’t get along, and they are often fighting about something! Meanwhile, Gosling is clearly lower in the chain of hierarchy and awkwardly tries to have a say in matters.

Now, pay attention to this part, because it will be important for the end. Shortly after her arrival at King’s College, Rosalind goes to see a production of Shakespeare’s comedy, The Winter’s Tale . Ziegler doesn’t get into the details, but basically, this play features King Leontes and Hermione, his wife. Leontes murders Hermione upon suspecting her of unfaithfulness. In The Winter’s Tale , Leontes is able to pray Hermione back to life! Why is this significant to Photograph 51 ? Just remember for now that Rosalind can’t seem to remember who played Hermione in the London production, whilst she can recall who played Leontes. We may say that this represents the misogyny that Rosalind has internalised after facing a life of sexism from the world around her.

As Rosalind and Gosling work closely on taking photographs of DNA, Gosling urges her to go home and rest on several occasions. She refuses, as she wants to persist in her work! He also pleads with her to be careful around the beam, but she is reluctant to listen. It is clear that she disregards her health and well-being because she is fixated on the task at hand.

We are introduced to two other scientists, Watson and Crick, who are also competing in the race to discover the structure of DNA. Another character, Caspar, is introduced around this time. He’s a PhD student who is captivated by Rosalind’s work and writes to her for assistance with his research. He eventually finishes his PhD and obtains a fellowship at King’s College where he develops a close relationship with Rosalind.

Over the course of the play, Wilkins works progressively closer with Watson and Crick, and eventually shares Rosalind’s Photograph 51 with them. This image, having been captured and developed by Rosalind and Gosling, was crucial to their discovery of the double helical structure of DNA. Watson and Crick are also able to access Rosalind’s unpublished paper which details all of her findings.

Rosalind and Caspar are having dinner together and Rosalind admits to the audience that she has feelings for Caspar. However, she does not share this information with him. During this time, Rosalind has some pain in her stomach and it is revealed that she has cancer, with two tumours in her ovaries. It is likely that this came about due to her close work with X-rays. She becomes very sick and eventually dies at the age of thirty-seven.

We are informed that Watson, Crick and Wilkins all receive the Nobel prize for their work on uncovering the structure of DNA. Meanwhile, Rosalind receives no credit, even though her research was what helped them with their breakthrough.

In the final moments of the play, Rosalind and Wilkins talk about The Winter’s Tale . Wilkins shares that he saw her entering the theatre on the day when she saw the play, but he decided not to enter with her. He regrets this and it is clear that he has lived a life full of regret. Wilkins wishes he could bring Rosalind back to life, just as Leontes does with Hermione in Shakespeare’s play. However, he regrets that this is not possible and must carry on his life with guilt and regret for the decisions he has made and the way that he has treated Rosalind.

3. Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas

Through discussing themes, motifs and key ideas, we’ll gain a clearer understanding of some super important ideas to bring out in your essays. Remember that, when it comes to themes, there’s a whole host of ways you can express your ideas - but this is what I’d suggest as the most impressive method to blow away the VCAA examiners. We’ll be adhering to the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy. While this study guide doesn’t go into too much detail about using LSG’s CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy , I’d highly recommend you familiarise yourself with it by reading LSG's How To Write A Killer Comparative .


Within Photograph 51 and My Brilliant Career , we are presented with characters with profound ambitions to overcome adverse circumstances. Indeed, both texts featured major and minor characters, who yearn to overcome their circumstances and make the most of their unfortunate situations. At the conclusion of My Brilliant Career , Sybylla questions the nature of 'vain ambition'. She reflects on the inevitability of death, and that all will die, regardless of one’s status as a 'king or slave'. Ultimately, Sybylla wants to be 'true' to herself, and in striving to do so, she finds contentment. Likewise, Rosalind is satisfied with 'painstakingly' trying to accomplish success by discovering the truth in her work. She is highly diligent, for she wants to discover the truth, and she will not permit herself to make a mistake. In doing so, she '[pays] attention to every detail'. However, as part of this, Watson and Crick are able to take advantage of her, and ultimately achieve success at her expense.

Rather insightfully, Caspar reflects that 'the things we want but can’t have are probably the things that define us'. This reflects the reality for characters across both texts. In particular, Rosalind has a deep 'yearning' for various things throughout Photograph 51 . This is not strictly for success in her research, for she admits that she yearns for friendships, peace, to be able to sleep well at night and for a deeper relationship with Caspar. Rosalind works diligently with her research, admitting that she doesn’t believe in 'laziness'. She regularly stays up all night, which likely contributes to her significant health complications. At the same time, this has an impact on her ability to form meaningful relationships with the people around her. Ultimately, she is not able to attain any of her aspirations, for her life is cut short by her unfortunate death. Likewise, Crick acknowledges that his ambitions in the scientific community have negatively impacted his relationship with his wife. Whilst he may have started out with the desire to 'support [his] family, to do science, to make some small difference in the world', it is clear that he became overwhelmed with his desire for success, and this has cost him dearly.

One of the most significant characters with aspirations in My Brilliant Career is Dick Melvyn. He clearly possesses great ambition at the beginning of the text, which motivates him to move his family from Bruggabrong to Possum Gully. However, this ambition for financial prosperity turns him into a man who is 'a slave of drink', as well as someone who is overall 'careless' and 'bedraggled in his personal appearance'. Indeed, his ambition has taken a challenging toll on him and the life of his family. Unlike Dick Melvyn, who has been harshly impacted by his ambition for success, the M’Swat family seem to be genuinely supportive of their children, and others outside of their family. This is evident in their care for the Melvyn family in their time of financial need. It is evident that a desire for success and 'the possession of money' does not necessarily lead to ruin.

DIVERGENT: Selflessness

The leading characters in My Brilliant Career and Photograph 51 differ in the extent to which they display selflessness as they approach life. Whilst Sybylla’s perception of her circumstances may not be entirely accurate, we can see that she approaches her despairing circumstances with ultimate altruism that leads her to neglect her own desires and focus on how she can be useful in serving the needs of others. At the conclusion of the text, Sybylla sees that she is most suited to 'wait about common public-houses to look after [her] father when he is inebriated'. She seems to be content to submit to her circumstances in order to look after the needs of her family. In contrast, Rosalind seems to be limited in her capacity to discern the needs of others, and the fact that others also require resources to complete their work. This is highlighted when Wilkins complains that 'she’s keeping [him] from [his] work'. Indeed, she seems to hoard 'all the best equipment'. Whilst Wilkins may be exaggerating the extent of the situation, this still highlights Rosalind's uncharitable approach to her work.

At the heart of these differences are the contrasting worldviews of the leading characters, and the way in which they each find meaning in life. Rosalind ultimately views society as opposed to her, and her response to this is to stand her ground tenaciously. She finds meaning in persevering and avoiding mistakes at all costs. In this approach to her world, she is able to justify her occasional cruel treatment of the men around her. On the other hand, Sybylla finds purpose in being able to fulfil a functioning role in the society around her. By the time the novel reaches its conclusion, she has essentially given up fighting for any of her own interests and seems to be content in serving the needs of those around her. This is evident when she rejects Harold for the final time. She notes that Harold is like a ' child pleading for a dangerous toy', and that '[her] refusal was for his good'. In doing so, she demonstrates selflessness, for she genuinely believes that she is acting in Harold’s best interest. The key contrast between Rosalind rejecting the assistance of Wilkins and Sybylla refusing to marry Harold is that Rosalind isolates herself and rejects others because she sees other people as unreliable, and sees that she will 'work best' if she works 'alone', whereas Sybylla rejects Harold for she believes she is acting for his good.

4. Sample Essay Breakdown

As with all our essay topic breakdowns, we'll follow LSG's THINK and EXECUTE strategy , as taught in our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide. The LSG's THINK and EXECUTE strategy follows three steps in the THINK phase:

A nalyse ‍ B rainstorm ‍ C reate a Plan

Learn more about this technique in this video:

Theme 2 Prompt

Step 1: Analyse

This ‘discuss’ topic prompts us to evaluate the topic in light of My Brilliant Career and Photograph 51 and reach a conclusion. This is also a theme-based topic, relating to perception and self-awareness. Accordingly, it would be wise to ‘discuss’ how key themes CONVERGE and DIVERGE across our texts. With our given theme, we will need to consider what we mean by ‘perception’, how it occurs in both texts, and the conclusions we can draw from this that will feature in our analysis.

Step 2: Brainstorm

In order to address this topic, we need to consider the notion of perception and how this connects with self-awareness. Crucially, the topic prompts us to consider where characters think they have perceived their situation accurately, when in reality they have actually accepted a form of illusion or false perception. We want to broadly consider where this occurs, which will enable us to group characters together later on. We also want to address the reality that something usually occurs to cause a person to realise that they have been perceiving their reality incorrectly.

Step 3: Create a Plan

We will approach this topic with a chronological structure . This means that we are going to broadly consider 1) the behaviour of characters with a false perception of reality, 2) the nature of crises that cause someone to confront their perception of their world, and 3) how characters respond to such crises.

As we think of examples to include in each of our paragraphs, we need to also be considering CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT points of comparison. We can base these around the themes from the Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas section of LSG's Photograph 51 & My Brilliant Career study guide.

Paragraph 1: Living with a false perception of reality

  • At this point, we should discuss the CONVERGENT ideas analysed in the Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas section of LSG's Photograph 51 & My Brilliant Career study guide. We should make sure that we focus on Sybylla and Rosalind at the beginning of their respective texts. In particular, we can focus on the naivety of Sybylla and how this connects to her as an unreliable narrator, as well as how Rosalind’s steadfast determination causes her to lose sight of reality.
  • On top of this, we also want to draw connections between the themes and the minor characters of the texts. We mustn’t limit our discussion to one that centres solely around Sybylla and Rosalind, so we’ll take a look at Harold’s relationship with Sybylla, as well as Watson and Crick’s publication of false data.

Paragraph 2: Crises that confront a false perception of reality

  • Now we want to focus on the ‘middle’ sections of each of our texts. Take note: ‘middle’ doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly halfway through the book. However, it should be around the point where there is a significant turn of events. My Brilliant Career actually has a few of these, but we’ll focus on Sybylla having to travel to Barney’s Gap. In Photograph 51 , we’ll discuss Rosalind’s discovery of her cancer diagnosis.
  • As we trace our secondary characters, we’ll look at Harold’s financial troubles, as well as Watson and Crick’s ridicule due to their flawed model.

Paragraph 3: Responding to crises and evaluating a false perception of reality

  • As we conclude our essay, we want to discuss the impacts of the crises on our characters. For Sybylla, we’ll talk about how she continues in her naivety. However, the crisis does prompt Sybylla to evaluate some of her values. For Rosalind, she doesn’t really change her ways, however, it does give her more urgency. These are some of the DIVERGENT ideas that will feature in our discussion. We also need to address Watson and Crick, who end up taking an even more cunning approach to their work, which results in them achieving international recognition for their research.

Want to see the the fully written and annotated version of the essay we've just planned here? Check our A Killer Comparative Guide: Photograph 51 & My Brilliant Career. Not only can you find the full version of this essay, there are also 4 other (5 in total) full, A+ essays fully annotated, as well as more themes, analysed quotes, exploration of different interpretations and lenses and more!!

For a detailed guide on Language Analysis including how to prepare for your SAC and exam, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .

[Video 1 Transcription]

Hey, guys. You can see that I am holding a stylus, which means we're doing something different today. Today's the first time that I'm going to be analyzing an article. Because I know that a lot of you are actually studying analyzing argument or basically language analysis, where you get an article, usually it's called material, and you have to analyze what persuasive techniques the author is using. Now, this is actually my favorite part of the English course. So I don't know why it took me so long to do this, but I'm actually really excited to start this sort of segment. If you do enjoy what you've watched at the end of this video then give me that like. Because I'll really appreciate it because I'll know if you guys actually do like it or not, and I'll make more of these if so. Basically, the way I'm doing this is very much like how I teach my students inside my tutoring sessions with them. I'm going to be going through the article with you and highlighting language techniques we see and then interpreting them. So, trying to understand why it's persuasive or trying to understand why authors try to use these persuasive techniques to persuade people to agree with their argument. Now, obviously, it's not going to be exactly like a tutoring session because I didn't want this video to be too long. So, I'm going to go through it a little bit of haste, but hopefully still with enough detail for you to be able to take away and be able to do more of it on your own. I'm going to be looking down because I have a stylus on me, which I borrowed from my lovely nephew, Alex. Thank you, Alex. And actually uses this computer for school. Lols. I have attached the PDF to this article in the description box below. Now, this is a very old article from VCAA, back in the year 2000. Now, the reason why I chose such an old article was because: one, it's still really relevant despite its age. The things that we're doing today, in today's study design, is still very much so similar to what they did back in the day. The second thing was, I didn't want to do an article that I felt a lot of you had already done. I wanted to be able to offer you something new and bring something new to the table, basically. So before we get started, what I want you to do is download this article in the description box below. Make sure you have a read of the article, and then try to analyze it on your own before we actually get started. This way you can compare the things that you've found versus the things that I found, and I think you might be very surprised to see that we'll probably have different interpretations. The focus of today's video is really just to identify language techniques and to try to understand why they've been used. There are other elements of the criteria that need to be covered and they will be in due time. But that's just something that I wanted to focus on first because I want to make sure that you guys have got the fundamentals down pat. As always, reading background information is critical for your understanding of the issue. As you can see here, we've got a report of Ms. Smith, principal of Anyton Secondary College, to the annual general meeting of the school council. So it's clear from her report that she is very concerned this year at the rising level of absenteeism among the middle school students. Also, it says, "How can students learn if they're not in class?" In the end, she writes: "So I urge the school council to devise a policy that will enable us to put an end to this epidemic of truancy. We need to take a firm line to ensure all our students are in school." Okay.  So now that we've read the background information and we understand the context of the situation, let's now move into the first article. So the first article has been written by a parent, Tom Frost. So automatically, we can see that he is a parent, which goes to show that there are some credentials there. So credentials, basically, is what's the title of the person who's writing the article. The fact that he is a parent goes to show that he is someone who is actually invested in the education of students, so we as readers may be more inclined to believe him or trust him because he obviously has a child at that school, and so he wants the best for that child. So, let's hear what he has to say. "I'd like to speak against the proposal of the principal, Ms. Smith, to come down on truancy like a ton of bricks." Okay. So, automatically, we can see that he has labeled truancy and Ms. Smith's proposal like a ton of bricks. Now, if we think about a ton of bricks, to me, a ton of bricks is an idiom. An idiom is like a saying. So it's related to the idea that something is a burden, and so he's making truancy seem like a burden, so something that's not a good thing. So, from the get-go, he makes Ms. Smith's proposal of a policy on truancy something that has negative connotations. Next, he says, "Let's not get too carried away with this truancy issue." The fact that he uses let's is inclusive language. This should be quite easy for you guys to pick up. Whoops. If only I knew how to spell language. Okay, fine. I'll spell it properly. So, why do we actually use inclusive language? Inclusive language usually involves words like let's, we, our. And these create the sense that there is a collective responsibility that we hold. So, potentially as readers, we could even be parents ourselves who feel like we need to get involved in the issue in order to actually have an impact on what's happening here. The fact that he doesn't just say, "Ah, I'm not going to get carried away with this truancy issue," and he says, "Let's not get carried away," automatically includes you on his team and so may make you more inclined to support his idea. To add onto the sense that there is quite a bit of credibility, he says, "I've got three kids here." So, I believe that that compounds his credentials; his authority in this matter. So, as a parent, he should know what's good and what's not so good for his children, unlike the principal who is just an authoritative figure. He then goes on to say, "I'm not sure they need to be chained to their desks all day." This is a great one. This is a metaphor. This metaphor of the children being chained to their desks all day, it doesn't sound great, does it? To be chained to something implies that you've been imprisoned or that maybe it's even likened to slavery. So if we're thinking of kids as being imprisoned and enslaved, obviously, this is something that we definitely don't want, and so he really pushes us from supporting Ms. Smith's policy and feeling sympathetic to these students. Seven days a week itself also compounds on this metaphor. I would say that by saying it's seven days a week, he really leaves no room for there to be argument. To me, this is exaggeration. Why? Because students are only at school five times a week, so to say seven days is already an exaggeration. But he does this in order to really stress this idea that this policy is definitely a no-go. None of us would want our children... We're not parents, but let's just say, if we're in the position of a parent reading this article, none of us would want our children to be chained to desks seven days a week, would we? He goes on to say, "Is it so bad to wag school?" Here we have a rhetorical question. Sorry. I switched from a thicker pen with exaggeration back to the normal one because I think it's a little bit too thick. Rhetorical questions are generally put there in order to get you thinking. And rhetorical questions tend to have an obvious answer that you should be agreeing to. So, when he says, "Is it so bad to wag school?" it's not the same as openly asking, "What do you think about wagging school?" where you're then open to the opportunity to support it or not to support it. Whereas, the way that he phrases it, "Is it so bad to wag school?" is already urging you to say, "Ah, of course not." So, at the same time, he belittles this issue. He dismisses the issue of wagging school and turns it into something that is just to be thrown away; something that shouldn't really be a concern of parents. So, at the same time there, I'm going to say that there's belittling there. He then goes on to say, "After all, most of us have wagged school without coming to grief or causing trouble, haven't we?" That's generalization, right there. Whoops. Why can't I write on this side? Generalization is done when we want to make it sound like something is super common. By saying "Most of us," he collectively involves everyone to make it seem as though everyone has wagged school before, so really, what's the issue? Next, he says, "In our house." Okay. This, I believe, really draws upon family values. By now including his home, he is saying that this is an issue that just goes beyond just kids wagging school or kids not being at school. It's a family value. "The fact that they don't go to school is something that they call mental health days." He puts a positive spin on the negatively connotated truancy, and because a lot of people are advocates for mindfulness, meditation, and looking after ourselves, this is something that may encourage readers to agree with the author. Okay, continuing on. "Seems to me there are good reasons why kids play truant." Play is a really interesting word choice. By using the word play, it definitely dumbs down the issue and makes it seem something super lighthearted. Because when kids play, of course, it's just fun. It's joyful. And so, he's making this issue of truancy, basically, a game. So again, it's like it's not a serious issue and it underplays the principal's point of view. If we skip ahead a little bit, he even says, "I can see from your nods." So here, again, it's like the collective response. He's already indicating, through his speech, that everyone pretty much agrees with him and so should you. Then there's rubbish. Rubbish has negative connotations. You get reminded of words like waste, garbage, and nonsense, which undermines the idea of independent and flexible learning, as though it's something that actually isn't really that helpful. He then continues to say, "Kids decide to find out about life firsthand." What he's saying here is that kids actually need to experience things themselves. Let's move into our final paragraph. He says now, that "School started out as places to educate kids and then became kind of a childcare for big kids." The imagery there... I would say imagery, you don't have to use imagery. You could say negative connotations. You could say metaphor. You could label it whatever you want. For me, I get this picture of a childcare with really old kids that are like teenagers running around in the cradles, kids in cots, playing with little games, and it's just nonsensical. In addition to this, by saying that school is like a childcare, he suggests that school isn't really a place that has children's best interests at heart; now they're part of the remand system. Remand is legal jargon. I actually didn't even know what this word meant, so I had to look it up. But if you use jargon, you're using words from a certain field that most people won't be familiar with. So lawyers, obviously, will be really familiar with terms like being on being on bail, custody, defense, prosecution. Words like that, that say, for me, as an everyday person who might only know a little bit about the law, because I've watched quite a few legal dramas on TV, that's when it becomes jargon; when it's vocabulary that's beyond just the everyday person. So, here you could say that it's legal jargon and that he is now creating the picture of a school, not as a place for education, but a place where people are in custody. So, they're in custody of the school, which sounds terrible, doesn't it? He goes on to keep using inclusive language. So, that is some repetition that is used throughout his piece. To sum up, he says, "You hear all these things about drop-in centers, buddies, big sister programs, peer support, and other schemes. Why can't we try some of these than hounding students endlessly?" Rhetorical question. It's interesting that he has now offered alternative solutions. This is something that may encourage other people to agree with him because he's not just slamming down the principal's suggestion, but he's offering his own solution to the problem. Which implies that he has carefully thought this through, and he has thought about other ways they can improve on absenteeism. Moreover, you could even say that maybe the principal hasn't been doing her job because if she had been trying drop-in centers, buddies, big sister program, maybe she wouldn't be at this point where she's trying to enforce the truancy policy. That's just where I'm going to leave it today. I didn't want this video to stretch out too long for you guys, so I didn't go into as much detail as I could have. But that's to say that there are plenty more language techniques for you guys to pick up. It's your job now to have a read of it again and see if you guys can find anything else. I'm going to respond to every single one of you who has analyzed something and left it in the comment section below. I also wanted you guys to know that I have an online course called How to Achieve A+ in Language Analysis. If you're somebody who struggles with language analysis and you've found this video helpful, or you've liked my teaching style, then I encourage you to check it out. I've just updated some of the videos for 2018 so that it's up to date, and I share with you all the secrets that I discovered when I achieved A+ in my own language analysis SACs and in the exam when I was in year 12. I'll put it down in the description box just down below. And next week, we're going into part two of this article, where we're going to analyze Rosemary Collins' letter, so I'll see you guys then. Bye!

