Incorporating the Quote Grammatically (Introduce the Quote)

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

Incorporating the Quote Grammatically

The hardest part is over, but we have not finished the discussion of “Changes to Grammar.” If we place the relative pronoun “that” after such verbs as “discuss” and “state,” then we have extended our task and we become subject to the principles of grammar. In essence, all “grammatical” sentences begin with a capital letter of the first letter of the first word. No standard grammatical sentence begins with a lowercase letter.

However, when you incorporate a quote into the body paragraph of your essay, and you use “that,” then the sentences of the quote are subject to the rules of grammar. Since a word that begins a sentence cannot be capitalized midway in the sentence, when you use “that,” then the first letter of the word that begins the sentence must be de-capitalized. Examine the following excerpt.

Excerpt #3

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that “[i]t is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” ().

We want to point something out early. We have placed brackets around the first letter of the word “it” because this method conforms to MLA style. The result might be significantly different for APA and Chicago Style. I will not present the different styles here.

Refer to these manuals for extended discussions concerning the application of brackets when incorporating quotes into your papers. However, I will address the qualities of this quote by focusing solely on the presence of “that” and the change to “It.” These are the qualities of this quote.

1) In most cases, the relative pronoun “that” refers to an element that precedes it and to many elements that follow it. Observe the following sentence.

We need a car that will hold five people.  “That” refers to the antecedent “car.”

With this example in mind, “that” has the following qualities:

a) “That” is typically used in an adjective essential clause and a restrictive clause, which means the information used with “that” in a sentence is necessary information. In accordance with standard rule, the adjective essential clause of the example is “that will hold five people.” The clause collectively functions as an adjective, describing “car.” In this context, don’t apply commas before or after “that.”

In addition, the sentence We need a car that will hold five people. is an example of a sentence using “that” grammatically and accurately. All of the information in the sentence is necessary information.

b) “That” refers to an inanimate object, to animals and things. We will add ideas and concepts to this list also. This is not the standard.

c) “That” refers to something at a distance from you.

In rare cases, “that” may refer only to elements that follow it. In Excerpt #3, does “that” refer to any element before it such as “The Souls of Black Folk” or “Du Bois”? “That” can’t refer to “Du Bois” because Du Bois is a person. “That” can’t refer to “The Souls of Black Folk” because although the title of the book is inanimate, the use of the preposition “in” tells us where we can find the quote.

Therefore, in this example, “that” can’t refer to either of the previous elements that precede it.  If “that” doesn’t apply to these elements, then it must apply to the elements that follow it. That  = “[i]t is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (Du Bois).

2) Once “that” is used in the sentence with verbs such as “discuss” and “state,” construction of the rest of the sentence elements must conform to grammar. Examine the sentence without the change to “It.”

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” ().

Now examine the sentence without the quotation marks.

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity ().

Typically, the first letter of a word that begins a grammatical sentence is capitalized. The preposition “in” is the first word of this grammatical sentence. The “I” in this word must be capitalized.

However, the “I” in “It must not be capitalized, because this word does not begin this grammatical sentence. In essence, the application of “that” before the quote determines how the quote should be incorporated.

Click here for “Rule for Incorporating a Quote with ‘That.'”

Click here to return to “Introduce the Quote.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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