Integrate Quotations (IQ)

All quotations must be properly integrated into your own sentences.

When using quotations to provide evidence or examples, you must connect them to your own sentences. This connection is necessary to help the reader see both the source of the quotation and your reason for using it. (The relationship between your own words and a quotation should be immediately apparent; readers should not have to look for the citation or footnote.)

Short quotations can often be integrated directly into your own sentences, but quotations that include a new grammatical subject or that consist of more than one independent clause must be set off with a colon. You cannot incorporate a multi-sentence quotation into the syntax of your own sentence. It just doesn’t work! Even putting aside the rules of grammar and syntax, you need to introduce quotations in order to use them effectively to support your points. A quotation dropped into your prose from out of nowhere is confusing rather than helpful.

Wrong: Powhatan’s famous daughter was not the infatuated girl from Disney’s version of the story. “Pocahontas was a dutiful child who fulfilled a very traditional function in Native politics and diplomacy.”

Right: Powhatan’s famous daughter was not the infatuated girl from Disney’s version of the story. As Daniel Richter argued in Facing East from Indian Country, “Pocahontas was a dutiful child who fulfilled a very traditional function in Native politics and diplomacy.”

Comment: In the wrong version, the source of the quotation is unclear. The purpose of quoting a secondary source is to supply evidence or an especially insightful idea. To achieve the intended effect, the quotation must come from an apparent and reliable source.

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Wrong: In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln noted the surprising length and severity of the Civil War, “Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease.”

Right: In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln noted the surprising length and severity of the Civil War: “Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease.”

Comment: Notice that the wrong version creates a comma splice, because the first comma is followed by an independent clause without an intervening conjunction (see SENT). Furthermore, the syntax collapses, because the multiple independent clauses of the quotation are erroneously inserted into the syntax of the primary clause.

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For more help with integrating quotations into your writing, see section 41 of the Pocket Style Manual and chapter 7 of the Pocket Guide to Writing in History.

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