[Video 2 Transcription]

Hey guys, welcome to part two of the article that we'll be analyzing today on the topic of truancy. If you haven't watched my previous video where I analyze the first article in this language analysis, then I'll just put it in the card up above. But if you have, then you're ready to join me on this next part. Last week, we looked into Tom Frost's speech, whereas this week we're going to be looking at Rosemary Collins. I will be looking down here, so don't mind me, and I'll be annotating live for you guys as we do this. So just to reinforce on what I said last week, I can't possibly go through every single language technique here with you, especially because I don't want this video to be too long. So I'll just be choosing the ones that stand out to me, and I'll be sharing with you the language technique that it's called or how I would call it, and why I think the author might use that in an attempt to persuade the audience. So let's begin here with Rosemary Collins. So Rosemary herself is... I thought I can expand it. That's cool. All right. So Rosemary herself is a parent. We know that because of this down here. So she automatically uses her credentials from the get-go. So as somebody who uses their credentials, we may be more inclined as the audience to agree with what she's saying because, one, she's a parent, so she has a child at the school, and so therefore has their best interests at heart. Now, unlike the first article, what we can see here is an image. It's a key and on it says, "Key Educational Consultants," and it has the address. I think this image is really interesting because keys are usually indicative of safety, of the answer, or something that is trustworthy. So it definitely shines a positive light on Rosemary Collins, who is some sort of Key Educational Consultant. So not only is she a parent, but she seems to hold quite a high position when it comes to something involving education. She is a consultant herself, so maybe that means that she shares her advice with other people and people actually pay her for this, so therefore maybe we're more inclined to support her point of view. Additionally, we could also identify a pun here. Further credibility. The final thing I would say here is that there as a pun. So with key, it's not only the physical key, but it's the key as though it's the answer. So as you can see just from the one image, we've been able to find at least three different language techniques. So don't be afraid to go into this much details, teachers actually love this. So we've already established that she's writing as a parent and we've talked about that. Now she goes on to talk about how she's a consultant, so I feel like we've touched on that, so I won't go into that again. But then she goes on to talk about how it is a complex issue and that it will not be solved by a punitive model of discipline, one which is both ineffective and... Woops my camera turned off. Sorry, lost the battery. So let's make this super quick. By saying punitive model of discipline, punitive itself means punishment, so here essentially she's saying that it's a form of punishment, which actually reminds me of Frost's comment earlier, that students would be chained to their desks. So you call that negative connotations, if you would like to. One of my favorite ones. One of my favorite language techniques to use. Okay, the word alienating is interesting as well. School should be a place that's welcoming, it should be inclusive, comforting, but not alienating, going against everything that school should represent. So the portrayal of this discipline model is a negative one. So if we jump ahead into the next body paragraph, I'm just going to group a few things together. She uses research and statistics, particularly in Victoria as well. So we know from early on that she is a researcher, so that's credible within itself, because she is someone who's experienced in the field and someone who has done her research and she's knowledgeable. She uses statistics, and statistics itself is seemingly factual, it's something that we can't refute and, therefore, we may be more inclined to agree with her based on those facts. Moreover, she includes the fact that they're in Victoria, so this means that it's relevant and applicable to us as readers because pretty much all the students who'll be doing this article will be from Victoria. Because it affects us directly, we might be more inclined to therefore agree with what she's saying. She also mentioned that students who do not attend school regularly are disengaged socially and educationally. So what this does is it absolves students of the blame, as though it's not their fault. There is a reason why they don't show up at school. And so the concern and the focus should really be on that, rather than just punishing them even more and therefore alienating them even further. This might connect with parents who especially don't want their children to be unfairly blamed. In her last sentence, she says that students absent from school due to an impediment are equally deserving of attention according to their needs. So again, this is reinforcing the fact that it's not the student's fault, but we need to work harder at lifting them up, so that they do receive equal attention. And it's implied that this hasn't been happening. She says our school. In our last video, we talked about inclusive language and how that encourages people to agree. She talks now about a holistic approach to absenteeism. So like Frost, she offers her own solution to the matter, rather than just slamming down the principle's policy. Now we're looking at something that is about the entire community. So if we go ahead with a holistic approach, it's as though everyone wins and as readers, we might be more inclined to agree with this because we always want the best for everyone's interests. She elaborates by talking about alternative curriculum options, positive community service experiences. So by offering her own solution, she now is encouraging readers to agree with what she's saying. And she ties it in with four other students going to show that it's not just a one-size-fits-all. Every student is different and so, therefore, the way that we go about helping them should be different as well. Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. I just realized that I forgot to annotate the articles. I'll do that in a second and attach the PDF to this annotated version for you in the comment section below. The last thing I would want to talk about is how she mentions, "I would be happy to be part of a working group." So she's not just talking, but she's actually going to walk the talk. Therefore, we should trust her judgment because even she is a willing participant of her own solutions. So if that's the case, then we're more inclined to agree with her. Lastly, she concludes with her credentials. So of course that ends up on that high note to ensure that we do trust for her and to show that she is somebody who is deserving of our trust. So that ends off my analysis of this particular article. If you wanted more information or you like the way that I teach language analysis, then you might be interested in my online course, How to achieve A+ plus in Language Analysis. It's had over 300 students participate and an overall rating of 4.5 stars, so I'm really happy to say that I believe this course has been doing really well at helping those who struggle in language analysis. So if you're somebody who struggles from the basics of not knowing how to identify a language technique to somebody who is unsure of how to explain how it persuades or somebody else who struggles with analyzing the argument and seeing how the argument comes together and develops, then I would strongly encourage you to go ahead and check it out. Otherwise, there are plenty of language techniques that I haven't covered just yet. And I'm sure that you guys have interpreted some of the language techniques I've found here differently. I'd absolutely love to hear what you guys have to say. Leave it in the comment section below, and let's all work together to do well in language analysis over this next term. Can't wait to see you guys next week. Bye!

[Video 3 Transcription]

Hey guys. So what am I talking about? So recently, I released a new segment where I talk about analyzing argument and I analyzed an actual article with you. I haven't done it before, but from what I can see, you guys are actually really enjoying it. I want to remind you guys that I am doing a analyzing argument livestream next Friday, the 27th after school at 5:00 PM. So if you have any questions for me I encourage you to start asking away. I'll put the link to the livestream below for you guys so you can hit that link and then go and set up a reminder for yourself. There's also a chat section there for you to actually start answering your questions. So do that because you know, I need questions to start off with, to answer. If you get in early, then I'll probably start off with yours. So heck yeah, let's answer this. Asa has asked me, "Hey, Lisa. This video was super helpful, but I was wondering if next time you could include a section where you translate annotations and put it into a paragraph. I know in order to get a high mark you shouldn't be focusing too much on the techniques, but rather in a more holistic way. It'd be pretty cool to see which ones out of the bunch you annotate you choose to include in your analysis. Thank you." I eventually wanted to get up to this point and talk more about structuring an essay and how to organize it in a body paragraph. But I was trying to figure out what to do for this video. Then I thought, "You know what, why not just do it now?" Obviously, with analyzing argument or language analysis, however you want to call it, it's a big section in the exam and there's a lot to cover. So I'm not going to go into too much detail about how I actually structure the essay for language analysis, because I think that is most suited to an entire video in itself. But I thought I would at least just create one paragraph for you guys just to give you a little bit of an idea of how I would go about it so you can walk away from this video with a little bit of extra knowledge to help you with your language analysis. So basically, in the paragraph that I've created, you'll see that I don't use every single language technique that I have found, and that's the whole point. You want to be at that skillset where you can find so many language techniques, but you're so good that you know that you can't analyze absolutely everything, so you go and choose the gems out of the lot. So choose the ones that you think will help you set yourself apart from other students. For example, I always try to encourage my students not to necessarily always talk about stats or rhetorical questions or inclusive language, because those ones are super obvious. They're the ones that everyone can find. So of course, you don't just strategize your essay and choose techniques that you think no one else is going to write about. Because, what if that rhetorical question is actually a really strong one where you could elaborate and say something really insightful about it, right? So it's all a balancing game. Let's just get into the paragraph and give you guys a look. What I do is I base paragraph according to ideas. Now, every single author who creates an article has a main contention, but what we're after now are the smaller ideas that the author makes in order to support that overall contention. One idea that I have chosen to talk about is the idea of what school has become, or the current school culture. In my paragraph, I have included a few language techniques that I believe fit into this overall idea. So Frost highlights the current and unpleasant school culture in an effort to rile support from other parents. You can see here that this is the idea that I'm focused on. His use of the metaphor, chained to their desk all day, suggests how children are being imprisoned by their schooling. Especially since it's seven days a week. This may deter parents from supporting the principal's absenteeism policy, as they feel as though their children are spending more than enough time at school. You can see here that I've included one language technique, and it's the metaphor. The main reason why I've included this metaphor is because the idea that children are chained to their desk all day really reflects the school culture and attitude of Frost's child school. Next I say, Frost compounds this idea of trapped children through highlighting that school is now a childcare for big kids, rather than a place to educate kids. The childcare works to portray the school, and by extension the principal, as incompetent at their job of raising an independent next generation. As a result, disgruntled parents may resist the idea of a truancy policy as it becomes apparent that more times at school is unlikely to equal better outcomes for the child. I've inputted a second language technique here, and I've really focused on the idea itself though. I'm emphasizing the fact that this school, as it is right now, is just not a good place to be. You can see that I'm being consistent with this idea, because I start off the sentence with, "Frost compounds this idea," showing the link with my own sentences. Then I move on. Moreover, Frost's declaration that school is now a remand system may further encourage parents to support his case, as it is implied that children are being held custody by the school. His passion may strike a chord with other parents who feel alienated by the seemingly impenetrable school culture, with which they find it difficult to contribute or influence. So I finished off this paragraph with a third and final language technique. As you can see here, what I am focused on more as a writer of this essay is the idea of school culture. With that, I try to find language techniques that work with it. I don't do it the other way around, where I base it off a language technique and try to cram, I don't know, just ideas into a language technique or try to make it work that way, because it's going to be a lot tougher for you. Focus on the ideas and see which techniques fit into it. Now, I found more techniques I think than the three, that could have fit into this body paragraph, but I felt like these three pointers were probably the strongest ones and the ones where I felt like I could really show off my analytical skills. So I talked about a metaphor. I talked about how the place is a childcare. The betrayal of the school, lack of childcare and the idea of trapped children or imprisoned children, I worked off this idea. Then I worked off this idea even further by talking about a remand system, which is legal jargon for custody. It's like these children are just being condemned to this school, which is something that no parents would want. And so, I really emphasized that. So yeah, that's pretty much it. I hope that answers your question, Asa. I only used three language techniques, but it's not about the quantity. It is about the quality of the work that you're portraying. Sorry, I keep looking down because I've written my stuff here for you guys, but you'll notice that these language techniques don't come one after another in the article, they're kind of all over the place. This is really important to enable you to be able to go and find different techniques from different areas of the article, rather than just confining yourself to, "Oh, this author has written this one paragraph. Let me try to find all these techniques in this one paragraph and transport that into one paragraph in my essay." You know? To sum up, main messages are, focus your paragraphs on an idea. It's not about quantity, it's about quality of your language techniques. Try to find the ones that are going to show off your skill. And fourth, you don't need to find language techniques in a chronological order. You can pick them out wherever you please. That's it. If you find this interesting or if you're not being taught this at school or you feel like the advice that I'm giving you is actually really helpful, then I'd encourage you to go and check out my study guide that I created with two other girls who achieved a study school of 50. So we have an entire section there about analyzing argument, from analyzing itself, language techniques, essay structure, writing up the essay, then showing you high essay responses with annotations to ensure that you know what you're doing. So I've got you covered, all right? Don't stress. So I will see you guys next week for the livestream. It will be on Friday the 27th at 5:00 PM. So as usual, I'm your Friday girl. I'm always here on Fridays and you guys can ask me any of your questions related to analyzing argument then. Speak to you guys then. Bye!

If you'd like a comprehensive explanation of everything you need to know to ace your SAC or exam, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook.

Updated on 11/12/2020

  • Introductions
  • Themes in Ransom and The Queen
  • Similarities and Differences
  • Literary and Cinematic Techniques in Ransom and The Queen
  • Essay Topics for Ransom and The Queen
  • Resources for Ransom and The Queen

1. Introductions

Set during the Trojan War, one of the most famous events in Greek mythology, David Malouf’s historical fiction Ransom seeks to explore the overwhelming destruction caused by war , and the immense power of reconciliation . Drawing on The Iliad , the epic poem by Homer, Malouf focuses on the events of one day and night, in which King Priam of Troy travels to the enemy Greek encampment to plead with the warrior Achilles to release the body of Priam’s son, Hector. Maddened by grief at the murder of his friend Patroclus, Achilles desecrates the body of Hector as revenge. Despite Achilles’ refusal to give up Hector’s body, Priam is convinced there must be a way of reclaiming the body – of pitting new ways against the old, and forcing the hand of fate. Malouf’s fable reflects the epic themes of the Trojan War, as fatherhood , love , grief , and pride are expertly recast for our times.

