A quotation (sometimes called a direct quotation) is when you use the exact language from a source and place that language into your own paper. This is significantly different from both paraphrase and summary, as you do not rephrase any part of the original language into your own words—in fact, it is important when directly quoting a source to be careful to exactly copy the source’s original language word for word.
If the original text is phrased in a way that is particularly powerful and paraphrasing it would be likely to weaken it, direct quotation is a good option. This is also true when the language of the original source is so special or unique that it can’t be reasonably rephrased.
It is generally a good idea to limit quotes—don’t rely too heavily on them in a paper. Remember that most of your paper should be in your own words and in your own voice. It’s also a good rule of thumb to avoid using unnecessarily long quotes. If a quote is longer than a sentence or two, it is a good idea to examine whether the full quote is needed or if a summary, paraphrase, or just part of the quote would do the job you need done.
If you do find you need to use only part of a quote, it is very important to make sure that the part of the quote you are using doesn’t change the meaning of the quote. Be careful to retain the parts of the quote that accurately represent what the author was originally saying.
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