Misquoting the Evidence

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

The authors’ quotes offer much about their thoughts, words, motivations, and influences. When writers sit down to write, they write with history and the present on their shoulders. In other words, writers represent a walking history walking in the present. They embody the past, which includes past feelings, mistakes, choices, and good times. As long as they are still alive they will always be in the present.

In addition, a writer also has the burden of writing for the future. What he or she says today will have an impact on someone’s tomorrow. The tasks of writers are many. When you misquote the evidence, you misquote the author’s beliefs, his or her opinions. You misquote what represents the “past.” For the author, you make him or her incredible in the present and you undoubtedly affect someone’s understanding tomorrow.

Therefore, always break down and analyze the words of a quote. If a quote has the coordinating conjunction “and” between two elements of a sentence, don’t use “or” within your analysis. Although these two words are within the same family of conjunctions, they are different in meanings. Don’t confuse the two in your analysis.

In addition, if the author doesn’t say the thing you are trying to project onto him, then you have misquoted his viewpoint. Think about your friend and how she might feel if you misquote her. The first thing your friend will say is “I didn’t say that!” Your author is no different. You must be accurate. Outline your author’s ideas in the same way that the author has within the literary work.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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