To learn more, head over to our Ransom Study Guide (which covers themes, characters, and more).

Set in the weeks leading up to and after the infamous death of Princess Diana in 1997, The Queen captures the private moments of the monarchy's grief and loss , and Queen Elizabeth II's inner conflict as she attempts to keep her private and public affairs separate.

The film opens with Tony Blair's "landslide victory" in the election as the "youngest Prime Minister in almost two hundred years", preempting viewers of the "radical modernisation" that's to come as he takes the reign. Juxtaposed with Blair's introduction is the stoic Queen Elizabeth II, residing in Buckingham Palace serenaded by bagpipes, in a ritual unchanged since Queen Victoria, immediately establishing the entrenched traditional values she represents. Princess Diana’s sudden death at the hands of relentless paparazzi results in turmoil in both the lives of those in the monarchy and adoring British citizens who mourn for the loss of the “people's princess". As days ensue with no public response from the Royal Family, the British people grow in disdain towards the authority , demanding a more empathetic response. Caught between the people and the monarchy is Blair, who sees the Royal Family’s public image suffer as a result of inaction.

Despite heavy resistance from the Queen, he eventually encourages her to surrender old royal protocols and adopt a more modern approach to meet public expectation: to fly the flag at half-mast, hold a public funeral, and publicly grieve for the loss of Princess Diana – all in all, to show the people that the monarchy cares. The Queen’s decision to accept Blair’s advice ultimately reconnects her with the British people and restores the Royal Family’s reputation amongst the public.

Together, Ransom and The Queen showcase the challenges involved in leadership roles : the inner conflict that leaves these individuals torn between their private and public demands . More on this in the next section.

2. Themes in Ransom and The Queen ‍

Parenthood and leadership.

In both texts, deaths act as a catalyst for both Priam and the Queen’s personal change – Priam’s son Hector, and the Queen’s, ex-daughter-in-law, Princess Diana.

In Ransom , we learn of the familial sacrifice Priam has needed to make as a leader . His separation from loved ones is expected as he has been ‘asked to stand…at a kingly distance from the human, which in [his] kingly role…[he] can have no part in'. Up until Hector’s death, Priam has been removed from paternal experiences, a sad truth when he admits that his relationships with his children are merely ‘formal and symbolic,’ and a part of the ‘splendour and the ordeal of kingship'. Unlike his wife Hecuba, whose grief is assailed by intimate moments with her children as she recalls, ‘Troilus was very late in walking…I was in labour for eighteen hours with Hector', Priam is unable to recall these private memories . Despite what would ordinarily be experiences shared by both father and mother, Priam cannot echo his wife’s grief to the same extent as these experiences have not been ‘in his sphere’ and he is even ‘unnerved’ by them. Malouf demonstrates how Priam’s royal obligations have suffocated his role as a father, and consequentially, he has been unable to connect with his family in the way he would desire to.

While Priam’s overt expressiveness in his limitations as a father may sway empathy from Ransom readers, Queen Elizabeth’s stoicism at first makes her appear cold-hearted and unfeeling. Her reaction to Prince Charles’ desire to fly a private jet to see Diana in hospital (‘Isn’t that precisely the sort of extravagance they always attack us for?…this isn’t a matter of state.’) is one from a leader's mindset - she's more concerned of the media’s reaction, rather than offering familial care and concern. However, as the film unfolds, viewers come to understand that her stoicism doesn’t necessarily come about because of her own personal choice , but rather, because her leadership role demands it of her.

TIP: Save the words ‘stoicism’ and ‘stoic’ to use in your essay. These words describe someone who experiences suffering but doesn’t openly express it.

We see the Queen’s quiet intentions to protect her grandchildren – ‘I think the less attention one draws to [Diana’s death], the better…for the boys’ – yet her silence is the inadvertent cause of public scorn. As such, Frears doesn’t make a villain out of the Queen, someone who on the outside may seem unfeeling and apathetic, but encourages viewers to see her from a unique perspective – a woman who struggles to manage her identity in both the private and public light.

It is only when Priam and the Queen detach themselves from their traditional roles that we see a change for the better in both of their personal journeys. Priam’s removal of his ‘jewelled amulet [and] golden armbands’ is symbolic of his shedding of the royal weight, and paving way for his step into a paternal role. Likewise, the Queen’s physical distancing from Buckingham Palace, an iconic symbol for tradition , into the public sphere where she mingles with the British people enables her to finally play the role of a grandmother. Both texts show how parenthood can lead to a more enriched human experience. Malouf finally portrays Priam as a happy man when he has the vision to be remembered in his legacy for his role as a father first, then as a king. Likewise in The Queen, her highness’ public mourning connects her with her people , and brings her joy and delight at last.

Tradition, Change, and the New

Both texts explore the challenging tug and pull between upholding traditions and making way for the new.

As humans, we cherish traditions because they are customs or beliefs that have been passed on from generation to generation. They have sentimental value, and by continuing on these traditions, our actions show that we respect the path our elders have laid for us. Tradition is not necessarily depicted in a negative light in either texts, but rather, shown to have its place. The Queen’s resistance against sailing the flag at half mast is out of deference for her elders. Even Somax’s casual storytelling about his daughter-in-law’s griddlecakes is customary, as each time his son would ‘set up the stones’ and her ‘quick and light…flipping’ of the cakes. However, Frears and Malouf both assert that adaptability in upholding tradition is also needed in order for us to grow and develop as humans.  

The new is not depicted as an experience one should fear, but rather, an experience one should approach with curiosity . As Malouf writes, ‘[Priam] saw that what was new could also be pleasurable'. The following positive expressions from the king ‘chuckling’ and ‘smiling’ echo the sentiment that while humans naturally resist change, embracing it is often beneficial to our lives. To be meta, Ransom is the retelling of the Trojan events, but Malouf adds to this tradition with a fresh perspective on the story.

Frears and Malouf both demonstrate that change is often propelled into possibility through the support and urging of others . Priam’s vision for his journey is instilled by the goddess Iris, who comes to him in a dream. His consequential journey is supported by Somax, whose ordinary everyday experiences teach Priam more about fatherhood than he had learnt as a father himself. Meanwhile, Achilles drags Hector’s body day after day, with no intention of change until Priam suddenly appears in his camp. Both texts highlight the influence those surrounding us can have on our personal change.

3. Similarities and Differences

At LSG, we use the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy to help us easily find points of similarity and difference. This is particularly important when it comes to essay writing, because you want to know that you're coming up with unique comparative points (compared to the rest of the Victorian cohort!). I don't discuss this strategy in detail here, but if you're interested, it's worth checking out my How To Write A Killer Comparative ebook to see how you can really set yourself apart and ace Comparative writing. I use this strategy throughout my discussion of themes above and techniques in the next section. To help you get started, here are some questions to get you thinking about the similarities and differences between the two texts:

  • Public vs. Private Spheres: how is public vs. private life portrayed in either texts?
  • Stories and Storytelling: who tells the story in either texts? Is there power in storytelling? Why do humans share stories?
  • Grief, Death, and Loss: How do humans deal with death? What emotions do we experience?

4. Literary and Cinematic Techniques in Ransom and The Queen

Opening portrayals of queen elizabeth and priam.

how to insert a quote into an essay

When Charles consoles Prince William and Harry after informing them of their mother’s death, Queen Elizabeth peers inwards from outside the room, distant and removed from her family. The enclosed frame of the door only serves to heighten her isolation from her family as she is pained by the ‘unrestrained intimacy and affection’ between the boys and their father, something she is unable to partake in. Her face half-covered by the shadows stresses how her familial experience only occurs from afar as she prioritises her role as her highness. Internal change, at least at this point in the film, has yet to begin.

how to insert a quote into an essay

Meanwhile in Ransom , Priam’s journey of personal change is established immediately as he realises that he needs to move beyond this ‘brief six feet of earth he moves and breathes in'. The finite space he has become accustomed to now almost represents (and this may be an intense interpretation) a jail cell in which he as a father, as a human being, has been incarcerated in. He is ready to pursue a new identity beyond just that as a king. Both Ransom and The Queen showcase the sacrifices made by both leaders, and the rigid, almost-dehumanising expectations that are set upon them when they take reign. Both texts encourage their audience to empathise with the leaders , for the challenges they face in their unique positions.

The Queen Film Techniques

I created an in-depth video on the first 20 or so minutes of The Queen you'd might find helpful. Have a watch and see whether you missed out on any film techniques:

[Video Transcription]

To begin with, we have this quote that is displayed at the very start of the film, and it says,

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,"

and it's spoken by Henry IV Part II. So, the Part II gives me an indication that this is a quote from some way in Shakespeare's texts. If I then go on Google and actually have a look and type up this quote, then I know for sure that it is indeed from Henry IV Part II, a text and play that was written by William Shakespeare. So, I'm telling you these things because this is actually how I would go on to learn information about the film. I don't just automatically know for sure that it is from this particular text that Shakespeare wrote up. So, I want to ensure that I'm right by going and having a look at Google.

Quotes at the start of any film, at the start of any book, usually have importance to them and they usually should give you an insight as to what's to come. And, for me, I find when I look at this particular quote, it definitely links to the themes of leadership, of motherhood, parenthood, and of perhaps the sacrifices that the queen has needed to make in order to lead her nation. So, with this particular quote, I would write it down somewhere and keep it in mind as you're watching the remainder of the film, because you'll see those themes come to life and have a better understanding of what this quote is talking about.

So, immediately, this film opens up with a news presenter talking about Tony Blair going to the election polls. It's displayed as footage on a TV screen. This gives us insight into a couple of different things. Firstly, it gives us context. The second thing is that it's displayed on a TV and it's broadcasted by a news channel. And, as you probably know, the media, the paparazzi, and just the entire culture of representing news during this time is something that will be heavily explored throughout this film. Especially because it may or may not have led to the death of Princess Diana.

So, again, contextually, it gives us an idea that around this time, the news media was quite overwhelming and omnipresent, which means that it was sort of just everywhere. It was always around. It's sort of no different from today, but there's a reason why they establish it as an opening shot. And that's just sort of give us as viewers an understanding that the news has a big play in what's going to happen in the remainder of this film.

So, I really liked the quote,

"We're in danger of losing too much that is good about this country, as it is,"

that's spoken by the painter, who's drawing a portrait of the queen. This, again, sort of establishes that idea of change immediately at the beginning of the film, or should I say, resistance to change. So, it's already sort of outlining the path that this film is about to take.

Again, I really like this quote,

"The sheer joy of being partial."

So, from the onset with the queen, I think it's important to understand that we don't villainise her, or at least the director doesn't villainise her. He portrays her as a human being, as somebody who is in this position of the queen, which has a lot of weight upon it. And you can tell that she's all glammed up and she's fulfilling her role as the queen, but she's admitting that she envies us as everyday citizens being able to vote, to be able to have an opinion, and just go to the booths. To me, this establishes her as somebody who I empathise with, or sympathise with even.

I think this part with the music in the background and how the queen breaks the fourth wall. So, the fourth wall is basically when any character inside a film actually looks directly at the camera, at you, as the audience. And, to me, this gives me a sense of joy. It makes me feel like it's quite funny, the way that she's looking at us, especially with the...and again, this sort of reiterates my idea that we're not supposed to look at the queen as some evil or some cold-hearted person who is unfeeling for Diana's death later on, but that she's just like one of us and she can participate in a joke and we come to see this in a little bit.

So, in the next scene, we have a wide shot of Buckingham Palace, and in the background, you can hear bagpipes playing. This is something called diegetic sound. Diegetic sound is when you have sounds that come directly from the world in the film. So, the bagpipes sort of establish this sense of tradition. Everything in the scene represents tradition. Buckingham, Palace, the flag, the bagpipes, and that as an early shot of this film sort of shows us the entrenched tradition that exists. That nothing has changed as of yet, and things as sort of going on as they've always had.

Again, Frears is trying to show us the human side of the queen. And so that's why we've got the shot of her waking up in bed. She's all cuddled up and snuggled up in warm and comfy bedding. And it shows that she's vulnerable, in a way. And this is important for us as viewers, as we come to understand her inner thoughts and feelings later on.

So, immediately when the queen wakes up, she has a pile of newspapers in front of her. That adds, again, to that sense of omnipresent media. It's all around us, at least in that period of time.

This time, we have archival footage. So, archival footage is footage that has been taken from that period of time and placed into this film. It adds to the film's sense of authenticity, the fact that it's based off historical offense.

I really like this shot as the queen and Robin walking down the hallway to meet Tony Blair. This is a great snapshot and a great mise-en-scene. And mise-en-scenes, basically, to me anyway, it's when you pause the screen and it's everything that's inside that shot from props, in the foreground, in the background, what the person is wearing, or what the characters are wearing. So, with this particular art, we can not only see the two characters, but we can also see everything that's in the background.

And again, this really adds that sense of tradition because you've got all these paintings from probably famous people back in the day, or ancestors of the monarchy, and then you've got Robin saying he's promising a constitutional shake up, the first one in 300 years, and the queen saying, "Oh, you mean he's going to try and modernise us?" This is a great juxtaposition between the new coming in versus the old.

When Robin makes the joke about Tony Blair's wife having a curtsy that's described as shallow, it's humorous, it's funny, and the queen laughs as a result. The humor that's speckled throughout this film, I think really helps to lighten up the situation, but also to again, show us that the queen is human and that she can enjoy a joke.

I think this is a great snapshot as well. So, we've got the camera looking down at Tony Blair and his wife. When a camera does look down at an object or character, it gives us, as the audience, a sense that that person or character is inferior or they're not in a position of control. And it ties in with the fact that this is Tony Blair's first day in Buckingham Palace as a prime minister and he's only just onboarding the role.

So, in terms of him versus the queen or the monarchy, which is symbolised by everything around him, the setting that he is encompassed in, it shows that he really isn't the one who's playing the field here. He's not the one who is in charge. I love that we've got one of the queen's men giving them rules on what they need to do.

So, we're slowly walking up the stairs towards the queen who is in position of power. So, the staircase is quite symbolic.

Another important thing to know is that Mrs. Blair is actually accompanying the prime minister this first time round that he goes to Buckingham Palace. It shows that he is nervous, he said it himself, but he's not entirely comfortable with his role yet. So he needs the support of his wife. This is in comparison with later in the film at the very end, actually, where Tony Blair goes to Buckingham Palace himself and conducts a meeting with the queen, very similar to the one that he's doing now.

This shot where we've got Mrs. Blair sitting opposite the guard at quite a distance adds to the sense of awkwardness, and it's paralleled with the sense of openness between the queen and the prime minister as well. So, it shows that we've got the old and the new sort of coming together and sort of not really gelling.

Something to keep an eye on is parallels in the film. It's always a really good idea to compare the start and end of this particular film, because we've got such similar scenarios in meaning at the start of the film and in meaning at the end of the film. What you'll notice in this particular scene is that they don't appear in the same shot. They sit opposite one another and one shot on Tony Blair, one shot on the queen, and it sort of goes back and forth. And that's to heighten that sense of distance between them. That sense of unfamiliarity. This is in comparison with the end of the film when we see the two of them walking down the hallway together, out into the garden as equal.

Here's another great shot. So, to add on the idea of the queen having more power versus prime minister, it's quite clear here as he sits down and asks for her hand.

I love the way that Mrs. Blair walks. She's sort of like half...I don't know how you would explain her stride, but it's obviously not one that is aligned with how the queen walks, which is quite poised and quite together. Rather, Mrs. Blair's walk is sort of frumpy, it's sort of bouncy, and her arms are sort of flailing around a little bit, and so adds to that sense of new, of change, of difference. And so that adds to the story of Tony Blair and his family and what he represents as something new and different and probably unwelcome for the queen.

So, that's it, that's my analysis of the first 10 minutes or so of this film. If you're interested in a more detailed film technique analysis, I've just written a killer comparative based on Ransom & The Queen. In this, I show you film techniques that I pick out throughout watching the film, how to analyze them, and also then go on to show you how they are used in A-plus essays. I'm so confident that this study guide will be able to help you improve your understanding of both texts and get you towards that A+ for your SAC and exams.

If you're curious about what's inside the study guide and want to see if it's right for you, head on over and read a free sample to see it for yourself. I hope it gives you something to launch off. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the description box below. I have plenty of resources for you guys down there as well if you needed help for your SAC and exams and I'll catch you guys next time. Bye.

Historical Footage and Context

how to insert a quote into an essay

Based on historical events, The Queen is interspersed with real archive television footage leading to, and following Princess Diana’s death. Frears incorporates these clips to help provide viewers insight on the politics, media culture, and public reaction in 1997.

