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

Founder
WritingCommons.org

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 should a short quotation be used?

Whether they are used to provide evidence, support for an argument, or to illustrate an idea using another writer’s words, short quotations are valuable tools that can enhance any essay. Because short quotations contain fewer than 40 words, they should be integrated into the surrounding paragraph using introductory phrases that provide some context for the quoted material.

How should a short quotation be formatted?

The formatting of a short quotation contrasts with that of a block quotation in several ways. A short quotation should be surrounded by quotation marks and followed by a parenthetical in-text citation. The final punctuation of the sentence is then typed after the in-text citation, outside of the parentheses. Note the placement order of the quotation marks, parentheses, and period following a short quotation:

Let’s look at an example:

However, as one researcher points out, “science can be seen as an ideal and altruistic activity conducted for the best of mankind, where knowledge is in itself a value” (Simonsen, 2012, p. 46). [1]

An alternate method of formatting a short quotation is to include the author(s) and year of publication in the introductory clause, while the original page number remains in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Consider the placement of the author’s name and year of publication as the quotation is introduced.

Let’s look at two more examples:

As Simonsen (2012) goes on to explain, “science can be seen as an ideal and altruistic activity conducted for the best of mankind, where knowledge is in itself a value” (p. 46). [1]

In a work published in 2012, Simonsen suggested that “science can be seen as an ideal and altruistic activity conducted for the best of mankind, where knowledge is in itself a value” (p. 46). [1] 

For more information about using quotations, see also:


[1] Simonsen, S. (2012). Acceptable risk in biomedical research. New York, NY: Springer.

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham

Editor-in-Chief
WritingCommons.org

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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