A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley


Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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When is it appropriate to rely on a direct quote? You might want to directly quote a source

  1. If the quoted material goes to the heart of your discussion or argument.
  2. If it is so well-written that it cannot be condensed further.
  3. If it contains a dramatic eyewitness account of an event.
  4. If it is written by a prestigious author or philosopher.
  5. If it contains relevant statistics.
  6. If you cannot paraphrase or summarize the quote more effectively in your own words.

For example, if you were writing an essay about corporate crime, you might want to directly quote the following passage from Russell Mokhiber's "Crime in the Suites," which appeared in corporatepredators.org:

The financial cost [of corporate crime] to society is staggering. The National Association of Attorney Generals reports that fraud costs the nation's businesses and individuals upwards of $100 billion each year. The Senate Judiciary Committee has estimated that faulty goods, monopolistic practices and other such violations annually cost consumers $174 to $231 billion. Added to this is the $10 to $20 billion a year the Justice Department says taxpayers lose when corporations violate federal regulations. As a rule of thumb, the Bureau of National Affairs estimates that the dollar cost of corporate crime in the United States is more than 10 times greater than the combined total from larcenies, robberies, burglaries and auto thefts committed by individuals.

This paragraph, for many of the reasons mentioned above, is eminently "quotable." In other words, you might believe that you could not improve on the wording of this passage, in part because of its reference to specific costs, statistics, etc.

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham


Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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