Princess Diana’s introduction through archival clips at the beginning of the film highlight her as a vulnerable individual at the mercy of oppressive and intrusive tabloid newspapers. The sweeping pan of paparazzi on the night of Diana’s death serves to emphasise the obsessive media, who at the time, were paid in excess of one million pounds for taking photos of her. Moments of her kissing on a boat are revealed to the world without any respect for her privacy. This archival footage helps viewers understand the distressing omnipresence of the media, and the turn of the public against the paparazzi and media following Diana’s death.

Likewise, Malouf uses parts of The Iliad as foundations for his novel. The original tale, written during the 8th century BC, explores in detail Achilles’  refusal to fight for his leader Agamemnon, Patroclus’ role in the war, and also the disputes between the gods as they argue over the fate of mortals. By offering a retrospective of this historical story, Malouf invites readers to better understand the Trojan War and Greek mythology, and the impact the gods had on Trojans and Greeks.

For more discussion on literary and cinematic techniques, have a look at my A Killer Comparative Guide: Ransom & The Queen . In this in-depth study guide, Angelina Xu (ATAR 99.6, 46 English study score) and I also break down 5 essay topics, providing you explanations on how to brainstorm and plan each of these essays, then convert these plans into A+ essays complete with annotations! I've dropped some sample essay topics below for you to try at home yourselves:

5. Essay Topics for Ransom and The Queen

"I told him he shouldn't change a thing." ( The Queen ) Compare how Ransom and The Queen explore resistance to change.
Compare the ways the two texts explore the efficacy of different leadership types.
Compare the ways the two texts explore the importance of storytelling.
'Wordless but not silent.’  ( Ransom ) Ransom and The Queen explore how silence can be louder than words.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” ( The Queen ) “...the lighter role of being a man.” ( Ransom). Compare how the two texts show the burden experienced by those in leadership positions.

‍ 6. Resources for Ransom and The Queen

[Video] Ransom Themes (Revenge, Grief, Forgiveness) and Essay Topic Tips!

The following resources are no longer on the study design; however, you might still pick up a few valuable tips nonetheless:

Ransom and Invictus

Ransom and Invictus Prompts

[Video] Invictus and Ransom | Reading and Comparing

[Video] Ransom Literary Devices & Invictus Film Technique Comparison


If you, like me, grew up Asian in Australia, you might think you already know a thing or two about, well, growing up Asian in Australia. Our stories can be pretty similar—just have a scroll through the ‘subtle asian traits’ Facebook group, or have a conversation with literally any Asian Australian about their parents.

At the same time, it’s also important to recognise that everyone’s experiences are diverse, especially given how broad an identity ‘Asian’ can be. Also important is to recognise how broad and intersectional identity can be in general—intersectional meaning that race isn’t the only thing that defines any one of us. Things like gender, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation and religion can also be really central, for example. Each of these things can impact the way we navigate the world.

Covering a broad range of these stories is Alice Pung’s anthology, Growing Up Asian In Australia . Some of the contributors in this volume include Sunil Badami , Matt Huynh , Bon-Wai Chou , Diana Nguyen , Michelle and Benjamin Law, and Shaun Tan , and already this cross-section is fairly diverse in nature. You can also click on their names to find out a bit more about each of their work. I think this is worth a few minutes, just to get acquainted with the sheer range of Asian-Australian creatives who are represented in this book, and to locate their work within the themes they write about—in other words, having a think about the ways that cultural heritage, or experiences with family, or economic hardship permeate their work, both in the anthology and in their lives outside it.

The anthology is (perhaps quite helpfully) divided into sections which revolve around key themes, which is also going to inform the structure of this guide. I’ll be using this guide to go through an exercise that I found really helpful when learning the text, which involves:

  • taking two stories per section and drawing up some dot-point similarities and differences
  • translating two of those points into paragraphs, a bit like a ‘mini-essay’

We’ll go through some an example of what this might look like, and why it’s a helpful exercise to try.

Before we start diving into Growing Up Asian in Australia , I'd highly recommend checking out LSG's Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Strine (Badami & Tseng)

Strine is what’s called a syncope , a shortened way of pronouncing Australian (a bit like ‘Straya’)—it refers to Australian English as it’s spoken by locals. This section of the book is all about language , and about the difficulties of juggling two languages growing up, and Badami and Tseng’s stories are great examples of this.

1. Similarity: connections to one’s mother tongue fade over time. Tseng recounts how, one by one, she and her sisters stopped learning Chinese as they progressed through their Australian education. Badami on the other hand compromises his name which stood out as too Indian when he “just wanted to fit in.”

2. Similarity: for ‘third-culture kids’, losing knowledge of their language also strains their relationship with their forebears. Badami’s mother is shocked to hear the anglicisation of his name despite the significance it carrie for her (“she spat my unreal new name out like something bitter and stringy”), and Tseng describes the experience of communicating with her father in “Chinglish” so that they can both understand each other.

3. Difference: language can be an internalised, personal experience, or a highly exposed and interpersonal one. While Tseng feels her loss of her language as a “sense of shame, a vague unease”, Badami is almost bullied into changing his name, “Sunil? Like banana peel?”

The Clan (Law & Chau)

This section delves into the complex ties that hold migrant families together. Chau’s poems are starkly different to Law’s story, so it’ll be interesting to compare how these different narrative forms work to explore those ideas.

1. Similarity : it can take at least one generation for migrant families to dig their roots into their new home. While Law’s parents are proud tourists at Queensland theme parks, he and his siblings “groan” at their comportment. Chau’s poem ‘The Firstborn’ traces his ancestry forward until he arrived, “an ABC” and his son “by amniotic sea”, both of them born into Australia.

2 . Similarity: family dynamics are still traditional and therefore gendered. Law notes how his mother’s health suffered when divorcing his father, and Chau notes that the women members of his family were “cast off” the family tree “as if they were never born.

3. Difference: family history and heritage can vary in importance. Chau’s family traces back “twenty-eight generations” of history, whereas Law’s family very much lives in the present, the only tie to older generations being his “Ma-Ma”, or grandma.

4. Difference: families show their love in different ways. Whether it’s dedicating a poem to his son about his life as one of “ten thousand rivers” of Chinese diaspora into the Australian sea, or taking the kids to theme parks on weekends, all sorts of affection can hold families together.

Putting it together

So I’ve tried to choose two sections (and four stories) that are all a bit different to try and mix it up and get some rich comparative discussion out of these. You might be studying this text alone, but even as one text, remember that there’s a lot of diverse experiences being represented in it, so discussing how stories connect, compare and contrast is just as important as discussing the content of individual stories themselves.

If we do a mini-essay, we might as well go about it properly and pick some sort of contention. Without a fixed prompt though, it might be easier to start with those dot points and pick which ones we want to write out and string together. Let’s pick two—connections to mother tongue fading over time (Strine similarity 1) and digging roots into Australia over time (The Clan similarity 1). A contention covering these points might look like:

While second generation migrants may struggle with loss of culture, they also constitute a unique and significant part of the diaspora.

Many migrants lose connections to their heritage over time, and these connections are often in the form of language. Particularly for Asian migrants, there is not as strong a need to preserve their mother tongue in the English-speaking Australia, and as such their knowledge of those languages can be easily lost. Ivy Tseng, for instance, recalls how she was never able to “grasp the significance” of learning Chinese as a child, and eventually she and her sisters would prioritise “study” and other academic pursuits over learning Chinese. Because tertiary study and education as an institution generally carry a lot of weight in migrant cultures, there is often a compromise made at the expense of heritage and language. These compromises can come from other factors as well, particularly the group dynamics of being in white-dominated Australia. Bullying is a frequent culprit, and Badami for example is indeed peer-pressured into resenting—and ultimately anglicising—his name, “Sunil? Like banana peel?” More generally speaking, a sense of shame for one’s difference is a common part of the migrant experience—Law experiences it as well at theme parks, where he and his siblings attempt to “set [them]selves apart” from the faux-pas of their parents. Not always an intentional goal, but a general willingness to compromise connections to heritage underscores many Asian Australian migrant stories, particularly of second-generation migrants.

However, the extent to which migrants feel socially integrated in society shifts generationally and over time as well. Second generation migrants are thus unique in that they have the closest connection to their heritage while also initiating this process of integration. Law and his siblings exemplify this, with their “Australian accents” and “proper grammar and syntax.” While some loss of their native Cantonese takes place, they are also the first in their family to sound Australian, one step closer to being Australian. They constitute part of the distinct, third culture of “ABC”—Australian-born Chinese—to which Chau alludes in his poem, ‘The Firstborn’. Distinct from first-generation migrants, ABCs are a product of diaspora and spend their formative years immersed in the Australian way of life. Chau’s poem goes on to highlight how sizeable this demographic now is—“the sea is awash with the unfathomable Chinese sons.” Thus, we can see how ABCs, or second generation Asian migrants, represent a unique and significant social group exemplified by great compromise, but also great change.

Why is this useful?/How can I apply this?

I like this exercise because it gets you thinking creatively about the key implications of the stories. Within a section or theme, you want to identify similarities in how both stories contribute to our understanding of that theme . You also want to identify differences to explore how stories can be unique and nuanced , which will provide your essay with more depth when you ultimately need it. Then, putting it all together helps you synthesise new connections between themes .

For an analytical study of this text, you’d flesh out those ideas until they become paragraphs, introducing relevant evidence and mixing it up with explanatory sentences as you go. Explanatory sentences keep you analysing rather than story-telling, and they usually don’t have any quotes—an example from above might be “because tertiary study and education as an institution generally carry a lot of weight in migrant cultures, there is often a compromise made at the expense of heritage and language.”

For a creative study, you’d take away those ideas and look at how else you might explore them in other stories. Feel free to challenge yourself for this; I remember falling back on more personal writing when studying this creatively, but don’t neglect other genres or forms! If second generation migrants are in fact more on their way to belonging, write a speculative story about how an apocalypse tests those connections to white Australians. I dunno, but don’t be afraid to really push the boundaries here and test the implications you draw from the stories.

Give it a go

Try it for some of these:

  • UnAustralian? (Loewald & Law) and Leaving Home (Diana Nguyen & Paul Nguyen)
  • Battlers (Dac & Law/Huynh) and Mates (Phommavanh & Ahmed)
  • The Folks (Lazaroo & Tran) and Homecoming (Beeby & Larkin)

Growing Up Asian in Australia Essay Prompt Breakdown

Video Transcription

The essay topic we’ll be looking at today is short and sweet;

To belong is to sacrifice. Discuss. 

The key terms are evidently “to belong” and “to sacrifice”, so these are the words and definitions that we’ll have to interrogate. 

Belonging is a feeling of being accepted by someone or being a member of something, so we’d have to ask who is doing the accepting, and what are the writers seeking to be members of. On the other hand, sacrifice is loss, it’s giving something up—it’s implied that seeking belonging means you may have to navigate compromises to what you have, how you live, or maybe, who you are. Have a think about what sacrifices are made by whom, and why.

With that in mind, let’s brainstorm a contention . We usually want to avoid going fully agree or fully disagree to create a bit more ‘grit’ for the essay—and in this case, the prompt is pretty deterministic or absolute; it’s saying that belonging is all about sacrifice. 

I’d probably argue that belonging is sometimes about sacrifice, and for migrant children they often give up some of their culture or heritage for Western lifestyle or values. That being said, belonging in these cases is probably more about synthesis than sacrifice—it’s about being able to negotiate and bring heritage into increasingly Australian ways of life.

The brainstorming section of writing a killer essay is where my THINK and EXECUTE strategy comes in. If you haven’t heard of it before, essentially, it’s a method of essay writing that emphasises the importance of really thinking about all aspects of a prompt and exploring all the different avenues you can go down. To be able to EXECUTE a well-reasoned, coherent and articulate essay that contains enough nitty-gritty analysis, you have to do enough THINKing to get some meat on the essay’s skeleton, so to speak. To learn more, check out my top selling eBook, How To Write A Killer Text Response .

In paragraphs , we could start by looking at some of the sacrifices people make in order to belong . The poem, ’Be Good, Little Migrants’ has a more of a cynical take on this, suggesting that migrant groups are expected to sacrifice economic mobility and even personal dignity in order to gain favour with locals: “give us your faithful service”, “display your gratitude but don’t be heard, don’t be seen.” 

Economic sacrifices are seen across many stories, from the working class “decent enough income” in ‘Family Life’ to the failing business in ‘ABC Supermarket’. Other forms of sacrifice might be less material—for example Benjamin Law’s sacrifice of his Mariah Carey cassettes in an attempt to fit in at school from the story ‘Towards Manhood’. This example is interesting because it isn’t a cultural sacrifice, but a gendered one—it’s a good reminder that identity is always multi-layered. 

For migrant children though, the sacrifices usually revolve around their race and culture . Diana Nguyen for example notes language as a key sacrifice: she quits Vietnamese school because she didn’t feel like she belonged with the grade ones in her class, and her ultimate “lack of interest in learning [Vietnamese] created a lasting barrier” between her mother and her. In Sunil Badami’s story, ‘Sticks and Stones and Such-Like’, the sacrifice is his name, as he Anglicises it to Neil. When his mother finds out, “she spat my unreal new name out like something bitter and stringy, too difficult to swallow.” The common denominator here is that Asians growing up in Australia often have to navigate sacrificing some of their heritage in order to belong in western society. 

However, the challenges faced by the Asian diaspora growing up abroad are more complex and more nuanced than just sacrifice. More often than not, they’re required to synthesise a ‘third culture’ identity that balances their heritage with western values and lifestyles. 

Diana Nguyen goes on to discuss her career trajectory in becoming a “working actor” in Melbourne’s entertainment industry, carving out a path for herself in spite of her parents’ disapproval, and going on to represent a new generation of Asian Australians in the media. The story ‘Wei-Lei and Me’ also points to this shifting demographic in Australia, as Gouvernel and her best friend stave off a racist primary school bully only to see their home change for the better as they grew up, with new restaurants from their home cuisines opening up. At the same time, they “had become what [they] thought [they] could never be: Australian,” describing a way of life in Canberra that is unmistakably Australian. 

So, belonging isn’t necessarily all about sacrifice—it doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your passions or become ‘Australian’. Sure, sometimes sacrifice is necessary, but ‘third culture kids’ synthesise conflicting identities in order to belong. 

Having arrived at the contention, let’s just have another think about the takeaway message - being able to bring other themes into an essay topic that only really raises one theme. To answer this topic fully, a good essay wouldn’t just discuss belonging and sacrifice, but it would also bring in discussion about family, friends, careers and cultures, just to name a few. Hopefully this is something you can translate into your own future work!

Growing Up Asian In Australia is an anthology with a lot to unpack, but there are plenty of unique stories with plenty of interesting links to be made. However you’re learning this text, being able to draw conclusions from stories and extrapolate them into your writing is a really important skill.

As you go, ask yourself about the implications: ‘so what?’ and ‘why?’. These sorts of questions will help you get richer insights and write about the anthology in a more interesting way.

This blog was updated on 21/10/2020.

2. Background

4. Chapter 1 Plot and Analysis

7. Sample Essay Topics

8. Essay Topic Breakdown

The Secret River is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

The Secret River is a historical novel telling the story of William Thornhill, a poor Englishman from the early 19th century who was deported and transported to New South Wales, Australia in 1806 for theft. This novel tells the story of Australia's founding and the moral choices made when  Europeans colonised land that was already inhabited by Aboriginal people.

During 18th century to mid 19th century, 162,000 men and women were transported to Australia, with majority from England. These people, known as ‘convicts’, had committed crimes such as larceny and robbery – acts which were considered severe offenses and demanded heavy sentences. In order to deal with the overwhelming masses of criminals, the government exported crowds of convicts to Australia to serve their term as labourers. The reason driving the deportation included an attempt to decrease poverty and crime in England while concurrently developing the British colony in Australia.

Many of the fleets from England were destined for New South Wales, Australia. Those on the fleets included the criminals, marines, and their families. Living in a penal colony, the criminals were employed depending on their various skills: farmer, boatman, servant etc. The settlers were award a ‘ticket of leave’ if they presented good behaviour during labour. This meant that settlers would become emancipists, where they were set free from the government’s sentence and could begin a life for themselves by making their own living. This suited the government’s goal for a successful and thriving colony since it would only be possible if people were to work for themselves, and not under the terrain of the government.

Although Australia was chiefly populated with Indigenous Australians, the first century of colonisation saw a drastic decline in their population. This was due to a clash of desire for the land; the native’s innate protection of their land and the white settlers struggle to declare their right to an area already inhibited by natives – possibly for 40,000 years. The two cultures failed to ever create a peace agreement or compensation and as a result, the frontier was often marked with blood. Overtime, a successful of the British colony meant that white settlement overpowered any possibility of the natives retaining their land. The Secret River’s exploration of this powerful change in Australia’s history is a poignant reflection of the past, and demands attention to the sensitive issue of Australian and native relationship that is still present today.

