Essay Writing Quotation Rules

  1. Do not open a quotation and fail to close it at the end of the quoted material.
  2. Capitalize the first letter of a direct quote when the quoted material is a complete sentence.

Mr. Johnson, who was working in his field that morning, said, “The alien spaceship appeared right before my own two eyes.”

  1. Do not use a capital letter when the quoted material is a fragment or only a piece of the original material’s complete sentence.

Although Mr. Johnson has seen odd happenings on the farm, he stated that the spaceship “certainly takes the cake” when it comes to unexplainable activity.

  1. If a direct quotation is interrupted mid-sentence, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation.

“I didn’t see an actual alien being,” Mr. Johnson said, “but I sure wish I had.”

  1. If the original quote is too long and you feel not all the words are necessary in your own paper, you may omit part of the quote. Replace the missing words with an ellipsis.

Original Quote: The quarterback told the reporter, “It’s quite simple. They played a better game, scored more points, and that’s why we lost.”

Omitted Material: The quarterback told the reporter, “It’s quite simple. They … scored more points, and that’s why we lost.”

  1. If the context of your quote is unclear, add a few words to provide clarity in brackets.

Added Material: The quarterback told the reporter, “It’s quite simple. They [the other team] played a better game, scored more points, and that’s why we lost.”

Quotation Mark Exercise:

In the following sentences, insert quotation marks and punctuation wherever they are needed.

  1. My teacher’s remark on my final essay was very complimentary This essay coherently analyzes musical trends of the late 20th century.
  2. John F. Kennedy inspired a generation with his words Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
  3. My French professor told me my accent is abominable.
  4. She asked Is Time a magazine you read regularly?
  5. When did Roosevelt say We have nothing to fear but fear itself?

Quotation Mark Exercise Answers

  1. My teacher’s remark on my final essay was very complimentary: “This essay coherently analyzes musical trends of the late 20th century.”
  1. John F. Kennedy inspired a generation with his words: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
  2. My French professor told me my accent is “abominable.”
  3. She asked, “Is Time a magazine you read regularly?”
  4. When did Roosevelt say, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”?