Fascinating Facts

 

Quoting the Text

In the letter you write to a friend, you'll probably want to sprinkle in a few facts about the country you are visiting. This can be challenging, mostly because we're not allowed to copy the words of the text! (That would be plagiarism). Thus, we often find ourselves juggling words around, for no real purpose except to "avoid plagiarism." This can feel idiotic and frustrating.

The solution to this problem is to learn how to quote the text.

Quoting the text looks like this:

According to Ruth Foster, the author of a popular book on geography, "Algeria is second in size only to Sudan on the African continent."

Let's take a closer look at how it's done.

How to Quote the Text

To quote the text, you need three things:

    1. Signal Phrase
    2. Appositive Phrase
    3. Direct Quote (Placed Within Quotation Marks)
Signal Phrase Appositive Phrase Direct Quote

According to Ruth Foster,

the author of a popular book on geography,

"Algeria is second in size only to Sudan on the African continent."

If this were a formal academic paper, we would add a 4th element: a parenthetical citation.

Signal Phrase Appositive Phrase Quote Parenthetical Citation

According to Ruth Foster,

the author of a popular book on Geography,

"Algeria is second in size only to Sudan on the African continent"

(Foster 24)

The purpose of the parenthetical citation is to:

In a formal academic paper, our properly cited quote would look like this:

According to Ruth Foster, the author of a popular book on geography, "Algeria is second in size only to Sudan on the African continent" (Foster 24).

But wait! We've gotten ahead of ourselves. The good news is that you are not writing a formal academic paper; you're writing a letter to a friend—a very informal letter—so you can forget about the parenthetical citation, for now. (You'll learn all about parenthetical citations in the unit called MLA Tutorial). For now, you just need the first three elements:

    1. Signal Phrase
    2. Appositive Phrase
    3. Direct Quote (in quotation marks)

And, to keep it simple, all you really need to do is to memorize the following formula:


According to Ruth Foster, the author of a popular book on Geography, "_____________________________________________________."



Easy, isn't it?

It's like a license to steal! You can fill in that blank with any sentence from the book that you want! And you're legally allowed to do it, because you've put Foster's words within quotation marks, and you've attributed those words to her in the signal phrase. The attribution and the quotation marks are the things that make it all perfectly legal and acceptable.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the Questions.

Quiz