Set during the early 19th century. Located in London, Sydney and on the Hawkesbury.

Chapter 1: Strangers

The Alexander , a transport ship for convicts has reached New South Wales, Australia after a travelling across the world for majority of the year. William Thornhill, an Englishman convicted to sentence his ‘natural life in the Year of Our Lord eighteen hundred and six’ [pg 3] will serve as a labourer.

During his first night in New South Wales, where their homes are ‘only a flap of bark, a screen of sticks and mud,’ Thornhill digested the new land with its ‘rich dank smells…restless water…no Pole star’; an environment vastly differentiated from England. The unfamiliar situation is overwhelming as ‘he had not cried, not for thirty years….but now his throat was thickening.’ In his despair, Thornhill describes how being sentenced to New South Wales could potentially be worse than dying itself.

Initially, Thornhill believed his tears are clouding his vision since the ‘darkness moved in front of him’ [pg 5]. However, he then realised that a human, ‘as black as the air itself’ stood before him. The unusual appearance of this human struck Thornhill since ‘his skin swallowed the light…[and] eyes were set so deeply into the skull.’ Although clothed, Thornhill ironically felt ‘skinless’ against the other who was completely naked and holding a spear. Thornhill repeatedly demanded that the man ‘be off’, for fear of his family and himself being attacked. Despite his shouting, this only impelled the man to move closer to the point where they almost touched. The ‘black man’ [pg 6] reproduced ‘be off’ in Thornhill’s exact tone. While Thornhill’s fear of this strange human is prominent, he grappled the strength to exert a bold, intrepid veneer, as ‘he was not about to surrender to any naked black man’. When he glanced back to his wife and children however, the man promptly disappeared, leaving only the darkness behind. Thornhill returned to his hut where he laid back down to rest yet ‘every muscle was tensed…the cold moment of finding that unforgiving thing in his flesh.’

Environmental / Landscape conflict

For Thornhill, who has spent a lifetime in England, the confrontation of a new environment evokes a powerful sense of unfamiliarity. The unknown land presents him with various intrapersonal conflicts, one of which is the difference between England and Australian stars. While the physical distance of this new land from Thornhill’s home is demonstrated by the lack of a ‘Pole Star, a friend to guide him on the Thames, [and] no Bear that he had known all his life,’ [pg 4] the unrecognisable stars above Australia only depict a ‘blaze, unreadable, [and] indifferent.’ His conflict demonstrates his physical and emotional distance from Thames, a place he grown up surrounded by compared to Australia, where learning begins from the very basics, as shown when he absorbs the natural landscape around him. The night described as ‘huge and damp, flowing in and bringing with it the sounds of its own life’ [pg 3] highlights how the Australian land is unique, possessing qualities of existence.

Thornhill’s sense of negligence in the vast forest that continues ‘mile after mile’ is illustrated through the imagery of the ‘trees [which] stood tall over him,’ depicting that nature is a powerful and dominant force over the Europeans. While the trees render him insignificant, it also demonstrates his alienation from the environment. The ‘Alexander,’ a common traditional English name, represents an intrusion of the Europeans onto the Australian land, further highlighting the idea that they do not belong on this island.

The Australian land is depicted to be harsh and unforgiving, as highlighted through the imagery of ‘dirt stab...alien stars' [pg 4] This conflict with the brutal landscape, along with the unknown leaves Thornhill apprehensive of what is to come. His feeling that he was ‘nothing more than a flea on the side of some enormous quiet creature’ [pg 4] depicts the Australian land almost like a monster. Additionally, the words ‘restless’ draw to the idea that the land is at discomfort or uneasy to have new inhabitants.

Racial/Cultural conflict

The conflict between two cultures is shown through the initial encounter between Thornhill and an Indigenous Australian. Without any conversation, the tension between the two is clear, merely through their actions in each other’s prescence. Thornhill notes the Aboriginal male’s tattoos, yet regards them as ‘scars’ since he is unaware to their culture. Even before this man, Thornhill is still infused with a sense of nakedness because of his unfamiliarity.  His feeling that ‘every muscle was tensed…the cold moment of finding that unforgiving thing in his flesh’ highlights the tension of his first encounter of an Australian Aboriginal while it also foreshadows a suffering and anguish for his time ahead.

If you'd like to see the all Chapter plots, their analysis, along with important quotes, then have a look at our The Secret River Study Guide .

Conflict with land quotes

“Now it had fetched up at the end of the earth.” [pg 3]
“…this prison whose bars were ten thousand miles of water.” [pg 3]
“foreign darkness” [pg 3]
“…soughing of the forest, mile after mile.” [pg 3]
“He was nothing more than a flea on the side of some enormous quiet creature.” [pg 4]

Thornhill’s inner conflict quotes

“He had not cried, not for thirty years, not since he was a hungry child to young to know that crying did not fill your belly.” [pg 4]
“But every muscle was tensed, anticipating the shock in his neck or his belly, his hand going to the place, the cold moment of finding that unforgiving thing in his flesh.” [pg 6]

Racism quotes

“It took a moment to understand that the stirring was a human, as black as the air itself.” [pg 5]
“Clothed as he was, Thornhill felt skinless as a maggot.” [pg 5]
“This was a kind of madness, as if a dog were to bark in English.” [pg 6]
“He was not about to surrender them to any naked black man.” [pg 6]

Sample Essay Topics

1. William Thornhill is more worthy of our respect than our reprehension. Do you agree?

2. How does Kate Grenville explore hierarchy?

3. How does The Secret River’s symbolism enhance its exploration of alienation?

4. “Fear could slip unnoticed into anger, as if they were one and the same.” The Thornhills’ anger is valid. To what extent do you agree?

Now it's your turn! Give these essay topics a go. For more sample essay topics, head over to our The Secret River Study Guide to practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this blog!

Essay Topic Breakdown

Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response .

Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are:

Step 1: A nalyse

Step 2: B rainstorm

Step 3: C reate a Plan

Theme-Based essay prompt: T he Secret River depicts many layers of conflict, within but also between its key characters. Discuss

The key term of this prompt is conflict , but I think it’s also important to analyse how it’s discussed—as something that exists in layers , and something that can happen both within and between characters. This seems to hint at the idea that conflict can be internal—that is a single character can feel conflicted about something—as well as external—that is two or more characters can have some kind of dispute. This prompt will require us to think about all these different types of conflict. 

Let’s start with the most internal layer—conflicts with the self. In terms of key characters, consider William but also Sal: what debates do they have with themselves, or what do they say or do that shows they feel conflicted or unsure about something?  

Then, let’s broaden that out to interpersonal conflicts between characters. How do William and Sal, for example, come into conflict with their neighbours—both their white neighbours and their Aboriginal neighbours? How do they come into conflict with each other, even?

Maybe it’s worth separating the racial conflict into another category—conflicts between groups of characters, rather than individual characters. If we make this distinction, we need to be prepared to back it up—in what ways is this conflict of a different nature?

Step 3: Create a plan

I think we can pretty justifiably separate out our layers of conflict into those categories: interpersonal, interpersonal and interracial. This gives us three neat(-ish) paragraphs and a clear, affirmative contention: yes, there are many layers of conflict, and those are the three layers. 

P1: At its most intimate layer, conflict is internal—the moral dilemmas of William and Sal are particularly strong examples.

P2: Conflict can also be interpersonal—we can see this between William and Dan, or William and his neighbours, or between William and Sal even. It’s up to you which way you cut this paragraph.

P3: However, perhaps the central conflict that the novel is built around is interracial conflict between white colonisers and the Aboriginal people whose land they occupied. To extend the prompt a little, we can talk about conflict not just between characters or people, but also between value systems. For example, the way colonisers saw land and property were fundamentally incompatible with how Aboriginal people saw it—this is another type of conflict.

In this sense, we’re largely agreeing with the prompt, backing up the distinction between interpersonal and interracial conflict, and finding a way to extend on it a little towards the end. We can build this into the contention as well: there are many layers of conflict, but they occur not just between characters. They can also exist between the broad cultural values of entire groups of people as well. 

If you find this essay breakdown helpful, then you might want to check out our The Secret River Study Guide where we cover 5 A+ sample essays (written by a 50 study scorer!) with EVERY essay annotated and broken down on HOW and WHY these essays achieved A+ so you reach your English goals! Let's get started.

The Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response

How To Write A Killer Text Response Study Guide

How to embed quotes in your essay like a boss

How to turn your Text Response essays from average to A+

5 Tips for a mic drop worthy essay conclusion

We’ve all been doing Text Response essays from as young as Year 7. At this point in VCE, we should be feeling relatively comfortable with tackling themes and characters in our essays. However, the danger with just discussing themes and characters is that we often fall into the trap of simply paraphrasing the novel, or retelling the story. So how do we elevate our essays to become more sophisticated and complex analyses that offer insight?

Before reading on, make sure you've read our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

An important distinction to be aware of is that the expectation of Year 11 English was geared more toward themes and characters. However in Year 12, teachers and examiners expect students to focus on the author’s construction of the text . By keeping in mind that the text is a DELIBERATE CONSTRUCTION, this can help eliminate retelling. A good guideline to follow is to include the author’s name at least once every paragraph.

Some examples are:

- (author) elicits

- (author) endorses or condemns

- (author) conveys

Move beyond talking about character and relationships. How are those characters used to explore ideas? How are they used to show readers what the author values?

To explore the text BEYOND characters, themes and ideas, tackle the following criteria:

Social, cultural and historical values embodied in text

In other words, this means the context in which the text was written. Think about how that influenced the author, and how those views and values are reflected in the text. How does the author create social commentary on humanity?

For a more in-depth look into this issue and how to get it right in your essays, read Context and Authorial Intention in VCE English .

Linguistic structures and features

These involve the author’s use of symbols, metaphors, subtext, or genres. Consider why the author chose those particular words, images or symbols? What effect did it evoke within the reader? What themes or characters are embodied within these literary devices? Metalanguage is essential in VCE essays, so ensure you are confident in this field.

If the text is a film, it’s important to include why the director chose certain cinematography techniques . Comment on the mise-en-scene, camera angles, overview shots, close ups, flashbacks, soundtrack, to name a few. Or if it’s a play, examine the stage directions. These contain great detail of the author’s intentions.

How text is open to different interpretations

“While some may perceive… others may believe…” is a good guideline to follow in order to explore different angles and complexities of the text.

Skilful weaving in of appropriate quotes

This is how to create a well-substantiated essay. To weave in textual evidence, don’t simply ‘plonk’ in sentence long quotes. Instead, use worded quotes within your sentences so the transition is seamless.

Do you know how to embed quotes like a boss? Test yourself with our blog post here .

Strong turn of phrase

Ensure your essay is always linked to the prompt; don’t go off on an unrelated tangent. Linking words such as “conversely” or “furthermore” increase coherence within your essay. Begin each paragraph with a strong topic sentence, and finish each paragraph with a broader perception that links back to the topic and the next paragraph. To see what this looks like in practice, check out What Does Improving Your English Really Look Like? for multiple sample paragraphs.

This is also where having a wide range of vocabulary is crucial to presenting your ideas in a sophisticated manner. Create a word bank from assessor’s reports, sample essays, or teacher’s notes, and by the end of the year you’ll have an extensive list to choose from. Also, referring to literary devices contributes to a great vocabulary, exhibiting a strong turn of phrase!

Consider the topic

how to insert a quote into an essay

What does it imply? Find the underlying message and the implications behind the prompt. There is always tension within the topic that needs to be resolved by the conclusion of your essay. A must-know technique to ensure you actually answer the prompt is by knowing the 5 types of different essay topics, and how your essay structure changes as a result. The How To Write A Killer Text Response ebook is a great way to learn how to identify the type of essay topic you have in front of you immediately, and start writing an A+ essay.

Finally, simply enjoy writing about your text! It will help you write with a sense of personal voice and a personal engagement with the text, which the teachers and assessors will always enjoy.

VCE English (or any one of the 4 Englishes) can be one of the most daunting and difficult subjects to study. On top of that, as students of the VCE, we are plagued daily by distractions that seemingly inhibit our ability to maximize the time to fulfil our best potential. Feeling anxious about what seems to be such little time before the exam in October, we face mind blanks and find ourselves in a constant battle against feelings of doubt and anxiety.

However, these feelings only trick us into thinking that we are not good enough to achieve and consequently diminish our much needed motivation. Thoughts about having to write three 1000-word essays in three hours by October translate into doubt about our skills, generating to thoughts saying  “I don’t know what to do!”  when attempting to start, or whilst writing an essay. Amidst this, our mind is inundated with thoughts about competition:  “what are other students in the state studying?”   “How do other students tackle the tasks so easily whilst I’m here still figuring out how to start?”  However, the more we align ourselves with such anxious thoughts, the more we convince ourselves that  “I can’t do it” , and we unknowingly retreat to procrastination. Despite this, time mercilessly continues to move forward and October will eventually and inevitably arrive!

To overcome this negative mentality, therefore, we must reconstruct our perception about what VCE English is really about and what it entails. To most of us, English simply involves the repetitive 1000-word essay involving an introduction-body-conclusion, discussing the themes of a novel, play or film which appear not to have any relevance for our future. But believe me; English can be far more exciting!

Put simply, we must start thinking:  collaboration, not competition.  English is one of the more exciting subjects because it provides us with a platform on which we can debate and share ideas. It also grants us an opportunity to express, in our own style, the ideas we construct thus granting us freedom for creativity and a space where all ideas are worth sharing! Hence, rather than perceiving your peers as competitors, embrace them as your allies. They too are most likely undergoing the same doubts and stresses. Whilst being willing to share your opinions, make sure that you engage with students who enjoy debating and sharing theirs – VCE is not something that you can do on your own!

Considering this, there are a few things you must keep in mind when studying English. A blank piece of paper or a blank word document on your computer screen appears scary, especially if you are unsure of what to write about, let alone how to start an essay. The important thing that all students must remember, therefore, is to  just put something down on paper first.  It doesn’t matter how well you write or express yourself (at first). Remember:  all ideas are worth sharing.  If you are unsure of what to write, write exactly what you think! Prioritise your ideas over your writing style! Assessors care more about seeing a mind at work and do not reward superfluous writing. A talented writer is worse off if he or she does not discuss complex ideas!

Next, it is crucial that you don’t take subsequent criticism from teachers as a message that  you can’t do it. Criticism is inevitable and it is a good thing. It means that your teacher really wants to help! Just remember that year 12 is not the end. It is often easy to think that once you finish school, your writing skill doesn’t improve. But this is incorrect. Even the best writers on this planet will always continue to strive to improve!

Essentially, it is important that you write often. The more you write the greater chance there is of improving. In light of this, your writing does not have to be focussed merely on what you study in English – spending time writing about anything you want in any style is a worthwhile mental exercise (it is the perfect substitute over jumping online on Facebook or YouTube when you feel like procrastinating)! Any concerns about writing within one hour should fade away naturally as you write more frequently – this is something you shouldn’t have to worry about.

Ultimately, English can be exciting when you are prepared to share your ideas and listen to the ideas of other students. See it not as a torturous race to scribble out three 1000-word essays in 3 hours, but more rather an opportunity to explore complex ideas that are challenging yet interesting at the same time. Just remember that ideas are the primary concern, and the final piece – the writing – is merely the polish. It is okay to inspire yourself too! Don’t get hung up on appearing modest. Everyone has a viewpoint and an opinion to share and the more you collaborate, the less you will be tricked into believing  you can’t.  Instead, you will be constantly reminded that  you can .

VCE is a two-year journey which involves a high degree of academic and personal growth. Young adults experiencing these two years of life will encounter a number of challenges which, albeit rewarding, are nonetheless a cause of much anxiety and pressure. It is important to recognise that the process is, at the end of the day, a team effort – VCE students are as reliant on their teachers for learning material as they are upon their parents for support, just as they rely upon friends to offer an outlet of distraction and ease. As a parent, your fundamental role during your child’s years of VCE is to help him/her manage their time, stress and aspirations to ultimately reach their goals. The purpose of this article is to provide a tangible, how-to guide to fulfil a healthy parent-student relationship during VCE. The below strategies detail the importance of communication, teamwork and compromise as the three cornerstones necessary to achieve conjunctive family and academic success.


Communication is pivotal during Year 11 and 12. It is important to ensure that all members of your VCE team, whoever this may involve, remain on the same page. Miscommunication is a messy way to disrupt a streamlined VCE journey – continuous and multi-way communication allows you to take positive steps towards your child receiving the most stress-free experience. To adopt this approach within your own family:

Ensure that your child knows that their happiness and education is your first priority.

It is easy to forget the purpose of VCE given the mayhem of it all. It is crucial to reassure your child that you are present as a support network and that you hold a stake in their journey. Rather than present their results as a source of positivity or negativity, create the perception that a healthy and committed approach to VCE is of the highest importance. If your child knows that your role is centred around their happiness and success, they will be more relaxed and willing to share their journey with you.

Frequently reinforce your pride in their achievements.

