Changes to Grammar (Introduce the Quote)

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

Changes to Grammar

Although it is advisable not to change some elements within a quote, such as verb tense, you will have many opportunities to reconfigure a quote. Sometimes these opportunities will be good; and sometimes they will be bad. Sometimes a change to verb tense is simply just unavoidable. If you have to shift tenses, for example, by starting your sentence in present tense and changing the verb tenses of the quote to present tense, your incorporation of the quote will change the meaning of the author’s original intention. For example, if a quote is set in the past, but when you incorporate the quote into the body paragraph of your essay you change the verbs to present tense, you will not be painting an accurate picture of the author’s work.

As one solution to this issue, it might be easier to apply time markers such as “historically” and “today.” In other words, if your paragraph starts out in the present tense, but you want to highlight some important issue of the past, then start your sentence that has the past tense verbs with “historically.” Continue adding quotes and your other sentences with past tense verbs. Once you have finished outlining all of the sentences and the quotes, with past tense verbs, then revert to the present tense by starting a sentence that has the present tense with “today.”  Adopting this method will help you to do two things:

  • To preserve a quote that has verbs in the past tense
  • To preserve the author’s original intention

Addressing verb tenses within your analysis is the most difficult task you will encounter within the analysis of your paper. The next issue is far less tedious. If you just understand this one basic rule, you will be able to incorporate a quote with no problems. There are two ways to incorporate a quote when using such verbs as “discuss” and “state.”

Develop introductory phrases (or sentence). Use the verbs “discuss” and “state” directly before incorporating the quote.

Leave off the introductory phrases (or sentence). Don’t use the verbs “discuss” and “state” directly in the incorporation of the quote, because it is understood.

You incorporate most quotes by developing language at the beginning of the quote such as “She states” and adding a comma after “states.” You follow the comma with another type of punctuation mark: the open quotation mark. After this, you follow this mark by capitalizing the first letter of the first word in the quote. Let’s examine the following excerpt.

Click here to return to “Introduce the Quote.”

Click here for “Quote with Introductory Phrases.”

Click here for “Quote without an Introductory Phrase.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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