When are direct quotes used, and how?

What is meant by direct quote?

A direct quote can be defined in a number of ways. It is basically the reporting of the exact and the specific words, phrases or sentences of any author, speaker etc that are used in the speech or writing of any other speaker or writer. It is a rather common tool in the academic world and serves several purposes at the same time. A direct quote is generally placed inside the double quotation marks. However, a direct quote does not always necessarily contain just words. It may also contain images, original thoughts, ideas etc of any creator that the current author might use in his or her work according to the relevance. Moreover, a direct quote can be of two types based on their length and quoted part. These are as follows:

  • Short Quotes: When the direct quotes are short comprising of few words, phrases or at most two to three sentences, it is called a short quote.
  • Long Quotes: When the direct quotations exceed three sentences and at times even stretches to passages or paragraphs, it is referred to as a long quote.

When and where are the direct quotes used

The direct quotes, which are no doubt one of the necessary tools in an academic writing, are used in a number of cases, of course, selectively in order to produce the maximum result. Some of the situations and reasons where direct quotes are used in a research paper or custom term paper or in any text writing by an academic writer are as follows:

  • As a textual reference and evidence: The direct quotes are often used to prove a certain textual point or to draw a textual reference for the readers as an evidence of the writer’s point.
  • To strengthen the academic writer’s argument or point: Direct quotes are at times used to support and drive home an academic writer’s argument or point of view.
  • To make a certain point more interesting and powerful: A plain text can be made interesting by including some direct quotes which would both add variety and power to the otherwise simple text.
  • As the source of a specific data: When a specific information or data is mentioned in a text, it seems rather more appropriate to directly quote from the source to make it more convincing.
  • To show how a certain figure spoke or reacted in a certain situation: It might interest the readers to know how a certain figure, be it a historical or a present one, acted or spoke on a subject or in a certain situation.
  • To re-emphasize the academic writer’s intentions: Direct quotes also serve the purpose of re emphasizing the writer’s points and opinions and thus act as a convincing vehicle for the readers.
  • To simply provide and illustrate a crucial example: A direct quote helps in the better understanding of the readers as being a form of example for the topic or point in question.
  • To say something that cannot be better said: Many a time, a direct quote act as the best language for a particular text or view when there can be no better substitute language or words to express that point or opinion.
  • For the readers’ close analysis of any topic or point: With a direct quote, the readers are at once ready for a close analysis of the particular topic and find it easy to relate to the actual topic.

Few Examples of the Proper Uses of Direct Quotes

The direct quotes are today extensively used in both the academic and the professional world, much to the ease of the academic writers, the research scholars, the professionals and at times even the high school students for their term papers or assignments. Now, a few examples would probably make the proper and effective uses of the direct quotes more clear and comprehensive. Some of those examples are as listed below:

  • “She quoted from a letter [E.B.] White wrote in 1981: ‘You might be amused to know that Strunk and White was adapted for a ballet production recently. I didn’t get to the show, but I’m sure Will Strunk, had he been alive, would have lost no time in reaching the scene.” (Jeremy Eichler, “Style Gets New Elements,” The New York Times, October 19, 2005)
  • “Never alter any quotation even in order to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage. Casual minor tongue slips may be removed by using ellipses but even that should be done with extreme caution.” (‘Quotations in the News’, The Associated Press Stylebook, 2008)
  • “In the first place, the general convention in the sciences and social sciences is that we use direct quotations as little as possible. In the humanities, direct quoting is more important–certainly where you are talking about a literary source.” (Becky Reed Rosenberg, “Using Direct Quotations,” Writing Center at the University of Washington, Bothell)

How to Use Direct Quotes Effectively

It is very important to keep in mind the proper and appropriate of any tool to create the bet effect I an academic writing, especially when it carries credits. Thus knowing the effective uses of the direct quotes is also a necessary thing. Some of the basic rules and methods where a direct quote can be used effectively are as below:

  • As or in a definition or a part of the definition
  • In order to state a law, theory, hypothesis, rule, principle, regulation etc
  • To indicate a particular term or expression coined or created by a certain figure (author, speaker etc)
  • To highlight a particularly powerful, controversial or otherwise important phrase, sentence or statement by some other figure.

One of the most crucial things to be kept in mind here is that in case of a direct quote it is always very important to indicate the page number/s with the citation or reference that might contain the direct quotation. The direct quotes can be included or incorporated in a text in primarily two main methods. These ways are as follows:

  • In order to carry on a grammatical continuation in a particular sentence.

E.g.: A variable cost “is one which varies directly with changes in the level of activity over a defined period of time.” (Peirson and Ramsay, 1996, p: 693).

  • As a definition or an example after the ‘as follows’ part of the writing.

E.g.: Haskin (1996, p. 29) offers the following definition: “empowerment is the process which allows for ethical decision making by all organisation members….”