VCE is a long, tough effort. It is two years of high expectations and insurmountable workload which culminates in the endgame of a four-digit number. For a student undergoing VCE, it is difficult to remove yourself from this mindset. As a parent, remember to appreciate the small successes and the baby steps towards a more recognisable achievement. Even a little acknowledgement, such as praising consistent grades or offering a “Good work!” can remind your child that they are on the right track and that you are aware – and proud – of this.

Take notice of, and respect, the cues that your child presents.

VCE is often described as a rollercoaster. This is a metaphor which accurately summarises the highs and lows that are bound to accompany such an important stage of a young person’s life. It may be tricky to understand why your child may come home one day in seemingly ‘meh’ spirits and so forth. Regardless, these actions (or lack thereof) are designed to subtly inform you of their headspace and mindset at a particular time. If you can form a limited understanding of these cues, they will enable you to provide relevant solutions and/or support. For example, if your child is repeatedly answering to you with curt or brief responses, this may indicate that their mind is elsewhere, and they would appreciate the opportunity to study in quiet for some time. On the other hand, if work progress seems to slow down, a distraction and time-out from study may be necessary. Sometimes, just a brief chat about their day will make a significant difference to motivation levels.

Maintain two-way communication with your child’s teachers.

Communication should flow freely between the classroom and your home. Remaining aware of how your child is progressing at school will give you the best ability to support them in a relevant and sustainable way, while also drawing attention to areas of improvement or growth and enabling you to respond to these developments appropriately. Parent-Teacher Interviews are a great way to keep in touch. Alternatively, a brief email every so often will inform your child’s teacher that you are committed to their progress and want consistent updates.

At the end of the day, VCE is a team effort! Without a doubt, your child’s work and dedication is the driving force, yet the role of parents, teachers, friends and others provides a crucial support network. It is important to maintain this vision and to acknowledge your place within this team. To implement this strategy yourself:

Be prepared to discuss your child’s studies with them.

Basic, genuine attempts to form some understanding of what your child is learning will assure them of your stake within their academic journey. This discussion does not have to be profound – if your child is studying Biology, do not think it is essential for you to gain a strong understanding of the metabolic processes performed by animals, for example. It will never be necessary for you to be an expert at any VCE subject. Rather, simply encouraging your child to share their knowledge with you will contribute to their learning. Carrying on with the example of Biology, you can ask your child to briefly explain the stages of photosynthesis. This technique will result in a number of benefits; your child will be challenged to demonstrate their knowledge and thereby increase their own understanding, and you will find a source of discussion which fosters growth (both academically and emotionally) between yourself and your child.

Express a genuine interest in their work.

It is easy for VCE students to attain a tunnel vision and lean towards route learning during the crunch point of their studies. Articulating your intrigue to learn about their studies will boost student engagement and remind your child that subjects can be extended beyond the classroom. Simply asking natural questions and/or clarifying content will demonstrate your stake in their progress and exemplify the team mindset which promotes cohesive growth. Just discussing your child’s English text with them will position him/her to articulate their ideas and, in turn, contribute to the level of analysis they are able to perform when writing an essay.

Consider investing in tutoring as a way to extend your child’s education beyond the classroom.

A tutor performs the unique role of a mentor, friend and teacher who has the exclusive ability to provide one-on-one support. A tutor can further your child’s skills in a focused and familiar environment, sustaining growth throughout the year and tackling gaps in understanding as soon as these concerns arise. Ultimately, a tutor is an invaluable addition to your child’s VCE team! Lisa's Study Guides provides a one-of-a-kind, specialised tutoring service which offers a wealth of curated resources, 24/7 support and lessons with the state’s most high-performing recent graduates. To find out more about what Lisa's Study Guides can do for you, click here .

VCE is a period of significant change and it is important to remain flexible. By acknowledging the importance of focused study time, you can adjust your family’s schedule to meet the requirements of each individual. Encouraging your child to demonstrate two-way communication and positive habits, such as informing you of upcoming commitments, will ensure that compromise can occur in a swift and agreeable fashion. The following advice will contribute to healthy negotiation within your home:

Understand that your child’s priorities have changed.

It is inevitable that Year 11 and 12 are going to require intense focus and a dedication, on your child’s part, to his/her studies. Designating specific study blocks is a good way to ensure that you highlight the importance of routine and consistent study. Despite this fact, it can be difficult to come to terms with the reality of such change. During VCE, it is unlikely that your child will have the ability to sustainably divide their time in a way which is familiar to you. This shift may be significant or subtle depending on the consistency of your child’s study habits, their non-scholarly commitments and a range of other factors. Regardless, it is important to remain adaptable and understand that your child’s response to VCE is a natural reaction to the major change involved.

Be flexible and offer alternatives where necessary.

VCE is often unpredictable and assignments can arise out of the blue. Workloads may be relatively easy-going one moment, before three new assessments come up the next school day and suddenly extra work is required. While it is helpful to theoretically organise family time or outings, it may eventuate that these plans are not always compatible with your child’s schedule. Try postponing events where necessary and approach the situation with a neutral attitude – reassuring your child that Thursday is as good as Tuesday to catch the latest Marvel flick will buoy their spirits and link these events to positive emotions.

Commit to reaching solutions which work for you, your VCE student and the rest of your family.

Settling for an option which disgruntles yourself, your Year 11/12 student or other members of your family is an unsustainable way to manage family expectations during VCE. While it may not be ideal to find a day of the week which is suitable for everyone, or if it looks like cancelling is the easier option, keep in mind the potential repercussions that these decisions may have. Due to its limited nature, time spent as a family is especially precious when a child is undergoing VCE. Reaching mutually agreeable solutions is the best way to meet both family and school needs and will have a significant impact on morale in the long term.

Consider introducing a family timetable developed around your VCE student’s study habits.

It may be useful to organise your family’s priorities and represent these ideals in an accessible timetable. Doing so will ensure that your needs as a family are met without the potential for certain elements to be overlooked and inform family members in advance of upcoming plans. Organise your standard week by priority and create a tangible, week-to-week routine like illustrated:

how to insert a quote into an essay

VCE is an undoubtedly testing stage for a student and their family – yet, it does not have to be overwhelming. Successful navigation through Year 11 and 12 will occur as the result of a cohesive relationship between a student and his/her support network. As a parent, your role is centred around support. Offering your child the confidence of your time, patience and effort will make a world of difference to their morale and, in turn, results. Simple family adjustments, as listed above, will contribute to the sustained growth between yourself and your child. Implementing these strategies and anchoring your focus on the themes of communication, teamwork and compromise will ensure that your family’s VCE experience occurs smoothly.

Dear my past VCE English Student self,

Before embarking on your Year 12 English journey, I believe there are some wise words from your future and possibly wiser self that would benefit you throughout this challenging, yet rewarding year.

1. Keep perspective

Yes, Year 12 is important. Yes English is important. Yes, doing well in SACs is important. But so is breathing, maintaining a balanced lifestyle and spending time with your friends and family. Throughout the year you are going to waste time calculating minor details, worrying over completed SACs and thinking ‘I’m doomed!’

I’m telling you now, remember the big picture. The year really is a marathon (not a sprint), and the exam should not only be seen as the finish line, but also the finals. (Where yes, your SAC marks/past results matter, but it is like the Olympics. If you train hard, like other athletes, you have the opportunity to challenge Usain Bolt and do a personal best!)

how to insert a quote into an essay

2. Have Confidence

Obviously over confidence can manifest into complacency. But because you will be a bundle of nerdy anxiety, you will have done the work. If you have done all in your power to prepare for the SAC/exam - the rest is beyond your control. It is important to know that if a SAC does not go the way you hoped, it is not the end of the world. Don’t let it knock your confidence down and spread to the next area of study. It is important to isolate your disappointments. Back yourself when walking into the SAC/exam by imagining yourself, calmly sitting down and showing off out your knowledge. English rewards thinkers. So even if you are not the best at spelling, grammar and expression - think big (but spelling, grammar and expression all matter too!).

how to insert a quote into an essay

3. Be Curious

This may seem like a tagline to Britney Spear’s perfume marketing campaign, but I believe this will be an important ingredient to your success in the year ahead. Inquisitiveness has the power to seep into all your subjects. Inquisitiveness that compels you to pursue your ideas, gather information and question what and how you are learning. This not only enriches your ideas, but it means you are expanding your mind. Come to class with questions to pick your classmates or teachers brains with - ask them and be ready with an open mind.

4. Persevere

There are going to be many times throughout the year that you will wish you could do anything but finish an essay. You will attempt to procrastinate by watching the Bachelorette, taking Buzzfeed quizzes and spiral yourself into a YouTube hole. However, looking back, it is easy to see that teasing out your convoluted ideas, thoughts and errors, is a very beneficial process - far more than pumping out mindless essays.

how to insert a quote into an essay

You’re going to find the first few essays you write for texts the hardest (and probably the worst)! But it is an important step in the result. Don’t be afraid to be imperfect!

5. Run your own race

At the beginning of the year, you are going to spend time comparing yourself to others and secretly cataloguing their SAC marks in your mind (just a head up: That is not only a waste of time, but incredibly pointless!). Regardless of whether English is your strength or just because it is a requirement - competing against your peers is a waste of energy. Furthermore, when it comes to the exam, you and your cohort should work together. As for you to do well, you all must do well.

What to put in your (metaphorical) school bag:

1. Dictionary

At the beginning of the year you’re going to read sample essay responses and think ‘Is this English?! What do these words mean?!’ However, if you begin a little note on your computer or phone that you slowly add interesting and diverse words to, then when it comes to writing responses you have a greater pool to draw from. Once you use them a few times, they will become engrained in your mind and pave the way for vocabulary mastery!

how to insert a quote into an essay

2. Study group

Find friends that are at a similar level and that have different teachers to yours - and 2 weeks out from a SAC, get together to make some mind maps and share ideas. It is important that you all contribute equally and all gain from the time you spend! (Advice: Do not do this in the weeks leading up to formal as conversation will likely go off topic.)

Be organized with your notes! Make sure you begin this at the start of the year, and make them easy and clean to understand. Often it is good to make multiple copies as you progress, gradually refining and shedding excess notes for when you arrive at the exam! I also suggest emailing a copy to yourself or regularly backing it up on a hard drive, as you will hear the horror stories of students losing all their notes. Often Unit 4 wraps up quite quickly, and the time between this and exams is often scattered with ‘final day’ activities, valedictories and formal assemblies as you farewell school. Even though you do have time to commit your knowledge, having well formatted notes heading into the exam will put you ahead of the game.

4. The texts

Always read the texts, not just the study guide. Even though these resources are often highly informative, it is important to use them to build your understanding, rather than creating it. Knowing your texts back to front, is also big secret to success! As often most students will know the key passages and plot developments, but if you can tease out obscure and small moments within the text in your essays - this will help your work to stand out.

5. Newspaper

This may seem old fashioned - but I’m not just talking about the physical newspaper! Reading articles online, researching authors, reviews and scholarly reports about your texts are highly valuable. Not only are they great to nab vocabulary from, but they keep your mind rolling and constantly developing your ideas!

There you go ‘past’ Anna! You’re going to have one of the best years of your life - even though you’ll cry, fall asleep on the floor and be perennially triggered by the library - You’re going to stand on the other side and say it was worth it. Year 12 not only is going to break you, but make you.

Enjoy the ride! Future Anna

P.S: Don’t wear those shoes to Year 12 formal - they will kill your feet!

Although clarity in expression takes priority, employing sophisticated vocabulary will win you major points with the examiner. Essays with a (healthy) level of adornment tend to demonstrate greater control of language and insight, giving the piece a perceptive and erudite aspect. Nevertheless, trying to employ new vocabulary seamlessly in your essay can be tough- rather than swapping random words in and out of your essay post-mortem, adapting your vocabulary bank to your own writing style can make the process a lot less jarring.

Finding the right bank for you

The conditions of your vocabulary bank should be suited to your specific needs. A focus on a need or theme enables more visible connections within the vocabulary bank. Having those connections will make it easier to 'memorise' new terms. Instead of compiling a dense 20-page glossary, try breaking your vocabulary bank up into smaller, specific sections.


For example, if you're hoping to find new verbs to express the author's intention :

  • Expressions used in previous essays

The author argues

The author shows  

The author criticises

The author supports

  • Branch off 'argue' (Fervent tone):

contends, asserts, posits, proffers…

Branch off 'shows' (Neutral tone):

demonstrates, exposes, elucidates, delineates, explicates…

Branch off 'criticises' (Negative tone):

condemns, denigrates, lampoons, parodies…

Branch off 'supports' (Positive tone):

praises, endorses, exalts, lauds…

From storage to use

After clarifying their definitions, try using some of your new words in a sentence or a paragraph, relating to either your texts or language analysis. You can also extend your vocabulary bank by adapting the words to different sentence structures:

The author criticises the superficiality of our consumerist culture.


The author condemns the superficiality of our consumerist culture.

In a condemnatory tone, the author delineates the ostentation of our consumerist culture.

The author argues that gender is an arbitrary concept.

The author asserts that gender is an arbitrary concept.

Asserting that gender is an arbitrary concept, the author explicates the categorist nature of human understanding.

Using convoluted expressions can be fun or exasperating! Whilst demonstrating extensive vocabulary may raise your mark, the key is to ensure harmony between your words and your understanding.

Fact: The VCE is a competition.

Fact: There are so many brilliant minds out there with vocabularies that can   wow   the pants off examiners in seconds.

Fact: We have all felt intimidated at some stage of this race by these kids, but here’s the craziest fact of them all….

Fact: You can be one of them.

Do you really believe that the top VCE students, you know, those 99.95 geniuses out there, study religiously for 6-8 hours a day and feel totally motivated to work 24/7?

I used to think that these kiddos were on auto pilot - robots that never had difficulty remembering a quote, never struggled to find their next point in an analytical essay, could always find the energy to write another piece for their teacher to correct. It was as though these students weren’t real, but now that I have had a personal experience at tackling the VCE, I think that anyone can appear to be this ‘amazing’ in English, simply by following one piece of advice: changing your attitude towards studying.

There are no magic tricks, no gimmicks, and no simpler way to put this. If you want to see real results, you need a new perspective on not just English, but all subjects - start “wanting” to study. Today.

So how does this epic VCE competition - full of thousands of students - set apart the very top end students as opposed to the, well, only great students? I’m a firm believer in that your attitude towards your studies will always be indicative of how well you will perform in this race. So don’t start changing what, when or how much you study, make changes to how you study!

Easier said than done, right? Try me. Start by immersing yourself in English (or any subject for that matter) so that you can start to enjoy learning about it. For instance, go to a book club for context, debate the pros and cons of a character’s personality as if they are actually real, and watch the movie adaptation of the book you are studying etc.

Try to find as many avenues as possible that will allow you to enjoy writing an essay, even by taking baby steps. Why not start playing around with an imaginative story about your favourite TV show just to get the hang of creative writing before you hand in an imaginative essay tailored to your study requirements? Once you change that attitude from  “I ‘need’ to write this”  to  “I ‘want’ to and ‘would like to’ improve on this”  you will see an enormous shift in results, self-satisfaction and confidence! Don’t be daunted by a difficult topic in the text response section – view it as a way of “showing off” to the examiners; take your time planning about how much depth you can put into your response and make it a challenge to rise beyond expectations as opposed to meeting the bare minimum and providing a mediocre response.

So c’mon! Dive right into the deep end and throw yourself into your studies. You don’t need to take out a mortgage, nor a fancy exercise book with fluffy pink pens. You only need to pack your positive attitude.

Get exclusive weekly advice from Lisa, only available via email.

Power-up your learning with free essay topics, downloadable word banks, and updates on the latest VCE strategies.

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How to Work Quotes into an Essay

3-minute read

  • 22nd June 2017

Quoting sources is essential in academic writing . But you can’t simply copy a passage you’ve found in a book and dump it just anywhere in your essay if you want it to make sense.

As well as citing your source and using quotation marks , you need to integrate quotes into the rest of the text. This gives it context and ensures that your writing flows smoothly.

In this blog post, we take a look at how to do this effectively.

Quoting After a Colon

One option for working quotes into an essay is adding them after a colon. This should always come at the end of a full sentence, such as in the following:

Ackerman (2016, p. 232) acknowledges that pigeons are widely considered unintelligent : ‘They’re considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo (a close relative, in fact).’

If introducing a quotation like this, be careful not to mix up colons and semicolons .

Quoting After a Comma

Quotes can also be given after a partial sentence, particularly following terms like ‘says’ or ‘according to’. In these cases, you should separate the quote from the text with a comma:

On pigeon intelligence , Ackerman (2016, p. 232) says , ‘They’re considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo’.

However, you don’t need a comma if the quote follows the word ‘that’:

On pigeon intelligence, Ackerman (2016, p. 232) says that ‘They’re considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo’.

Integrating a Quote into a Sentence

As with the ‘that’ example above, you can add quotes that follow directly from the preceding sentence without additional punctuation:

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

Pigeons are ‘ considered by some to be as dumb as a dodo’ (Ackerman, 2016, p. 232).

