Identify quoted passages from other texts

Any time you copy another writer's or speaker's exact words directly in the text, it must be set off in a way that shows it to be a quote. How this is done is determined by such factors as the quote's length (40 words or less is a common dividing point), the nature of the material being quoted, the country in which the document is being published, and both editorial and personal preferences.

Short quotes (called run-in quotations) are usually placed directly in the text, with quotation marks at their beginning and end. American and British styles for run-in quotations differ in their punctuation (Table 7.1). In general, U.S. and Canadian publications follow the American style, but U.K. and Australian publications follow the British style (Council of Science Editors, 2006).

The American style is to use single quotation marks only for a quote within a quote. The names of articles or book chapters are treated the same way. If a run-in quotation is more than a single paragraph, begin each paragraph with a quotation mark but close only the end of the last paragraph with a quotation mark.

Table 7.1. Use of quotation marks in run-on quotations that appear within the text

Context American system British system

To set off the primary quotation To set off a quotation that appears within another quotation Position of closing quotation mark in relationship to punctuation of the sentence double quotation marks at the beginning and end single quotation marks at the beginning and end after a comma, period, exclamation mark, or question mark; before a semicolon or colon single quotation marks at the beginning and end double quotation marks at the beginning and end

"according to the sense" -before the punctuation except when the quotation is a complete sentence

Matthews states that "In his 1997 book, Digital Literacy, Paul Gilster quotes Vannevar Bush's seminal 1945 article, 'As We May Think,' and calls it 'the first visualization of hypertext in the modern sense.'"

According to the CDC director, recurrent polycystic kidney disease is

"unparalleled in this population. "If the hospitalization rate for this disease continues to climb as it has done this year, we are facing a problem of enormous proportions."

Longer direct quotes (called block quotations, excerpts, or extracts) may be set off as a separate block of type by indenting each line on the left side (in the same position as a new paragraph), and single spacing without quotation marks. The right margin stays the same as for the regular text. Sometimes the excerpt is set in a smaller font size than the main text. If the text that introduces the excerpt does not make its source clear, the excerpt should end with a parenthetical indication of the source, placed after the closing punctuation mark of the excerpt.

The problem of gobbledygook is especially prevalent in science, politics, and law Alred et al. (2003) offer this example:

I hereby authorize the above repair work to be done along with the necessary material and hereby grant you and/or your employees permission to operate the car or truck herein described on streets, highways, or elsewhere for the purpose of testing and/or inspection. An express mechanic's lien is hereby acknowledged on above car or truck to secure the amount of repairs thereto. (p. 243)

These authors suggest direct rewording:

You have my permission to do the repair work listed on this work order and to use the necessary material. You may drive my vehicle to test its performance. I understand that you will keep my vehicle until I have paid for all repairs. (Alred et al., 2003, pp. 243-44.)

With any direct quotation, be careful to enclose only the actual words used, not your restatement or interpretation. Follow the wording, spelling, and punctuation exactly. Whenever possible, verify the quotation from the original. To indicate an omission in quoted material, use three spaced periods (ellipses).

Employees of the U.S. government may file a statement attesting that a typescript was prepared "as part of their official duties."

Pauling stated that "Vitamin C . . . appears to be of value ..."

Place other punctuation marks in proper relation to quotation marks. In American usage, the comma and period always appear inside quotation marks. The colon and semicolon are placed outside the quotation marks. Question marks and dashes go inside the closing quotation mark when they belong to the quotation, but outside when they do not.

What did the author mean by "anti-rotaviral"?

The term "pyrexia" is replacing the word "fever."

Both the subjects and the researchers in the test were "blind," but the observers knew.

We studied "mating readiness"; the other research team studied "recalcitrance."

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  • beverly
    How to identify excerpts from scientific?
    8 years ago

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