This also applies when using short quotes in the middle of a sentence:

Although many consider pigeons ‘to be as dumb as a dodo’ (Ackerman, 2016, p. 232), laboratory tests show them to be quite intelligent in some respects.

The only extra punctuation marks required in these cases are quotation marks.

Block Quotes

Finally, for longer passages of text, you can set quotes on a new line after a colon:

Ackerman (2016, p. 232) accepts that there are reasons for this reputation :

It’s true that the forebrain of a pigeon has only half the neural density of a crow’s forebrain. It’s also true that pigeons may fail to realize that an egg or squab is theirs unless it is immediately beneath them … Pigeons are also notoriously inefficient nest builders, carrying only a single twig or coffee stirrer at a time, whereas sparrows will ferry two or three.

However, she also discusses several areas where pigeons defy their dumb reputation.

Notice that no quotation marks are used for block quotes . Instead, you should indent the quotation to show that it’s separate from the surrounding text. Make sure to check your style guide on how to use block quotes, though, as the rules can vary.

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How to Start an Essay With a Quote

Last Updated: September 7, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 453,074 times.

Writing an effective introduction can be one of the most intimidating aspects of writing an essay. While there are many different approaches to writing introductory paragraphs, you may want to consider beginning your essay with a quotation. Finding the right quotation and using it well within the framework of your own words can ensure that your essay is off to a great start.

Finding the Perfect Quotation

Step 1 Avoid clichés and overused quotations.

  • Quote a person saying something that someone would not expect them to say.
  • Quote someone who is not universally famous.
  • Use a well-known quote but contradict it.

Step 3 Research the quote’s context.

  • Determine whether the audience will be familiar with the person who you are quoting. If it is someone obscure or you think they will not be familiar, consider providing additional (brief) details.
  • Do not use a quote that could be offensive to the audience unless you plan to contradict the quotation.
  • Strike a balance between assuming your audience knows everything and assuming they know nothing. You should be clear and informative but not insulting to the intelligence of your reader.

Step 5 Hook your reader.

Quoting Correctly

Step 1 Introduce the quotation appropriately.

  • Use the quote as a sentence predicate. The subject of the sentence will be the person who said the quote, and the verb will most likely be a synonym of “said.” For example, "Jane Smith said, 'blah blah blah.'"
  • Preview the content of the quote. Use your own (grammatically correct) sentence to preview or paraphrase what the quote will say, then insert a colon or comma, then the (grammatically correct) sentence-length quotation. For example: "Once Jane Smith said something completely awesome: 'the awesome thing she said.'"
  • Begin with the quote. If you begin with the quote, be sure to place a comma after the quote and then provide a verb and attribute the quotation to the source. For example: "'Blah blah blah,' said Jane Smith."

Step 2 Punctuate the quote appropriately.

  • The quote only needs to be capitalized if it begins the sentence or if the first word of the quote is a proper noun, like the name of a person or a place.
  • In American usage, end punctuation should be placed inside the quotation marks. For example, “this is the quote.”
  • Paraphrased material (someone else’s idea put into your own words) need not have quotation marks around it, but should be attributed to the original speaker.
  • If you introduce the quote with the speaker’s name and a verb, provide a comma before the beginning of the quotation. For example: "Jane Smith said, 'blah blah blah.'"

Step 3 Attribute the quote correctly.

  • Be particularly aware of quotations found on social media such as Pinterest, or on quote aggregators such as Brainyquote. These sources are notorious for mis-attributing and even making up famous quotes.

Step 4 Be true to the meaning and context of the quote.

  • You may also need to substitute a word (like a name rather than a pronoun) for clarity. If you need to substitute a word, place square brackets around the word to indicate that you made a change. For example: "Jane Smith said, 'blah [blady] blah.'"
  • Be sure to keep the original intent of the quotation when making changes. Changes should be made only to preserve clarity or to change length, not to manipulate the content of the quotation.

Incorporating the Quotation into Your Introduction

Step 1 Introduce the quotation.

  • In your introduction, you need to be clear about what you're going to talk about and how you're going to talk about it.

Step 3 Connect the quotation to your thesis.

  • Be sure that the quotation you use supports your thesis.
  • Be sure that using the quotation enhances, rather than distracting from, your argument. [12] X Research source

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Find a quote that is meaningful to you, not just one you found in a list on the internet. If the context and wording of the quote speak to you, you’re more likely to connect it to your essay effectively. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0

how to insert a quote into an essay

  • Some college professors never want to see a quotation begin an essay. Because the method is often overused, there is some bias against it. You can overcome this by doing it very well. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 1

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About This Article

Jake Adams

To start an essay with a quote, introduce the quote by including the name of the author, such as, “John Keats once said…” When you include the quote, put quotation marks around it and make sure to put any punctuation inside the quotation marks. If the quote is long, you can use only part of it or remove sections as long as you insert an ellipses. Once you’ve introduced the quote and the author, provide some context for the quotation and how it ties into the thesis of your essay. For tips from our English reviewer on how to find the perfect quotation to start your essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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APA In-Text Citations and Sample Essay 7th Edition

This handout focuses on how to format in-text citations in APA.

Proper citation of sources is a two-part process . You must first cite each source in the body of your essay; these citations within the essay are called in-text citations . You MUST cite all quoted, paraphrased, or summarized words, ideas, and facts from sources. Without in-text citations, you are technically in danger of plagiarism, even if you have listed your sources at the end of the essay.

In-text citations point the reader to the sources’ information on the references page. The in-text citation typically includes the author's last name and the year of publication. If you use a direct quote, the page number is also provided.

More information can be found on p. 253 of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Citation Rules

Direct quotation with the author named in the text.

Heinze and Lu (2017) stated, “The NFL shifted its responses to institutional change around concussions significantly as the field itself evolved” (p. 509).

Note: The year of publication is listed in parenthesis after the names of the authors, and the page number is listed in parenthesis at the end of the quote.

Direct Quotation without the Author Named in the Text

As the NFL developed as an organization, it “shifted its responses to institutional change around concussions significantly” (Heinze & Lu, 2017, p. 509).

Note: At the end of the quote, the names of the authors, year of publication, and page number are listed in parenthesis.

Paraphrase with 1-2 Authors

As the NFL developed as an organization, its reactions toward concussions also transformed (Heinze & Lu, 2017).

Note: For paraphrases, page numbers are encouraged but not required.

Paraphrase with 3 or More Authors

To work toward solving the issue of violence in prisons begins with determining aspects that might connect with prisoners' violent conduct (Thomson et al., 2019).

Direct Quotation without an Author

The findings were astonishing "in a recent study of parent and adult child relationships" ("Parents and Their Children," 2007, p. 2).

Note: Since the author of the text is not stated, a shortened version of the title is used instead.

Secondary Sources

When using secondary sources, use the phrase "as cited in" and cite the secondary source on the References page.

In 1936, Keynes said, “governments should run deficits when the economy is slow to avoid unemployment” (as cited in Richardson, 2008, p. 257).

Long (Block) Quotations

When using direct quotations of 40 or more words, indent five spaces from the left margin without using quotation marks. The final period should come before the parenthetical citation.

At Meramec, an English department policy states:

To honor and protect their own work and that of others, all students must give credit to proprietary sources that are used for course work. It is assumed that any information that is not documented is either common knowledge in that field or the original work of that student. (St. Louis Community College, 2001, p. 1)

Website Citations

If citing a specific web document without a page number, include the name of the author, date, title of the section, and paragraph number in parentheses:

In America, “Two out of five deaths among U.S. teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash” (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2004, Overview section, para. 1).

Here is a print-friendly version of this content.

Learn more about the APA References page by reviewing this handout .

For information on STLCC's academic integrity policy, check out this webpage .

For additional information on APA, check out STLCC's LibGuide on APA .

Sample Essay

A sample APA essay is available at this link .

Quote in an Essay

  • Essay Writing Guides

Quote in an Essay: Do It Properly Following the Standards

When proving your viewpoint, disputing, or just presenting information, it is advisable to back your words with solid arguments or citations. When you have a live discussion or speech, you may turn to other people’s words without considering proper punctuation or formatting style. However, when quoting in an essay, you need to be aware of the principal academic writing rules. This post is devoted to the pivotal peculiarities of quoting.

Quote in an Essay: What Is It?

Before we start discovering how to quote in an essay, we need to find out what a quotation is. A quote in an essay refers to a short excerpt or passage taken directly from a text, speech, or another source that is included within the body of the essay to support or illustrate a point being made by the author.

Quotes in an essay are commonly used to lend credibility, provide evidence, or add depth to an argument or analysis presented in a paper. By incorporating someone else’s words, properly cited and attributed, an author can reinforce their ideas and strengthen the overall impact of their writing. It is important to use quotes sparingly, ensuring they are relevant and effectively incorporated into the essay’s narrative to maintain a coherent flow of ideas.

How to Put a Quote into an Essay

When dealing with essay writing and finding a suitable phrase or words to refer to, it is obligatory to know how to put a quote into an essay. Improper or incorrect citations may play a nasty trick on you and spoil your GPA. Perhaps, in general, you know how to quote, but it must be mentioned that punctuation always depends on the required formatting style.

However, there are some commonly accepted standards.

Choose a relevant quote

Use quotes in an essay that support or enhance your argument, emphasize a point, or provide evidence from a credible source. Ensure that the quote aligns with the topic and purpose of your essay.

Introducing the quote

Begin by introducing the quote with context, attribution, and the source. It can be done by briefly explaining who said or wrote the quote and why it is significant in relation to your essay’s topic.

Punctuate correctly

Use quotation marks to enclose the quote in an essay and indicate that it is someone else’s words. Place any punctuation marks (like commas or periods) that belong to the quote inside the quotation marks, while those that pertain to the overall sentence are placed outside.

Provide citation

After the quote, you need to include an in-text citation to indicate the source. It typically includes the author’s name (or the name of the organization if it’s a corporate source) and the page number (if applicable). Additionally, make sure to follow the appropriate citation format required by your academic institution or professor (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago style).

Analyze and explain

After using a quote in an essay and providing the necessary citation, it’s crucial to analyze and explain its relevance to your argument. It helps connect the quote to your overall essay and demonstrates your understanding of its implications.

Remember, quotes can add credibility, depth, and support to your essay, but they should be used sparingly and always be integrated smoothly into your writing. Avoid excessively long quotes that may overshadow your original ideas, and make sure to balance them with your analysis and interpretation.

Why You Need to Identify the Quotation Source

It is crucial to identify your sources in quotes in an essay because they strengthen the credibility and reliability of your statements. By providing clear attribution to the original authors or creators of the information you are quoting, you give proper acknowledgement and respect to their intellectual property. What is more:

  • Identifying sources also allows readers or listeners to verify the accuracy and validity of the information presented.
  • It demonstrates your commitment to ethical writing, honest research, and responsible information sharing.
  • Properly identifying sources in quotations also helps in avoiding plagiarism.

An essay with quotes is often highly valued and graded since it is a sign of profound and well-thought investigation that requires an indication of the primary source.

Short Quotations in an Essay

If you need to quote in a paragraph and choose a short quotation, you should seamlessly integrate it into your writing following the next steps:

  • Provide some context to your readers regarding the topic or the source of the quotation. It helps set the stage and insert a quote in an essay. For instance, you could mention the name of the author, the work they have written, or the primary subject being discussed.
  • Next, use a signal phrase or an introductory phrase to introduce a quote in an essay. It can involve using phrases like “According to,” “As mentioned by,” or “In the words of.” Make sure to attribute the quote to its rightful owner, providing their name or relevant credentials.
  • After the introductory phrase, insert the short quotation itself. Enclose it within quotation marks (“”) to clearly indicate that you use someone else’s words.

Ensure that quotations in an essay are accurate and word-for-word from a credible source. If you need to omit or modify any part of the quotation for better clarity or conciseness, use ellipses (…) or brackets ([ ]) respectively to convey those changes.

Quote In an Essay: MLA, APA, Chicago

When citing a quote in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, there are specific guidelines to follow. Here’s how you can quote in an essay in each of these formats:

When you quote in an essay MLA, you need to include the author’s last name and page number in parentheses. For example:

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name Page Number).

In APA style, you should indicate the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number. For example:

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name, Year, p. Page Number).

  • Chicago Style

In Chicago style, there are two quotation essay methods: notes and bibliography or author-date.

  • Notes and Bibliography: In this method, you should use footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography. The first citation includes the author’s full name, the title of the source, and the publication information. For subsequent citations, use the author’s last name and a shortened title.

Footnote example:

1st citation: Author’s Full Name, Title of Source (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number.

Subsequent citation: Author’s Last Name, Shortened Title of Source, Page Number.

  • Author-Date: In this method, you should indicate the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses within the text.

“Quote here” (Author’s Last Name Year, Page Number).

Remember, when citing quotes, it is crucial to properly attribute a reliable source to avoid plagiarism and provide a clear reference for readers to locate the cited material in your essay with quotes.

Quoting Articles: Introduction in Different Formatting Styles

Quoting an article in an essay in different formatting styles can add variety and visual appeal to your writing. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • In accordance with MLA formatting guidelines, you can introduce a quote by providing the author’s name and cited page number in parentheses after the quote. For example:

According to John Doe, “citation text” (25).

  • In APA formatting, you can introduce a quote by mentioning the author’s name, publication year, and page number in parentheses. Here’s an example:

Smith (2019) stated, “citation text” (p. 42).

  • In Chicago style, you have the option to use footnotes or endnotes to introduce a quote. For footnotes, you can indicate the author’s name, article title, publication date, and page number. Here’s how it can be done:

As stated by Jane Smith in her article “Wild Life,” published on April 1, 2020, “citation text”

  • In Harvard referencing, you can introduce a quote by including the author’s name, publication year, and page number, all within parentheses. Such an introduction would look like this:

According to Williams (2018, p. 10), “citation text”

Remember, it’s important to follow the specific formatting guidelines required by your academic institution or publication. These examples serve as a starting point, but always consult the appropriate style guide for accurate referencing.

Example Quotes in an Essay

The best way to cite correctly is to follow the example quotes in an essay. Here are some samples of the main formatting styles.

MLA formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith 23).
  • As Smith states, “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (23)

APA formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith, 2023, p. 23).
  • According to Smith (2023), “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (p. 23)

Chicago formatting style:

  • “Innovation is the pushing force of progress in our rapidly changing world” (Smith, 2023, 23).

Now, everything is clear on how to quote in an essay and why it is important to cite properly for the sake of credibility and academic integrity.

How to Write a Literature Review

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Satirical Essay Topics

Quote Explanation Generator + Guide & Tips

  • 👁️‍🗨️ Intro to Generator
  • 👨‍🏫 Benefits of Quotations
  • ✨ How to Perform a Quote Analysis

🔎 Quotation Types & Examples

  • 🏆 Examples of Quote Analysis

🔗 References

👁️‍🗨️ intro to our quote explanation generator.

A quotation is a direct repetition of someone else's words, enclosed within quotation marks, and attributed to the original author. You can use it to provide evidence, support arguments , or add authority to writing or speech.

Quote analysis involves examining a quotation's context , intended meaning , and implications . You should go beyond surface-level understanding, exploring the underlying ideas, emotions, and significance conveyed by the selected words.

Quotations hold the power to inspire, inform, and challenge us. Thus, we created a quote explanation generator – the ultimate tool for unraveling the depths of any saying! Whether you picked a random quote that sparked your curiosity or you have an analysis assignment, it’ll provide insightful explanations for each phrase.

3 Key Reasons to Try Our Quotation Explanation Generator

Sometimes, quotes have double meanings or a thick layer of context that’s difficult to get through. Our quote explanation generator lets you get to the heart of the matter without spending hours on this process. Several factors make our app a valuable tool in your academic pursuits:

⌚ Instant Analysis. The tool conducts each step of the quotation analysis at the speed of light as it uses .
🤗 User-Friendly Interface. We tailored the tool to have the most straightforward user interface students can turn to any time they wish.
💡 Overcome Writer’s Block. Our quotation explanation generator can give you an extra boost of creativity that will help you finish a paper much faster.

👨‍🏫 7 Benefits of Quotations in Your Writing

To master the art of writing papers, you need a lot of practice. Producing volumes of bland text isn’t enough. Your work should be interesting to follow, and quotes are one of the best tools to improve the quality of your written assignments.

  • Better persuasion . Any piece should ultimately get the reader to accept your argument. You can achieve this goal by adding the most impactful quotes in the body of the text.
  • Connect text and sources . Sometimes your writing doesn’t connect data from cited sources to the ideas discussed in its paragraphs. A good quote or two can bridge this gap.
  • Enhance your writing . Quotes can make your writing more subtle and creative. This way, the text becomes more interesting and less monotonous.
  • Larger context . Adding quotes lets you better evaluate and discuss the topic . They expand on the context and give essential details to your piece.
  • More credibility . Having quotes in your paper makes it more credible. It helps readers see that your arguments aren’t based merely on your opinions.
  • A touch of sophistication . Quotes are a great way to make your paper more sophisticated. It will lead to higher grades from your professors.
  • Stronger arguments . Adding quotations lets you better introduce arguments and analyze ideas.

✨ How to Perform a Good Quote Analysis

Finding the core meaning of sayings can enrich your written assignment. In this segment, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to analyze quotes and uncover their potential. These guidelines will help you evaluate any quotes you can come across.

  • Step 1 . Select a suitable quotation. Add the ones relevant to your paper’s subject. It should relate to either a person or an argument. Better use short citations to save time on analysis.
  • Step 2 . Identify literary devices. Take a look at the choice of words in the quote. Pay attention to personifications, similes, metaphors, rhythm, alterations, and other devices . It helps better understand what the author tried to say.
  • Step 3 . Establish the effect of the quote. Assess how the literary devices and additional techniques affect the quote. Experiment with different interpretations and consider which one is the most convincing.
  • Step 4 . Find out the author’s intent behind the quote. Additionally, consider why the author chose to phrase their words in a certain way. For example, state if the quote has multiple meanings to keep it ambiguous deliberately.

During your detailed research , you might come across different kinds of quotes. There are three common ways of formatting a quotation in a piece of writing. We’ve decided to make a short guide that helps differentiate between them:

📖 Direct quotation. They represent a person’s own words. These are used when quoting someone else directly. According to the eyewitness, “It happened so quickly; we didn’t even have the time to react.”
✍️ Indirect quotation. Such quotes report what was said or written. Some of the words can be altered or omitted. The eyewitness said it happened so quickly there was no time to react.
🪄 Integrated quotation. In this case, the quoted content becomes a part of a sentence. It can serve many grammatical purposes. Oscar Wilde once wrote that a person “can resist everything except temptation.”

Integrating Quotations into Sentences

Knowing how to correctly incorporate quotes into your text is an essential skill that helps improve the value of your work. This section contains practical tips that make this process easier and enables you to create more credible writing.

  • Introduce the quote with a colon and a complete sentence. It’s the most common use of a quotation that involves marks at the start and end of a quote. For example, in the words of Shakespeare: “ We know what we are, but know not what we may be .”
  • Provide an explanatory or introductory phrase separate from the quotation with a comma. Here, you give a bit of context to explain a quote better. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde writes, “ Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing .”
  • Make the quote a part of your sentence without additional punctuation . In this instance, the quotation becomes a part of your writing. For example, Dostoevsky argues that “ conscience without God is a horror. It can get lost to the most immoral .”
  • Use several words from the quote in your sentence. It works the same as the previous example, although with smaller bits of the quotation. Duma’s advice to “ wait and hope ” runs throughout The Count of Monte Cristo .

🏆 Great Example of Quote Analysis

Here we've prepared an analysis of Les Brown's inspirational quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” This sample can inspire you to write your own essay on quote analysis; take advantage of our generator and tips!

🧩 Literary Devices. The quote uses to compare aiming for the moon, setting ambitious goals, and landing among the stars to achieve significant success. Likewise, it evokes vivid mental images of shooting toward the moon and landing among the stars, creating a sense of grandeur and aspiration. Also, the quote includes hyperbole, as landing among the stars after missing the moon is an exaggeration to emphasize achieving remarkable things despite not reaching the primary goal.
🎭 Quotation Effect. This is a motivational quote and therefore creates an uplifting effect. It encourages individuals to and pursue their dreams without fear of failure. Using vivid imagery and hyperbole instills a sense of wonder and aspiration, pushing people to aim high and strive for greatness. The parallel structure reinforces that even if one's primary objective is not achieved, there will still be valuable and extraordinary accomplishments.
✒️ Author's Intent. intent behind the quote is to inspire individuals to overcome self-doubt and take risks in pursuing life's success. By urging people to “shoot for the moon,” he encourages them to be daring, set audacious goals, and be unafraid of failure. The quote reflects Brown's belief in the power of ambition and determination. He intends to convey that the journey will lead to significant achievements and if you do not reach your ultimate goal. The quote serves as a reminder that taking action and striving for greatness can lead to unexpected and fulfilling outcomes, ultimately motivating readers to pursue their dreams with enthusiasm and perseverance.

We did our best to provide a comprehensive guide on quote analysis. After you check out our specialized tool, please take a look at our FAQ section. Lastly, if you need help analyzing other types of text, try our rhetorical analyzer .

❓ Explain the Quote Generator – FAQ

Updated: Oct 25th, 2023

  • Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations. – Columbia College
  • Integrating a Quotation into an Essay. – Kelly Johnson, Ursinus College
  • 5 Steps to Quote Analysis. – Luna Laliberte, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Quotation Analysis for Source Use. – Amanda Hardman, Red Rocks Community College, RRCC
  • Working with Quotations. – Empire State University
  • Quote Integration. – University of Nevada, Reno
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This page contains our free quote explainer generator. Discover the hidden meaning of famous sayings. This tool will also be helpful if you need to uncover literary devices. As a bonus, we have compiled a guide about quotations and their use in academic papers.

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Biden immigration program offers legal status to 500,000 spouses of U.S. citizens. Here's how it works.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

Updated on: June 19, 2024 / 1:40 PM EDT / CBS News

President Biden on Tuesday  announced  a large-scale immigration program that will offer legal status and a streamlined path to U.S. residency and citizenship to roughly half a million unauthorized immigrants married to American citizens.

The Department of Homeland Security policy will allow these immigrants to apply for work permits and deportation protections if they have lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years and meet other requirements, senior administration officials said previewing the announcement.

Perhaps most importantly, however, Mr. Biden's move will unlock a path to permanent residency — colloquially known as a green card — and ultimately U.S. citizenship for many of the program's beneficiaries. 

"For those wives or husbands and their children who have lived in America for a decade or more, but are undocumented, this action will allow them to file paperwork for legal status in the United States, allowing them to work while they remain with their families in the United States," Mr. Biden said.

The policy, if upheld in court, would be the largest government program for undocumented immigrants since the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  initiative, which currently shields 528,000 so-called "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

Mr. Biden announced the measure at a White House event on Tuesday marking the 12th anniversary of DACA, alongside another move to make it easier for employers to sponsor "Dreamers" and other undocumented immigrants for work visas.

It's the second time in one month that Mr. Biden has taken a sweeping — and legally risky — executive action on immigration. Earlier in June, he invoked a presidential power used frequently by former President Donald Trump to disqualify most migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border from asylum .

How Biden's immigration plan would work

President Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.

The Biden administration program for undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens will provide two key immigration benefits.

It will allow eligible applicants to work and live in the U.S. legally on a temporary basis under the immigration parole authority. The policy, known as "Parole in Place," will also help these immigrants clear roadblocks in U.S. law that prevent them from getting permanent legal status without having to leave the country.

An immigrant who marries a U.S. citizen is generally eligible for a green card. But current federal law requires immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally to leave the country and re-enter legally to be eligible for a green card. Leaving the U.S. after living illegally in the country for certain periods of time can trigger a 10-year ban, leading many mixed-status families to not pursue this process.

The Biden administration's policy would allow eligible immigrants to obtain a green card without having to leave the U.S. After 3 to 5 years of living in the U.S. as a green card holder, immigrants can apply for American citizenship.

Administration officials estimate that roughly 500,000 unauthorized immigrants with U.S. citizen spouses will qualify for the program. Applicants must have been legally married to their American citizen spouse by June 17. Those who are deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety will not qualify.

The policy is also expected to benefit an estimated 50,000 immigrant children with a parent who is married to a U.S. citizen, officials said. Undocumented stepchildren of U.S. citizens — who must also leave the country to obtain green cards — will be eligible to apply for the parole process if they are under the age of 21.

A senior administration official said the government is planning to open the Parole in Place program to applications "by the end of summer." The policy will almost certainly generate legal challenges, possibly from Republican-led states, which have sued the Biden administration over its immigration policies several times.

For over a decade, the U.S. government has overseen a more limited Parole in Place policy for unauthorized immigrants who are the immediate relatives of U.S. service members or veterans. In 2020, Congress affirmed that policy.

The State Department is also announcing on Tuesday a streamlined process for DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants who have graduated from U.S. colleges to more easily obtain employment-based visas, such as H-1B visas for high-skilled workers.

  • Immigration
  • Undocumented Immigrants


Camilo Montoya-Galvez is the immigration reporter at CBS News. Based in Washington, he covers immigration policy and politics.

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Donald Trump's birthday is today. At 78, he still loves to joke about Biden's age

If elected in November, former President Donald Trump would become the oldest U.S. president ever to be inaugurated. His campaign strategy? Mock his opponent’s age, who is just three years older than himself.

Trump celebrated his 78th birthday on Friday, reaching the same age President Joe Biden was when he won the election. Though Biden has taken most of the fall for age-related concerns, Trump hasn’t been exempt from questions about his cognitive function himself.

More: Campaign trail gaffes by Trump and Biden put a spotlight on their ages. Should voters worry?

Over the years, Trump’s attacks on Biden’s age have varied from veiled to overt as his own tally climbed.

Here are just some of the digs Trump has made about his opponent’s age:

More: 'A loser': With new bag of taunts, Biden tries to get under Trump's skin

“Sleepy Joe”

The mocking phrase “Sleepy Joe” was coined by Trump in 2019 during his re-election campaign, making fun of moments when Biden looked unalert.

In a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, in August 2020, Trump said, “The guy doesn’t even know he’s alive!”

“We’ve got a sleepy guy in the basement of the house,” Trump said of Biden in April 2020.

“Young, vibrant man”

In 2019, Trump took a dig at his then-presidential candidates, Biden and independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

“I think that I just feel like a young man,” Trump told reporters. “I’m so young. I can’t believe it, I’m the youngest person.”

Sometimes, without directly noting his age, Trump compares his own mental fortitude to Biden.

“I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don’t know about him,” Trump said. “I don’t know, I would never say anyone is too old.”

Sign up for Your Vote: Text USA TODAY reporters and the elections team by joining our SMS service.

Not too old, “too incompetent”

In May, Trump backpedaled his age jokes and pivoted less than a month before his birthday.


Trump responded to Biden’s May 2023 stumble and fall onstage by saying that he asked Fox News host Sean Hannity not to joke about the president’s cognitive abilities.

“I asked Sean not to joke about it,” Trump said during a town hall. “I said, ‘Honestly, I don’t think it looks good for you or for anybody to joke about it.’”

— Sam Woodward is the Minnesota elections reporting fellow for USA Today. You can reach her at [email protected] , on X @woodyreports, or on Threads @samjowoody


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Apple Jumps Into A.I. Fray With Apple Intelligence

The iPhone maker, which has been slow to embrace artificial intelligence, will weave it into the technology that runs on billions of devices.

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Tim Cook, in a blue shirt, appears on a dark stage below an Apple symbol.

By Tripp Mickle

Tripp Mickle has written about Apple since 2016.

Nearly two years after OpenAI ignited a race to add generative artificial intelligence into products, Apple jumped into the competition on Monday, as it revealed plans to bring the technology to more than a billion iPhone users around the world.

During a two-hour presentation from its futuristic Silicon Valley campus, Apple said that it would be using generative A.I. to power what it is calling Apple Intelligence. The system will prioritize messages and notifications and will offer writing tools that are capable of proofreading and suggesting what users have written in emails, notes or text. It also will result in a major upgrade for Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant.

Apple’s plans to offer A.I. in its iPhones represents the next step in bringing artificial intelligence into the consumer mainstream. Apple, the marquee name of Silicon Valley, could do more than any other company to add credibility to a technology that has more than a few critics, who worry that it is mistake-prone and could add to the flood of misinformation already on the internet.

Apple’s new A.I. features could also help calm concerns that the iPhone maker had slipped behind its biggest rivals in the tech industry’s embrace of artificial intelligence. The value of other tech companies, like Microsoft and Nvidia, has ballooned because of their aggressive A.I. plans. Earlier this year, Microsoft dethroned Apple as the most valuable technology company in the world.

While introducing its new A.I., Apple emphasized how it planned to integrate the technology into its products with privacy in mind. The company said that the technology, which can answer questions, create images and write software code, would perform sensitive tasks. It showed how the system would be able to automatically determine if a rescheduled meeting time would complicate plans to attend a child’s theater performance.

It said that the computer processing would be done on an iPhone rather than in data centers, where personal information has a greater risk of being compromised. For complex requests that require more computing power, it has created a cloud network with Apple semiconductors that, it said, is more private because it’s not stored or accessible, even by Apple.

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how to insert a quote into an essay

Create and add an email signature in Outlook

In Outlook, you can create one or more personalized signatures for your email messages. Your signature can include text, links, pictures, and images (such as your handwritten signature or a logo).

Or, option below for the version of Outlook you're using.

Note:  If the steps under this New Outlook tab don't work, you may not be using new Outlook for Windows yet. Select Classic Outlook  and follow those steps instead.

Create and add an email signature

On the View tab, select   View Settings . 

Select Accounts > Signatures .

Select    New signature , then give it a distinct name.

In the editing box below the new name, type your signature, then format it with the font, color, and styles to get the appearance you want.

Select Save when you're done.

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Select Save again.

Note:  If you have a Microsoft account, and you use Outlook and Outlook on the web or Outlook on the web for business, you need to create a signature in both products.

Create your signature and choose when Outlook adds a signature to your messages

If you want to watch how it's done, you can go directly to  the video below .

Open a new email message.

Select Signature from the Message menu.

Under Select signature to edit , choose New , and in the New Signature dialog box, type a name for the signature.

Under Edit signature , compose your signature. You can change fonts, font colors, and sizes, as well as text alignment. If you want to create a more robust signature with bullets, tables, or borders, use Word to create and format your signature text, then copy and paste it into the Edit signature box. You can also use a pre-designed template  to create your signature. Download the templates in Word, customize with your personal information, and then copy and paste into the Edit signature box. 

Type a new signature to use in your email

You can add links and images to your email signature, change fonts and colors, and justify the text using the mini formatting bar under Edit signature .

You can also add social media icons and links in your signature or customize one of our pre-designed temlates. For more information, see Create a signature from a template .

To add images to your signature, see Add a logo or image to your signature .

Under Choose default signature , set the following options. 

In the E-mail account drop-down box, choose an email account to associate with the signature. You can have different signatures for each email account.

You can have a signature automatically added to all new messages. Go to in the New messages drop-down box and select one of your signatures. If you don't want to automatically add a signature to new messages, choose (none). This option does not add a signature to any messages you reply to or forward. 

You can select to have your signature automatically appear in reply and forward messages. In the  Replies/forwards drop-down, select one of your signatures. Otherwise, accept the default option of (none). 

Choose OK to save your new signature and return to your message. Outlook doesn't add your new signature to the message you opened in Step 1, even if you chose to apply the signature to all new messages. You'll have to add the signature manually to this one message. All future messages will have the signature added automatically. To add the signature manually, select Signature from the Message menu and then pick the signature you just created.

Add a logo or image to your signature

If you have a company logo or an image to add to your signature, use the following steps.

Open a new message and then select Signature > Signatures .

In the Select signature to edit box, choose the signature you want to add a logo or image to.

Insert an image from your device icon

To resize your image, right-click the image, then choose Picture . Select the Size tab and use the options to resize your image. To keep the image proportions, make sure to keep the Lock aspect ratio checkbox checked.

When you're done, select OK , then select OK again to save the changes to your signature.

Insert a signature manually

If you don't choose to insert a signature for all new messages or replies and forwards, you can still insert a signature manually.

In your email message, on the Message tab, select Signature .

Choose your signature from the fly-out menu that appears. If you have more than one signature, you can select any of the signatures you've created.

See how it's done

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Note:  Outlook on the web is the web version of Outlook for business users with a work or school account.

Automatically add a signature to a message

You can create an email signature that you can add automatically to all outgoing messages or add manually to specific ones.

Select Settings   at the top of the page.

Select Mail >  Compose and reply .

Under Email signature , type your signature and use the available formatting options to change its appearance.

Select the default signature for new messages and replies.

Manually add your signature to a new message

If you've created a signature but didn't choose to automatically add it to all outgoing messages, you can add it later when you write an email message.

In a new message or reply, type your message.

Outlook signature icon

If you created multiple signatures, choose the signature you want to use for your new message or reply.

When your email message is ready, choose Send .

Note: is the web version of Outlook for users signing in with a personal Microsoft account such as an or account.

Related articles

Create and add an email signature in Outlook for Mac

Create an email signature from a template


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  1. The Ultimate Guide to Finding & Using Quotes in English Essays 📝

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  1. How to Put a Quote in an Essay (with Pictures)

    If you use the author's name in your lead-in to the quote, you just need to provide the year in parentheses: According to Luz Lopez, "the green grass symbolizes a fresh start for Lia (24).". 2. Include the author's last name, the year, and the page number for APA format. Write the author's name, then put a comma.

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